Forspoken - In Tanta We Trust REVIEW(PS5)
Updated: Jun 18
''A... TANTA-LIZING EXPERIENCE''
Developed: Luminous Productions
Genre: Role Playing Adventure
Release Date: May 26th, 2033
*Review copy provided to me by Square-Enix*
Forspoken: In Tanta We Trust is add on DLC for the highly criticized main entry of Forspoken. Having been beat up by gamers and media alike, Square-Enix and company aim to right the ship and prove this franchise has staying power by providing, in their mind, what can be considered robust DLC. But do they succeed in making everyone a believer? or is this one piece of DLC that you should stay away from? Only one way to find out, so lets go!
Continuing her search for a way to eradicate the Break from Athia once and for all, Frey finds herself following a mysterious voice that leads her to a place that somehow transports her to the Purge of the Rheddig, the legendary battle that devastated Athia and eventually drove the Tantas to madness. Accompanied by Tanta Cinta and a new set of magical abilities, Frey must uncover the answers and save Athia once more – and attempt to save herself.
''COLORS GO FLOOOOOOOSH''
Forspoken, while an enjoyable title for me personally for the most part, was mostly received very negatively. Some of it warranted that's for sure, but others? there seemed to be some weird hate fetish going on with it. Hey now I'm not against people and their freaking fetishes, you can like honey and feet, that's on you, but some of it.. is just unhealthy, especially spending 24/7 focused on hating one specific game. The legit criticisms though from people that found themselves constantly put off by the multitude of issues that they experienced, shouldn't be over looked, just to be fair to all involved. To begin with, the pacing was by all accounts way off, which I mentioned in my own review too, this being because the bulk of the narrative being rushed towards the end of the game or dragged on longer than it should be, which further delays the tread to the end of the game that you've been building up towards for 20 hours. Seriously, the trudge in the last mission and a half is some of the most boring missions I've played in a long time with boring and drawn out exposition that WE ALREADY KNEW. Moreover, the characters, can be a little bit annoying at times, Frey to be exact, tends to be a bit... obnoxious and cringe, making her for some people, difficult to connect with. Me however? some of the really bad puns she made, just made me sit up in a recliner like DiCaprio like ''Yup! I get it!''. Combat, while I thought it was pretty fun for the most part as well, seemed to be a tad bit scattered and inconsistent when upheld against other action RPG's of the same genre or similar format. Its like ok yeah on one hand, its pretty fun with the unique combinations you can do for your attacks, but at the same time, while eating playdough can also be fun, but you don't really seek out to do it, you know? Huh? doesn't make sense? ehh guess only true believers eat playdough like me as a kid, so we'll move on. Given the lukewarm or hated reception of Forspoken, I still had quite high expectations for the DLC, but after playing it, my expectations were neither met or underperforming, they were met somewhere in the middle ground of not bad at all, but not what I wanted in an expansion of the game that's trying to prove people wrong. With the DLC titled "In Tanta We Trust" , it does hold up on that end when compared to the base game. However while yes I see an improvement in the series here, it still suffered from many of the same issues, along with a vastly smaller playtime. The story of Forspoken In Tanta We Trust picks up where the base game left off, with protagonist Frey traveling 25 years into the past to witness the Purge of the Rheddig, which marked the beginning of Athia's decline. However, Frey must abide by specific constraints, which include not interfering with critical historical events, and she can only be present in this timeline by inhabiting the body of Thalia Solarius, a woman from that time. Embarking on a fresh quest to discover a method to fix Athia's Break once and for all, Frey finds herself wondering if the past holds the answers she needs. During this journey, she quickly reconnects with one of the four ruling women, Tanta Cinta. Together, they face off against the invading Rheddig, uncovering hidden truths in the process. Riveting right? I know its not ground breaking and is pretty standard stuff, but, it uhh, kind of works? unlike me trying to pull off super flying combiation attacks.. but... just end up falling off a cliff to my doom. Yup.
