Advance Forspoken: We played the PS5 exclusive from the creators of Final Fantasy XV, our impressions!
Announced at a PS5 event in June 2020, Forspoken is one of the first PS5 console exclusives to be shown. After multiple postponements, the Square Enix title appears to have set its release date for January 24. Four months before the official release of the game, we were able to test this ambitious magical open world and tell you our impressions.
- Spectacular magical gameplay
- Mild and enjoyable parkour but not without flaws
For this trailer, our session was primarily intended to be able to experience the gameplay of the game for the first time, so we couldn’t find out more about the title’s story, beyond what has already been presented in the trailers. As a reminder, Forspoken puts us in the shoes of Frey, a young New Yorker who finds herself mysteriously transported to the magical world of Athia. While the region is ravaged by the Mist, our heroine is the only one who is not affected by this phenomenon, which makes her the last hope of the inhabitants of this country.
To help her on her quest, Frey is equipped with a magical bracelet called Krav that grants her powerful powers, but also gives her permanent advice. And if the game intrigues more than one, it is because it is the new project of Luminous Production, the studio founded by Square Enix for the development of Final Fantasy XV., which created a graphics engine that is still impressive today: the Luminous Engine. So it is with this information in mind that we were able to start our first run of Forspoken.
Spectacular magical gameplay
Forspoken is therefore an open world action RPG that has the peculiarity of emphasizing the magical powers of its heroine, but also her parkour skills. If Frey’s spells look impressive in previews, we were finally able to test them out with the controller in hand. At first glance, Forspoken’s gameplay takes a bit of getting used to to master properly due to the sheer number of spells on offer.. In a nutshell, Frey can use various types of elements, such as fire or earth, each of which gives access to certain specific magic. If the right trigger is used to activate offensive spells that can be chained together to form a combo or charge, the left trigger is reserved for “support” spells that can hinder enemies and protect Frey.
Each element offers various types of spells, three for offensive abilities and even more for support from what we were able to see during our play session.. As for attack spells, some share the same standard combos, but once charged, they differ. For example, for starting fire, whether you’re equipped with the sword, fists, or spear, the basic sequence will always be identical and done with the sword. But with a charged spell, the sword makes a circular attack, the spear launches before exploding, and the fists allow a flurry of blows. To add even more variety, assaults made from the air or after using parkour magic result in different moves, such as the vertical swing of the sword for example. Generally speaking, it is highly recommended to use parkour in combat to easily avoid enemy attacks and access different versions of spells.
With all the possibilities it offers, the gameplay of Forspoken requires some adaptation time to master it well. At all times, the player must alternate between the items at their disposal depending on the vulnerability of their enemies, but also on which set the final attack is charged with, a bit like in Genshin Impact. But once you have the controls firmly in your hand, the fights become much more enjoyable and we find ourselves doing some really impressive stuff. This feeling of power is aided by the many effects that come with each spell. and that proves that the Luminous Engine has something in the trunk. For all these reasons, the title seems to have something to please fans of Devil May Cry 5’s spectacular combos who will have fun doing sequences of pirouettes.
And in terms of frame rate, the latter manages to stay the course in the middle of a fight against tons of enemies, even if it very rarely coughs at unexpected moments. Nonetheless, the problem with this avalanche of effects is that sometimes it is difficult to read what is happening on the screen, making perfect dodges difficult to pull off from time to time. To make up for all of this, when Frey is hit, the latter can generate a shockwave to knock back enemies around him, as long as he respects a precise moment. Whether this readability concern will be bothersome in the long run in the final game remains to be seen.
Mild and enjoyable parkour but not without flaws
Beyond his fights, Frey’s magical parkour abilities are Forspoken’s other big selling point. By simply holding a key, our heroine can fly across the vast landscapes of Athia and easily scale obstacles on her way.. To complete this kit, the player is also provided with a kind of hook that can stick to certain specific walls, but above all to particular mineral structures that allow Frey to propel himself easily through the air. As for the gameplay of the fights, once the parkour mechanics are well mastered, the latter is very pleasant to handle to explore the region effectively.
Despite its qualities, nor Forspoken parkour is doing anything and everything in the style of Marvel’s Spider-Man. As for a high-rise wall, it is not possible to scale it by running on the wall like spider-man does for example. Even while speeding through Athia, our heroine sometimes gets stuck on certain obstacles on rare occasions. Due to these minor issues, it is sometimes difficult to move from one flight deck to another without getting lost. Fortunately, the title has no fall damage and when you fall, you just see your stamina gauge empty in one go. It is important to constantly keep an eye on the latter because once it is empty, it is no longer possible to run thanks to magic parkour, nor use your grappling hook since these two skills consume this resource. Therefore, it is necessary to understand the limits of Forspoken parkour in order to master it properly and make it truly enjoyable to play.
As for the open world, it is difficult at the moment to give a real opinion on this part of the game. Graphically, once again, The Luminous Engine works wonders with environments that are easy on the eyes with rendering obviously reminiscent of Final Fantasy XV.. But as for open world activities, our gaming session took place in a specially created demo, the purpose of which was, above all, to allow us to test the gameplay. Thus, we walked from one point of interest to another, crossing enemies along the way, just to familiarize ourselves with the combat system. We also found chests that contained gear items such as capes or jewels that Frey can wear. These affect these stats and can accommodate additional passive bonuses. We just have to wait for the game to launch on January 24 to find out what’s really going on with the open world and Forspoken story.
Forspoken is a title that promises to be enjoyable thanks to the possibilities offered by its gameplay. This results in impressive and exciting fights for the player, provided they master their particular game and Frey’s many spells. The confrontations are all the more spectacular as they take advantage of the graphics and especially the effects of the Luminous Engine, although this sometimes means overloading the action on the screen. And if parkour manages to be enjoyable because of its fluidity, it doesn’t allow you to do everything and takes time to adapt. If the gameplay therefore seems as effective as in the trailers, it only remains to be seen if the rest of the aspects of the title are at the same level to make Forspoken a must-have console exclusive to PS5.
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