Forspoken had promise but disappoints, Hi-Fi Rush is a delightful surprise, and Dead Space is just as atmospheric now as it was then.
Forspoken makes a point of creating a different kind of role-playing game
Forspoken is a basic action role-playing game with some open world elements to it. But the game sets itself apart by making some decisions – and sticking to them – about how it delivers that gaming experience.
The most obvious is in choosing a female protatonist in Frey, a young homeless woman in New York who finds herself transported to Athia, a world of magic and mystery.
As Frey learns her purpose in Athia, her sole weapon is magic. There’s no swords here, no bows and arrows. Frey is a spellcaster.
And she can enhance her abilities by wearing different cloaks and necklaces, and by changing the designs and colours of her nails.
These are grand intentions, to create a game where the objects that can shift power are those that appeal to young women. It’s too bad that the rest of the game lacks.
The controls are mushy, which is a disaster with a game that relies so much on traversing the environment. Moving around is not only key to exploration and finding all the things you might need, but it’s a good combat tactic, too. But Frey doesn’t respond to the controls as prompt as she should, and I found her moving past the destination we were headed to, so I had to turn her around to come back.
And while the game depends on dialogue, you can’t do anything else when you’re having a conversation, so there are long periods where you’re just standing around.
There’s been much hand wringing about the dialogue, but the script here is reminiscent of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer television series. (It may be significant that after that series ended, creator Joss Whedon continued the Slayer mythology in comic books and one protagonist was named Frey.)
To modern audiences this may seem cringe-worthy, and that’s something the developers at Luminous Productions should have taken into account. For my part, I had no problem with the snarky, cynical, wiseass Frey.
But to create an open world and leave it so empty is a problem, and that’s what makes it tedious to play. Which is a shame.
Forspoken is available now for Windows and PS5. Rated mature.
Hi-Fi Rush is a refreshing, rhythm-based brawler
In a streaming event last week, Xbox and Bethesda surprised gamers with a “shadow drop” of something new from Tango Gameworks, the studio behind the Evil Within games and the charming, Ghostwire Tokyo.
Hi-Fi Rush is a rhythm-based battler than is a little goofy and a lot of fun.
You play as Chai, a “wannabe rockstar” who volunteers for a robotics experiment only to find himself at the centre of a struggle against a corporate conspiracy.
The corporation is none other than Vandelay Technologies.
Chai has to fight all kinds of robots and corporate shills, and his moves are all timed with the rhythm of the beats and music that provide the soundtrack for the game.
It’s light, fun, and a perfect surprise for subscribers to the Xbox Game Pass.
Hi-Fi Rush is available now for Windows and Xbox Series X/S. Rated teen.
Dead Space remake captures the dread of the original with meaningful updates
Dead Space was much more than an Alien clone. It borrowed as much from the hard science fiction of Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke (which is where the protagonist, Isaac Clarke, got his name).
The story ties up corporate greed, organized religion, and the madness that comes from staring into the void.
I loved it then and I love it now.
There’s something weird that happens with your favourite games. You remember them looking better than they really did, because your mind fills in the gaps. This remake of Dead Space validates my memories, though. The truth is, the original Dead Space was released 15 years ago and didn’t look anything like what I remember.
This remake, from EA’s Motive studio, does.
And while this game is a remake – the plot and characters are the same – this new version is more than just a copy. Isaac speaks, for one. Some aspects of the weapons have changed, too.
But the mechanics of combat have been refined, but the strategy of limb removal remains key to survival.
But the most obvious enhancement is to the visuals, and that alone makes this game so thrilling to play.
Dead Space is available now for PS5, Windows, and Xbox Series X/S. Rated mature.