Forspoken preview: Eye-catching combat, fluid movement, & a mysterious new world

Forspoken preview action RPGSquare Enix

Forspoken brings eye-catching combat, fluid movement, and a mysterious new world to the table while putting you in the shoes of Frey and her talkative companion, Cuff.

Square Enix are known for their iconic Final Fantasy series that’s beloved by fans across the globe, but in 2023 they’re introducing a new IP in the form of Forspoken.

While Luminous Productions’ upcoming action RPG certainly shares DNA with the classic franchise, it’s a unique package with a mysterious world to explore, interesting friends and foes to meet, and eye-catching combat that always keeps you on your toes.

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Although we were only given access to Chapters 2, 3, and 5 of the main story during the preview, what we saw certainly impressed us, with one particular boss battle stealing the show.

Plunged into the mysterious & otherwordly Athia

Athia ForspokenSquare Enix
The world of Athia is made up of four realms each ruled by the Tanta.

Forspoken puts you in the shoes of the young New Yorker, Frey Holland, after she’s thrust into the mysterious world of Athia — an otherworldly continent filled with medieval buildings and magical creatures. Luckily, Frey isn’t alone on her journey and is accompanied by the overly talkative but extremely useful Cuff, a bracelet that grants Frey extremely powerful magical attacks and fluid movement.

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Despite arriving as an outsider with her only goal to return home, Frey’s motives quickly shift after discovering the last bastion of humanity in Athia, the city of Cipal. Her friendships give her a chance to learn about the deadly fog called The Break that humanity is trying to cure as well as the tyrannical Tantas, god-like figures that rule over Athia with an iron fist. It’s these threats that lead Frey into the open world in the hopes of saving the last of the human population and taking down the Tantas for good.

Luckily, Frey has plenty of options when it comes to combat and taking down her foes. Forspoken adopts an action-based combat system that is made up of both support and offensive spells. As these eye-catching abilities can be switched on the fly in the middle of a battle, skirmishes feel fast-paced, and dashing out of the way of enemy attacks is absolutely essential. As you would expect, players are given a huge amount of customization through skills trees that can be leveled up using mana.

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Traveling across Athia is incredibly fun thanks to the fluid and satisfying parkour mechanic that allows Frey to traverse the landscape with ease. While running across Athia is undeniably fun, the world can feel empty in certain areas, and the linear open-world design that features countless map markers does feel slightly outdated when compared to other recent RPG releases. This mediocrity can also be felt in the game’s sidequests, which from what we played in the preview, were disappointing in some areas and felt like filler. Fortunately, the game makes up for this with Labyrinths which are dungeons that can be found in the open world that present a difficult PvE challenge in return for useful rewards.

Tanta Sila boss battle steals the show

Tanta Sila ForspokenSquare Enix
Tanta Sila is a multi-phased boss battle in Forspoken.

Without a doubt, the highlight of the preview was Frey’s intense battle with Tanta Sila, one of the four rulers of the land of Athia. The multi-phased boss battle was an exciting challenge that required precise dodge rolls and use the of the environment to evade certain abilities. Not only that, while Forspoken doesn’t have particularly mind-blowing visuals, the location for this boss battle was perfect, with Frey facing the tyrannical ruler in her intimidating throne room.

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Although we only came into contact with one of the Tantas during our preview, if the others are anything like Sila, they’re certainly well-worth tracking down. Just remember to come in prepared, or it may take you a long time to come out victorious.

Final thoughts

Overall, Forspoken is a solid RPG that features impressive combat and an array of challenging boss battles. While the game’s linear open-world design, mediocre visuals, and unnatural dialogue do let it down in certain areas, it’s incredibly fun to play and with so many eye-catching spells to unlock, it’s certainly going to grip fans of action-based combat.

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Forspoken launches on January 23, 2023, for PS5 and PC.

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