Forspoken is out today on both PS5, where reviews came in yesterday, and on PC, which demands a pretty high performance machine to even meet its recommended specs, where you’re still only hitting 30 fps.
Yesterday, the internet was alive with the sound of “discourse” about the game, namely centered on some clips of its dialogue, occasionally focusing on its visuals. I watched backlash turn into backlash against the backlash over the course of just a few hours. At least one “cringey” audio clip I found pretty funny, but others were not. Sometimes Forspoken looks beautiful with its spell effect particles, other times it looks like this:
As for reviews, they are generally quite poor. As it stands, Forspoken has a 68 on Metacritic. That puts it as the 5th best reviewed PS5 game of 2023, but we are only 24 days into 2023, and that’s out of…five games total. Here’s the list:
- Monster Hunter Rise (87)
- Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider (77)
- One Piece Odyssey (74)
- Breakers Collection (71)
- Forspoken (68)
If we instead turn to the grand list of 2022, a 68 Metascore would put Forspoken outside the top 100 of games released on PS5 that year. It would land somewhere around the 134-140 spot, tied with the likes of Gotham Knights, Goat Simulator 3 and Ghostbusters: Sprits Unleashed. That’s out of 168 PS5 games released that year. Again, not good, and with the way video games are scored, a 68 aggregate is well below average in a given year.
It is possible fans feel differently. I am reminded of another game that scored poorly with critics and had supposedly cringey dialogue, High on Life, which had a 67 Metascore, but rocketed to the top of Xbox Game Pass and had an 8.1/10 audience score in contrast.
However, I’m not sure Forspoken has any inborn advantages here like a fanbase devoted to Rick and Morty style humor. I would be surprised if there was some surge of fan support for the game to propel it to become a hit on PS5 and PC, but I suppose it’s too early to tell. “Actually, it’s not as bad as everyone’s saying” seems to be the main point of praise for it right now, which is not especially promising.
I’d previously cited Forspoken as one of the PS5’s three major console exclusives releasing this year alongside Final Fantasy XVI, also from Square Enix, and Spider-Man 2. If Forspoken is a miss, and as I predict may happen, Spider-Man 2 slips to 2024, that would leave this as a pretty barren year for PS5 with only FFXVI to rely on. Given just how important Spider-Man 2 itself is, a holiday release date it actually hits could singlehandedly make PS5’s year, but starting off with Forsaken reviewing this poorly is not great. And this is one case where I don’t think the new “standard” AAA game price of $70 and no day one PS Plus launches like Xbox does with Game Pass is doing the game any favors here. While High on Life had “well, you might as well try it” philosophy for Game Pass subscribers going for it, Forspoken is an expensive commitment for PS5 players.
We’ll see how it goes, and if there’s some swell of fan support post-release here. But my guess is we just don’t see that this time around.
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