Forced, kicking and screaming to play this!
It was bound to happen sooner or later; Ken often throws these twin-stick shooters my way, as I generally have a ton of fun with them (See my Crimsonland review). But the honeymoon had to end, its just a shame it was forced on me so quickly (geddit).
Enough of the terrible puns and down to the nitty gritty; Forced is not a good game. There is a glimmer of a great idea buried here, but it’s pulled down by such poor execution. The premise is that players are placed into the shoes of a member of an enslaved tribe, whose sole purpose in life is to train as a warrior and then attempt to complete a vast set of challenges to secure their freedom from a tyrannical demon god. Sounds pretty cool huh? Well, not when it’s being told by voice actors that just don’t seem to give much of a crap.
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Multiplayer: 4 Player co-op
The voice acting stands out as some of the worst I have heard in many years. Most of the talking is done by the players’ spirit mentor; a ball of blue energy that acts as a guide to the challenge rooms, and as a helpful companion for puzzle solving. But lets not place all of the blame on him, all of the acting here is shockingly bad. It pulled me out of what could have been an interesting narrative.
The set up for the gameplay is standard fare. Each challenge room is broken up in to several stages, with each stage requiring a slightly different approach in order to complete them. Before each stage players will get to choose their weapon of choice, and there are four to pick from; with some favouring close quarters combat, and others geared towards long range shooting. These fighting styles can be levelled up over time, which will unlock extra boosts and abilities. Once thrust in to the stage, the objective is to battle the spewing enemies that are unleashed, all while trying to meet the required parameter of the stage. This could be guiding the spirit mentor around the level, unlocking or destroying various objects; or keeping a machine from flooding the level with deadly gases.
There is a little variation to the challenges, but most involve a similar process. I also found that outside of the tutorials, the game didn’t do a fantastic job of getting across exactly what it needed me to do. There were also times where I found myself stuck due to some of the mechanics. Although this could be blamed partially on me, it would have been better if the game was designed in a way that stopped me from getting myself stuck in these situations.
Forced has a massive emphasis on leader boards and on how well I played each level compared to the rest of the world. Speed is of the essence, as is completing some of the bonus objectives, as these will push players up the global rankings.
There is also a focus on co-op here, with up to 4 players being able to tackle the stages together. Also this can provide a little fun, it can all get a bit frustrating when it comes to controlling the spirit mentor.
Out of all of the games faults, the one that is the most striking is the visuals. We are now in to the third year of the current gen on consoles, but Forced looks like a mobile game, it really is that bad. Basic looking character models, and environment textures that look dull as dish water. I honestly thought I was playing an iOS game. Shocking.
Unless you have a desire to inflict pain upon yourself, steer clear of Forced. If you fancy some fun multiplayer action, there is a much better 4 player co-op shooter out there (once again, check out my Crimsonland review!).
Review copy of game provided by publisher.