Foreclosed is an indie game developed by The Foregone Syndicate, and it was released on Steam in April of this year. It’s a roguelike game that has you exploring the remains of a town after its inhabitants were foreclosed on.
Video games have long included cyberpunk themes. Games have depicted this future scenario of enhanced people and megacorporations for decades. CDPR and Neon Giant have both tried their hand at it in the past nine months with Cyberpunk 2077 and The Ascent, with varied success. So, will Merge Games and Antab Studio’s submission, Foreclosed, be a success? “Ish,” is the response.
As Evan Kapnos, you live in a world where people are slaves to businesses until they die or have enough money to buy their freedom. Every everyday decision is dictated by cybernetic implants and clearances. Unfortunately, you start the game with the news that your business has gone bankrupt for no apparent reason. Your identity and clearances have been deleted as a result of this until you give yourself in to be auctioned off to a new employer. Because individuals are attempting to murder you, this proves to be more difficult than you anticipated. You start out to find out who and why with a little assistance and some experimental implants.
The greatest part of Foreclosed is what you see right away: its distinct visual style and direction. Foreclosed’s universe is cel-shaded and vibrantly portrayed in the style of a comic book. Indeed, the less I thought of it as a game that reads like a comic book and the more I thought of it as a comic book that plays like a game, the more I appreciated what Antab Studio accomplished here. The bulk of the game is played in third person, however when some comic panels open, the game switches to side scrolling or even top down view. This contributed significantly to the game’s feeling of newness.
Unfortunately, the gameplay and characters aren’t always as new as the setting and presentation. Kapnos is pushed into a dilemma and is frantically attempting to clear his name by racing headlong into one assignment after another with no background. The voice-over work is incredibly corny, but it serves to emphasize Kapnos’ shallow two-dimensional hero status. It’s not a terrible decision in and of itself, but you’ve already given the audience little reason to care why you’re doing these things, and now you’ve added a protagonist who is tough to care about.
Combat seems like it should be full of exciting shootouts, with replaceable augmentations and Control-style telekinesis. The truth is far more mild. You suffer so much damage early on that you have no choice except to play conservatively. The ideal strategy is to lurk around corners for headshots and sneak up on opponents to overheat their implants. Finding yourself in a firefight and repeatedly poking your head out of cover before allowing your health to recover may lead to death. Later in the game, this had an impact since I tended to stick with the few augments that prevented this, such as auto-aim, rather than experimenting with new ones.
The remainder of the game is filled out in a clunky but surprisingly effective manner. A timed four-character sequence of left, right, up, and down may be used to open locked doors and platforms. Turrets and security cameras may also be hacked. You may also find secret items to hack as you go through the stages. None of this is difficult, but I felt that it quietly contributed to the cyberpunk environment and provided a pleasant change of pace that kept me engaged without distracting me from the game.
As I previously said, the final effect of Foreclosed is “ish.” It’s a mixed bag, a decent little game with some great moments thrown in. It’s a fun game with several flaws in the general concept. You breathe in a visually beautiful world, both in design and execution, but you struggle to care about who and why with a narrative that doesn’t take up until much later. Foreclosed is a game with plenty of enjoyable moments, but it will be removed from your hard drive before long.
Stunning graphics that depict a vivid universe and are essential to the comic-book layout.
Simple mechanics enable you to immediately immerse yourself in the environment and experience your cybernetic enhancements.
The deliberate, over-the-top, awful voiceovers fit with the content for the most part, but they also give you the impression that the game doesn’t want to be anything more than it is.
Puzzles may be a little too simple, while combat can be a little too overpowering. Forcing you to depend on cover fire or a single or two upgrade and ability combinations.
Final Score: 7.0
Foreclosed is now available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC.
On the PlayStation 4, the game was reviewed.
The publisher supplied me with a copy of Foreclosed.
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