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Why Forspoken Didn't Get The Reaction Square Enix Hoped For

"Forspoken" didn't shine with critics, and unfortunately for the folks at Square Enix, it somehow did even worse with fans. While PS5 Metacritic scores for the game were mixed with critics at 67/100, fans basically roasted the game with a brutal 3.7/10. Steam reviews were generally mixed, and PC Metacritic scores landed low at 2.0/10.

In fairness, "Forspoken" had a lot of big expectations to live up to. The game has been in the works since it was first teased in 2020 under the working title Project Athia, allowing plenty of time for suspense to build. Add to that the fact that multiple former "Final Fantasy" developers have been involved in the project since the beginning and it's easy to understand why gamers were so hopeful about "Forspoken." It also explains the intensity of their disappointment, especially since the game has also been through its fair share of delays.

Unfortunately, word spread fast after the game's release, and gamers flocked to social media to discuss their gripes with the game. As for the specifics of why Square Enix didn't get its dream reaction for "Forspoken," the players say it best. According to them, there's a lot to be upset about with this lackluster RPG.

Weak Writing

Many would-be fans of "Forspoken" found the story to be paper-thin, with poorly designed characters including a disappointing protagonist. Though her voice actress is talented (and gorgeous in real life), Frey's writing doesn't leave much room for redemption, as it's full of bickering, clichés, and a plethora of pointless chatter.

As one "Forspoken" forsaker mentioned in a Metacritic PS5 review, "Apparently there is a narrative but good luck figuring out what it is, as the writing is terrible."

In the words of another disgruntled PS5 gamer, "Get ready for your ears to bleed because this game is cringe beyond belief...If Square Enix has any integrity they should allow refunds for anyone that asks."

A PC reviewer on Steam agreed with many of these thoughts: "So I'm in agreement with everyone saying this game basically deserves a cringe award for dialogue and writing." However, that particular reviewer also called out the game's incredibly unstable performance, another common issue found in the title.

For gamers not convinced by the warnings of "Forspoken" players, these irritatingly repetitive and cheesy dialogue clips literally speak for themselves. It's easy to see how writers may have aimed for the dialogue to represent playful realism or wittiness, but ultimately the words fell flat with most gamers. Though some may find campy dialogue moments like these endearing, it seems they're a deterrent for many more. At least there's a way to silence some of it, but players should keep in mind that bad writing isn't the game's only issue.

Surface-Level Surroundings

It's not just that "Forspoken" is fairly short for its genre — and it is quite short, with some completing the game in under 20 hours. It's that "Forspoken" fails to make use of the time and space it does have, leaving players with an overall shallow and underdeveloped feeling.

Just as the game's characters feel half-baked at best, the surroundings of Athia leave much to be desired. A Metacritic reviewer playing "Forspoken" on PS5 wrote, "The open world is repetitive, filled with a myriad of interest points that you have to clear to get drops and stats (statues)." While the sprawling landscape of Athia is beautiful, it feels oddly empty according to some players. Rolling hills and mysterious ruins are only interesting if they have reason for being there, or intriguing NPCs to populate them. 

With similar sentiment on the same console, another gamer shared, "The open world was massively boring for me." Unfortunately, the title is filled with clichés of open-world games, which makes gameplay predictable and, frankly, dull.

PC players agreed, with one Steam reviewer of "Forspoken" stating, "They advertised the game to be this grand open world, but once you go somewhere you're not yet supposed to be the game literally tells you to go back with a warning or just ports you." In essence, many players agreed that "Forsaken" as an open-world title just didn't make sense. Even though the game was originally advertised as being open world, players are blocked from going many places early in the game, making things more linear than they seem. Though there may be some enjoyment in "Forsaken" for those who love combat, fantasy, and adventure, it's important that gamers feel prepared for the possible shortcomings they may find in "Forsaken."

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