Fort Solis PS5 Review: A Stunning Cinematic Experience

A cinematic masterpiece, yet somewhat lacking a challenge, Fort Solis is a must for narrative-driven gamers (and perhaps film fans?).

Bookmark this Fort Solis review – it’ll ultimately feature in my GOTY compilation. Reviews are becoming a harder sell as there are so many outlets, each with their opinion (sometimes unanimous) and desperate to be heard. There’s no trickery here: this is honestly one of the best games I’ve ever played.

To put that in context (if you’re new to my reviews), I’m narrative-driven, and story means everything. That isn’t to say gameplay isn’t a factor, as that’s a no-brainer, but I want something engaging, a hero to root for, or a concept to perplex my mind with ambiguity. A creative aphrodisiac.

Fort Solis is fantastic, in my eyes. Like Conway: Disappearance At Dahlia View, I couldn’t get enough of the characters and was immersed with every beat. The former, a sci-fi psychological horror, is very much an on-rails experience, but before you poo-poo that notion, look at cinema.

Fort Solis PS5 Review - It's cold out
It’s cold out. Source: Screen capture

Fort Solis Review (PS5)

Fear not, we’re not heading towards a discourse – I like to dumb down when I can. Nevertheless, Fallen LeafBlack Drakkar Games and Dear Villagers have created a compelling fiction worthy of any Netflix binger. It’s not the type of game with the cliche of ‘edge of your seat’, but man, it was borderline perfection. Whatever that may be.

Let’s ignore the press material for one moment and take full accountability for misreading the build-up for the game. In short, I thought you play Jack Leary, a solitary senior engineer who answers a distress call at Fort Solis, only to find it abandoned. I thought it might be Dead Space meets Deliver Us The Moon, and in some ways, they’re comparable, but I omitted the impact of Jessica Appleton.

Did I say that this was on Mars? You might already know that. Anyhoo, Jack and Jess are engineers going about their duties until they hear this alarm, and Jack decides to investigate. Rather than this being a solitary experience like Deliver Us The Moon, Jess is on comms most of the time and is Jack’s rock – not just through her guidance, but from the exposition, too.

Fort Solis PS5 Review - On the job
On the job. Source: Screen capture

Gimme Space

Fort Solis is a bit of an archaic structure with a handful of staff based there, but due to the frequent storms, quite a few have already left the site. When Jack arrives, there’s no one other than computer data entries, clues alluding to what may have happened, and numerous other narrative devices.

There’ll be no spoilers here, but the atmosphere is spectacular. I seldom notice the lights on my DualSense and often see them as a gimmick, but here, the lighting reflected that on screen (with the correct colour), and the nuances were spot on. 

Jack doesn’t run other than some cinematics, and ordinarily, this would be insane to omit, but it perfectly complements the level designs (other than the atrocious maps!), tension, and storytelling. You can’t skip, though and speedrun the experience – it would destroy the world-building here.

Fort Solis PS5 Review - Muffler
Muffler. Source: Screen capture

Have You Got A Light, Boy?

Typically, I get frustrated at tediously plodding along, looking at irrelevant 3D objects and whatnot, but everything matters. The voice acting is terrific, but the subtleties of the character modelling – particularly that on Wyatt are insane. Minute movements to the line of sight, their body language… seriously, it’s just brilliant.

On the downside would be the lack of challenge. There aren’t any health bars to be concerned with, no moves to learn, nor any puzzles to tax your brain. Fort Solis is a bona fide story, start to finish, and I’d happily stay on this ride, but have to point out the lack of challenge for most gamers.

Minor issues include some camera angles, particularly when in confined spaces and seeing a close-up of Jack’s bonce illuminated by a fish bowl. It’s also incredibly dark (also a massive selling point), and without any toggle for a torch or similar, there are moments where you’ll walk into furniture or, if outside, stumble in the darkness. Emphasis on minor, however.

If anything, the challenge with Fort Solis gameplay is the QTEs. Without warning, you’ll have to circle the analogue sticks, press shoulder buttons and everything else when they appear on screen, and there’s an emphasis on the ‘quick’ in QTE. Almost always, these don’t affect the outcome if you miss them, besides later in the game.


The lack of challenge and on-rails element are only mentioned as a disclaimer, as personally, I didn’t find these a hindrance as I was so invested in the characters, story, and this visceral setting that my attention from start to finish. Fort Solis is a contender for my GOTY, and I can’t say enough superlatives without repeating myself. 

A review copy was kindly provided on the release date. I’ve read other reviews and see that Fort Solis has mixed reviews on Steam and other outlets. Still, jumping back to the opener, my honest opinion is I thoroughly enjoyed it, which is sublime in many respects. Do your research, but I’m standing firm on this one. Highly recommended, especially for narrative-driven fans.

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