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First Impressions: Forspoken [PS5]

Forspoken has already shown a solid gameplay loop and a surprisingly investing story in its first few hours.

It’s not hard to see how Forspoken has divided players and critics since it was first announced. Given the current gaming landscape and how cynical the discourse around any triple-A game gets, this game had an uphill climb from the start.

Add to that a much-disliked trailer and a PlayStation 5 demo that gave many players bad vibes (including yours truly), and it looks like this game might have a rocky start saleswise.

Still, you know what they say about books and covers. A trailer doesn’t represent the final product. A demo doesn’t represent the final product. I’ve put about two-and-a-half hours into the game on the PS5 since it launched today, and you know what? My first impressions of Forspoken are pretty solid.

Leaving many things spoken

Frey Holland
Frey’s got a lot to say.

I’ve tackled the game’s first three chapters so far, and that’s obviously not enough to fully judge the narrative. So far, I’ve taken protagonist Frey Holland into the first reaches of the mysterious world of Athia. There’s been a couple of fights, a few choice encounters with some ye olde townsfolk, and even a battle with a dragon.

It should be noted that the game hasn’t really opened up yet, with most of the initial progress confined to linear areas. That’s not what the rest of Forspoken is supposed to be like, so these are truly my first impressions before the game really gets going.

There’s only been a couple of story moments so far, yet at the moment, I’m into it. There’s already been a couple of twists and turns that have kept me interested. It’s surprisingly engaging for a fantasy action-RPG — and that’s a genre I have a hard time really getting into.

The only thing that might be a blocker is the game’s tone. Everyone’s already ripped the dialogue a new one, but honestly, that might be a case of bad advertising. Forspoken’s dialogue is snappy, sometimes even sharp, with only a few lines I might consider groan-worthy. I’m not gonna say it’s flawless, but so far, it’s nothing worth writing the game off about.

Forspoken shines in the gameplay

Send the scourge of Athia flying with your spells.

The general consensus I’m seeing from critics is that Forspoken‘s combat loop is solid overall, and I definitely agree. I’ve only unlocked a couple of offensive spells so far, but there’s enough versatility in Frey’s moveset to keep combat engaging. While I haven’t got the chance to try out most of the parkour spells, I’m having a fun time blasting the ones I do have out in combat to switch things up a bit.

Most of the enemies I’ve encountered so far have been a piece of cake, though. That’s likely just the early game difficulty (I’m playing on the Default difficulty setting, by the way), but even the boss battles haven’t given me too much of a struggle. Healing potions are plentiful, and thanks to the parkour and telegraphed attacks, dodging attacks is pretty simple.

I will say, though; my first impressions of the open world of Forspoken leave a bit to be desired. Just by looking at the map, I can tell there’s plenty of stuff to do and places to visit. However, unless it’s in the way of a main objective, I haven’t found the urge to look for all the side content yet. Maybe it’ll come to me, but for now, I’m just sorta cruising through the main story chapters.

Will my first impressions of Forspoken keep me going?

Forspoken Bard
There’s a solid rhythm to Forspoken so far.

If my first few hours with Forspoken are anything to go by, I might have a lot of enjoyment in the realm of Athia. The combat is enjoyable, there’s plenty of content, and a few dialogue problems aside, I’m actually invested in where the story is going.

The game’s definitely not going to be for everyone. I’ll confess that I was plenty skeptical myself, especially after playing the demo. Yet it seems like Luminous Productions has taken feedback from that demo to heart and made a couple of improvements.

Forspoken’s biggest challenge, of course, will be keeping that momentum going. The opening few chapters were solid, but I’ve still got quite a ways to go until I reach the end. I doubt it’s gonna be groundbreaking, but if it keeps things up, I’d be inclined to give it a recommendation. We’ll see when I pen down my final thoughts.

What are your thoughts on Forspoken so far, if you’ve played it? Let us know!

Daniel Hein

Daniel Hein is either A) a lifelong video game fanatic, writer, and storyteller just sharing his thoughts on things, or B) some kind of werewolf creature. We're not quite sure which yet. He also makes mediocre video game retrospectives (and other content!) on YouTube where you can watch him babble on for hours about nothing.
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