Gaming has become so diffused that it is extremely hard to create a standout performer which attracts a lot of attention while at the same time lives up to the expectations, that is unless you are already well-known in the industry, or spend large sums of money on marketing and advertising to inform anyone and their nan about this new game. This is why newer studios resolve to innovation as their strategy to make their game shine among the plethora of other releases swarming the market. Foreclosed is one such game that tries its best to stand out from the rest. How will it fare against them?
Developed by Italian studio ANTAB and published by Merge Games, Foreclosed is an action-adventure third-person shooter. The premise is quite an intriguing one: you play Evan Kapnos, who wakes up one morning with the news that his identity was foreclosed, which basically means it is being shut down and will be auctioned off in the near future. In this cyberpunk world, everyone’s identity enables them to be connected to the city, and access is only given once this ID is verified. This means that Kapnos is potentially risking losing access to anything and everything, so he has to change this before it comes into action.
Foreclosed is a pretty standard action-adventure third-person shooter in terms of gameplay, where you control the main character, Kapnos, as he is trying to solve the mystery around him which slowly gets more and more intricate the deeper you delve into the story. You start off a relatively very small threat, but as you progress in the game, Kapnos gains new abilities and equipment which makes him into a machine, capable of despatching waves of soldiers at a time.
In the early stages of the game, your main weapon will be stealth, as you will crawl behind opponents and despatch them by overheating their implants, which are pretty much fancy words for brain chips. Progressing through the game, players will then gain access to a variety of implants of their own, as well as a gun which will be vital in order to defeat all the enemies which are thrown at you.
The upgrade system in Foreclosed is an unconventional one, but it feels very well crafted, although it feels that it rewards exploration very generously, far more than other titles do. Covering the basics first, there is no skill tree in the game, but upon earning a necessary amount of experience you obtain skill points, which can then be spent in upgrades for both your implants and for the gun. Experience points are earned in two ways; one comes by playing in the story so it is earned naturally, and the other, as we mentioned, is based on exploration.
As mentioned, exploration in Foreclosed is heavily rewarded, maybe even a little too much. There are areas in the game in which you need to search for these devices hidden in the walls, where it works very much in proximity as you need to find the sweet spot. Once there, you press the correct button, X on PlayStation, and hold to finish the transmission and earn the XP points. Some of these are needed in the story to open some doors, but the majority of these are hidden about and only found through exploration. The XP reward for finding these hidden ones is massive, and a couple of these can award you a full skill point, to increase your arsenal of upgrades quickly.
Upgrades in the game will change battles drastically, and without these, you are pretty much screwed. At first, any minor upgrade will make you feel very powerful as enemy numbers are limited and powerup effects are very strong, such as disabling an enemy for a period of time so you can focus on other goons, but as the number of bad guys grows, the situation starts to get tenser and tenser, especially with your implants overheating, negating Kapnos from being able to use powerups for a short time.
There are also weapon upgrades, which range from having exploding bullets to penetrating ones that go through armour or helmets, and these are unaffected by any overheating implants hindering your other powerups, which can help you keep on going even when you are unable to use the other special moves. Foreclosed then becomes a cover-based shooter and the mechanics are quite good for it when your implants are unavailable, although your opponents sometimes feel like bullet sponges and considering they come out in droves, it may feel a bit overwhelming at times.
The best aspect of Foreclosed is surely its art style reminiscing a comic book, complete with different camera angles making players feel they are a part of this elaborate plot inside a panel by panel story. The colouring of the game is very particular but it helps give it this vibe even more, and the narration through boxes is just the cherry on top of the cake.
The soundtrack is quite generic, with good tracks that will keep players going on in the game, but will never prove to be a defining factor in the course of action. It is as average as gaming music goes – not bad by all means, but not good enough to be impressive when compared to the likes of other, more praised soundtracks.
On the whole, I would say that Foreclosed is a great concept, and the different camera shots and angles coupled with the comic style captions and shading are realised quite brilliantly. The game is fun as well, but sometimes falls short due to it feeling a little bit unfair with plenty of enemies surrounding you and each one of them absorbing bullets like there’s no tomorrow. There is fun to be had in Foreclosed, sure, but given the great plot and ideas behind it, we could have had a real banger on our hands.
You can grab the game on Steam here.
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