Forspoken review: a bland and disappointing open-world game

While developer Luminous Productions has created a beautiful world, the barren lands, poor quests, and lacklustre story make Forspoken a disappointing open-world game.

Games like Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom give you a lot of freedom in tackling your objective. So much so that you could be sure you’d break the game with an out-of-the-box approach only to realise that the developers probably knew you’d try something like that. At the other end of the spectrum, you have games like The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, GTA V, Ghost of Tsushima, Horizon Forbidden West, and others that are more cinematic and let you run wild on a map littered with icons to enjoy a good story. There are also games like Assassin’s Creed Origins/ Valhalla that give you endless grinding activities. We do have the occasional surprise like Ghostwire Tokyo and Hogwarts Legacy that put their own spin on the tried and tested open-world genre to offer an interesting experience. Forspoken sadly doesn’t deliver on any of the fronts that made the above-mentioned games an enjoyable experience.


You don the role of a young girl named Frey who has a reputation for getting on the wrong side of the law. She magically finds herself in the fantastical city of Athia and is the only one who can save the day. The plot follows tried and tested ropes we’ve seen where someone from “our world” is transported into a magical world, be it Alice in Wonderland, The Chronicles of Narnia and so many others. In this journey, you are accompanied by a cuff on your hand conveniently named “Cuff”, acting as the player’s bridge to understanding the troubles and happenings in Athia.

The foundation for the story is quite strong but the relationship between Frey and Cuff is irritating more than enjoyable. We’ve seen games where the protagonist has a companion throughout, be it God of War 2018, The Last of Us, A Plagues Tale Innocence, Ratchet and Clank and so many more, where the relationship between the protagonist and his AI companion is really enjoyable. That element is missing from Forspoken and makes the story a lot less enjoyable.


The gameplay in Forspoken has the potential to be good eventually, but the beginning hours of the game feel like a big grind. You have to commend the developers for trying something new, but the learning curve for your abilities is steeper than I expected.

When it comes to combat, you have four elemental-based magic that can be upgraded over the course of the game. The basic versions of these elemental mechanics are quite rudimentary and you do need to grind for a considerable amount to unlock the features that make combat cool. While the combat has the ability to become engaging over time, it is the quest design that follows the tried and tested ropes that gives the game a bland feel. While Ghostwire Tokyo also follows tired and tested topes, the gameplay mechanics, quest design and combat made it a far more engaging experience.

The traversal is another aspect of the game that has potential, as it is fast-paced and feels fluid with Fey picking up speed as she moves through the world and leaps over large gaps as if they were mere speed bumps. However, the world is so bland and littered with mundane quests that the traversal feels like a chore. A game like Hogwarts legacy gives you something as simple as a broom to navigate the environment but the gameplay mechanics are fun to keep you going.

Graphics and sound

Kicking things off with the sound, the game does a decent job of having a background score that kicks in during the action, and each of your magic spells has the standard “wosh” and “thuds” adding to the immersion.

But where the game falters is with its voice acting. While I don’t object to foul language being used in a game, Forspoken makes it feel like a kid just learned to use curse words, and his parents aren’t home so he is using them all the time. I get that the same curse word can be used to express emotions in a particular situation, but that isn’t the case here either.


On paper, Forspoken is a great concept and had the potential to give players a fantastical experience in an open world from a distant land with combat and traversal that could make players feel like a Mistborn from Brandon Sanderson’s epic saga. However, it’s a shame that the game disappoints. That doesn’t mean it isn’t for everyone. I’m sure a lot of you can download the demo to get a taste of the game before investing. But it just doesn’t reach the level of immersion set by other open-world games available today.

Rating: 2.5 / 5


  • Combat can get engaging eventually
  • Good background score
  • Some of the magical elements look great


  • Lacklustre story
  • Repetitive missions
  • It takes a while for the combat to get good

More info:

Developer: Luminous Productions

Publisher: Square Enix

Platforms: PS5 and PC

Reviewed on: PS5