Forspoken Discussion Thread

Jahranimo

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ACG review for Forspoken. His verdict: wait for a deep, deep sale.

I recommend watching the video, but here’s some stuff he pointed out that are of most interest to me:
  • Movement: a little loose and floaty, but it’s nice to zip around
  • Combat: mindless due to weak enemy design, others might have fun with playing around with the spells though he thinks it takes too long to build up enough spells to mix and match, the feel of the combat is not as tight as he would have liked, lock on sometimes changes targets just because
  • Gear: vague descriptions, minor stat changes that don’t have appreciable effects
  • Open world: Cluttered map. Collectibles seem haphazardly plopped onto the world, especially the mana bubbles you need for your skills. Some locales are gorgeous
  • Story: terrible, apparently our lead girl stays “a pissy teenager” for the entire game, lots of juvenile swearing, Cuff “is the best example of a character talking a lot without actually saying anything meaningful”, clunky exposition
Outside of story, can confirm all of these bullet points with my time playing the demo.
 

A new Square-Enix game is always cause for celebration and we were really looking forward to Forspoken - but while the final game has much to commend it, we've got plenty of issues too. In this detailed review, John breaks down his critique into what works and what doesn't, summing up with his final impressions having beaten the game.
  • loading is instantaneous, 4 seconds start a new game, .50 seconds to load saves
  • animation in gameplay is very smooth as is secondary animation
    • hair is cards controlled by curves
    • foliage bends to Frey moving through it
  • particles are gpu accelerated and sells the impact of the animation
  • volume clouds and fog is high quality
  • character models are very high quality
  • lighting is a step backward from FF15
    • uses a probe-based GI system, but this isn't the problem
    • indirect lighting is poor and glowy
    • directly lit areas are overly bloomy
    • AO is poor despite all the AMD sponsorship
      • FF15 has better AO, with its VXAO
      • AO is not baked
    • few shadow casting lights
    • areas that should be shadowed are glowing as if they're lit somehow
    • no real-time ToD, so it could be compared to Assassin's Creed Unity, which has baked lighting, but to much superior effect
  • ray traced shadows are good, but distant rasterized shadows aren't existant
    • distant objects don't exist
    • the BVH is only filled with very close objects, leading to a harsh cut-off where the inferior raster shadow map show up
  • environment dressing is poorly integrated
    • buildings don't feel like they're properly placed in the environment from a lighting standpoint
  • cutscenes can have texture issues, weird fade to blacks, and awkward second tier cutscenes
  • slow walking scenes? how about NO WALKING SCENES!?
  • dynamic res with FSR2
  • 1440p in performance mode
  • 2160p in quality and RT mode
  • internal res can be as low as 50% of the listed
  • performance mode has poor IQ (like Matrix Awakens on Series S)
  • John's preferred mode is the RT mode in 120hz mode (40fps)
    • most stable
  • performance
    • performance (60hz) can dip below 60fps to the mid 40s in some areas
    • quality mode (60hz) drops below 30fps in the same areas
    • RT mode (60hz) has less dips in this area
    • performance mode (120hz) allows for vrr to save those bad areas
    • quality (120hz) dips too low for vrr in these bad areas
  • the Project Athia reveal trailer looked better than the final game
 

Sumio Mondo

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68 now. Yikes. Seems like the same issues that plagued FFXV continue here - bad writing, barren open world, not interesting world. Positives seems to be the parkour and combat once you unlock things but the writing sounds like it's really irked some reviewers, going as far to say the dialogue puts them off playing the game.
 
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totofogo

you just got luigi'd
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Sad to see it didn’t pan out but also

That specific clip of dialogue going around is not that much more offensive or different than usual video game dialogue/VA. The real issue people have with it is that it comes from a woman of color and they are showing their ass.

Sad to see some take the wrong conclusion away from these review scores, hope Square doesn’t.
 
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Koren Lesthe

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I am at "this much" to stop following some people I used to like a lot just because not only they're now SquareEnix influencers, they are now spamming "What the hell is wrong with people complaining about Forspoken dialogue ?!".

