Forspoken – Review
Follow Genre: Action RPG
Developer: Luminous Productions
Publisher: Square Enix
Platform: PC, PS5
Tested on: PS5

Forspoken – Review

Site Score
6.3
Good: Setting, Interesting plot, Mobility skills
Bad: Pacing issues, Monotone content, Very rough around the edges
User Score
5.5
(2 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 5.5/10 (2 votes cast)

Even though 2023 has only barely begun, Forspoken was probably one of the most anticipated titles of the year. In early footage, the game looked very promising and the flashy magic combat looked like a fresh breath of air in an oversaturated market of “samey” titles. The game was recently released for PlayStation 5 and PC, and with the hefty price tag that was linked to it, we had extremely high expectations. While the game does have a few very interesting and fun elements, it also felt very rough around the edges and definitely not a next-gen title.

Story

Forspoken revolves around Frey who finds herself spirited away from New York to a parallel universe called Althea. She had a hard life in New York but was just about to make a fresh start when she stumbled upon an interesting-looking bracelet. This bracelet happened to be sentient and granted Frey powers most humans would only dream of. In Althea, however, she is given a very rude welcome and she soon finds herself convincing the last remnants of humanity that she bears no ill will. Even so, in a world that is being destroyed by something called the ‘Break’, she stands out like a sore thumb due to her magical powers. The ruling ‘Tantas’ of the world soon wish to destroy her, and they don’t care if the last remaining humans are also wiped out. Frey will, reluctantly, become the hero of Althea.

While the overall story isn’t too bad but it sometimes feels as if a 10-year-old was left in charge of writing many of the game’s key dialogues. We don’t mind a bit of swearing here and there, but it felt like someone challenged the writers to have Frey swear in every single line of her spoken dialogue. This got old really quickly and it also showed how poorly the overall dialogues were written. This is a shame, as the overarching plot is actually quite interesting. The story does also take some time before it gets going, to the point you’ll have to go through around an hour and a half of short cinematics.

Graphics

Graphically Forspoken left us with mixed feelings. For the most part, the game has interesting enemy designs, the animations of magic skills are quite cool to look at, and Frey herself also looks like the actress, Ella Balinska, that brought her to life. Sadly, outside of those positive aspects, most NPCs look horrible when it comes to their facial animations and their general stiff movements. The world is filled with the same ten assets over and over again, which also breaks the immersion. We were never under the impression that this was a next-gen title, and that’s a shame knowing the game is only out on PS5 and PC. Don’t get us wrong, the game still looks quite decent, but it feels more like a polished PS4 title, rather than the bigger exclusive PS5 titles we have reviewed in the past.

Sound

The sound design of the game is fairly okay. The game’s soundtrack isn’t too bad and has cinematic vibes. Even so, the soundtrack itself isn’t too memorable. In terms of voice acting, things aren’t too bad either. Ella Balinska does a good job bringing Frey to life, and she is pretty much the highlight of the game. Other supporting roles are also decent, but many of the characters don’t really stand out, and some accents are just horrendous. We also noticed a lot of awkward pauses between spoken lines, making the conversations sound unnatural and forced. The banter between Frey and Cuff also gets old really quickly, as the same lines are repeated over and over again ad nauseam.

Gameplay

Forspoken is an action RPG with a heavy focus on exploration, magic skills, and parkour. You can, of course, just play through the game and unlock some additional content as you go, but the game’s strength lies in its exploration. When exploring the map you are able to collect more items, gather mana for unlocking and upgrading your spells, and just find a few collectibles along the way. The exploration part, however, is hampered by the fairly empty world that just has a few enemy spawns here and there, and the monotone side objectives will also grow stale after a while.

The overall gameplay loop is fairly straightforward: you go from objective to objective, and you fight the monsters that roam the land. Combat is quite enjoyable and flashy, but the game does lack a few fundamentals to truly make combat shine. We loved being able to switch between the skills and different magic skill trees on the fly, but the lock-on system feels dodgy at best, and during some battles, you don’t get a proper oversight of your surroundings. That being said, the Magic Parkours mechanics that give you a lot of mobility make even the smallest battles look and feel impressive. This is probably one of the game’s biggest redeeming qualities in terms of gameplay, as the mobility skills add a lot of charm to the overall gameplay and it’s just a lot of fun to be able to zip around the map at high speeds.

As you progress through the game, you’ll unlock more and more magic skill trees, and these will always give you access to a lot of new active skills. You’ll be able to easily switch between all your skills on the fly. This is a stark contrast against the very basic gear system which allows you to equip a cloak and a necklace, as well as nail designs for each hand. Most gear just provides some passive bonuses, and most items can be imbued with chosen passive upgrades as well. We did actually appreciate the originality of the nail designs, as this is a unique twist on a traditional gear system, but it sadly felt a bit too basic.

The game’s general difficulty is reasonable, especially on a higher difficulty, but the puzzles on offer are almost insultingly easy. We find that the game tries to add a lot of elements to the mix, making things seem varied, but most of these extra elements, such as the aforementioned puzzles, feel like afterthoughts to hide the fact that the game is a rinse and repeat kind of affair. All in all, the foundation of the game is decent, but the developers should have paid more attention to adding an extra layer of polish to everything, as awkward camera controls, easy puzzles, and many rough edges in all departments drag the experience down.

Conclusion

Forspoken is not a bad game but it’s definitely not worth the price tag that comes with it. The game offers a by-the-numbers action RPG experience with flashy magic spells, fun parkours skills, and an overall interesting story, albeit with a protagonist that swears more than a sailor. Sadly, the game feels unpolished, the gameplay is very monotone, and the very awkward pauses in dialogues will immediately break immersion. Even though we had fun exploring the world of Athia, we can’t recommend the game at its current price simply because of a severe lack of polish, dated graphics, clunky mechanics, and just the fact that this does not feel like a next-gen release at all. If you can pick this one up at a heavy discount, then we can ensure you’re going to have a lot of fun with the Magic Parkours.

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Rating: 5.5/10 (2 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
Forspoken - Review, 5.5 out of 10 based on 2 ratings
Ibuki


Aspiring ninja.

3 Comments

  1. 3rd-strike.com | Hogwarts Legacy – Review
    February 8, 2023, 00:17

    […] from, but even so, things felt a bit rougher around the edges. When looking back at Forspoken, which we recently reviewed, we have to say that the spell-casting segment there was handled a lot better. You could easily […]

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  2. […] Enix has unveiled a new gameplay trailer for Forspoken‘s upcoming DLC,┬áIn Tanta We Trust. The new content is set to release on May 26th, 2023, for […]

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  3. 3rd-strike.com | Final Fantasy XVI – Review
    August 15, 2023, 03:48

    […] clunky. Oddly enough, we found the system of swapping between skills on the fly better executed in Forspoken, which sadly suffered from other elements that dragged the experience down. Even so, battles in […]

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