Preview 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 seems to have fixed its release date for good on January 24th. Four months before the official launch of the game, we were able to try this ambitious magical open-world and we give you our impressions.
- Spectacular magic gameplay
- Smooth and enjoyable parkour but not without flaws
For this preview, our session was above all designed to be able to experience the gameplay of the game for the first time. Thus, we were not able to discover more about the history of the title, 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 not affected by this phenomenon, making her the last hope of the inhabitants of this country.
To help her in her quest, Frey is equipped with a magic bracelet named Krav which gives her powerful powers, but also gives her permanent advice. And if the game intrigues more than one, it’s because it’s 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. It is therefore with this information in mind that we were able to begin our first handling of Forspoken.
Spectacular magic gameplay
Forspoken is therefore an open-world action role-playing game that has the particularity of emphasizing the magical powers of its heroine, but also her parkour abilities. If Frey’s spells look impressive in the trailers, we finally got to try them out with the controller in hand. At first glance, the gameplay of Forspoken requires a little getting used to in order to be mastered correctly because of the large number of spells offered.. To put things simply, Frey can use several 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 both hinder enemies and protect Frey.
Each element offers several types of spells, three for offensive abilities and even more for support ones from what we could see during our play session. As for attack spells, some share the same standard combos but it is once charged that they differ. For example, for the fire set, whether you are equipped with the sword, the fists or the spear, the basic sequence will always be identical and will be done with the sword. But with a charged spell, the sword does a circular attack, the spear is thrown before exploding, and the fists allow for a flurry of blows. In order to bring even more variety, the assaults carried out from the air or after having used the magic parkour give rise to different movements, such as the vertical circular blow of the sword for example. Generally speaking, it is quite recommended to use parkour in combat to easily avoid enemy strikes and access different versions of spells.
With all the possibilities it offers, the Forspoken gameplay therefore requires some time to adapt in order to be well mastered. At all times, the player is required to alternate between the elements at his disposal depending on the vulnerability of his enemies, but also on the set with which the ultimate attack is loaded, a bit like in Genshin Impact. But once you have the controls firmly in hand, the fights become much more enjoyable and we find ourselves doing some really impressive things. This feeling of power is aided by the many effects that come with each spell. and which proves that the Luminous Engine has some in the trunk. For all these reasons, the title seems to have something to please fans of spectacular Devil May Cry 5 combos who will have fun doing twirling sequences.
And in terms of framerate, the latter manages to hold the road in the middle of a fight against tons of enemies, even if he happens on very rare occasions to cough at unexpected times. Nevertheless, the problem with this deluge of effects is that it is sometimes difficult to read what is happening on the screen, which makes perfect dodges difficult to achieve from time to time. To compensate for all this, when Frey is hit, the latter can generate a shock wave to push back the enemies around her, provided you respect a precise timing. It remains to be seen whether this concern for readability will be annoying in the long term in the final game.
Smooth and enjoyable parkour but not without flaws
Beyond his fights, Frey’s magical parkour abilities are Forspoken’s other major selling point. Simply by holding a key, our heroine can soar through the vast landscapes of Athia and easily scale obstacles in her path.. To complete this kit, the player also has a kind of grappling hook that can cling 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 mechanics of parkour are well mastered, the latter is very pleasant to handle to effectively explore the region.
Despite its qualities, nor is Forspoken parkour doing anything and everything Marvel’s Spider-Man style. As for a wall of great height, it is not possible to climb it by running on the wall as the spider-man does for example. Even while speeding through Athia, our heroine sometimes gets stuck on certain obstacles on rare occasions. Because of these slight issues, it is sometimes difficult to move from one flying platform to another without missing each other. Luckily, the title has no fall damage and when you fall, you just see your stamina gauge empty all at once. It is important to constantly take a look at the latter because once empty, it is no longer possible to run thanks to magic parkour, nor to use your grappling hook since these two skills consume this resource. Thus, it is necessary to grasp the limits of Forspoken parkour in order to master it properly and for it to become really pleasant to play.
As for the open world, it is difficult for the moment to give a real opinion on this part of the game. On the graphic aspect, once again, the Luminous Engine does wonders with environments that are pleasing to the eye with a rendering that is obviously reminiscent of Final Fantasy XV. But as far as activities in the open-world are concerned, our game session took place in a demo specially created for the occasion, the purpose of which was above all to allow us to try out 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 came across chests that contained gear items, such as capes or jewelry that Frey can wear. These affect these stats and can accommodate additional passive bonuses. We just have to wait for the game to be released on January 24 to find out what is really going on with the open world and the story of Forspoken.
Forspoken is a title that promises to be pleasant thanks to the possibilities offered by its gameplay. This results in impressive and exhilarating fights for the player, provided they master its particular gameplay and Frey’s many spells. The clashes are all the more spectacular as they take advantage of the graphics and especially the effects of the Luminous Engine, even if it means sometimes overloading the action on the screen. And if the parkour manages to be pleasant by its fluidity, it does not allow you to do everything and anything and requires time to adapt. If the gameplay therefore seems as effective as in the trailers, it only remains to see if the other aspects of the title are of the same level to make Forspoken an essential console exclusive for the PS5.
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