The Forspoken Review Fits and Starts

The Forspoken Review Fits and Starts ...

Since the advent of the video game, storytelling has existed. From the earliest text adventures like Zork to the early Final Fantasy titles, storytelling, when done well, can draw the player into an interesting world and can provide motivation to continue the game. Unfortunately, storytelling in video games can be jarring, confusing, and ineffective.

  • Related Reading: Forspoken Best Settings: Display, Difficulty, and More

I find game that aren't as effective as others that have engaging narratives with interesting characters. This is a shameful situation if the game didn't take much time to develop and didn't have any other distracting visual issues that make getting through it and getting to the "good stuff" a challenge.

Frey Holland, a street-wise orphan in New York City, is being tried for what she would like to call her "third strike." Although she warns Frey that she will be sent to prison if she does anything again.

Frey is given control of the city of New York, but is only given a linear route to proceed. The game switches off less than a few minutes later to give us another cutscene where Frey confronts the miscreants she has been previously harassing. She escapes and returns to her unclean apartment, where she lives with her cat, Homer, and a duffle bag full of cash.

Frey is prevented from leaving due to a series of strange bangles. Almost immediately, she is sucked into a portal into Athia, a fantasy world besieged by video game plight which Frey describes as "the Break." It transforms humans and monster alike into monsters that all want to kill Frey. Once again, Frey is treated as a demon by the local government, but as a local girl.

I'm using this to illustrate just how much time and effort is wasted on telling the game's most fundamental story, which isn't even one bit original. It's compounded by odd fade ins and fade outs, and times when you can't move at all before it regains control. Not so here.

  • Related Reading: Forspoken: All Founts of Blessings Guide

The dialogue between Frey and Cuff is repetitive and banal, and I haven't even touched on the narration. Their relationship spends a lot of time being antagonistic rather than supportive, and since a lot of the repetitions I started to tune it out completely.

The world is beautiful but barren in between, with few video game tasks to do and interact with the open world. Eventually I lost motivation to seek these locations out because they didn't do anything to keep me alive in combat.

The greatest aspects of Forspoken are the traversal and combat. As you progress through the game, Frey gets access to more and more magic by killing the game's big bad, the Tantas. These women have abilities related to elements such as fire, water, and light. Elemental based abilities are not new, but I found them all enjoyable to use and match in combat depending on what type of enemy I was facing.

The open world in Athia isn't used much longer than that, since magic and abilities are tied to unlocking trees from defeating Tantas. These are used to alter or imbue cloaks and necklaces with buffs and effects. Unfortunately I never felt like I was missing anything until I completed them.

Forspoken's lack of polish is jarring. Textures will pop in during cutscenes, and in the world, it never looks as good as it could or should. Especially considering it's both built for PS5 and PC, it's a real bummer. Particle effects during combat and traversal are quite effective, Reminding me of an earlier version of InFamous Second Son.

Forspoken has only a handful of games that it can rely on, including combat that I found enjoyable and engaging. It tries a lot of things, but fails to make an impact in most of them.

Score: 6.5/10


  • Combat and traversal are fluid and fun
  • Particle effects, mmm particle effects


  • The story is rote and the presentation is poor
  • Lack of compelling reason to explore the open world once you’ve done at least one of every activity

The publisher has provided the Forspken review code. You can find out more about MP1st's review and scoring policies right here.

You may also like: