Wednesday, January 26

Forspoken: Spells, Devastation and Parkour in a Dark Fantasy World | Levelup

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Just over a year ago, during the launch of the PlayStation 5 in June 2020, Square Enix and Luminous Productions showed the world what we eventually came to know as Forspoken, an ambitious title for PlayStation 5 and PC about a girl with supernatural abilities who fights with magic and parkour in a dark fantasy world. In LEVEL UP we already had a hands-off look at it and we had exclusive access to details about the mechanics, characters, history and this world that will soon come to life on our PS5.

The journey into the unknown

Forspoken It is a different experience from others in the medium, mainly because of its identity and the way in which it fits its themes. Not only is it a very colorful game that promises action and an exciting rhythm, it is also based on striking contrasts: its protagonist is a girl without a sense of belonging.

A normal girl in a ruthless world

Forspoken follows the story of a New Yorker named Frey Holland, a girl who cannot find her place in the world and whose life is problematic. Getting into street fights is routine for her and could even end up in prison. With all of this going on in her life, being so lonely and just as she’s about to hit rock bottom, Frey encounters a strange force that seals her fate.

On her 21st birthday, out of a strong desire to find a place to belong, Frey Holland falls into a portal that transports her to the world of Athia, a magical place with medieval touches, inhabited by a different culture, full of strange creatures. , a geography alien to ours and most importantly: hardened by a cataclysmic event whose consequences continue to affect the world’s inhabitants.

The story of a cataclysm

Long ago, a phenomenon known simply as corruption manifested itself in Athia. Consequently, the world suffered an event called the break, a division between the areas of the world invaded by the phenomenon and a region plagued by lack but free of it. Not much is known about corruption, it is only known that it transforms all creatures that enter it and transforms them into violent monsters, creatures that devastate everything in their path. The breakout is also known to be expanding.

When Frey arrives in Athia she is confronted by this world and what it represents to him. Only one human city remains in Athia and it has become a settlement teeming with refugees, people wounded by a life in decline who struggle to survive and maintain what little they have left.

Luminous Productions promises a good level of challenge
Luminous Productions promises a good level of challenge

The first being Frey meets in Athia is a sentient bracelet who becomes a companion and guide, an entity that helps her overcome the culture shock she faces and introduces her to her new abilities. Since Frey passed through that portal, he acquired the ability to cast spells, execute elemental powers, devastating area attacks, and magic to increase his physical abilities. The girl must figure out how to control her power but, more importantly, learn to live with the inhabitants of that world.

In the matriarchal society that is Athia, the inhabitants are afraid of Frey. The problem is not only that the girl looks out of place in that world, or that her abilities are scary; The biggest problem is that Frey can go into corruption without being affected and this causes some to think that the girl is her product. They call her a hell spawn, a demon. Frey must learn to deal with it and the people of Athia must accept that they depend on her to fight the expansion of the break. The girl is in the difficult position of fighting for a society that is afraid of her, however, that journey and her powers are a new opportunity, a moment that she must seize to finally belong, and more importantly, find her place in life. .

Parkour, magic and devastation

Frey’s journey in Forspoken It is absorbed in the gameplay, which is the most attractive part of the game. The main mechanics are divided into 2: Frey’s main abilities to move around the world and spells for real-time combat.

Frey’s scrolling through movements that make her look like a whole Ghost Spider it’s called magical parkour. These abilities range from running, jumping and cartwheeling, to gymnastic movements on bars and slopes, something that, on the surface, could give Athia’s exploration quite a bit of verticality. The gameplay looks fluid, dynamic and fun, however, it is impossible to know if moving Frey is going to feel as good as how it looks or if the rhythm is going to be just as good in all scenarios.

Parkour looks exciting
Parkour looks exciting

The second core element of Forspoken it is their combat. It is an Action RPG system that promises to be fast, dynamic and deep and is based on spells. Although Frey will only have a few at the beginning of his adventure, he will eventually have a very wide selection that he can take advantage of against different types of enemies. The combat looks fluid, the monsters look challenging, and the visuals are a delight to the eye, however there are some concerns.

Having a large number of spells available does not guarantee that you will need to use all of them. As it has not been said yet if there will be any element-based weakness system or something like that, it is not clear if there will be any benefit in cycling between all the available magics or it will be one of those titles where the user marries the most effective or comfortable.

Visually, the spells are mind-blowing
Visually, the spells are mind-blowing

Another cause for concern is that the world that was shown looks big and wide but empty, without many points of interest. It is true that the presentation focused on the history of Athia, Frey, magical parkour and spell combat, so it is difficult to comment on exploration, however, in an open world game where a mechanic Scrolling so agile and colorful is central, it is necessary to know what will motivate players to take advantage of it to reach all corners of the world.

It also happens that there is only one human settlement in all of Athia. Unless there are cities of other races or during the story the player can free more settlements from breaking and corruption, it could be a game where the center of the world is a hub to return to again and again. This isn’t necessarily bad, but it gives the impression that it could end up being an essentially dead map like the one in Anthem.

Additionally, there are stealth elements, a progression system to unlock spells, crafting to craft gear, and the ability to equip accessories that give Frey different perks.

Conclusions so far

Forspoken is a game that breaks the molds of the classic heroic fantasy genre. The team chose a main cast of mainly female characters and built their entire world around it, in this way, Frey is a city girl who becomes powerful in a fantasy world dominated by powerful women, all in a very western approach to the genus isekai. This theme together with a gameplay that looks dynamic, agile and fun make Forspoken feel fresh, promising, and purposeful.

Athia's world is a matriarchal society
Athia’s world is a matriarchal society

It’s difficult to make a concrete judgment without taking direct control of Frey or running free through Athia’s world. The worst case scenario you are facing is becoming a monotonous commissioned game where the exploration and combat mechanics age too quickly in an empty world with little to do, yet no details about the open map or what they will be shown yet. find the players in it. In this sense, it is too early to comment.

There is still time to see how Square Enix and Liminous Productions exploit the potential of what they have done so far with Forspoken. The game is full of attitude, its characters have a lot of personality, the world is intriguing, and seeing Frey jump, do cartwheels, and fight with the full force of his spells, makes you want to take control to play and lose yourself in that world. There is still no official date for the launch of this fantasy game, however, we have to wait and have faith that, in the end, it is all the magical and amazing that it seemed back in 2020 during the presentation of the PlayStation 5, when Forspoken it was still a distant dream called Project Athia.

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