The Tokyo Game Show is filled with tons of games. Indie titles, AAA blockbusters and everything in-between. It’s also a place full of games with huge potential, and those that you know are crap, despite the polish and sheen the developers put on them. Forspoken sits squarely in between.

It’s not the game’s great or it’s crap, it’s simply because the slice of gameplay I got to play for about an hour was uneven to say the least.

Both Sky and I took turns at trying out the game, though neither of us could progress much. Not that we weren’t skilled (well, Sky wasn’t) but that the game has an immense learning curve for its controls and a punishing difficulty (even on Normal, which was the difficulty we played) that borders on Dark Souls intensity.

The controls definitely took a ton of time to get used to…hell, I wasn’t even used to them even after the demo ended. It’s because there’s a huge amount of depth to the combat!

Frey (that’s the young lady you control) can cast your basic spells and melee attacks but to truly dish out the hurt, you’ll going to have to be able to mix and match the spell elements to create specific combos the enemies are weak to.

That’s where the difficulty comes in.

Combining spell elements is done on the fly and enemies don’t let up. In the demo, we had to constantly change from fire blasts (which was good for the undead that swarmed) and wind/earth projectile shards to combat the dangerous flying enemies.

The depth to the spell combining system is unreal.

Spell combinations not only result in completely new spells, but depending also different spell styles. Some are swift flying projectiles that pepper enemies with rapid hits. Some are huge area of effect fire and forget blasts.

Cool? Definitely. Complicated? Hell yes…perhaps a bit too complicated even.

In our Forspoken demo, the game gives you a huge open world to explore. Thanks to Frey’s supernatural speed and parkour, moving around the game is easy. It kind of feels like you’re the Flash sometimes, especially when you run real fast.

Though we were gently guided by our Square Enix reps (shoutout to Imai-san and Nanami-san!), we still got lost, fell into deep ravines and basically made ourselves look bumbling like fools. We also kept dying…and dying…and dying. Did I mentioned we died? A lot.

While the combat in Forspoken is fast and furious, it’s highly dependent on you figuring out your enemies’ weakness to win. You can find that out by scanning them as you fight so be prepared to get your ass kicked by new foes until you know what they’re weak to. It took Sky a while to figure that out (despite light nudging from

…that is until you fight the mini-boss.

I don’t know what she was but there was one of these badass ladies in armor waiting on a bridge in the demo that kicked our asses so bad, Sky jumped off the damn bridge trying to save himself. She took critical hits like they were nothing and laughed at elements the game told us she was weak to. Is it any wonder than that Sky went suicidal?

Thankfully, fall damage can be mitigated if you have enough stamina so that tremendous fall didn’t kill us.

Unfortunately, that meant we were stuck in a ravine and had to find a way out…something our guides didn’t think anybody was foolish enough to do. Well…Sky was. So instead of getting to explore the huge open world, we spent about 20 minutes of our precious demo time trying to find a way out of that ravine and head to the mission objective.

While we did beat the demo boss, we unfortunately ran out of time to access the special boss that’s unlocked after beating the demo. Yeah, we were soooooo close to it (literally about 100+ meters away from his trigger) but time ended.


Walking away from Forspoken, I honestly don’t know what to feel. The combat is fun, the enemies are cool and the open world seems enticing enough, especially with Frey’s parkour traversal skills. However, the complicated (a bit too complicated maybe) spell system has me divided.

Well, since the game launches in Jan 2023, we’ll find out whether that complication can be overcome with enough time playing the game.

Sal's been in the industry since the early 2000s. He's written for a ton of gaming and tech publications including Playworks, Hardwarezone, HWM and GameAxis. Recently, Sal served as a juror for the Indie Game Awards at Taipei Game Show 2020. A geek and hardcore gamer, Sal will play everything, on any platform.