At this point I'm starting to believe that the most vocal people about the game's dialogue reception are people complaining that there is people who don't like the dialogue.
 
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Aether

Koopa
To say something positive:
it seems the Gameplay conceptually works (zipping around, blasting enemies with spells), but needs a major rework in a sequel.

If they take what they have learned here, take the feedback to heart, and get another chance, it could be great in the sequel...
 

Dekuman

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Between this and Callisto Protocol next/current-gen is not having a good couple of months.
 

EggmaniMN

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I've put about 6 hours into it today and all of the clips I've seen floating around have been from the first hour or so. I turned the banter frequency down to low and whatever dialogue's happened since then's been fine. It's nowhere close to as bad as High on Life or Fire Emblem Engage. Gameplay-wise it's been really fun zipping around shooting rocks and setting traps and all that. The talking scenes in the field people have harped on remind me of the incidental scenes you'd get in Kingdom Hearts 2 or 3 and there's an obviously much higher quality model for directed cutscenes.

idk, the game's generally fine and a 7 is probably where it should end up but people would have you believe it's a 2 judging by the reaction to a game they haven't touched or at best spent 15 minutes with in a demo with no context or explanation of mechanics. Having played all of Square's games from 2022, most of which landed in the same range (and Star Ocean 6 ending up as one of my favorite rpgs of the year), it's fine. A game can just end up okay. It doesn't need vitriol.

The major cool things are that the game is like 90% women in major roles and they're of all ranges of ethnicity, this DirectStorage stuff is incredibly impressive on loading (fast travel is basically instant, loading the game is all of 1 second) making exploration very breezy and side quests involve cats.

If the story ends up just being middling it's just going to go alongside the vast majority of the other rpgs I've played for the last quite a while. Soul Hackers 2, Xenoblade 3, Pokemon, Valkyrie Elysium, Star Ocean 6, Digimon Survive, DioField Chronicles, Atelier Sophie 2, Stranger of Paradise, Monark, Caligula Effect 2, they're all right there with it. Sorry not every RPG can be Tactics Ogre or Trails from Zero.
 

Party Sklar

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Great paper on why the "Whedon-esque" writing in Forspoken doesn't work in favor of the game

 

Aether

Koopa
Great paper on why the "Whedon-esque" writing in Forspoken doesn't work in favor of the game

... i find it kinda to be overwritten for a handful of sentences (without having played it, mind you).
Its lack of sincerity, its an ironic detachment, as if the writers are ashamed of doing fantastic things, and the vehicle for that is a character that stands above it, doesn't take anything serious (even if its their real life on the line in the narrative).

Its an isekai, some "that's weird" is to be expected from the character, but it should be reduced, spoken more carefully, etc.
small banter with a new friend next to a campfire? sure, make fun of how you find the world ridiculous. while being caught and brought in front of a king/queen/witch/person that could end your life: keep your mouth shut. may, cautiously ask why somebody is talking in ryme if you are confused by it in that world. (yeah, im writing if im talking to the character... don't know why)
 

Xaltmas

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I actually really enjoyed the demo. Sadly it'll be another few days before my Stone Age internet finishes in the installation so I can play it.
 
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Jahranimo

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I may download the PC demo tonight mostly to see how poorly it will run with my Ryzen 5 3600 CPU 😅
 
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zhou

Shriekbat
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I am watching videos of best builds and man, the game does look fun.
 
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Koren Lesthe

Terranigma & Turrican lover
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Ouch

I wonder if the fast loading times will happen in a PC with a NVMe SSD
I have a Samsung SSD (870 Evo IIRC) and it loads very, very fast. Not as fast as the PS5 SSD but still.

Tales of Arise have almost non existant loading times on my rig.
 

wolftendo

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I have a Samsung SSD (870 Evo IIRC) and it loads very, very fast. Not as fast as the PS5 SSD but still.

Tales of Arise have almost non existant loading times on my rig.
My Kingston NVMe loads games real fast.

Going from the 60 FPS - 3 sec. long loading times in Genshin Impact PC version to the 25-ish FPS - 40 sec loading times in the PS4 version gave me whiplash.
 

