‘Forspoken’ Review: A portal into a world without wonder or heart

Rejected is a disappointing exit from a developer who advertises “key members” of Final Fantasy XV a team that feels at best disinterested in its black hero and at worst resentful of her.

The game offers a portal fantasy: New Yorker Alfre “Frey” Holland is transported to Atia, a magical world where she gains new powers and battles countless evils. Rejected pulls from genre brackets and even starts with Alice in Wonderland references, but also falls into troubling tropes.

Simply put, Square Enix is ​​up against too many open-world competitors to get away with a poor performance like this.

As publisher Square Enix has already warmed to the defense of upcoming producer Naoki Yoshida Final Fantasy XVI’scarce variety, Rejected makes the nightmarish choice to begin with his Black hero in court for her third offense. If the sloppy opening—laying out Frey’s entire backstory via documents on a table, with a judge handing down a community service sentence—doesn’t immediately put you off, the lack of attention only gets worse from there.

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Let’s start with the graphics. The doors inexplicably grow or shrink depending on how you look at them (reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland in all the wrong ways). The opening chapter shows New York with snow in December, but the ground remains dry, presumably to avoid ray tracing. Actually the game doesn’t seem to include any kind ray tracing until Frey arrives at Atia. This fantasy world certainly looks appealing, but I’ve found that this is often because the RTX technology hides art assets that are really cheap and boring.

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<em>Forspoken</em>tries to deliver big-budget, beautiful environments, but doesn’t compete with rival open-world titles.” srcset=”https://npr.brightspotcdn.com/dims4/default/44ff41c/2147483647/strip/true/crop/3492×1964+ 0+0/resize/1760×990!/quality/90/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fmedia.npr.org%2Fassets%2Fimg%2F2023%2F01%2F22%2Fforspoken_20230122144303-andy_wide-95c85d3888d4a9803340b021a640214d4c8.jpg width=”x8″ 880″ height=”495″ src=”https://npr.brightspotcdn.com/dims4/default/d82685b/2147483647/strip/true/crop/3492×1964+0+0/resize/880×495!/quality/90/? url=https%3A%2F%2Fmedia.npr.org%2Fassets%2Fimg%2F2023%2F01%2F22%2Fforspoken_20230122144303-andy_wide-95c85d3888d4a9803340b021a640211d48e254c8.jpg”svg loading=”lazy” bad-src+xml=”image:image; base64,PHN2ZyB4bWxucz0iaHR0cDovL3d3dy53My5vcmcvMjAwMC9zdmciIHZlcnNpb249IjEuMSIgaGVpZ2h0PSI0OTVweCIgd2lkdGg9Ijg4MHB4Ij48L3N2Zz4=”/></p>
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/ Square Enix


Square Enix

Rejected it tries to deliver big-budget, beautiful environments, but doesn’t compete with rival open-world titles.

Outdated and mediocre gameplay

Cheap and boring also describes the writing, which also has the audacity to think it’s clever. The lattice and constant the conversations between Frey and “Cuff,” the talking vampire who powers her, range from petty jabs to smug celebration as you endure the game’s mediocre combat.

It’s true that combat does get more interesting as you defeat bosses and gain their abilities, but it feels dated even compared to the 2016 inspiration. Final Fantasy XV. The much-hyped magic parkour can be fun, but it’s also clunky and difficult to control.

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Simply put, Square Enix is ​​up against too many open-world competitors to get away with a poor performance like this. Horizon Forbidden West and Elden Ring — even the much maligned ones Cyberpunk 2077 — puts much more effort into rewarding player exploration. in Rejectedthe land abounds in fields and rocks, but lacks heart.

Danny Lorre is a black writer of science fiction/fantasy, prose, and comics. They come from Harlem and the Bronx.

Andy Bickerton and James Perkins Mastromarino contributed to this story. contributed to this story

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.


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