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Monday, June 5, 2023


The first (and it would seem, last) outing from Luminous Productions; a subsidiary of Square Enix comprised mostly of alumni from Final Fantasy XV's dev team.  It certainly got attention when it was announced, seemingly allowing for fluid movement over any terrain a la Saints Row IV or a much faster paced Breath of the Wild, having you battle enemies while zipping across the landscape at high speed.  It does indeed have that, but not quite to the extent you'd hope - while you can run relatively quickly over flat terrain, you can't really go up too steep of a cliff or wall without some handholds, so it's not nearly as free and exhilarating as you'd hope.  Combat in the game is downright dull too, mostly just consisting of repeatedly pressing the trigger buttons to pelt enemies with projectiles until they fall down, earning bonuses for hitting enemies from the side or behind, doing an aerial melee attack or landing finishing moves and having points deducted for taking hits.  Charged attacks and supportive spells (like restricting enemy movement in a radius) don't really add much to the experience either; the latter doesn't have any sort of homing ability unlike your basic shots and stops dead when it hits any sort of terrain, making it worthless outside of point-blank range, while supportive spells take far too long to recharge to be much use.  It's also pretty hard to get invested in the story when it has to rely constantly on such forced humor (trotting out the "peasants of this medieval world don't understand modern lingo" clichΓ© about twenty times in every cutscene), and the near-constant witty repartee with your magical cuff throughout the gameplay just gets grating after the first twenty minutes, let alone a fifteen-plus hour journey.  It's very clear that none of Final Fantasy XV's talented writing staff worked on this one, as I actually found the banter in that game quite charming and the scenes to be consistently well-staged and acted, furthering the story brilliantly.  There are some fun ideas in Forspoken, but the gameplay's lackluster execution, the cliched premise and consistently grating protagonists made it a game I quickly grew tired of.

Developer: Luminous Productions
Publisher: Square Enix
Released: 2023
Platforms: Playstation 5, PC