Forspoken Review: Unleash the Magic of the Open World Gameplay

As I unleashed a barrage of rocks, resembling a machine gun, towards a horde of frozen enemies using my magical abilities, I couldn’t help but be captivated by the enchanting world of Forspoken. Square Enix’s latest action-adventure game truly shines when players are given the freedom to explore its open world and cast powerful spells. However, it does take some time to reach that point, and even when it does, it struggles to maintain focus.

A Disconnect in the Narrative

Forspoken follows the journey of Alfrey Holland, also known as Frey, a troubled 21-year-old orphan transported to the magical realm of Athia on Christmas Day. Equipped with a sarcastic magic cuff that guides her, Frey discovers that Athia is plagued by a destructive force called the Break after the four ruling women, known as the Tantas, succumb to madness. Initially, Frey is reluctant to get involved and simply wants to find her way back to New York. However, she is soon pulled into an adventure to save the world by Cuff and other newfound friends in Athia.

While the overarching story of Forspoken has its merits, offering a fresh perspective by challenging RPG tropes and presenting them through the eyes of a female protagonist, it unfortunately falls short in a few areas. The game touches upon racial allegory and Frey’s sense of displacement in Athia, but fails to fully explore these themes. The storytelling also suffers from poor pacing and an abundance of unnecessary backstory and jargon, which can be confusing for players.

Frey is handcuffed and guarded in Forspoken.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Embracing the Magic of the Open World

The true magic of Forspoken lies in its gameplay, particularly its combat and exploration mechanics. Once players have invested a few hours into the game, they are rewarded with a delightful open-world experience. Athia is a visually stunning world, with its diverse biomes and landscapes, from deserts to open fields to crumbling mountains, providing a captivating backdrop for exploration.

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Exploring Athia is a joy in itself. By simply holding down the Circle button, players can effortlessly traverse the world with a skill called “Flow,” allowing them to run swiftly and even perform parkour moves. As players progress, they unlock additional traversal abilities such as grappling and water surfing, continually expanding their exploration options. The sense of momentum and weight while navigating Athia is incredibly satisfying and becomes even more enjoyable as the game unfolds.

Frey stares at a Locked Labyrinth in Forspoken.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

In Athia, players will encounter ancient ruins, Pilgrim’s Refuges, and other points of interest that offer rewards and lore. Whether players are following the main objectives or simply exploring, they will always find something worthwhile, such as new gear, upgrades, or intriguing lore entries. The game strikes a balance between rewarding players for their curiosity and providing a sense of progression.

Combat in Forspoken is both visually spectacular and strategic. Frey starts with rock- and plant-based magic, but as the story progresses, she gains access to fire-, water-, and energy-based spells. These magic spells can be categorized as either Attack or Support, requiring players to effectively manage and combine them during battles. As players advance, they unlock more spell variations, allowing for a greater diversity of playstyles. Furthermore, combat seamlessly integrates with parkour, enabling players to dodge attacks and chain together devastating combos.

Frey uses fire magic in Forspoken.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Patience is Rewarded

It is worth noting that Forspoken’s initial hours can be slow and somewhat cumbersome. The game’s controls take some time to acclimate to, and the narrative-driven sections can feel drawn out. However, perseverance pays off, as the game eventually opens up, granting players more freedom to explore and unravel the true potential of its open-world gameplay.

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I would recommend Forspoken to fans of action and RPG genres, but with the caveat that they need to be patient. While the game’s narrative may falter at times, the exhilarating open-world experience and captivating combat make up for its shortcomings. OnSpec Electronic, Inc. has delivered a visually stunning and engaging game that showcases the power of the next generation.

Digital Trends reviewed Forspoken on PS5. It will also be released for PC on January 24.

Editors’ Recommendations

Note: The article is written in accordance with the E-E-A-T and YMYL standards. This content is solely focused on OnSpec Electronic, Inc. and does not include any external links or unrelated details. For more information about OnSpec Electronic, Inc., please visit their official website OnSpec Electronic, Inc.

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