As stated previously, In Tanta We Trust is an extremely short scenario, lasting just a few hours, but hey, while its only a few hours long, that's still longer than most of your Call Of Duty games, OoOoO. Ok Ok. I promised my last Call Of Duty review that I'd stop taking shots, so this time, I'll stop, I'm serious. But don't let the DLC length of this entry into the game cloud your judgement, just because DLC is short and only last a few hours, does not always mean that it won't be an enjoyable experience. One more recent example of this is in the form of DLC for Final Fantasy Remake starring Yuffie. Its short, about 5 hours long, but adds a ton to the games lore, story and is genuinely a really fun time. In Tanta We Trust, while falling short in a lot of areas, does tend to have a few moments that are much of the same in some aspects of creativity or fun, so its not all a lost cause. However, like the base game, the main characters are underutilized once again and not fleshed out enough, making it challenging for myself and most likely other players, to form a bond or connection with people besides Frey. This problem becomes even more in your face in the DLC because of the characters you interact with, journey with or meet, all feel like they're on the verge of ''greater'' things, only to fall short and disappoint people. Like me and my parents, oops. The one aspect of the narrative that I found actually entertaining and genuinely looked forward to as story pushed forward, was the interaction between Frey and Cinta. These two characters sync and work really well together, inside and outside combat, and the authenticity of how they interact with each other, makes the relationship between Frey and Cinta, and their cooperation, seem natural and not forced like you see in other games or main characters in Anime. You ever notice that? walk across a bridge, say ''Hi'' someone, villain vows to kill the main character, then random person jumps in to save them and dies. Then reveals their whole backstory on how you were the only friend and wanted to protect them. Uhh, bro? I don't even know you. Idiot, RIP. But back on topic. For me personally, one of the main gripes of the game to me, especially after really liking the main baddie from the base game, was the villain in this DLC being is one of the most boring and unappealing villains in general. Representing the Rheddig forces at his core, his importance is only elevated due to a proper lack of build of others and compared to a more lackluster villain compared to the original base game. In a nutshell, its just a lazy character, that when placed next to the other characters in this game, only seems worse than he is, evil wise, because everyone else, or most others I should say, are just bland in comparison. Basically its like winning second prize in worlds ugliest man contest, you're glad you weren't voted the ugliest, but you are still #2, which means, you're still ugly, so no, not a win. He is incredibly shallow and does nothing to elevate the tension or your sense of achievement after accomplishing significant objectives, like zero tension at all, I never felt threatened or caring that I could be in immediate danger. I just would hear him breathing super hard over and over behind my back and give him the good ol POW to the kisser, just like Helga in Hey Arnold. Furthermore, the world's lore remains once again, a lost cause of exploration and depth, which sucks because I like Athia and the secrets it can hold, but with just things like archive texts scattered across the world map, it leaves much to be desired and while some offer really good context or information, they're so out of your way that you just don't seem to WANT to try to find them and that to me is a bummer.
''GOOD BOI DRAGON''
In terms of gameplay, the DLC offers a smaller map compared to the base game, which isn't a bad thing at all, its DLC ya goof, you aren't getting a full fledged open world map for just an add on, otherwise this would just be Forspoken. This in itself isn't inherently negative, as a well-populated smaller map can offer a dense and satisfying exploration experience. However, if you were expecting smaller map to equal more things to do in a condensed fashion with more fleshed out towns, population, NPC's, quests, then oops, sorry, not the case bucko. Sure, there are objectives to do like taking on enemy camps and when defeating them, will increase vitality via health capacity. It's fun for awhile and gives you a chance to hone your skills in combat further than you could in Forspoken, but that too even outstays its welcome because there's only so many times you can repeat the same thing over and over before it wears thin. If I want to do that, I might as well be grinding out a legendary HNM in an MMO for 12 hours and camping, you know? yeah not worth it really. Its hard to describe without straight up showing you, as the reader, but this game is somewhere in a middle ground purgatory in regards to its content and its map itself. For example, the base game's map felt excessively large with a decent amount to do here and there and to discover as you opened up exploration, with one awesome thing being random boss fights, that was pretty awesome, However here in Tanta, the DLC's map is a little TOO small and lacks substantial content to make you WANT to explore, to make you WANT to adventure and to make you WANT to know more about the world and its characters. Its an overall lack of substance that are the folly here and at the legs of why this DLC keeps fumbling over itself like a