Forspoken Preview: Some things are better left unsaid

WHEN we played the opening chapters of Forspoken, we wanted more.

More like we wanted to try more fights, wanted to see more of the game’s story, and also wanted more of Forspoken.

Forspoken follows the story of Frey.


Forspoken follows the story of Frey.Photo credit: Square Enix

The premise is solid, yet one we haven’t seen in the triple-A space in a while.

Traversing the 3D world is fast-paced, making world exploration fast-paced and fun, and combat is entirely based on elemental skills.

What intrigued us was how many elements we can use and play with and how they will work together.

But we still don’t know because during our demo game we could only use one element.

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We still saw potential in the system because even with just one element to use, there were three primary attacks and a whole bunch of secondary abilities that could come into play.

That’s the thing about Forspoken; it’s very dynamic, very fluid.

Aside from the nifty ways you can move around the map, switching between items is just as smooth.

While there wasn’t a huge variety of enemy types to face off in preview, the combat had that frenetic, problem-solving feel that we loved.

The only thing that’s hard to say at this point is whether we’d still love the combat style after 20 hours or if the combat will see a shake mid-game.

Boss fights don’t do anything that hasn’t been seen before, but classic attack signalling, dodging and countering are well done here.

The pacing is excellent and you adapt to each fight to find the right attack window.

These boss fights are so varied that they feel different and meaningful compared to fights with multiple opponents.

Forspoken calls their movement “Magic Parkour” and that’s exactly what it sounds like. You have wide open spaces to run through and you can build momentum to perform some impressive jumps and jumps.

As the speed increases you really have to figure out where to make the next jump, much like a rhythm game, and there are some jumps you won’t believe you can land.

You can tap a button when it hits the ground for an extra speed boost, and you’ll end up using this as much as possible.

The movement still has its limits. Keep trying to run up walls and you’ll eventually run out of breath, forcing you to think of smarter solutions to these problems.

There’s a stamina system when fighting enemies, but it’s much more generous when it comes to movement.

There was a lot to play for in the part of the world we saw, although nothing was particularly new or inspiring.

Ditto for the story where Frey, a woman struggling to make ends meet, falls through a portal into a magical world.

A few people played the demo, and whispers about how insulting the dialogue is circulated on social media.

We didn’t find that, although we expected it from the first trailer. Instead we thought it was much worse. It was boring.

Conversations take too long to finish, and the tonal shift from Freya, far out of her depth, to crisp wisdom is deafening.

You’re given camera controls during some of these dialogue cutscenes, giving you the illusion that you could continue on your journey, but instead you’re glued in place with the ability to view yourself from multiple angles.

It’s hard to say how Forspoken will end up when the full game is released.

The fun and frantic movement and combat nudges, with an uninspired location and story, and we’re not yet sure where the two will meet.

Forspoken will be released on January 24, 2023 as a PlayStation 5 console exclusive and is also coming to PC. A PS5 demo of the game is available now.

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Written by Ryan Woodrow and Georgina Young on behalf of GOOD LUCK AND HAVE FUN.

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