Forspoken REVEW (PS5)
''Oh ya, I'm making a FREAKING Review''
Developed: Luminous Productions
Genre: Role Playing Adventure
Release Date: Jan 24th, 2033
*Review copy provided to me by Square-Enix*
*THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS*
Forspoken is a brand new open world RPG that is developed by Luminous Productions and published by Square-Enix. With the Luminous Engine seeing some pretty tough times in the past that caused many issues with titles like Final Fantasy 15, Luminous Productions now aims to show naysayers just what this engine, and they themselves, are truly capable of doing - bringing a high class level action RPG to the market. But do they succeed in this attempt? or is it another round of Final Fantasy 15 on our food pallet. Only one way to find out, so lets freaking go.
Our main character Frey finds herself in a down on her luck life style that lands her in hot trouble. After a few run ins with the law and rough times with local street gangs, she stumbles upon a magical cuff that transports her to a realm known as Athia. Now in a strange new world, Frey must learn how to survive and learn more about this mysterious power these talking cuffs have given her, and ultimately go on a journey of self discovery and self worth.
Forspoken is a new action-adventure game developed by Luminous Productions and published by Square Enix and one that has seen quite a bit of controversy straight out of the gate, mainly do to its dialogue and overall character presentation. Lets be perfectly honest here, the first round of trailers for this title weren't very good, like at all. It made the game seem all over the place, no direction and came off as a bit too try hard with its dialogue that was labeled borderline as cringe. But those are just trailers, not in the full context of each scene being vocalized. Much like titles like Final Fantasy 10 where you can pick out specific moments like Tidus's laughing and count that as a sign that the entire game has bad dialogue and overall is not worth your time, but ultimately when playing it, learn that there's a story of love, emotion, heartache and friendship that accompany all that cheese. Heck, I love constipation, I eat cheese and cornyness up all day. However, does Forspoken fall into this same category? honestly, it does. While the dialogue may not be the best at all times in context with each scene and events that takes place, while cheesy yes, but are they bad? I'm going to have to break with the crowd on that one. But more on that in a second.
As stated before, The game follows the story of our main hero, Frey, a young woman who finds herself in a mysterious world. Our jobs being, to guide Frey through a multitude of challenges and crazy battles as she uncovers the secrets of this new world and her own powers. Stop me if you heard this one before. On paper, the games story isn't really all that original. Down on her luck hero, discovers herself, learns of her hidden past and ultimately becomes the hero to save the world. Its cliche, its generic and really since the start of the games events when you enter Athia, you're going to figure out the plot twist to the game almost immediately. If I have to be blunt, the opening of the game to me is pretty strong with game starting up with Frey in trouble with the law and needing to get her act together. She lives in an abandoned apartment, barely any income, stealing to survive like she's Aladdin. Pfft Rif Raff, street rat? she don't buy that. But her attitude changes when she's jumped by Salt N Pepa who were mad at her for not buying their latest album. These girls got some serious issues. Struggling to come to grips with her life, she gives away her kitty because she can no longer take care of it, then spotting a magical cuff in a building nearby, which she touches and is then transported to the realm of Athia where the story truly begins. Again, even though overall consensus for me of the story is a generic one, does it at least back itself up with competent gameplay and an interesting world to explore?. Uhh. Kind of?
''Athia is big and gorgeous but leaves much to the imagination''
One of the standout points for Forspoken, much like Final Fantasy 15 was, is its large open world and grand landscapes like big cities to explore such as Cipal, vast explorable canyons, fiery crystal landscapes, lush green open areas, and dark blue and purple tinted fog that indicates some MAJOR danger is on the way to kick your butt straight to hell, so you best go into a local house nearby that acts as a sanctuary, to craft upgrades for new gear to give you more health or create new health potions, upgrade carrying capacity packs, rest and even save your game as you recoup and ready yourself for the dangers that lie ahead - and boy are there A LOT of them. The gameplay itself is a mix of action and adventure seeking with players being able to use melee magic attacks allowing you to wield a stronger fire blade or using ranged combat with rock, stones and even water abilities. Each one of these abilities can be switched out on the fly using your D-Pad in order to increase the effectiveness of each skill, depending on the enemy type you encounter. For example, an enemy with a more tree based attribute can be heavily damaged with fire, while others are resistant to it. Its all about picking and choosing when to use the right attacks and then chaining each one together to harness your inner Devil May Cry and pull off some super slick combo moves. Just.. don't do any strange dances like Dante, now is not the time, we have a world to save after all. While you're utilizing these said magic attacks with R2, which holds two other separate attacks that you may switch to, using R1 to use support magic such as a plant based skill that stops enemies dead in their tracks, upgrade each magic ability like Flow that enables for high speed traversal for Parkour that eliminates need to use mounts, allowing you wall kick and run up walls after diving into divine fountains, learn about dragons existing and thinking holy crap is it TROGDOR? you know I heard Trogdor was a man, I mean, he was a dragon man... or maybe.. he was just a dragon? but either way he was still.. TROGDOR.
