At New York Comic Con, we had the chance to meet with folks from Square Enix and go hands-on with a Forspoken gameplay demo. I had the chance to play the game for about an hour, testing out different spells, traversing the environment with Frey's magical parkour skills, and getting a sense of what this game actually offers players looking forward to the Forspoken release date. What I discovered during my time playing is that the Forspoken team has put a lot into its gameplay and environment.
These elements were shown exceptionally well in this custom demo build. We were dropped into a very large sandbox region with many spells and skills already unlocked, giving us the opportunity to play around and get a sense of what Frey Holland's Forspoken parkour abilities and spells were capable of. What we discovered should be pleasing to those awaiting the full Forspoken release...
Forspoken Delivers On What It Promises
From the start, Forspoken had a bold order to fulfill. Not only has it been marketed as this engaging and photorealistic open world, but the parkour mechanics promised to make traversal of this world seamless and fun. During our Forspoken gameplay demo at NYCC, we can confidently say that the game delivers on what it promises.
For the demo, I switched between the three PlayStation 5 graphics options: Quality, Ray-Tracing, and Performance. The Performance mode was my favorite and made the parkour feel super responsive. The DualSense haptics was also a welcome addition, especially with the controller vibrating as Frey would parkour over different types of terrain.
Frey's stamina can be upgraded over time, allowing you to use her parkour abilities for longer as you sprint across the landscape or land multiple jumps to scale a cliffside. Running on water was particularly fun, and the parkour mechanics allow you to shift into attacks and spells on the run. Players with fast reflexes can time an opportune dodge perfectly to launch into a counterattack, and different spells make it easy to switch up strategy on the fly.
Feel free to get up close and personal with elemental spears or fists wrapped in magical energy, or keep your distance and launch spells to deal damage from afar. Bending the very earth beneath Frey's feet and launching boulders to decimate enemies was particularly satisfying. There's a lot of versatility in the Forspoken combat, and with a little bit of practice, players will be tearing up hordes of enemies in no time.
Forspoken Parkour Is Excellent After Small Learning Curve
The Forspoken parkour mechanics just make sense once you've had a little bit of practice. During our hands-on Forspoken preview I never felt like I lost control, or like Frey was moving in a direction that I didn't want her to go in. The vast open terrain made traversal quick and simple, and I look forward to seeing what other environments we'll be able to explore in January. The physics and rules of this universe aren't immediately clear, but Forspoken feels like it was designed for experimentation. Can I reach the top of that cliff in the distance? I don't know, but I'm sure going to try.
There was a moment during the demo when I tried to ascend a cliff and dropped off after a couple of jumps. I initially gave up, but then I restrategized my approach and used Frey's parkour abilities to reach small ledges on the cliff face. This gave me a chance for her stamina to regenerate, giving me the opportunity to continue my ascent like some kind of mystical free solo aficionado. Reaching the top of that mountain felt great and racing to face enemies head-on or gliding across the vast landscapes made Athia feel beautiful and alive.
Our Forspoken gameplay demo had many spells and abilities unlocked, but in the full release, Frey will gradually learn skills as the player progresses. These range from offensive spells designed to deal maximum damage to support spells that can limit an enemy's movement or provide other assistive perks. There are also finisher moves that would put any pro wrestler to shame.
Forspoken offers smooth, fast-paced gameplay that allows players to string attacks together and make the most of Frey's arsenal. Discover which spells are your favorite to master but don't be shy about switching up your approach from time to time, as certain enemies have different vulnerabilities that you can exploit with elemental spells. This keeps the Forspoken combat dynamic and fresh for those looking for an engaging challenge.
Forspoken Preview: Final Thoughts
During our brief preview, it became clear that the entire world was designed around parkour traversal, making those mechanics a core part of the experience and not something that was tacked onto after the fact. Upgrading Frey's stamina/mana will allow the player to extend how long they can use parkour abilities, and like any good RPG, nearly everything in this game can be upgraded, from Frey's health to the number of potions she can carry.
Have a favorite spell you'd like to use more of? Find books throughout the world to select spell challenges to complete that will make the spell stronger. By grinding multiple upgrades at once, Forspoken allows the player to progress relatively quickly and create a skillset that'll make them the most powerful spellcaster in Athia.
We've been pretty excited for Forspoken since the earliest trailers, and getting the opportunity to go hands-on with Forspoken gameplay at New York Comic Con made us even more confident that this will be an excellent game to kick off 2023 with.
Forspoken was previewed at New York Comic Con on a Playstation 5 console.