Side-scrolling games have always been a favorite mine ever since I suffered… er… played through the Ninja Gaiden series on the NES (Seriously, people complain about the Xbox series… go try The Ancient Ship of Doom and then come talk to me about how hard it was!) Lately, there have been modern games like Ori and the Blind Forest, Dust: An Elysian Tale, Azure Striker Gunvolt, and Dragon: Marked for Death that has captured my attention. With Foregone joining the fray, I had to check it out but does this Early Access game live up to the hype that it has been getting?
Platform: PC (Reviewed), PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Developer: Big Blue Bubble
Publisher: Big Blue Bubble
Release Date: March 1, 2021 (Planned)
Let’s just jump right into this. Foregone’s gameplay is very simple and easy to pick up as it is with more side-scrolling action games. You, basically, get a handful of attacks in the form of a melee attack, a ranged attack, and special skills. The unique thing about the combat is that the ranged attacks are in the form of guns or bows and they do have limited ammo; however, every time you connect with a melee swing, you restore 1 of your ammo so you never have to wait for drops to happen to pick ammo up. Simply switch to melee attacks and you’ll be taking things out at a distance once again in no time!
You do get a variety of weapons to play with but they all seem pretty limited in the types that you can pick up. For instance, melee weapons give you a short sword, a broadsword, or daggers. The short sword is quick and deals medium damage, the daggers require to be at very close range and deal light damage but they hit quicker than the sword and more often in a full combo. The broadsword is heavy, slow, but packs a huge punch. It is up to you on what kind of fighting style suits you best. For me, I love the short swords as they seem the most balanced!
For ranged, you get a pistol, a shotgun, or a bow. For example, the pistol has 14 rounds to it while a bow only has 6 but does higher damage. Just like the melee weapons, you have to choose your playstyle. I love the pistol since it’s quick and carries higher ammo even though the damage is a bit on the moderate side.
It should be noticed that the game gives you a short sword and a pistol to start out with so those are your default weapons. Because of that, you are kind of imprinted in using those by getting used to them quickly. You get new weapons simply by killing enemies who will drop them at random. Speaking of which, this ties into the RPG elements of the game.
Weapons are not the only thing that drops from enemies in Foregone. You can get gear to drop as well in the form of a chest piece, a ring, and a trinket. Gear has three different quality levels color-coded by Gray, Blue, and Purple with Purple being the highest. Much like in RPGs, gear comes with different stats on it which can boost your character. They range from giving you extra health or extra damage. There are a few ways that they can do this. Some flat out say increase Health by X% or Damage by X% but there are others that increase critical strike chance, critical strike damage, or give status effects like the chance to inflict plague, increase plaque damage, tether damage, etc, etc. You can receive these status inflictors from gear or from the talent tree.
As you kill enemies, you will acquire gold and crystals (as well as health drops that serve as one way to heal yourself). Gold is used to upgrade your gear and weapons, improving their power up to five additional levels, each with an exponential cost increase while crystals allow you to buy skills. If you want to max out everything, prepare to do a LOT of farming!
Unlike a lot of side-scrolling action games of this type, you cannot get everything. There are six paths to choose but they are linked together in pairs. So, you get to choose three paths as choosing one will lock the other. Your choices don’t have to be permanent as you can refund the talents you’ve chosen with gold. So, if you want to do a plague build, you can. Like placing explosive charges on enemies, you can! Want run speed more than attack speed? Go for it! Want a bulwark to protect you? It’s there. There are many different routes you can go and the gear you get supports all of these options so you can create different loadouts to fit your playstyle.
When it comes to gear, you can also break it down at the forge in the Outpost. Doing so will give you extra gold so if you want to farm later on and don’t care about getting a lucky high-end drop, then start at the beginning and tear through everything. Pick up all the gear that drops and scrap it. Grays give you 10 gold, Blues give you 40 gold, and Purples give you 90 gold. It all adds up and it makes upgrading the gear you do care about quicker.
The one thing that’s missing from this game is experience. There is none here so there are no levels to actually get. All of your power comes from your gear and your talents/skills. You do end up getting new skills and moves throughout the game, though. For instance, after defeating the first boss you gain access to an Air Dash. The Air Dash can be used after doing a fast dash jump giving it incredible versatility. Some of the other skills that have usage can be swapped at the Outpost. You can hold two skills at a time. The game starts of you off with a powerful dash that annihilates smaller enemies and deals healthy damage to stronger foes as well as a channeled heal which will prevent you from losing your progress.
