Review

Foreclosed Review – An intriguing premise hindered by shoddy gameplay

A good case of what could have been.
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Foreclosed Review

Speed Run
Speed run is our review format to take a look at smaller and shorter games out there that may deserve your time and money.

Again, we’ve broken it down into 3 very simple ratings!

“Buy it!” means that the game deserves a place in your collection. Be it day 1 or a slightly delayed purchase, it’s hard to go wrong with this title. In numbers, this is around an 8/10 and above.

“Wait for it…” means that while the game is good, it probably isn’t worth it at its day 1 price point. We suggest you wait for a sale before jumping in. In numbers, this is around a 5 – 7/10.

“Ignore it!” means that the game is not something we’d recommend playing, whether it be now or in the near future. Maybe ever. Let’s not even go to the numbers for this one.

Sneak Peek
  • Release Date: August 12, 2021
  • Platforms: PS5, PS4, PC, Xbox Series, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Stadia
  • Genre: Action, Third-person shooter
  • Similar Games: Control, XIII
  • Price: $19.99

Foreclosed is one of the many indie titles launching this month that we’re excited to cover because of its unique style and intriguing premise. With its marketing highlighting how the game will take advantage of the PS5’s Dualsense Controller, it’s all the more intriguing to jump into the fray and try the game out for ourselves.

In Foreclosed, you take on the role of Evan Kapnos, a corpo security officer, who’s experiencing a terrible day that keeps getting worse. As you wake up, the company in charge of your employment has filed for bankruptcy and your identity implants have been foreclosed by the government. To retrieve your identity, you must proceed to your court-appointed date else be charged with non-compliance.

As you make your way to court, a looming corporate conspiracy unfolds as you dodge corporate assassins while dealing with the new firmware forcefully installed in your implants. Guided by different players in this grand corporate spider web, you find yourself a pawn in the grand scheme of things as your new cybernetic powers come to life as told in a graphic novel format.

Unique Hardboiled Setting

The first few minutes of Foreclosed had me hooked. It starts off visually and thematically strong, throwing you into the heart of this cyberpunk corporate thriller and doesn’t even give you room to breathe. Dampeners inhibit you from leaving town with the risk of actual death if you don’t comply, and I’d have to say that’s an ingenious way of keeping the game moving at a linear pace.

As soon as corporate assassins are thrown in your way, without any means of protecting yourself, the stakes naturally rise and I’m totally getting into the action. The stealth mechanics of Foreclosed, despite being somewhat basic in nature, are actually workable and really gets the blood pumping. As you make your way through vents and corridors, the graphic novel storytelling is shown in its full glory and I was almost sure I had a winner in my hands.

foreclosed review screenshot 1

Finally, what really sticks the landing for me is when your powers are unlocked through firmware updates. I love how they implement contemporary tech we’re familiar with to the growing cyberpunk sub-genre. Now you can hack unprotected devices such as doorways as well as send a neural shock to enemies, giving you the ability to fight back during stealth mode.

The other cool thing about Foreclosed is you can find nodes that grant you firmware bonuses to level up, which you can use to unlock combat and status upgrades to aid you with your quest. When using these powers, you also run the risk of overloading your implants adding that extra added effect of malfunctioning hardware that’s so on point with classic cyberpunk tropes.

Terrible Half-baked Combat Mechanics

When I finally was able to acquire my service weapon, Foreclosed gives you a false impression that the game is designed as a cover shooter. It is not, yet with the default settings, it’s almost impossible to aim accurately. The aiming speed is way too sensitive and the aimbot makes things very slippery using the default settings. You’ll definitely need to tweak this a bit to make it work, and even then it still feels off.

What’s also particularly annoying in Foreclosed is how “cover” fire really doesn’t work because there’s actually no cover system. With the way the game is designed, it’s training you to shoot from cover instead of running and gunning, which sends the wrong message.

