Someday You’ll Return, CBE Software’s psychological thriller, puts you in the shoes of a father desperately looking for his missing daughter. There’s a lot of things Daniel would do for Stela, but not all of them are good.
Someday You’ll Return isn’t the most well-known title, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t check it out. Offering up serious Blair Witch vibes, Someday You’ll Return throws you to the woods with a phone, a tool belt, and your wits. The game was reviewed on PC, and this will be as spoiler-free as possible. Someday You’ll Return is primarily a narrative experience; it’s enjoyed best without spoilers.
Someday You’ll Return Brings Tried And Tested Horror Narratives To The Table
Someday You’ll Return sets you off with a fairly traditional horror plot basis. You play as Daniel throughout. Your daughter, Stela, has run away from home. Although this isn’t the first time it’s happened, something feels different this time. You manage to find a way to track her, but it starts to take you to places you never thought you’d want to return.
As you delve further into the woods she has run off into, you start to encounter some strange things… And worse. Nightmares, strange notes, and questionably-sane children are just some of the maddening things you’ll encounter in the Czech countryside. Not only do you have to help Daniel find Stela, but you also have to help Daniel find himself throughout all this. The forest begins to play on his mind, his sanity, and his patience. His strained relationship with Stela’s mother only ramps up the pressure. Someday You’ll Return does everything right in cultivating an atmosphere of stressful urgency.
Someday You’ll Return Has You Playing As Daniel, The Missing Girl’s Father…
As A Narrative Voice, Is A Little Bit Annoying… But He’s Meant To Be.
Throughout playing, you sympathize with Daniel’s struggle. He’s clearly not on good terms with Stela’s mother, his car gets crushed by a falling tree branch, and he’s trudging about in the woods looking for his daughter. You can understand why he would be annoyed… Yet he is still wholly unlikable. He’s brash in his comments and overly-sarcastic a lot of the time when he isn’t scared shitless, anyway. He’s also very self-assured, and his overconfidence will clearly be his downfall.
Looking deeper, you can see that this is all a bit of a defense mechanism for a man who clearly has a lot of issues. Through his phone, you do get to reply to some text messages with either a nice-sounding response or an annoyed one. I can imagine this is largely meaningless in the end, but it does help you try to make Daniel a better person. Thankfully, as Daniel begins to confront the strange happenings around him and, ultimately, his own flaws, he softens slightly as a character and some development begins.
Daniel is an interesting protagonist, by any account. He’s just also kind of a dick.
There isn’t any complicated gameplay to take you away from the narrative
Just about all of Someday You’ll Return’s gameplay is from Daniel’s perspective. A prologue showed us a girl getting stuck, which may or may not have been Stela, but the rest is from his POV.
I find horror games work best from this perspective. Until Dawn has a fantastic fixed-camera system reminiscent of the old Resident Evil titles, and new Resident Evil titles are more traditionally third-person, but the bulk of horror titles are in the first-person, and for good reason. It works exceptionally well in Someday You’ll Return, simply put. It keeps you at the forefront of the action and experiences and undoubtedly helps you connect with the protagonist driving the narrative.
Graphically, Someday You’ll Return Is As Stunning As It Is Spooky
Although I err on the side of the debate which puts importance on graphics, I understand that they are not always the most important feature to focus on in a good game. However, in my experience, horror games have a strange reliance on them. They have to pull you into their world and fully involve you in each scary experience. Thankfully, Someday You’ll Return is a truly beautiful game to look at.
One thing I believe makes all the difference in a horror title is the lighting. You need that degree of uncertainty; you need to be wondering what could be lurking in the darkness at the edge of the screen. Someday You’ll Return uses lighting very well throughout. There are moments when the screen is nearly pitch black and you find yourself disorientated and even scared. Then, when you come into the light again, you feel like you’re in a completely different place. Although you know you’re not really stuck in the woods at night, exploring some derelict bunker, you are still sucked into the experience.
Daniel Is A Capable Man, Even If You Aren’t!
Someday You’ll Return has a few cool features which really enhance the experience which could quite easily just be a walking simulator. Aside from the general level of searching through semi-open environments, the crafting features in the game mean you find yourself actively exploring off the beaten track for useful items.
The crafting isn’t anything complicated, though. You just need to pick the right tool, click on that, and then click on whatever you’re tooling. For example, if you click a hammer on some wooden boards, Daniel will adeptly bang some nails into it. If only it was always that easy, right?
The feature which I enjoyed the most, and is arguably the most important one, is Daniel’s cellphone. It works similarly to other cellphones in horror games. You receive intermittent communication through it from varying support characters, but, other than this, you’re alone in your search. Daniel also uses it on occasion to track his location and Stela. However, as phones in horror films often do, it loses signal at the best/worst times. It’s a common trope in both the survival and the horror genre, but it works. So why not keep using it?
The Question Is… Will You Return To The Woods?
While looking through the official site for Someday You’ll Return, I stumbled across the FAQ page. One thing I found out was that a lot of the locations you visit in the game are actually real. It’s all based on a real Czech forest, as that is where the development team is from and based.
“The places, you can discover in the game, really exist and you can hike there.”
I know this isn’t important to many people, or a game in general, but I like this kind of thing, like when I’m playing Assassin’s Creed Syndicate and I spot Big Ben. The real-world reference gives me a deeper appreciation for the level designs. Although I haven’t been to any spooky wooded areas in a while, after I found this out, I had a greater appreciation for the locations in-game. It’s a strange thing I can’t quite put into words, but it is definitely a good thing.
Despite my initial reservations about Daniel as a protagonist and the narrative voice of the game, Someday You’ll Return is a fantastic psychological horror with enough extra gameplay features to keep it entertaining.
Psychological Horror Someday You’ll Return comes out on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One May 5. For more of the latest gaming news, reviews, features, and more check out @GamezoGG on Twitter and Gamezo.co.uk for everything else!