That last sentence brings us to the next part of Foregone…
This game deceives you by starting you off with some weak enemies in its opening Forest stage. You don’t take damage from making contact with enemies… just their attacks. You can’t pass through them as they do have hitboxes but you can bypass them if you’re in a hurry and are good at dodging projectiles, melee, and other various attacks. There are “elite” enemies mixed throughout which have higher health pools and are indicated by their blue hues and yellow life bars as opposed to the standard red ones.
You will want to make sure that you are careful as the game does lure you into that false sense of security that this is a simple hack and slash with RPG elements. If you head into the stages with the notion that you’ll just bulldoze your way through it, you’re going to find yourself on the business end of a bad time really fast. The game has enemies that are easy to predict with their attacks but if you don’t take notice of them, you’re going to get destroyed as some of the attacks deal massive damage.
Enemies with shotguns, machine guns, or even those that will teleport on top of you and do a ground pound, will take massive chunks of your health bar away if you don’t know how to counter them. You have to use your reflexes as well as a balance between melee and ranged attacks to dispose of them. There is tact and strategy to be had in this game and it punishes heavily those who think they can just soar through without consequence.
You will want to play it cautiously as dying comes with a penalty. The penalty is that you lose all gold and crystals you’ve collected between the time of your death and the last waypoint. Gates to the Outpost are scattered throughout the levels (about two per area). Touching one for the first time in a playthrough will restore your health but it won’t do that afterward. You will have to teleport to the Outpost to do that if you use a waypoint you’ve already activated. The downside is once you teleport back, all of the enemies you’ve killed will have respawned and you will have to clear all over again. This is great for farming but it’s also frustrating if you’ve done half a level, received a drop, are about to die, and want to go back to heal and upgrade it.
You don’t lose gear that you’ve collected, though, so there is a silver lining to that. You’ll just lose the funds to upgrade it if you were running low on gold and amassed a huge amount and didn’t go back to save your progress. All the more reason to take your time going through and not rush… unless you’ve out geared the earlier part of the game and just want to tear through on a gear farm for some extra coin! Then have at it!
This game is fun, challenging, and highly addicting! The systems are very simple and straight-forward but even though there isn’t much variety to the weapons or gear, the stats on them and the different builds you can do with them offer a lot of depth. There’s still enough to suit different playstyles giving you even more variety and control over things.
The artwork looks fantastic and everything runs smoothly and perfectly as you would expect from any game in this modern era. The soundtrack is absolutely stunning as the soft ambient tones don’t just serve as game music here… they create entire atmospheres that draw you in. I actually found myself stopping from time to time just to listen to the music so whoever was responsible at Big Blue Bubble for the game’s audio, just know you’ve done a hell of a job as this is one of the more pleasant and addicting soundtracks I’ve listened to in a game in quite some time!
Foregone may not seem all that different than other contenders out there but it doesn’t really need to be. These games are all about the action and the satisfaction of overcoming challenges and being rewarded for doing so. There is a sense of progression in the game and it comes at your own pace. Killing everything in sight will put you on par with where you need to be at that point in the game but going back and farming for hours will put you ahead of the curve slightly. Don’t think that getting better gear or maxing out your talent tree will help you. I mean, it will, but there is still your own skill to take into account. You will die just as fast thinking more gear and skills make you invincible than you would if you were trying to play it cautious and are still learning enemy attack patterns (the second boss is a great indicator of this!)
All in all, this is a game that is most definitely worth trying out. If you’re a fan of these kinds of games then Foregone is definitely worth your attention but if this is your first foray into this genre then you may want to try something a bit easier unless you’re not afraid of a challenge. Even so, I still recommend checking it out as the challenge will make you think and apply strategies and, all around, make you a better gamer. That’s the polite way of saying “Get good, son.”
In other words… just play it! That’s my Foregone conclusion.
Oh, come on, don’t look at me like that. You just KNEW that was coming at some point.
Review Disclosure Statement: Our copy of Foregone Early Access was provided to us for review purposes. For more information on how we review video games and other media/technology, please go review our Review Guideline/Scoring Policy for more info.
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Foregone offers a fun and addicting challenge as you go through multiple levels of increasing difficulty, acquiring upgradable weapons and gear along with skills and talents to increase your power to meet said challenges! It has high replayability and when you couple that with great visuals and a stunning soundtrack, you’re in for a bit of a treat!
- Great action
- Highly customizable gameplay
- Good challenge
- Amazing Soundtrack
- Good visuals
- Promotes skill and adaptability
- No Experience Point System (is it really needed, though?)
- Mistakes can frustrate more casual players