During my three hours of hands-on time with Forspoken, I escaped jail, fought a monster, and traveled to a spectacular new realm. It all sounds extremely promising, but Forspoken has felt more like a game stumbling over its own feet than anything else.
The latest action RPG from Square Enix shows promise, especially in its combat system, which has the ability to become increasingly intricate over time. However, its early stages frequently feel uninspired.
I’ve played through parts of chapters two, three, and five, so I feel like I have a solid handle on Forspoken’s tempo. Asia’s open world features a wide array of activities, such as side quests, dungeons, and battles, although veterans of the genre won’t be too surprised by this.
It’s encouraging to know that some of these battles can present a severe challenge; I’ve encountered fascinating enemies that, despite my best attempts, I’m not powerful enough to defeat.
Forspoken Gameplay and Story
Even though I lost against more vigorous opponents, Forspoken’s battle is what I enjoyed the most. There’s real tactical promise in its speed and the way it keeps you on your toes as you juggle its various magical abilities.
Forspoken features over a hundred different spells, many of which look genuinely interesting in gameplay previews, but you can only use a few of them in the early chapters.
Initially, this can make the game feel repetitive as you press the trigger and blast rock chunks at adversaries while occasionally dodging their attacks. That primary ‘fire’ can be switched between Scatter and Burst shots, making it into a magical assault rifle, submachine, and shotgun. However, things take a dramatic turn for the better as new unlocks become available.
I found it really entertaining to supplement my repertoire of conventional spells with more unique support abilities, such as the ability to conjure roots from the ground to tie down adversaries and the ability to call a small plant turret companion to aid out in tricky circumstances.
All these spells and magicks are part of the earth elemental tree, one of four you’ll learn to master throughout your adventure. But I worry that limiting players to these simple powers for so long at the beginning of Forspoken isn’t the ideal approach to introduce its fighting mechanics, as it provides just a tiny taste of the game’s promised thrill.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get to use the far more exciting fire magic until the very end of my playthrough. However, in the last preview, we indicated that it enjoys a beautiful time.
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Forspoken Has Over 100 Spells, Many of Which Look Interesting
Even though I haven’t been able to utilize them yet, I’ve gotten a taste of the game’s deep skill trees, which are replete with increasingly impressive abilities. It’s a combat system with potential, and it interested me in the prospect of using multiple forms of magic and seeing how my spell combinations fared against various foes.
Since I found very little else in Forspoken to keep my interest, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it undergoes rapid and significant development.
The plot retells the classic Alice in Wonderland/Wizard of Oz storyline. An outsider has been whisked away to a fantastical kingdom and eventually emerges as its savior. Frey Holland, our protagonist, is an unpleasant personality who has little patience for anyone or the culture shock she’s experiencing.
I have noticed her thawing, which gives me hope for a lovable character arc. Ella Balinska does a good job portraying her while working with a script in which the most common word is “f**k.” I’ve heard that a hundred times or more in my short time here, and although I’m no prude, it doesn’t lend itself to crafting a nuanced or complex figure.
Frey’s chats with her anthropomorphic bracelet, Cuff, were even more excruciating. Although wearing a Paul Bettany impersonator on your wrist might seem like a fun novelty at first, the results in Forspoken are less J.A.R.V.I.S. and more disturbing.
Even though it’s a PS5 and PC exclusive, Forspoken’s aesthetics fail to impress with the graphical firepower you’d expect from a new-gen showpiece. It’s not exactly a looker due to murky textures, short draw distances, and stunning particle effects, which are the only redeeming features.
The city I spent most of my free time in is a grey, lifeless maze of streets filled with nameless townsfolk, and the entire landscape has a desolate, bleak air. It’s also the scene of Forspoken’s worst offense to date, an auto-fail stealth task so bad it should have been discontinued on the PlayStation 2.
After I got through that low point, Forspoken improved. The events of Chapter 5 take place in a far more intriguing part of Athia, a realm of red and fire reminiscent of Elden Ring’s Caelid.
My combat and magical parkour talents were tested in this area because of the vertically diversified topography and the dangers that lurked at every level. Swooping through gaps and flipping over foes is exhilarating when you get the hang of it.
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The game’s emphasis on smooth mobility options may make it painfully illegible at times; I learned this the hard way after trying to ascend a few cliffs in an unorthodox manner through bunnyhop. So much of Forspoken has the potential to be entertaining once it gets going, but it stumbles too much at the beginning to do so.
An epic boss fight capped off my hands-on experience and was one of the game’s high points. It consisted of two challenging but vastly different phases that required me to continually think on my feet and juggle all of the cooldowns and spells I had learned up until that point.
In the first part of the conflict, our heroes faced up against a single, formidable foe and a band of warriors who used ingenious tactics in combat.
I directed the bulk of my attacks at the monster, keeping my immensely valuable tendril strike for the weaker foes; this attack whips vines around in a wide area of effect and heals me whenever it links with an enemy.
Forspoken’s ability to produce such a brilliant encounter gave me hope that the game’s bosses would eventually feature inventive designs that would provide both spectacle and challenge.
Even though the second part of the battle featured some of the same spectacles, I found it significantly less exciting and occasionally irritating because I was forced into a confined space and expected to dodge assaults that were difficult to predict continually. Forspoken’s signature visual style, in which the environment is rendered in a drab blue hue, was also a factor in this failure.
It’s supposed to stand in for “The Break,” the evil force plagues this fantasy world, but it doesn’t look very well and washes away a region’s unique character. A colossal dragon I encountered early on was mostly a sizeable winged silhouette, and I missed out on some of the great creature designs because of this.
In my opinion, Forspoken is a good book overall, but the first few chapters aren’t where readers will regularly find the humor. It remains to be seen if the promising growth of the magical combat will be enough to save the otherwise uninspired screenplay and the universe it attempts to bring to life.
Forspoken has to stand out from the crowd of open-world action RPGs currently available. Despite the unimpressive initial impression, I am hopeful, if not sure, that it can.
Frequently asked questions
Is Forspoken PS5 exclusive?
The PlayStation 4 version of Forspoken will not see a release. There is only the PC version announced at this time.
Is Forspoken a AAA game?
Forspoken was created by the same teams responsible for Final Fantasy XV, so it’s no surprise they’re responsible for it. A new AAA action-adventure game is in the works.
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