“Forspoken takes too long to get started due to a poorly paced story, but its dazzling spells and traversal of parkour will reward patient players.”
Athia is worth exploring
Good prospecting performance
Rewarding open-world design
Intense magic combat
Struggles to connect story and gameplay
Controls are not suitable for newcomers
As I hurled a machine-gun-like flurry of rocks at a swarm of enemies that I had frozen with another of my magic abilities, I began to realize just how the prophesied could be. Square Enix’s new action-adventure game dazzles once it gives players free rein to parkour in its open world and slingshot spells. Unfortunately, it takes a while to get to that point, and even once it does, he struggles to stay focused on it.
the prophesied is the first major AAA release of the year and the latest PlayStation 5 console exclusive, so all eyes are on it. Once players have time to get to grips with the controls, running around in Athia’s vast and well-designed open world is equally adventurous and exhilarating, with combat acting as a visual spectacle that rewards mastery of its systems. Forspoken’s The story is much less cohesive, however, with an excellent lead performance and notable twists that are marred by poor pacing and delivery.
the prophesied is magical when focusing on your strengths, but you’ll have to crawl through a slow opening. The endless story interludes also fail to emphasize what the game does best. These flaws keep it from becoming the next big open-world game, but fantasy fans should find plenty to enjoy as they traverse a vast world as a powerful sorceress.
the prophesied follows Alfrey Holland, who goes by Frey, a troubled 21-year-old orphan taken to a magical world called Athia (Alice in Wonderland) on Christmas Day. She wakes up with a sarcastic magic cuff strapped to her arm that helps guide her. Soon, Frey discovers that a deadly force called the Break is afflicting Athia after the Tantas, the four female rulers of this world, have gone mad. Initially, Frey wants none of this and only wants to find her way back to New York, but she is dragged into an adventure to save the world by Cuff and other friends she makes in Athia.
Fun action sequences are split between long narrative-driven spurts, leaving a disconnect between the two.
The broad outlines of the narrative generally work, as it has fun showing players its world through the eyes of a woman who consistently refuses the call to adventure and criticizes RPG tropes we typically overlook, like its protagonists. murdering people for personal gain. It’s fun to see Japanese-style AAA gaming sensibilities, much like you’d find at developer Luminous Productions. Final Fantasy XV, applied to a resolutely Western imaginary universe. Unfortunately, this story never fully unfolds for several reasons.
It’s heartwarming to see a non-white protagonist in a major video game, and Luminous tries to pair it with a racial allegory about a character who feels belittled and out of place in Athia at the start. But the prophesied isn’t very interested in engaging with these ideas as anything more than a backstory and narrative showcase (Frey has a storied history, with an arrest record, but it’s little more than a readable beginning of game). The plot that is neither is it gracefully delivered. The first few hours of this 20-hour adventure are mostly story-driven, undermining gameplay and preloading the experience with lots of character stories, lore, and jargon that don’t make much sense the first time you see it. hear.
With a preloaded story and controls that take some getting used to, Forspoken’s the first few hours are the worst. Hit open-world games like elderberry ring understand that the faster you get players into the sandbox, the better. the prophesied never feels rushed to do so, which rather makes this new IP more overwhelming than inviting. A narrative twist towards the end also adds intriguing depth to the adventure, making me want to see the game through to the end. But that never goes through the effort to merge story and gameplay as well. Instead, fun action sequences are split between long narrative-driven spurts, leaving a disconnect between the two.
Thankfully, the narrative gaps are backed up by a strong performance from Ella Balinska. While movie actors who make the jump to video games often get mixed results, Ella’s passion for Frey shines through in some of the game’s extended monologues, even when they’re full of jargon. Unfortunately, I usually wanted to jump down the rabbit hole to get back to the fun, open-world gameplay of those times.
Forspoken has that open-world magic
The narrative segments of the prophesied, which are often set in the town of Cipal, do little to highlight the game’s greatest strengths: its combat and exploration. Still, players will experience delightful open-world gameplay once the game opens up for several hours. Athia looks stunning in either Quality or Performance mode, with stark rock formations serving as an intimidating backdrop to various biomes and landscapes, from deserts to openness. from fields to mountains that seem to be collapsing.
Exploring these areas is also great fun. By simply holding down the Circle button, players can “Flow” to run fast around Athia and even park on more objects. Over time, players will unlock the ability to grapple and even surf water, as the player’s exploration methods and access to areas to explore continually develop. Momentum feels heavy but satisfyingly substantial while galloping around Athia, and it only gets more and more fun as the game progresses.
While in Athia, players will discover ruins of villages and fortresses that existed before the Severance: monuments that boost stats, pilgrim refuges where Frey can rest, craft and upgrade gear, and much more. No matter what players decide to do in the open world, the game will reward them with something useful. There are always new places to visit to find new coats, necklaces, or studs (and the customizable buffs that come with them), as well as exciting archive entries or general stat boosts. Even if you don’t head to a specific objective, you’ll find mana to upgrade Frey’s abilities and chests with crafting items scattered around Athia.
I was always looking for the most effective ways to combine my parkour and magical abilities in the end.
Players are not only rewarded for discovering the map, but they will gain power by exploring, collecting, and crafting. While doing so, Frey encounters a wide variety of Break-infected enemies and must take them down with magic, making for a visual spectacle on the PS5. She begins with rock and plant-based skills, but gains fire, water, and energy-based magic as the story progresses. Magic is split into attack and support types, and players must juggle them effectively to be successful.
At the end of the prophesied, players will have access to four different types of magic, each with three main types of attack spells and eight types of support spells to unlock. Each spell works differently, but matches general archetypes. For example, Frey’s rock and plant-based abilities are great for fighting enemies from a distance, but fire-based magic will become much more useful later in head-on encounters. Parkour also plays a role in combat, as players will successfully dodge attacks while using Flow, and can even combine it into stronger magic types.
As the game progresses, Frey’s stats improve, spells are enhanced by completing side challenges, and combat becomes more intense. Players are not only rewarded with a visual spectacle for casting spells, but they will also do significantly more damage. However, it took me several hours to get to this point with the prophesied, as there isn’t a lot of combat at first, and the controls feel heavy at first. Holding Circle to run while using all of the controller’s triggers and bumpers to use magic stretched the DualSense (and my hands) to their limits. It took me a few hours of exploring to get used to, but I was always looking for the most effective ways to combine my parkour and magical abilities in the end.
give him time
This initial learning curve only highlights Forspoken’s slow introduction later. Losing those magical abilities when I returned to Cipal made me wish I was back in the open world. the prophesied just doesn’t play to its strengths by taking this approach. In fact, there are entire vast sectors of this world that the main story never requires players to venture into at all; most of the story takes place in a town, leaving swaths of the map feeling like empty space.
the prophesied knows how to properly design an open-world game: there’s always somewhere interesting to go, it’s fun to go there, and you’ll always be rewarded for your commitment. That’s why it’s so painful that it takes so long to get to that gameplay loop and sometimes players are pulled back into more linear sections so the story can progress.
I would recommend the prophesied Action and RPG fans, but I wish I could give them one of my save files with full open-world freedom and most traversal and combat spells unlocked from jumping. The adventure is at its weakest when it forces players to wade through a lot of mediocre narrative content that takes too long to pay off. Its best beats aren’t rhythmic or well-delivered and serve as heavy vambrace holding back the real magic of this game: dazzling open-world gameplay that truly feels next-gen.
Digital trends reviewed the prophesied on PS5. It will also be released on PC on January 24.