Sorry about that, my weirdness aside, other than fast paced and intuitive feeling combat that allows you to form dozens of different combinations, crafting system to upgrade your cloaks, bracelets, bigger pouches and the ability to create harvested items out in the overworld to make health items, besides all that, there's still way more to do as far as narrative and gameplay go. As you move about the narrative and see an amazing dragon fight scene that gave me vibes of Demon Souls, get arrested by people who think you're a demon, only to be rescued by a woman who offers you an apple because you were starving and has you thinking to yourself ''yeah no, thats ok lady, ive seen what happens to women who get given apples, I'm good'', stop the threat against Cipal and take down the baddie Tana Sila and learn she was never the TRUE enemy of this world, traverse the world using your anchor ability in conjunction with parkour for fast, fluid and insane movement speeds - even after all of that, again, we still have quite a bit to discover as far as side content goes in order to boost your strength and other abilities and even... some very very annoying things that put a slight damper on this title for me that reared its ugly head. No I'm not talking about Chapter 8 where Frey freaking goes into a giant ball of water like its Blitzball or something to fight a main baddie or even how Chapter 10 pulls a full on Matrix on you where Frey gets stuck between the real world and a fake one that makes you think at any moment you're going to hear ''MISTER...ANDERSON''. No no, not those moments. I liked those. I'll elaborate more. Bare with me.
Now while this game has a great open world that ranges from ok looking to gorgeous, sleek and engaging combat that allows for a ton of customization to where no battles against any enemy, small or giant sized, feel like a chore, boss fights that are challenging and bad ass that keep you on your toes and allow you to absorb their energy to gain further powers to your arsenal the further you advance through the story, standard leveling up system, cool crafting mechanic, yes yes, while all this is great, I'm still left unsatisfied with a few things, some ranging from not so bad to really annoying. First smaller gripe is the audio issues. No the cringe dialogue isn't what I'm whining about, its the lack of ambiance and background noise and music that makes certain scenes seem WAY too clear and unnatural because it just sounds like a studio and booth recording and to me. It can take you out of the immersion of the world because of hearing Frey, her cuff or other characters in their role in this world, you just hear the actors themselves giving a performance inside a studio booth recording their lines and its very off putting to me. Biggest gripe however is starting around Chapter 11. Oh my lordy. Its like I ingested a bottle of Nyquil or waited for a match in Overwatch 2's loading screen. Oh ya, it got that boring and tiresome. It is here where the game not only shows signs of the same pacing issues as Final Fantasy 15, but nearly becomes that same story beat for me. In chapter 11 the slog becomes running down a narrow hallway, exposition piece, stop, exposition, run to next area, exposition... this goes on for nearly an hour. The purpose of this area is to give backstory to Frey and to show her that she is THE CHOSEN ONE and has ALWAYS been amazing, but its done in a way to where its overly milked and beat like a dead horse to the point that during the middle of it, you'd wish they'd just shut the heck up and let you finish the game already. The same holds true for the final boss battle where the chosen one gains undeniable strength from friends, special power only by a chosen lineage, etc. Its cliche and a NEAR repeat of Final Fantasy 15. Not exactly the same, of course, but similar nonetheless.
''Intense boss battles that keep you on your toes and challenges your skills''
Oh yeah, there's definitely more to cover here that relates to extra stuff you can do during your main game that can take your normal 12 hour game journey to 30+ hours. When you're not taking part in main scenario missions, you can talk to towns folks for side quests and missions such a ''Detours'' that allow you to dive into labyrinths that lets you take down waves of enemies and optional boss fights for exp and even new gear. Chase kitties that lure you to items like rare dolls that you can trade to other people within the world, clear and clean monuments from corruptions to get upgrades to your health, paint your nails to give added boosts to spells, charge attacks more quickly and even provide extra damage depending on which nail color combination you use, traverse your open world surroundings to find large towers that allow you to get a view of your surroundings to find new locations or even secrets., etc. Told ya, there's a ton, I wasn't kitten ya right meow when I said so. Speaking of kitty cats, as you explore the world, you will also come across cat towers that offer up an opportunity for you to give chase and sneak up on pets called Familiars, and should you be successful in catching one? they will show back up at every sanctuary house you come across. So now even you can be a single woman that owns 5 or more cats, you've hit the big time. Lastly you're able to take on what is known as Depths Of Corruption that allows you to take on harder challenges and some of the more deadly encounters in the game, but I'd wait till you upgraded more before you finish the game to tackle them because they're NO joke. Trust me.
''Tons of side content that can keep you playing well into the 30hr mark''
At the end of the day, Forspoken is a game that gets both unwarranted hate, and at the same time, some very valid criticism. The game at times can look gorgeous with its large open world settings with lush green outlooks, but then the very next scene is ugly, mundane and looks like a ps3 game with its textures. The game can take you on an emotional ride and get you invested into Frey and her troubles and then moments later break that feeling with a joke or badly paced cutscene and exposition piece. It does great things, there's no questioning it. Frey overall is a very fun character and sure she starts off arrogant, but she ultimately opens up towards the end of the game and becomes humbled. The battle mechanics are fast, flashy, responsive and just feel overall great alongside the abundance to do for side questing, crafting, upgrades, acquiring spells, dungeons, all of these make this game a blast to play, however it falls short really with its story pacing and cliche narrative with revelations that you see coming a mile away that doesn't do it any favors alongside narrow hallway running for an hour. Factoring in that while this is a beautiful open world with cat towers and other stuff to find, it does generally feel a bit wasted as there isn't much to do in this world of Athia, which in hindsight makes all the more sense why Flow and Parkour are utilized to get you through the map quicker to compensate for that. So do I think this game sucks? no way, I had a ton of fun with it and liked the story overall, issues aside. However do I see it as a ''need to pay $70'' for game? sadly I do not. A lot of the hate for this title is unjustified for sure, but for me personally, while I enjoyed this title quite a lot, I have to say wait to pick this up at a $40 price point. I'm confident that that's a great entry price to enjoy this game at. So with all that having been said, my verdict is clear, GameNChick says WAIT