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Forspoken review: Square-Enix’s risky new IP arrives half-baked

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Everyone is excited for Final Fantasy XVI, but in an age of endless sequels the fresh and original action RPG Forspoken has gamers hoping that a fun new franchise is being minted.

Unfortunately, Square-Enix’s risky bet doesn’t quite pay off: it’s an ambitious but disjointed experience that feels for all the world like none of its developers played it.Forspoken (for PC and PS5) follows the popular isekai trope, in which someone from our world is suddenly and inexplicably transported to another, usually a fantasy one in which their modern knowledge and sensibilities work to both their advantage and detriment.In this case, Frey, a young woman from Manhattan with a mysterious origin (but more pressing legal and money troubles) is sent to Athia, a once beautiful land ravaged by a corruptive force and lorded over by four mad, magical matriarchs.

Frey must figure out what’s happening and save the world, etc, etc, with the help of a sassy sentient vambrace (Cuff) whose voice only she can hear.The player guides Frey through the world, battling monsters and collecting new gear, and scampering over the landscape using a “magical parkour” system that, while a bit imprecise, does impart a nice sense of speed and agility.

Further traversal abilities, like a magical grappling hook, are acquired over time.Combat has Frey swapping between several spell types and eventually elements, peppering monsters from afar or slashing them up close, dancing around them and dodging their attacks.

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