From: Square Enix
For: PS5, PC
There is an incredible line in the dialogue about two hours into this game that does a rather lovely job of summing it all up.
You are walking through a strange and semi-deserted city in a fantasy landscape, and the character you control, Frey, looks around her and says:
“How come they don’t have more … fun stuff here?”
That’s it. That’s the review.
Forspoken has a moderately interesting concept, and some elements of the core game are enjoyable, but there is just a lingering sense that it’s all a bit empty, with not enough fun stuff to do.
Frey is a young woman from New York who, after an extremely painful on-rails first hour in a modern setting with some yawn of a storyline, finds herself equipped with a magical talking band around her name and transported to a fantasy world called Athia.
There’s some sort of storyline around this world being controlled by four women known as “tantas”, and Frey is charged with developing her magical powers to travel around, do some stuff, meet and some people and get home again.
Familiar RPG elements like levelling up and spell-learning and crafting are matched by a moderately decent combat system, and the range of spells is impressive. I was also taken with one of the best waypoint mechanics I have seen, which made it a cinch to get around.
Your character also has the ability to use special parkour moves to get up walls and on to buildings, but it is an uneven mechanic that I found annoying as often as accessible.
Graphically, I would best describe Forspoken as mediocre — especially following the eye-popping releases God of War Ragnarok and Horizon Forbidden West last year. It looks sort of underwhelming, bland. I can’t recall a single moment where I blinked and said “pheewwww, that is impressive”.
Underlying it all is a contrived story and a linear progression that’s way too reliant on a loop of cutscenes followed by 20 seconds of walking followed by more cutscenes.
This is one that needed a lot more work — and lots more meat on the bones — if it was to really grab some attention.