One of the first games that will arrive in 2023, for which a large number of productions have been delayed, is Forspoken. We have already been able to play the novelties of Square-Enix and Luminous Productions and we tell you about our first impressions.
One of those advancements that the next generation left us, faster hard drives, is something we’ll explore as games move on from previous consoles and focus on the present. forgot It does it with clear ideas and I think that, in that sense, it will mark a trend that we will see a lot in future open-world games: fast navigation in huge spaces in a more playful way and which brings us quickly to the points of interest of each map.
The Forspoken case reminds me of the first time I finally got to try the first Assassin’s Creed in a presentation. With a single button, Altair moved nimbly through a city full of obstacles where parkour allowed you to quickly navigate between rooftops and buildings. As open worlds got bigger, transportation such as vehicles or horses had to be put in place, but sometimes I felt like there was a lot of “dead time” in between. relevant scenes; especially if the game didn’t bother to sweeten the path with interesting tasks and events. In Forspoken, Frey uses parkour magic that erases all of that inconvenience in one fell swoop. Its control is as simple as playing with the round button to run at full speed and dodge obstacles automatically or give him some boosts, while a kind of magic hook can be activated with the square button to boost you in certain areas (even enemies).
Do you remember what was said about Marvel’s Spider-Man? Why use so many fast travels when it’s so much fun to ride around town? I think this can also be applied here at Forspoken. But the skills of this young woman, who travels from New York to a fading fantasy realm, are limited. We will have to be careful with heights because not everything can be overcome with our magic.
It is clear to me that this demo did not want us to get an overall idea of Forspoken. At least not yet. It was more focused on the experience of this parkour as well as on the combat system which will be very present throughout the adventure. The story, as well as the main missions, will have to wait and will be a big part of what will shape the future of Luminous Productions’ work. During this time, I was able to try many magics that Frey has at his disposal and the sensations were similar to what I expected: a varied system, which wants to alternate between long and short distance styles, with magics and attacks different from each other, but which do not manage, at least in the content of the demo, to require discipline on the part of the player in control.
This demo did not want us to get an overall idea of Forspoken. at least not yetIt’s easy to fall into button mashing, as the only limitation we have is waiting a few seconds for the ability to become available again on certain spells. The studio wants us to alternate and, for that, create an interesting dynamic of resistances and weaknesses according to the different magic it will prevent us from locking ourselves into the same attacks. It’s still not a technical fight, which demands your maximum attention on dodging or defending and it’s only when we start a game from scratch that we’ll really find out how it behaves, because it’s not not the same to have a lot of spells unlocked in this demo, to know them one by one, to know when they work best and which ones best suit your style of play.
In addition to the two styles we were able to test, long and short range, each with its own spell wheel, we can alternate parkour skills with both to move in combat with agility, Dodge enemies and leave them at our mercy with some of the game’s most striking animations. it will surely be one of the most coveted resources to upgrade in order to spend more time at high speed in the world of Athia.
Athia as open world
However, this demonstration, not being complete, leaves me some doubts as for the construction of the open world. Although I have said before that your navigation through it is very interesting and I think it is a guideline for others to follow, the way of “filling” your space is not only traditional, but not very interesting. In the demo, there were only activities to do in the different structures such as castles, bridges, ruined cities or abandoned cities, and all focused on the same thing: clearing the screen of enemies . Sometimes directly, like a traditional horde mode. It’s not the most challenging, since none of them came with a context; only objective to kill all enemies in the area in order to unlock a new cape, necklace or nail design.
I therefore hope that what Forspoken hides will make us navigate this map with more complex objectives. I have no doubt that the main story will take care of this, but it leaves me intrigued by the side quests. Even so, and accustomed to other open worlds like the recent Horizon: West forbiddenwhere the craftsmanship is noticeable in much of its content and side-activities, going back to the “kill all enemies” norm isn’t the best feeling.
The other great doubt that remains for me to dispel is the world itself. Athia is a magical kingdom ravaged by a great plague and therefore largely uninhabited except for a last bastion where the survivors reside. What’s interesting about Forspoken’s approach is that we are someone who travels to another world. This is the basis of fantasy, the fascination of the impossible. But if this world is decaying, uninhabited or devoid of life, it is difficult to learn from it.
Some games like FromSoftware handle this condition of “dead worlds” with mastery, since they are based on the level design and its particular narrative, but the feeling Forspoken gives me is that He asks for a living world, full of interesting characters and unique situations to discover in his world. Centering everything in one place, the refuge where the survivors of this calamity live, can make everything less dynamic, with fewer narrative surprises in the vastness of the territory. Despite everything, and from my last interview with the team at Luminous Productions, I know they cared about making the world of Althia, and this corrupt matriarchal society, a place that feels unique and with a past that we will gradually discover. .
There is still a lot to see when the story also accompanies its mechanics and missionsTechnically, I think the latest gameplay videos Square-Enix has released give a good overview of what I was able to play with the controller in my hands. The world of Athia seeks immensity and above all speed. It’s not as stunning as other open environments we’ve navigated before, but to its credit, the magical parkour makes it very distinctive. Due to this condition, I preferred to lose some of the sharpness of Quality mode and give those resources to the 60fps of Performance mode. Thus, Frey flows better on screen as she glides and flies around the stage and fighting, surrounded by enemies, is also better controlled.
I leave Forspoken with the feeling that there is still a lot to see and, above all, in the right order, when the story also accompanies its mechanics and missions. There is no doubt that there are parts where Forspoken feels more transgressive than others. For example, a good part of this exploration will be devoted to the accumulation of many resources in the form of different stones to build and improve our capes and necklaces. And even in those moments that may seem lonely when they take place in a devastated world, the team has been sufficiently aware that Frey is always accompanied by this strange bracelet which, in its Spanish version, responds to the name of Shares and surely it will play into much of the mysteries of the plot. We’ll have to wait until the game launches in January next year to find out all these secrets.