KingOnion

Octorok
Great paper on why the "Whedon-esque" writing in Forspoken doesn't work in favor of the game

Dang, this really resonates with me. The lack of sincerity to a game's world kills so many franchises in my eyes. I think the Yakuza series looks great, for example, but then I see clips of men rolling around in diapers, talking chickens, and panty related side quests and my interest is gone. I just can't take the world serious so the whole thing falls flat when an actual story is trying to be told.

Stephen King released a fantasy novel last year, Fairy Tale, and it was my favorite book that year because, while having SK's style of humor peppered throughout, was overwhelmingly serious with its world. It presented a handful of interesting ideas that could only work in a traditional fantasy setting and played them straight. Every peak at the larger world outside the main character's story was truly fascinating and I spent a lot of time just fantasizing about the world, something I haven't really done since I was younger. I don't think I would've been as invested if everything was a constant wink at the reader to fantasy cliches.

No real point to make, I just really liked that book lol. Writers are free to do whatever they want, I just like when they take their creations seriously.
 

Hailinel

Musou Mania!
Dang, this really resonates with me. The lack of sincerity to a game's world kills so many franchises in my eyes. I think the Yakuza series looks great, for example, but then I see clips of men rolling around in diapers, talking chickens, and panty related side quests and my interest is gone. I just can't take the world serious so the whole thing falls flat when an actual story is trying to be told.

Stephen King released a fantasy novel last year, Fairy Tale, and it was my favorite book that year because, while having SK's style of humor peppered throughout, was overwhelmingly serious with its world. It presented a handful of interesting ideas that could only work in a traditional fantasy setting and played them straight. Every peak at the larger world outside the main character's story was truly fascinating and I spent a lot of time just fantasizing about the world, something I haven't really done since I was younger. I don't think I would've been as invested if everything was a constant wink at the reader to fantasy cliches.

No real point to make, I just really liked that book lol. Writers are free to do whatever they want, I just like when they take their creations seriously.
I think that an important distinction to be made (and where mileage will vary) is that the wackier substories in Yakuza aren't treated with a smirking "I guess I'm doing this now" quip or sideeye to the audience. The protagonist, whether it be Kiryu or anyone else, plays it straight. Yakuza acknowledges that eccentricities exist and people can do weird shit, and just rolls with it, even when it involves getting into a brawl with a baby-play fetishist. It's certainly not an everyday situation, but the games just treat that kind of nonsense as just part of life because life is often nonsensical.

By contrast, Forspoken is all about the smirking, winking to the camera, Whedon-esque nonsense of the protagonist actively sabotaging the dramatic stakes for the sake of a clever quip that exists only to point out how stupid the world around them is.
 

Ramune

마.리.오. In the morning
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Dang, this really resonates with me. The lack of sincerity to a game's world kills so many franchises in my eyes. I think the Yakuza series looks great, for example, but then I see clips of men rolling around in diapers, talking chickens, and panty related side quests and my interest is gone. I just can't take the world serious so the whole thing falls flat when an actual story is trying to be told.
I think Yakuza is very different to what Forspoken appears to be doing. I've been playing Yakuza 0 recently and the main story is very sincere and it takes itself seriously even when it's being over the top. The substories tend to have sincere beats between the humour and the game accepts weird characters and oddness as part of its world without questioning it. A big part of the humour and how the game includes all the weird stuff is that Kiryu takes it seriously and agrees to and accepts a lot. The game believes in every part of itself and is never ashamed of what it's doing as Austin talks about in the article above.

The problem is less silliness, and more what looks like embarrassment at silliness or working within certain genres.

I don't think it's necessarily a dealbreaker though, especially if you can do things like turn down banter. I think it's also falling victim to the natural backlash towards that style of writing in genre fiction - back in the day when genre television and cinema didn't have as much prestige or popularity as it does now, it was a way to make it palatable to wider audiences. "We think this is dweebish too! Aren't we so silly?" But now that the most popular media is all superheroes and dragons, it feels unnecessary. More people have moved beyond feeling like something has to be a guilty pleasure or like they have to qualify anything unserious or unrealistic with "yeah, I know", so having the text itself behave that way seems outdated and passé. And I say all this as someone who was a big Buffy fan. It was of its time. I'm sure it will have its time again too.

