Forspoken Receives Lukewarm Reviews on Eve of Launch

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Image: Square Enix

Forspoken may not be the huge hit that Square Enix was anticipating. According to initial reviews of the game that went live today, the new fantasy RPG from Luminous Productions could have turned out better, with many critics pointing out its alleged shortcomings, which seemingly include a poor story, short length, unlikable main character, dull open world, and gameplay system that really only shines later in the adventure. One publication goes so far as to suggest that Forspoken may be 2023’s worst game, while another described it as a “magical world without wonder,” although some have tried to be positive, calling it a true next-gen experience that features great visuals.

Forspoken currently has a 68 Metascore at Metacritic, derived from 62 reviews, 37 of which are mixed and lean more toward the negative:

Digital Trends (70): I would recommend Forspoken to action and RPG fans, but I wish I could give them one of my save files with total open-world freedom and most of the traversal and combat spells unlocked from the jump. The adventure is at its weakest when it’s forcing players to wade through lots of poor narrative content that takes too long to pay off. Its best beats aren’t paced or delivered well and serve as a weighty vambrace holding back this game’s true magic: a dazzling open-world game that truly does feel next-gen.

Game Informer (75): Forspoken’s story and combat fail to reach the heights of its movement and exploration, but thankfully those two latter elements make up most of the experience. I sprinted, often literally, through the campaign in about 15 hours, and now I have a large world filled with nooks and crannies I’m eager to run through and explore. The narrative won’t linger with me, and I avoided combat in the open world often, but I loved making Frey leap and fly through Athia to discover all its treasure chests and secrets.

GamesRadar+ (50): Forspoken shines brightest when its protagonist is dipping, ducking, and diving along the generally striking world of Athia while casting a variety of spells, but the standard fish-out-of-water fantasy story of Frey only subtracts from the experience.

GameSpot (50): Forspoken is visually stimulating and a musical delight, but boring combat, poor characterization, and loose movement mechanics make for a mediocre experience.

IGN (60): Forspoken’s flashy combat and parkour can be fun, but they aren’t enough to make its cliche story and barebones open world very interesting to explore.

VG247 (60): In the cut-throat race for your attention, Forspoken feels like a new IP that’s trying to run full pelt alongside heavy-hitting franchises from other big publishers. But it ploughs, shin-first, through every hurdle along the way. Its stuttering start belies a combat system that’s worth investing the effort to learn, but takes so long to get up to full speed that it’s already on borrowed time.

Forspoken will be released for the PS5 and PC (Steam, Microsoft Store, Epic Games Store) tomorrow, January 24, 2023. It is the second project from Luminous Productions, the studio behind 2016’s Final Fantasy XV. PC users will need 32 GB of RAM for Forspoken’s Ultra setting, according to system requirements that Square Enix shared last week.

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Tsing Mui
News poster at The FPS Review.

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