“Forspoken” Fun Is Ruined By Glitches, Frustrating Game Design, Character Writing: The Shield

%0AForspoken+is+an+open+world%2C+role-playing+game+set+in+Athia%2C+a+fantasy+world+invaded+by+dark+magic.+The+game+has+ many+ gameplay+related+issues%2C+PC+character+writing+and+optimization.+%28Photo+courtesy+of+Square+Enix%29

Forspoken is an open world RPG set in Athia, a fantasy world overrun by dark magic. The game has many issues related to gameplay, PC optimization, and character writing. (Photo courtesy of Square Enix)

There’s a pretty good list of games I’m excited for in 2023, and “Forspoken” was one of them. I saw the trailers for the game and got quite interested.

When I finally dug into the game, it turned out to be one of the most frustrating and technically unstable games I’ve played in a long time.

Forspoken is an open world role playing game. You play as Frey, a young New Yorker who is transported to Athia, a fantasy world corrupted by an unknown magical force. In search of a way home, Frey must use his new magical abilities to fight monsters and human enemies.

Based on the trailers for “Forspoken”, the gameplay looked very entertaining. The magic-based combat mixed with the parkour gameplay seemed flashy and fun, and for the most part, it was.

The game’s combat is based on the use of different magic spells depending on the enemy you are fighting. If you’re fighting a flying enemy, you’ll want a ranged attack. If you’re fighting an enemy that’s fast, you’ll want to use a melee spell. This spell changing mechanic combined with the fluid parkour is a fun time. Circling around a monster while casting magical attacks is where the game is at its best.

The game crashes when it comes to anything outside of combat. Talking to other characters and constantly appearing tutorials drag the game down.

Frey, voiced by Ella Balinska, is the main character in “Forspoken”. Frey’s writing is the worst aspect of the game because her character is mean to everyone around her and she doesn’t have significant character development. (Photo courtesy of Square Enix)

Every time there is a line of dialogue or a scene, you cannot move for at least five seconds. It doesn’t sound too bad until you enter the game’s vast open world. Every time you meet someone or find a new mechanic, the game stops your movement and decides not to let you play. It feels like something a PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360 open world game would do.

It sucks to go half a video game without playing. Popups slow down the game and force the player to skip everything to get back to the fun. What also sucks is that for the PC port of the game, the game has major glitches.

I don’t have the best PC in the world, but it can usually run anything you throw at it and get a consistent 60 frames per second. With this game, I was barely able to crack 20 frames on low settings. The PC system requirements for “Forspoken” are absurd and insane. It’s not as thickly atmospheric as “Cyberpunk 2077” nor as graphically detailed as “Red Dead Redemption 2” and yet those games manage 60 FPS much better than this one.

I don’t understand why PC game ports keep being released in such poor states. I understand that developing a game is difficult, but when it’s a constant problem, there’s no excuse for it. I haven’t played the game on a PlayStation 5, so I can’t comment on technical issues on that console, but the PC port of “Forspoken” is tricky.

Although the PC port is poorly optimized, I can force it. What I can’t ignore is the writing of the main character Frey.

Athia’s open world is big and beautiful. Navigating the world can be challenging because traveling long distances in a short amount of time can lead to massive frame drops. (Photo by Ian Young)

Frey is an insufferable jerk to everyone around her and doesn’t experience any character development throughout the entire game. I don’t care about a character that’s bad and hard for you to root for, but usually there’s a redemption arc or something that gives that character charm.

For example, Arthur Morgan from “Red Dead Redemption 2”. He is one of the best written characters in any video game. He starts out as an outlaw from a ruthless gang. He is mean and tries to emotionally separate himself from everyone he hurts because of the gang. As you play, Arthur grows as a character and becomes not just a good man, but someone who learns to care and be kind to everyone around him in order to make the world a better place.

Frey gets nothing from this development, and she’s the exact same character through and through. She is a selfish jerk who doesn’t care about anyone around her except herself.

I’m so tired of games, movies and TV series writing these types of characters. Writing a character that has no other distinguishing qualities besides cracking jokes and being a jerk is not good writing. I can excuse silly dialogue, I can excuse a bad story, but a character who won’t shut up and puts everyone else down is a character trope that needs to go.

Any fun or pleasure I got from “Forspoken” was immediately wiped out due to outdated game design choices, poor PC optimization, and a main character who is annoying and obnoxious. I would rate “Forspoken” four stars out of 10.