Some of it is also just part of the fish out of water fantasy sub-genre though. I don't like what I've heard in the clips, but I'm not surprised by it. I also assume watching all the 'worst bits' on Twitter is not the same as having them spread throughout a game less densely.
 

Belinda Blumenthal

Sales Director
Played a couple of hours tonight, really enjoying it so far. I’m playing on PC, and the mouse and keyboard controls are sooooo much better than the controller controls imo. The game is really a shooter pretending to be something else so that makes sense.

Unfortunately, my GPU only has 8GB of VRAM which means textures look really soupy a lot of the time. Like Final Fantasy 7 Remake on PS4 soupy. 😅
 

Brock Reiher

Kremling
Played up until the download not finished roadblock. Really good introduction, felt like really being in New York in a way I've never seen in a video game. We love Homer
 

Jahranimo

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It doesn't make me nervous, I just know the writing will be terrible lol.
So I've been watching a couple of streams and honestly? Outside of a few early parts I think the writing is just fine. Frey's reaction to everything after getting isekai'd into Athia can be realistic in a sense (who wouldn't lose their shit to an actual real dragon?!) Plus her little banter with Cuff is alright.

Still not getting this until a steep discount but yeah lol.
 
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EggmaniMN

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By contrast, Forspoken is all about the smirking, winking to the camera, Whedon-esque nonsense of the protagonist actively sabotaging the dramatic stakes for the sake of a clever quip that exists only to point out how stupid the world around them is.

It absolutely isn't like this at all. Frey's taking all of the serious story beats seriously going through the game once she gets over the shock of being in Athia and has to actually deal with it and I don't know where people are getting this idea from that she's acting like Spiderman the whole time. She goads Tanta Sila but that isn't a quip and other than that the entire confrontation is taken seriously including the fact that she has to kill someone who maybe isn't too far gone.

That youtube video people are posting is terrible.
 

Yamanoi

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I decided to play in Ray Tracing 120hz mode on PS5 and see how it is there. Did anyone get a pre-order code with the physical release on PS5?
 
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Jahranimo

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It absolutely isn't like this at all. Frey's taking all of the serious story beats seriously going through the game once she gets over the shock of being in Athia and has to actually deal with it and I don't know where people are getting this idea from that she's acting like Spiderman the whole time.

It's the disease called Twitter Hive Mind™
 
I played a little over 10 hours and is on Chapter 5. So far the game is a 6/10 for me. Now whether that improves, by the time I finish. Remains to be seen.

I don't have the same issues I been seeing a lot of people complain about. Don't have an issue with the story, dialogue, Frey, etc. The story has been ok so far. The dialogue doesn't bother me. I've heard far worse before. I don't think Frey is a bad character. She is a ok character.

My issues I have with the game, is the game world isn't all that interesting from the time I played with it so far. Going from area to area, exploring, doing detours, and other side content, feels really tedious and repetitive. The combat is decent and the parkour traversal is good. But the overall game has been a bit boring. I always finish a game when I start it. Regardless of the enjoyment. So going to finish it up before I start on Dead Space. But so far my impressions are the game is slightly above average.
 
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Been playing this. Not gonna lie, it's a bit of an unfocused mess in a lot of ways that I'm no sure is super good. That being said, the reviews and reactions to this make very little sense after actually playing it. The writing isn't amazing, but I've honestly liked it more moment to moment than other Sony projects. The writing problems really come through in a lot of other ways. It is overproduced to hell and back on so many fronts, but not really any more than other AAA projects. Just feels a little weird that some of the small things in this got harped on as ruining when they are just kinda mediocre throwaways, while there are other gigantic elephants in the room going on with it.

Still like the game though, and will probably finish it. Just wanted to throw my 2 cents in that this is a pretty "meh to alright" game that I enjoy enough, but the reasons I feel that way sit in really weird contrast to the WoM I was getting.
 
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