Guest writer Nina has taken a trip into this cyber-punk Indie game and has some thoughts to share.
After seeing the Foreclosed trailer at E3 this year, the indie cyberpunk shooter immediately went on my radar. I love the cyberpunk genre, and aside from a few exceptions, there aren’t a lot of games that truly do the genre justice. I will admit though, Foreclosed had my hopes up. So when I was given the opportunity to review it, I was excited as hell.
Right off the bat, I can say that the visual style is as stylish and unique as I had hoped. The comic-book-like graphics complement the grungy, neon cyberpunk premise beautifully. While interior spaces can appear bland at times when you are outside looking out over the high-rise-dotted skyline and bright, cyberised cityscape you can’t help but be blown away. But what impressed me the most about Foreclosed visually was its utter commitment to this comic-book style.
Cutscenes look like they’ve pulled straight out of the pages of a graphic novel; brightly coloured panels and loud onomatopoeia replace traditional movie-like scenes. What’s more, in a few rare instances the game allows you to play through these pages. Most of the game plays like a traditional third-person shooter. Then for a few brief moments Foreclosed commits whole-heartedly to becoming an interactive comic book. It’s fun, memorable and totally unique in that regard.
Foreclosed picks style over gunplay
But, while I highly commend the dev team for committing so much to this visual style, it has caused some serious issues for the rest of Foreclosed’s gameplay. While the interactive comic book stuff is great, Foreclosed is still predominantly a third-person shooter. And its third-person gameplay is… difficult, to put it lightly. Movement is fine, but the camera is floaty and nigh-uncontrollable, which makes navigating the gameworld a confusing, frustrating experience. But while annoying as hell, this issue is still manageable… until you pick up a gun.
There’s no nice way I can put this; the gunplay in this game is a mess. Even with aim assist cranked up to ten and the sensitivity wound down to one, it is almost impossible to aim. Gun sounds and feedback are nice, as Foreclosed utilises the PS5’s reactive triggers, but none of that even really matters when you can’t hit anything. As if that wasn’t bad enough, Foreclosed throws squads of bullet sponge enemies at you in shooting arenas that are forced choke-points. So while you’re fighting for control over your aim, you have hordes of faceless goons who can tank seven or more shots to the chest raining fire down upon you.
It’s a nightmare.
Wide in flair, shallow in story
But while the gunplay made me want to hurl my controller into the TV, I was still in love with Foreclosed’s art style and premise. If it could back that up with a killer story, then I’d forgive its gameplay flaws. Unfortunately, Foreclosed did not deliver on that either. Sure, the premise is interesting enough, but the story did not deliver a plot or cast of characters that turned my general interest into genuine investment. The voice acting, writing and narrative, while lacklustre, definitely weren’t bad. But it wasn’t enough to really grab me. I ended up getting way too frustrated with the gameplay to even pay attention to the story.
Foreclosed is a game with plenty of flair, but not enough meat. Its art style is absolutely stunning, but pretty art isn’t going to solve a lacklustre story or such flawed gameplay. What’s interesting is that most of the issues with the gameplay come from this game’s utter commitment to its art style. Trying to make an interactive comic-book style game is a neat idea, but it feels like, along the way, the devs forgot that the most important part of a video game is the game part.
If the goal of Foreclosed was to be a video game that looked and played like a comic book, then it has achieved its goal…but the cost was making a game that rarely felt good to play.