Let’s get right to the point: you’ve already seen, if all goes well, that we have Forspoken Give the full five stars. Based on the marketing of the game we wouldn’t have expected this ourselves, based on the demo even less and secretly we don’t expect most of the other sites to agree with us either, though of course we hope they do. We believe that Forspoken an incredibly special game is. Wonder why? Then read the review quietly.
Forspoken Tells the story of Frey Holland, a 21-year-old New York orphan who pretty much lives on the streets and is in a lot of trouble. When she is at her lowest low, she finds a special bracelet that takes her to another world: Athia. Athia is a place that combines medieval times with a lot of fantasy, so nothing new. The bracelet, called Cuff, shows Frey the way, and little by little you learn more about this new world. Apparently the rulers of the land, the Tanta’s, gone crazy and there is some kind of plague raging across the country. There is still n small town in the middle of the world unscathed. What’s going on you learn little by little.
If we had to write a review after the first three hours of the game, the game would have been able to squeeze its hands for any kind of praise. Yes, the world does look beautiful in the open areas, the story is somewhat intriguing from the start, but that’s all that can be said after the first few hours. Battles are pretty boring and monotonous at first, the parkour system that should allow you to travel quickly across the land is still a bit clunky and the game leaves you playing through some particularly boring bits in the town of Cipal. So we don’t blame anyone if they put down the controller in the early stages of the game or just delete the game, and we also understand if there are fairly negative reviews about the game, because the beginning of the game is really a bit of a pain in the ass.
But a shame it would be: little by little it gets much better. After so’n five hours the combat starts to get a little more interesting and after so’n seven hours it’s one of the coolest systems we’ve ever played with. You fight in Forspoken namely exclusively with spells. You start with only access to Freys original, “Purple”, magic. This mainly consists of throwing rocks or using roots and plants to stop your enemies. This remains a matter of running away from your enemies until you are at a safe distance, throwing some rocks, running away again, throwing another rock, and so on and so forth. At the same time, you dodge almost every attack the starting enemies have by holding down the parkour button, so there’s little tactics or agility involved either.
But at some point you unlock as well ‘Red’ magic, fire magic that lets you throw fire spears, wrap your fists in flames to deal quick blows, you can conjure swords that float around you to protect you, you can even summon fire soldiers. From this point on, the battles change from Forspoken complete. Not only do enemies suddenly become much tougher, allowing them to come up with far more attacks that you actually have to pay attention to how to dodge (at least on the Hard difficulty), but you also get so much more freedom in how you fight enemies. Before, your choice was mostly how long you waited before throwing a pebble and running away again, but with these fire attacks you can also go for a nearly NieR-Choose a quiet style of play. Later you unlock two other types of magic that again have their completely different play style.
What’s special about this? What’s special is that within each category of magic you can also choose from different attacks to learn and make even stronger. So you can choose exactly what you like to play with. Do you like that quiet play style? Then you can go for it nicely. Want to have a bunch of spells that heal you, or just go especially hard for the action-packed attack? The choice is yours.
Some enemies you prefer to attack up close and others you prefer to keep at a distance, also they all have their special attacks that you have to take into account. This combined with your gigantic arsenal of spells and the delightful parkour system, makes battles a true delight.
Wait a minute, did we just call the parkour system wonderful, while it was clunky at first? That was true in the early hours as well, but as the game progresses you unlock more and more parts of the parkour system that make all the problems disappear like snow in the sun. It also helps here that you’re increasingly released into larger, more expansive areas, making all your parkour spells come into their own. Think of a fire whip that you can use as a kind of grappling hook, or a water surf to glide over water, you get extra jumps, you can hover, and so on. An extra bit of traveling around becomes more and more of a pleasure later in the game.
Also, the story gets better and better. In the first three to five hours of the game, it seems like the writers had to put a lot of emphasis on all sorts of elements to make sure you understood it, so the pacing was always just off the mark. It is constantly stressed that Frey is a headstrong, New York problem child. There is a constant reminder that the people of the world see her as a devil, that they love the Tanta so much’s, the rulers, keep, that the world is going to hell, or that Frey wants to go back home so badly.
After those initial hours, the writers finally have the confidence that you do understand all these things, and then something very beautiful emerges: a world enormously rich in history begins to speak for itself, figuratively then. Athia is a fantastic piece of fiction and has an addictively interesting story. Until the end of the game, we were constantly on the edge of our seats to learn more about the world and its inhabitants, to learn more about what is all happened and also Frey grows into a protagonist you can love. The writers have done a phenomenal job of constantly giving you bits of information that make you see the world in a new light, but all those bits of information also call nóg more questions.
It is unfortunate that virtually the entire story (and a good portion of the gameplay) of Forspoken is so spoiler-prone, as we would have loved to give you examples of great moments to persuade people to give it a chance.
Big moments in the story naturally involve boss battles, and they are especially unique. They are, even on Hard, never as difficult as a battle in Dark Souls or Elden Ring, but the makers of Forspoken have well understood that they can create very special battles with their unique combat system. Giant flying birds, or battles in an arena made almost entirely of water. They are things that in other action-RPG’s hard to be. You’re invited to alternate your spells for a tactical advantage and the parkour system is used to grandiose effect. Even though they are not always difficult, the battles are an audiovisual spectacle that requires your attention, making it exciting. Some battles are short but powerful, others again are quite long and consist of several phases: we enjoyed it.
It will not have escaped your notice while reading that there is a reasonable dichotomy. The first three hours of the game are weak to mediocre and the following three hours are mediocre to somewhat positive. Only after you are so’n five to six hours into it, depending on how fast you go, all the puzzle pieces start to come together to form a great experience. The battles are fantastic, the history of the world is wonderful, you’re going to love characters and the parkour system works well. The game you end up playing in so’n fifteen to twenty hours out, so most of the game is to be enjoyed.
Are you willing to go through that clumsy beginning, then a very special game awaits you. Forspoken is an experience we won’t soon forget.