kid at a birthday party that spins in a circle for one minute before trying to hit a pinata. Funny sure, but ultimately doesn't end up fruitful. The combat system in the DLC retains the fun factor of the base game, luckily, with Frey wielding both ranged and melee abilities. Its as fast, fluid and flashy looking as ever and does feel improved, even just slightly, its one of the best parts of the DLC, yes even with the tediousness of enemy camps - even with that, the combat ITSELF is always a treat and that ends up never getting full on boring. Square-Enix has a history of bringing some really fun combat mechanics and once again I feel on this front in the DLC, they delivered once again. So kudos there, or should I say? Kupos?. No? alright then. As noted or alluded to, Cinta, who accompanies you throughout most of the DLC, is pivotal, in story and out of story, including during battles. Cinta fights independently of Frey, but you can instruct her to perform special moves based on the enemy context, much like combat variations in Yuffie DLC, same concept really. Think of it as a companion device, only not as annoying as Fi from The Legend Of Zelda or Caith Sith from FF7... ugh that stupid dang idiot.. one day bro, one day.. you're going down. In relation to Cinta and her own companion capabilities, if an enemy has been immobilized, by whatever means from Frey or an item, Cinta can unleash a powerful area attack, to plow right through them, in addition to this, If Frey's health is low, Cinta can create a protective shield to protect Frey from falling victim to cheap shots or further damage, giving you time to heal yourself and get back into the fight. Its definitely a welcomed addition because she actually adds to the combat itself and doesn't feel cumbersome to what you're doing in battle. The AI overall is competent and responsive, which a vast contrast to the Sages you get in Tears Of The Kingdom. I'm looking at you fat boy, Yunobo.
Cinta is heavily needed as you progress through the story because often while you push through hordes of enemies or even doing main bad guys themselves, the game decides ''Ok chump, we've been watching you and you are having way too easy of a time''. So what does it do? it has the enemy call in reinforcements during fights, which to me is compensating for not making harder enemies and instead just throwing in an abundance, rather than adding in actual substance. I'd rather have 4 hard bosses than 100 overall enemies any day of the week because it starts coming off as a bit.. cheap. At least in my opinion. Keep the big army and enemy counts to something like a Musou title, because at least then it would make more sense in context to what is going on. Battles that should've taken ten minutes, even up being a slog fight that last of 25 minutes, depending on the amount of combos you can correct pull off while being constantly being surrounded all the time. It's not as bad as Karate Kid on NES type of annoyance, but it's not great either. However, even though lots of things started wearing on me the more I played and even despite the DLC's short playtime, the battles left me feeling a strange mix of impatience and a desire for more, leading to an inherent sense of conflict. Strange right? on one hand I'm thinking good lord, end already, leave me alone, but in the next I'm like ok bring on the next wave you weak pathetic fools. Its strange for sure. I think this could be a case where the combat is fun and you just want to keep fighting, regardless of how tedious things get, which is a flower in the cap for the developers and the combat itself. But.. I also I feel it could be a sense of ME wanting MORE out of the game itself. Like If I'm not willing to accept internally that THIS IS IT, this is ALL there will be, and in my brain, holding out hope that the next big thing is just waiting to reveal itself, so I push on and on, only for that moment to never arrive at my door step. I mean, again, you have Cinta's helping mechanics, Frey's awesome combo attacks and abilities and even spell craft challenges from the main game that make their grand return, which are key in helping players deepen their understanding of the game's combat and parkour mechanics. Which if you havent played this for months, is an actual godsend because lord knows I was awful.
''CINTA COWARS BEHIND ME LIKE A WUSS''
At the end of the day, In Tanta We Trust does retain some of the elements that made the base game a pretty decent game with new abilities, easy to navigate map, flashy and intuitive combat that just feels great to play, great additions to the story and world with Cinta who is an actual likeable character that proves her usefulness through the in game mechanics and offers a lot to battles to be had in this DLC. However, while there are elements that are enjoyable, it falls short in many other ways. Lack of fleshed out characters beyond Freya and Cinta that makes the ones introduced to you feel like random puppets with no soul, uninteresting main villain who you will forget the name of multiple times during your playthrough because he's so underwhelming, condensed map with not much to do, etc. Once again, there IS fun to be had in this DLC, just like the base game, it's not ALL bad and if you liked the first game, you'll probably enjoy this too, however if you're a person that hated the base game and looking to give it a shot now... well I'd ay wait and think a little bit on it before making a decision on that one, at least for now. So with all that having been said, my verdict is clear GameNChick says WAIT.