What makes things worse is the hitbox almost works like an RNG generator rather than an actual shooting game. This doesn’t help that the enemies are bullet sponges, but can hurt you with pinpoint accuracy all while being as dumb as rocks, if I may put it that way.

foreclosed review screenshot 2

All this, paired with an unreliable checkpoint system, makes Foreclosed rather frustrating, even more so on the default difficulty where a few hits will send you packing.

There are also a number of bugs littered throughout the game. There are times when the game would just hang in the middle of switching between the user interface back to the game or when it loads the next sequence. There are bugs that completely make optional nodes vanish, making you lose out on firmware points from your last checkpoint. Finally, after seeing the unskippable scene for the fifth time because of an unfair death, lowering the difficulty sometimes becomes your only option to move the game forward.

Uneven Synergy

There are tons of great ideas in Foreclosed that really highlight the world-building and the cyberpunk aspect of it. At a certain point, the game crosses over from XIII territory to actually work more like Control with a more limited power wheel.

At first, you can hack unprotected terminals and cause implant damage to full-on moving objects and enemies with your mind, to spraying telekinetic bullets. It’s a nice little twist that adds to the intrigue of the world, but clashes against how you’ve been trained to proceed.

If you’re not engaging in stealth combat, you’re going all-out run-and-gun, which is a complete paradigm shift. Matched with the unforgiving hitbox mechanics, it’s almost a recommendation to start the game on story mode and return to previously completed levels when you’ve unlocked the chapters feature for some well-deserved payback.

foreclosed review screenshot 4

Finally, with how Foreclosed marketed the use of the Dualsense controller, I feel that this feature has been underutilized and felt highly uneven. Besides the good use of the controller speaker to highlight the communication between characters, the use of haptic feedback feels sparse and just defers to the rumble function after a while. The adaptive triggers aren’t any different and feel very inconsistent. There’s an ability that allows for bullets to explode, but the effect comes so intermittently that it would be best for it not to be present at all.

Putting all these aspects together could’ve made the game shine in the long run, however, with the inconsistent synergy between the gameplay mechanics ranging from combat all the way to the implementation of the Dualsense, it really comes off half-baked. Sadly, it ruins the entire experience.

What we liked:

  • Comic book aesthetic makes the characters come to life.
  • Hardboiled crime writing style is on point and gels with cyberpunk themes.
  • User interface for powers is simple but effective.

What we didn’t like:

  • Terrible gunplay mechanics render combat nigh-unplayable on default difficulty.
  • Unbalanced checkpoints and unskippable cutscenes slow down progress to a standstill.
  • Half-baked Dualsense control mechanics don’t add anything to the experience.
  • Has many immersion-breaking bugs that ruin the experience.

Verdict: Wait For It

Foreclosed has many great ideas such as the comic book aesthetic, the film noir mood, and great use of cyberpunk thematic elements. Yet, when put into practice, it’s a mess. The broken gunplay mechanics, unfriendly checkpoints, and yet another developer jumping on the Dualsense hype train without making it actually work ruins the intriguing premise.

I really rooted for Foreclosed to stick the landing, however, dampened by its many gameplay issues, it hinders us from actually enjoying the storytelling experience. A recommendation would be to play the game on Story mode until the hitboxes and aiming mechanics are polished (if they even fix it) because the default difficulty “Hardboiled” mode is just an endless gauntlet of frustration.

With a relatively inexpensive price tag, anyone can try the game out without much issue, but I’d still recommend waiting for a sale or a robust patch for the kinks to be evened out. It is a real shame because there are some great storytelling aspects here mixed with some cool cyberpunk mechanics that could’ve made for a great experience.

*Foreclosed was reviewed on a PS5 with a code provided by the publishers.

Author

Vincent Ternida moved Vancouver, Canada in 2006 and called it home ever since. He spends the lockdown catching up with his Japanese RPGs, writing his new manuscripts, and figuring out why he suddenly became the main character of the latest Haruki Murakami novel.

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