Forspoken, we've tried it… but it still has a long way to go

Forspoken, we've tried it… but it still has a long way to go


Announced two years ago, Project Athia, now known as Forspoken, immediately struck for its incredible glance and the idea of ​​an Action-RPG experience based solely on magic and parkour combos .

The exclusive PlayStation / PC developed by the Japanese team Luminous Productions is the studio's first real work, a major responsibility for this subsidiary software house of Square-Enix, determined to amaze with an ambitious open world (at least as far as gameplay is concerned) and a story still to be told.

Forspoken, moving around Athia

Imagine leaving work with music in your ears and suddenly being transported to a fantasy world, well that's exactly the narrative incipit of Forspoken (and the classic Isekai), as well as what happens to the protagonist, Frey, a New Yorker who finds herself randomly in a huge world called Athia. What is known about the history of the game is trivially this, hoping to understand more in the vicinity of the release of the game expected for January 24, 2023.

Frey has the ability to use his magical skills to move quickly, both horizontally and vertically, climbing mountains or hills thanks to parkour and even project onto ledges or floating rocks. The level design, from this point of view, seems to help considerably the movements, however the area I have seen is only a small part of what we will see in the full game, therefore it is difficult to give an assessment of what I have already had. to try.

There is no shortage of quick trips, which can be unlocked thanks to the shelters (which I will talk about a little below) or to specific structures that can be freed throughout the area. In any case Frey is very fast, reaching some areas does not take long, even if very far, moreover the manual exploration has allowed me several times to gain additional experience and above all to find trunks that I normally would not have seen.

While wandering around the game world, I was able to focus a little on the technical and visual aspect of the game. I realize that everything I have seen is not final, but I do not hide the fact that I have found myself several times in front of endless prairies with a decidedly enjoyable impact, but essentially empty and with a not particularly original design. A common problem in modern open worlds, but one that reminded me here (and certainly not as a positive detail) of Final Fantasy XV. If exploration in Elden Ring always offered moments of discovery, in Forspoken (at least based on what I played), most of the time I found myself doing hundreds of meters with nothing around, obviously the hope is always to see, in the full game, something more.

For the rest, the technical solidity of the game is there and despite the lack of optimization dictated by the demo, I have not had any particular critical issues. I admit that a 60 FPS mode could definitely further enhance the production, as the frenzy of the clashes makes it fast and also quite nice to see in the fights, thanks to the countless particle effects dictated by the magic. On PC this will not be a problem, as the framerate will certainly be unlocked depending on the hardware available, while on PS5 I can only hope that the developers think about providing a smooth mode.

Forspoken, unleashing the arsenal… magical

I mentioned how frantic the clashes actually are, but I haven't explained how they work in detail. The core of the game is the use of magic, Frey has a sentient bracelet called Cuff! (which speaks, even too much, vaguely reminiscent of Nier's book) which allows us to exploit a series of elements for our use.

In the full game the types of powers will be varied and diversified, but unfortunately I only got to to test two of them: Nature (Sila's Magic) and Fire (Frey's Magic), each with its own unique characteristics. For instance. Fire Magic offers predominantly hand-to-hand attacks, while nature-related attacks favor ranged combat.

Each type of magic offers attack and support spells, where the former can deliver quick hits of various type while the latter are usually powerful blows that can cause a lot of damage or recreate defensive barriers to protect us. Initially it took me a while to juggle the various spells, also because not all spells are suitable for all situations and combos often help a lot to eliminate your enemies quickly. Among other things, the latter have vulnerabilities and resistances, so it becomes essential to change spells often.

There is therefore a learning curve to learn to juggle. as it should be, perhaps also taking advantage of Frey's parkour skills to dodge opponent attacks or simply jump to unleash portentous attacks. However, the game tends to entrust us with light, heavy hits and super abilities that are recharged through a precise cooldown.

I have not had the opportunity to face many types of enemies, but among the different common monsters encountered (not particularly inspired, I must admit), I also had the opportunity to meet some bosses, not very complicated to beat, but who required me a good dose of attention in some specific moments. In short, I did not find any difficulties in the fights, but I am quite convinced that the game could often give a hard time. The real problem is that the camera sometimes didn't help me in the clashes and the woodiness of some of Frey's movements and of his certainly not perfect animations led me to not often enjoy some situations.

Frey is however upgradeable through mana points, obtainable by leveling up (gaining experience from killing or completing quests or challenges) or simply collecting them around the game world. Each spell and consequent upgrade requires the expenditure of tots mana points, so you need to be careful how to move through the tree of spells.

That's not all, however, because Frey can wear hoods and necklaces that provide specific characteristics and that can be interchanged according to the game situation. Potions are also useful, to temporarily improve life, stamina or our magical powers, all craftable in the shelters (where you can also find references to the lore of the game and rest) or thanks to the bonfires, which can be positioned to take a breather. or simply to create some useful equipment.

Summing up

Forspoken is certainly worth re-evaluating in the future. What I felt left me a bit doubtful, if on the one hand the fights seem fun and varied, on the other I felt the woodiness evident in moving around and during the clashes. The story is still to be understood (and I must be honest, the opening words of the trailers do not exalt it at all), while the technical component alternates beautiful locations to see with others that are decidedly less captivating. In general, the fear is being faced with an open world that risks becoming repetitive after a few hours of play, a risk that I hope will be refuted in the final version of the game, expected for January 24, 2023. Time is there, curious to see if Luminous Productions will be able to present a captivating experience from all points of view, limiting the critical issues encountered, also thanks to the feedback received. There is still some way to go, but the general idea works, the fear is that it might not be enough.

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