Taking place in a futuristic cyberpunk world, Foreclosed puts players in the role of Evan Kapnos, a young man who has had his identity and augmented powers stripped from him by a powerful corporation in order to be auctioned off. Sounds like it’d make for an episode of Black Mirror or something, right? With his identity essentially ‘foreclosed’, Evan has no choice but to head to the nearby Court in order to fight and claim it back. Whilst these issues are problematic enough, things take ANOTHER sour turn for Evan when he finds himself mixed up in a conspiracy thanks to some hidden powers that his augmentations held. His only option? To blast his way through enemies to unravel the truth.
Check out a gallery of screenshots down below:
What follows is a futuristic tale that takes some interesting turns, each of which is strengthened by the game’s comic book-style of storytelling. Cutscenes and set pieces play out as panels across the game screen, breaking up the action across individual scenes in order to add more style to each sequence. With clever camera angles utilised that capture the action in multiple ways, it changes the flow of Foreclosed to make it feel like more than just a third-person adventure.
It’s complemented by the game’s aesthetic, which offers colourful cel-shaded visuals to make up the futuristic world. It feels very befitting of the comic book-style of the game’s story sequences, with the muted palette of the characters working well with some of the more vibrant environments. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of drab hallways and rooms to explore that don’t shine quite as much, but it’s still hard not to be left mighty impressed by the slick style brought with the visuals. I was a BIG fan.
The sound design on the other hand is a mixed bag. The soundtrack is fantastic and fits the vibe of each scene perfectly, but the voice acting? It’s of a much lower quality. It does the job, sure, but it’s hard to find Evan’s plight believable when the delivery of each line feels so out of touch. Admittedly, it doesn’t help that the script isn’t the best, but it still deterred from the otherwise impressive cinematic presentation of the game.
“Cutscenes and set pieces play out as panels across the game screen, breaking up the action across individual scenes in order to add more style to each sequence.”
Whilst Foreclosed’s storytelling and presentation hit some impressive heights, the gameplay did leave me a bit wanting. The main action takes place from a third-person perspective, with Evan’s linear journey seeing him traversing across multiple environments and taking out different foes in shootouts. The shooting of the game could feel a little bit dull, with enemies feeling like bullet-sponges that take a lot of hits to go down. It dragged some battles out longer than they needed to really, especially since the AI of the foes was easy to exploit and meant I often just had to stand still and mash the shoot button to take them out. The aiming was a bit clumsy too, with it a little awkward to line up shots perfectly – expect to have to fiddle with the sensitivity settings in order to get it feeling right for you.
Thankfully, there are additional upgrades you can unlock for the pistol to make it more powerful, whilst Evan’s unlockable powers add a few extra tricks up his sleeve. There are things like telekinesis to smash objects on foes, the levitate and slam abilities that allow you to lift enemies up and then smash them down, or the shield that helps protect Evan, just to name a few. These abilities spice up combat a fair bit and feel a lot more satisfying to use when compared to simply shooting away at enemies, with each bringing a fun sense of chaos to each showdown. They certainly complemented some of the game’s better set pieces, with some battles full of sci-fi flair as I smashed enemies and objects all over the environment.
“There are things like telekinesis to smash objects on foes, the levitate and slam abilities that allow you to lift enemies up and then smash them down, or the shield that helps protect Evan, just to name a few.”
However, using these abilities and your gun does come with a caveat: they fill a power meter that, when full, sees Evan freezing on the spot temporarily as he composes himself. This is something we’ve seen done in games before so it’s not unusual, but Foreclosed’s power meter seems to fill up very quickly. It really breaks up the flow of the action in-combat and sees players spending more time hiding from enemies trying to recover their power. Why arm the player with some impressive capabilities if it can feel like a chore to use them? It’d be something if it was a cover-based shooter where playing strategically and picking your moment to strike was prioritised, but nope, there’s no cover mechanic… just wandering behind objects to keep safe.
There are other things to find that flesh out the core gameplay experience, with stealth segments seeing Evan sneaking through areas and taking out enemies with ease, whilst some small puzzles see you interacting with the environment and objects in different ways or completing small QTE events. There’s nothing you wouldn’t have seen before, but it does at least add some extra variety to the experience.
It has ups-and-downs with the gameplay, but I still enjoyed Foreclosed’s adventure. This could be helped by the fact that it’ll take just over three hours to actually beat the game – it meant that it was long enough to offer a decent journey, but not so long that some of its shortcomings started to annoy me. It certainly has its moments when it shines though, and they were good enough to keep me invested in the adventure.
Foreclosed has its share of shortcomings, but the great storytelling, stylish world, and some neat set pieces ensure it remains fun to play. Don’t get me wrong, the shooting can be a little dull and the power meter will cause some frustrations, but there’s enough good to be found in Foreclosed’s adventure to ensure that its strengths outshine its weaknesses.
Developer: Antab Studio
Publisher: Merge Games
Platform(s): PlayStation 5 (Reviewed), PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC