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War has plagued the once thriving city of Calagan, and an evil presence threatens its very existence. The latest title from developers Big Blue Bubble; Foregone, is a sci-fi action-adventure game that sticks to the roots of traditional side-scrollers, all while cranking things up with intense action and platforming. Taking control of a super soldier known as ”The Arbiter”, the game’s female protagonist, players set forth on journey of both personal, and grander, scale agendas. A brief glimpse into the future at the beginning of the story is more than enough to show that nothing shy of absolute devastation and destruction awaits this mysterious and intriguing world. And it certainly doesn’t waste time putting players into the action, thus unveiling the conspiracy at hand.
Foregone’s delightful and creative pixelated art direction offers ton of variety throughout the numerous zones presented in the game. A trend I’ve noticed in numerous other 2D platformers, is the lack of transition visually when it comes to progressing through the stages. The level designers deterred from that issue entirely, truly making each area feel like it stands out from the previous. Open forests lined with lush trees, looming over clusters of ancient tech ruins, as well as enclosed, dingy torchlit tunnels, are just a few of the locations that await players in the earlier hours of the game. Further in, temples and other large structures within the city await the players arrival.
The objectives are more or less the same throughout each area: wipe out the mass amounts of enemies, find levers to open doors, wash, rinse, and repeat. Checkpoints are thoughtfully placed within each area, allowing for quick travel between the in game world and a main hub (NPC’s are present and offer both skill and weapon upgrades). An acceptable amount of lore is placed throughout the city of Calagan as well, and can be discovered through tomes placed within the levels along with the game’s narration. Both enemy and boss designs are colorful and well executed, offering an decent amount of variety as well. At first glance, titles like Dead Cells and Blasphemous come to mind, and in some ways, feel like heavy influences with Foregone which is certainly not a bad thing at all.
This wouldn’t be categorized as an ‘action-platformer’ game without, well, action and platforms. Fortunately, there’s no shortage of either in this adrenaline-driven, fast paced title. Foregone delivers quite the challenge for players, and rarely slows down from beginning to end. Onslaughts of enemies are constantly populating the screen, all equipped with a range of attacks and abilities that will have gamers dedicating their full, undivided attention while playing. Bullets, lasers, thorns, and many other dangerous projectiles were being fired my way relentlessly. Learning the enemies attack patterns wasn’t difficult, but the majority of the time, you rarely deal with them as a single unit. Running into a group of four or five on a single platform wasn’t uncommon, and usually made for a quick death. Add a few machine gun turrets into the mix as well, and you’re going to have a bad time.
Nonetheless, as tough as some spots presented themselves, progress never felt unachievable. Trial and error once again prevails, and pays off in the end. The boss fights are traditionally placed throughout the levels, however I found the encounters themselves to be quite underwhelming for the most part. Basic attack patterns were easy to figure out, and I never found myself having issues after one or two attempts at defeating them. Dying in the game results in losing any collected currencies, as well as enemies re-spawning. I did find that it’s quite easy to run through and navigate back to where you left off without really engaging in any combat along the way.
RPG aspects are present in Foregone as well. Skill trees allow players a bit of flexibility in regards to how they choose to build their character, however the options are fairly linear. Health upgrades, tethering, and explosive damage are what I focused on myself. Runes can be found scattered throughout the stages that also provide additional abilities to aid you (Health Regen and AoE spells just to name a couple). Initially, I was quite entertained by the fact that Foregone sticks to a loot dropping system when it comes to upgrading weapons. It’s always a rewarding feeling seeing a Purple or Legendary piece of equipment in any game using the widely-known format. Unfortunately, the drops were few and far between, and the majority of the gear I came across was useless to me and quite underwhelming stat-wise. The weapon variety can offer up quite the difference in gameplay though; twin daggers sacrifice damage for speed, while swords offer the opposite. The same goes for the ranged weapons as well. I rotated between bows and pistols, mostly due to the lack of needed upgrades I never came across.
The combat itself is very fluent, and by far the highlight of the game. Bullets, blades, and magic dance around the Arbiter fluidly the entire time, never feeling unresponsive. The controller mapping is fairly straight forward, making it accessible for anyone to learn. As mentioned earlier, there really isn’t a big window for error when engaging enemies, especially in larger groups. Dodging projectiles and rolling behind most enemies made for much easier encounters. A few minor performance issues did present themselves occasionally (slight frame hiccups for the most part), but were far from game-breaking and never took away from my experience with the game.
Though I felt some aspects of the game could’ve been improved on slightly, Foregone still delivers a challenging, frantic and enjoyable experience that shouldn’t be missed. The loot system at times seemed underwhelming, but nonetheless, I never felt I was under-powered or unable to progress through the zones. The accessible and addictive combat will surely draw attention and have you wanting to continue playing. The visuals alone are quite impressive with all of the vivid detail injected throughout Calagan and really added depth to the adventure. Foregone launches for the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch on October 13.