The sad thing about in-house development studios from publishers like Square Enix, Bandai Namco, and Nintendo is that you never know who made the game. Internal teams are often assigned a number, with one face at best speaking. In 2018, ‘Square Enix Business Division 2’ decided to choose the same name: Luminous Productions. That was permissible, because under the direction of Hajime Tabata he participated in Final Fantasy 15, a controversial but ultimately fascinating game. However, the real action begins with Forspoken, a game that feels more modern and modern in all respects than previous Final Fantasy games.
Let me get right to the point: the gameplay images Luminous gave me were minimal. Also, director Takeshi Aramaki and studio head Yosuke Matsuda weren’t entirely loose about the game’s content. Anyway, Forspoken begins with the desperate Frey Holland, a young lady who is sick of the stench, hustle and bustle of New York – although that probably also has to do with the prison sentence hanging over her head. With Homer as a listening ear, and already the number one gaming cat of 2022, she imagines a better place. A country you belong to and is not looked down upon. Well, be careful what you wish for…
And so Frye ends up in Athena, the magical fairytale realm persecuted by Tantas: a kind of angry witch. The how, what and why is still a bit of a mystery, but with her new magical powers, it seems that only Frye can help the residents. In addition, she is the only one to resist The Break, a mysterious substance that sickens the population and turns monsters into dangerous monsters.
Despite the Square Enix studio behind it, Forspoken appears as typical Sony in its first gameplay footage: focus on cinematic scenes, clever commentary, and mouthwatering graphics. With Rogue One writer Gary Whitta and Uncharted writer Amy Henning on board, this makes perfect sense and discreetly exactly what I want from the title. For example, one of the funniest additions to Forspoken is the Cuff, the magical rings that attach to every move Frey takes. While he’s not quite as comical as Nier Replicant’s Grimoire Weiss, his presence seems to give the game some extra flair.
But most importantly, Cuff bestows all kinds of magical powers, making Frey a superhero. Running, teleporting, surfing, swinging and dragging himself on things: in the gameplay demo, Frye actually flies through the ruins and the vast nature of Athena. Combined with the dynamic combat system, Forspoken feels like a game where you can entertain yourself for hours just by moving around like an idiot. Yes, just like in Marvel’s Spider-Man movie.
Speaking of combat, Frey has all kinds of spells indicated by a color via a “spell wheel”. There are blue spells that rain snowflakes on groups of monsters, red spells that conjure a fire sword or spear, and green spells that keep enemies in the air like taming lambs or making Fry temporarily invisible. The range seems almost infinite, allowing you to tinker with various spells in battles against Break zombies and giant dragons.
Plus, there’s just something about Forspoken’s graphic style that sets Magic apart from other games. Each type of spell takes distinctly different shapes, which makes them not only look great, but also make them distinctly distinct. There are crystals, bits of glass, luminous thorns, some kind of “motion blur”, aquatic substances, plants, and lightning bolts. Even during the very mediocre quality of the broadcast I was watching, it became apparent that Forspoken is a beautiful title.
You can of course upgrade all those magic spells in the cities of Athena. Different gowns, necklaces, and cute nail polish determine where your Frye powers lie, though Luminous doesn’t yet know exactly how. And the open world of Athena is still shrouded in mystery. Although I have seen ruins, deserts and forests, it is still of course difficult to estimate how much he pays to explore them. Anyway, know that the game has side quests and towers that are guarded in some cases by very powerful monsters.
Although there is still enough mystery surrounding Forspoken, the first demo of the gameplay certainly does not disappoint. In particular, the parkour and incredibly daring magic system make it a top-ranked title on your 2022 wish list.
Forspoken will be released on May 24, 2022 for PlayStation 5 and PC.
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