In the video game industry, exclusive AAA games are king, and Sony PlayStation is widely known to be the dominant kingdom. After a successful year in 2022 with the game of the year nominee, God of War, Forspoken is the next game in line with sky-high expectations. Play as Frey, a rebellious and misunderstood girl from New York who finds a magical vambrace that grants mighty powers.
Following a booming trend of third-person single-player cinematic action RPGs over the years, Sony gamers have high hopes for Forspoken. However, will the game deliver? Will it enter the PlayStation hall of fame or the hall of shame? During my playthrough on my PS5, I had difficulty staying immersed in the beautiful yet lacking world of Athia. However, there are plenty of fun gaming elements to experience, and I will share my unbiased impression throughout this Forspoken review.
A Story Forspoken
Alfre Holland, also called Frey for short, is an orphan from New York. Her parents abandoned her as a newborn, and she struggled growing up. As a troubled youth, Frey regularly finds herself in trouble with the law, struggling to find her purpose. She aims to leave New York with her cat, Homer. After an altercation that left Frey without her savings and homeless due to an arsonist, she finds a mysterious bracelet. A talking magical vambrace named “Cuff” not only leads her through a portal to a new world but also grants her extraordinary magical power and abilities.
This new world Athia is a mysterious place filled with deadly monsters and a gigantic dragon that the player must encounter. In this foreign land, Frey discovers what she calls “The Break,” a mysterious fog that eats away at everything it touches, including corrupting people and animals. Thankfully, not all areas of Athia are as dangerous. Cipal is a safe space where the council resides and serves as citizens’ last refuge. Frey speaks modern-day lingo, which confuses the citizens of Cipal. I found that dynamic funny in the story. Surrounding Cipal are four realms, Junoon, Praenost, Avoalet, and Visoria. The Break has corrupted these areas, and Frey and Cuff must attempt to clear them from the corruption and any monsters in control of these territories.
Another threat of note is four sorceresses called the Tantas. At one time, the Tantas were the beloved rulers of Athia; however, they became hated due to a change in their ruling manner. Throughout the game, look forward to encounters with these mighty demigods. I expected more than a basic premise storyline from a Square Enix game. Also, the dynamic between Frey and Cuff did not seem to sync well, which took away from the possibilities. The drive to learn more about the story started slow, based on many cutscenes; however, it has many subplots to follow. Overall, I found the story to be a mixed bag. I expected more but was pleased as I progressed through the main quest.
Forspoken has an over-the-top style of action and traverse that plays fast-paced and frantic. Early on, the open world lacked enemy depth, making travel somewhat dull. Small packs of weak enemies scattered throughout the map did not offer enough challenge. Gamers must commit to the story progression to witness the scope of the combat system fully. Frey has basic attacks and support magic that uses earth elements to start the game; however, it does not take long to feel the strength in her powers. Use slow, powerful charge attacks or fast, automatic attacks for focused damage. While playing in Cipal, the gameplay is primarily cutscenes and much talking. I did not expect event quests like chasing cats, but overall the RPG elements add depth to certain towns.
Players can earn four powerful spells by defeating the main character bosses. These spells improve the gameplay, giving Frey more power options and traverse ability, which opens the game up to maximum exploration. Swinging, surfing, and more are some ways you can enjoy traveling the vast map of Athia. Highly corrupted areas caused by the Break are dangerous and infested with powerful enemies called Nightmares. Defeat them to clear the area from infection. There are many enemy types in Forspoken, such as corrupted people and animals, and the boss fights were not as grand as I expected. As I played further in the game, I looked forward to discovering new places of interest I could not access before earning a unique traverse ability. The map is big and has locations and secrets to find and explore. Players will discover cloaks, nails, and necklaces that boost their attributes.
I found the gameplay to be the main staple of this game, allowing me to upgrade the many factors of available skills and abilities. There is a ton to do in Forspoken. After consistent progression throughout the main quest, you will become immersed in options of attacking your enemies, defending against oncoming attacks, defeating giant enemies and horrific bosses, most incredibly, using advanced combat. While I enjoyed the action, it felt repetitive, and I found the target system unnecessarily tricky for maximum enjoyment. Overall, the gameplay greatly influenced my joy while playing and covering a Forspoken Review.
Visuals & Audio
The visuals and audio experience in my Forspoken review was a beautiful nightmare. Most exclusive AAA games on PlayStation excel visually. Forspoken falls short of the ultimate expectations in this category while maintaining a magnificent open world visually. The first Forspoken trailer released years ago showed more polish than the final product, which is an unfortunate trend. That is my biggest complaint. After comparing the visuals of the world of Forspoken to the worlds of Spider-man, Horizon Forbidden West, and Ghost of Tsushima, You can see a lack of detail. While still a stunning game, the framerate issues were recognizable, which is never suitable for a gaming experience. The game could have used more time to polish in the visuals department. The face animations were noticeably struggling throughout the game as well. Ultimately I expected more for a $70 AAA game visually.
The audio experience mixed with great sounds in action sequences and music score while displaying weak voice acting. Frey is voiced and captured by actress Ella Balinska who more recently played in the Netflix original series Resident Evil. For some reason, the character never felt genuine throughout the story and seemed to react unsynced vocally. Frey and other NPCs struggled with audio issues that plagued the overall experience. Regarding gameplay audio, this is where the sound shined, making the action around you come alive. The sounds of the spells are believable and mixed well with background music. Battles felt tense when the music started, adding to the action. Overall, the voice acting was underwhelming and felt dry sometimes, but not enough to make the game unplayable.
The Final Verdict- Forspoken Review
I found a tremendous amount of enjoyment from the gameplay style of Forspoken while being annoyed by other factors, such as the story and overall graphic design. The advanced combat system and traverse mechanics feels next-generation and is an experience all gamers should try. The sheer amount of spells, attacks, upgrades, and skills make its customization a gamer’s best friend. However, as a fan of open-world games, there was too much repetition of side quests. Visually, the game lacked the detail expected from a large-budget game. The character models were good but not great, which was my same takeaway for the lack of polish of the world structures and environment. Square Enix is known for its excellent ability to tell a story. But here, the storyline and voice acting were underwhelming, while the characters were forgettable, ultimately hurting the Forspoken Review overall performance.
Overall, I recommend gamers play Forspoken to experience the gameplay and mechanics that feel powerful and fresh to gaming. The game takes advantage of the PS5 power eliminating long load times while providing a smooth (at times) but always beautiful experience. Forspoken is a dream come true as a fan of open-world games due to its expansive world and many missions, treasures, and challenges scattered across the map. Despite some flaws, Forspoken is a fun game to play and offers hours of addictive gameplay, powerful spell casting, and unbelievable traversal skills that make the game fun and memorable. Forspoken earn a solid score of 7.6 out of 10.
Do you enjoy big-budget open-world games? Are you one of the many fans of Harry Potter looking forward to Hogwarts Legacy? Also, what is the game you look forward to playing the most in 2023? Leave a comment!! Don’t forget to follow the team on Twitter at @Lv1Gaming and our Facebook page. Check out our YouTube channel and Twitch for more content, and don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe. You can also follow me on Twitter @DaStoNerD to engage in unique and unbiased gaming conversations.