Foreclosed – Review

An uneventful turn of events...

foreclosed game cover
foreclosed game cover
Release Date
August 12, 2021
Publisher
Merge Games
Developer
Antab Studio
Platform
PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch, PC
Reviewed on
PS4
Review copy provided by
Merge Games

Foreclosed has decent ideas that should have made the game a spectacle. However, ideas that lack proper execution can only get you so far. I wanted to love this game so much for its interesting premise and its paying homage to the comic book art form. Unfortunately, its story, combat, progression, and most importantly, the overall gameplay loop brought this game down to embarrassing lows.

As a third-person shooter set in a Cyberpunk world, Foreclosed should have had the makings of an action-packed thriller. Instead, its combat mechanic is more frustrating than exciting. More hair-pulling than hair-raising. Playing a shooter game on a controller is not everyone’s cup of tea, but certain games are tweaked perfectly to make the experience responsive and enjoyable to a console gamer. Foreclosed, however, besmirched this gameplay aspect completely.

The game’s aim sensitivity is very out of control, no matter which setting you put it on. It also has an “aim assist” setting that does more complications than actual assisting. Couple this with the fact that the enemies in the game are absolute bullet sponges and you’re left with an experience where you’re also fighting against the game’s system on top of the enemies it places on the screen. The best way to kill enemies in the game is through headshots, which, I’ll iterate once more, is tedious to do because of the game’s unresponsive aiming.

Facing the enemies in the game needs to be upfront because the game has no cover system, which would have made this game’s combat system better when considering everything else it does wrong. You also can’t shoot an enemy while crouching, further solidifying the game’s intention to force you to fight enemies head-on. Once again, this would have been fine if the game’s combat system is responsive — but, once again, it isn’t.

A very minor interesting aspect of the game’s combat system is the abilities that you can unlock as you continue playing. They’ll help you deal with the enemies of the game much better, but they’re neither too impressive nor powerful that using them is satisfying. They’re simply… there, for better or worse.

You also gain telekinetic powers later in the game, but this too is unimpressive given the lack of accessibility and utility. There are barely things in the game that you can use to hurl at enemies. Whenever you actually can do so, they feel forced, unnatural, and scripted.

The game also employs stealth gameplay at times. Certain encounters force you to stealth your way through wherein combat is not an option. While the game’s stealth mechanic is nothing innovative nor engaging, I welcomed it with open arms considering the game’s awful combat system.

The game also presents you with puzzles from time to time when moving from one level to another. Unfortunately, the puzzles in the game are so uninspired. You must either simply press the correct buttons in the correct order, or you find switches that are haphazardly placed around the room. Its unengaging, unstimulating, and does nothing to enhance the gameplay.

One of the most unique aspects of the game is its visual choice to make the game look and feel like an actual interactive comic book. This is the only part of the game that excited me. Certain cutscenes and gameplay moments are presented in panels, onomatopoeia bubbles are placed on the screen in association with certain sound effects, and the overall art design of the game resembles an actual comic book. This design choice works well with the Cyberpunk genre. Certain scenes may look muffled, dull, and monochromatic, but they fit the game’s aesthetic, themes, and story.

Speaking of the story, the game’s narrative is nothing to write home about. It is apparently inspired by the developer’s experience with identity theft, which in and of itself is a very interesting premise. However, the way the story unravels in the game and the progression from start to finish are simply uneventful. The game’s story is a flatline. It doesn’t uplift nor depress. Its ending is as forgettable as its beginning. It tries to be suspenseful and enigmatic, but its reveals and climaxes are lackluster. The characters are bland. They’re like placeholders for something much more interesting, only that promise is unfulfilled. It also doesn’t help that the narrator’s voice acting is so stale. For a game that promises action and suspense, the narrator of the game sounds so bored uttering his lines.

There are also a handful of design choices in the game that is questionable, at best. For example, there’s a certain part of the game where you’re placed in a digital space. Navigating this level is a chore and a hassle. It is one of the worst designed levels in the game, despite being the most interesting in prospect. It is a representation of the game as a whole: an interesting idea executed terribly altogether.

Finishing the game was difficult, not because it had punishing encounters, but because the experience it provides is far from enjoyable. If I didn’t have to review the game, I would have put it down during the first hour. It brought me no enjoyment despite the interesting premise it stands on. As a comic book fan, even its visuals, which is the best part of the game, ultimately failed to engage me because of its terrible gameplay loop. Games are enjoyed for their stimulating gameplay, or their enticing tales, or in the best cases, for both. Foreclosed has neither of those things.

foreclosed game cover
Foreclosed – Review
Score Definition
The game gave you more horrors in your real-life experience than in your nightmares.
Pros
Decent art direction that pays homage to comic books
Cons
Terrible, unresponsive gameplay
Puzzles are unimaginative
Abilities and powers are not optimized
Story is underwhelming despite the interesting premise
2
Torment