People keep talking about the newly launched video game Forspoken, but so far, not all of the reviews have been glowing.
According to the game’s official website, Forspoken follows the journey of a character named Frey, a young New Yorker who finds herself transported to the “beautiful and cruel land” of Athia where she must use her newfound magical abilities to make her way home. But before she can get back, she has to make it across the “sprawling landscapes” of Athia and battle “monstrous creatures” she encounters along the way.
What’s also noteworthy about the game is it’s one of the rare instances where a Black woman is a lead character in a video game.
The new role-playing action game was developed by Luminous Productions and published by Square Enix, and although it was officially released on Jan. 24, a few gamers got the chance to try it out early. One of those gamers was Daan Koopman (@NintenDaan), who shared some feedback on Jan. 21 and even gave his followers a sneak peek at what the gameplay was really like.
But apparently, that only triggered a wave of criticism.
In his review, Koopman didn’t bash Forspoken, but didn’t exactly rave about it either.
After four hours of playing, he admitted that the game took a while to get into. And though it definitely had some cool features, he said he wasn’t “feeling the story” as much as he’d hoped to.
Before long, other gamers chimed in with similar complaints — starting with the cringy dialogue.
“I played the demo, and while I love the gameplay, I just cannot get past the terrible dialogue,” one user said. “I think this is the first time writing has made me say ‘not gonna get this one’ even when I liked the game itself.”
“The first thing any sane human being should do after booting up this game is to go to the audio settings and turn it all off,” another person responded.
The Verge reporter Ash Parrish investigated how Frey and the game have been treated compared to similarly written characters and video games.
“In real life or fake, a Black woman’s behavior is given this level of scrutiny that just doesn’t exist for other people and characters,” Parrish wrote. “[In] The Last of Us Ellie is just as vulgar and acerbic, but she has no shortage of people willing to die for her. Wonder what the difference is there?”
Parrish also noted that apparently no Black writers were hired for the game.
Beyond the dialogue, other players felt the quality of the visuals left a bit to be desired.
“The background looks super static, like it’s not alive lol,” one person replied to Koopman. “Maybe it’s the lighting or the twitter video compression but something looks ‘off.'”
“Is she in some kind of VR sim or something?” someone else asked. “It looks like she’s standing in front of a green screen.”
“The combat was the most confusing thing for me,” another person shared, “because it’s so different than traditional games like this.”
This isn’t the first time the game has gotten dragged online. Back in August 2022, a trailer for the game was supposed to drum up excitement about its future release, but instead, it prompted a ton of memes that more or less poked fun at it.
Once again, gamers called the game “cringy” and even asked if it was produced by the Disney channel.
“You should fire someone for spoken that dialogue,” one person tweeted.
“Who wrote this, proofed this, hired someone to say this, said this, sound mixed this, final sign-off’d this and then posted this???” another user asked.
Not everyone has been hating on the game this time, though.
In reply to Koopman’s tweet, one user noted that “once you get used to [the combat style] and learn how it works it becomes a blast.”
Another person said that while the dialogue feels “weird and forced,” everything else in the game looked “sick.” And someone else said they actually found the dialogue to be pretty “charming.”
Other Twitter users also pointed out that some of the criticism feels a bit premature since the game just launched.
“Forspoken isn’t a bad game,” one gamer tweeted, “it just takes time to get into it and understand the mechanics. Also, the dialogue isn’t anymore more cringe than literally any other game in existence … “
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