I thought I was done with the Cyberpunk worlds of the future, with multiple occasions seeing me implanted with enough robotic additions to my skull and so much exploration of neon-drenched cities full of murder and intrigue, that it had all become a bit weary. But as soon as I loaded up Foreclosed I’m back into the world without thinking, imagining myself as a Bladerunner and soaking up the neon rays. Lately, I’ve absorbed Cyberpunk 2077, The Ascent, and the wonderful Cloudpunk. Foreclosed takes us into a world of betrayal, cybernetics, and a man on the run. It has a comic book feel to it, rather than employing the FPS world of other games, and I’m going to tell you exactly what I liked and didn’t so much enjoy. So do you want to take the blue pill or the red one?
Foreclosed is described as a “narrative-driven action-adventure”, combining an interactive comic book storyline with some traditional video game dynamics. You play Evan Kapnos, a sort of generic hard-nose narrator of the story. Like a noir private detective, he is a gruff no-nonsense type of man who is unhappy with life – and you get the feeling he has never been in a relationship and drinks whiskey for breakfast.
In this futuristic dystopia, companies and corporations own your identity. Yet as Evan’s previous employer has mysteriously vanished, the state is now threatening to take his identity away from him. Kapnos goes on a journey to find out the truth and soon it leads him to some shady goings-on…
The story and world-building are strong and well-devised even though Foreclosed does feel very familiar at times. The dialogue can seem a bit cheesy in moments but it’s still enjoyable enough, at times helping to push forward a feeling of Sin City. The themes of corporation control and battling against the system are explored here as well, all to good effect, but maybe it doesn’t do anything completely original.
You move through the game by taking in a series of comic book frames or cells, whereby you might walk through a door in a cell on the left-hand side of the screen and you then see the room pop up in the top right of the screen. You can move, crouch and explore, yet when you stumble upon enemies you have a couple of choices. The first is to creep behind them and then use your augmentations to disable them stealthily. You do this by pressing Y and overloading the chips in their brains to kill them. The other choice however brings out the worst of the game. The gunplay.
The first thing you need to do with Foreclosed is head into the settings and change the aim speed because otherwise you’ll find the aiming cursor skipping around at the speed of light. You have a gun and you will face constant enemies coming at you throughout the game and it’ll be up to you to crouch behind things, roll when things become too heavy, and generally die a lot. The main problem is that nothing ever feels solid enough, reminding of those lightgun shooters from the 1980s. It’s not helped by the fact that enemies will take a load of bullets in order to go down, unless you can get a headshot, yet you just need a few hits before you are dead. And at times you will be surrounded by enemies, so you know exactly how that is going to play out. When you die you replay the whole segment of action again and I’ve constantly felt that this is a major letdown on the whole game; without it, it can be really enjoyable.
Granted, at latter points you get access to a telekinesis ability giving you the ability to throw items at enemies, and that is all a bit more fun, but by that time the interest levels will definitely have waned. There are upgrades for your gun to enjoy too, but to be honest I’ve failed to notice too much of a difference with them in place.
The visuals of Foreclosed employ a cell-shaded effect, like that used in games like XIII. Its colours and style are amazing and these help create a world I could happily have explored – at least if it wasn’t for the damned shooting sections ruining the focus. The use of comic book cells and the whole setup through the framing is brilliant and even the soundtrack has some great original electronic music that is enjoyable to take in. And whilst we’re on the audio train, though the voice-over feels a bit hackneyed at times, it yet manages to fit well into the comic book roots.
Foreclosed is a game of two halves. The story and world are both intriguing, hooking you in from the very start. The writing and its use of comic book framing are good too, as are the inclusion of some clever gameplay devices which are used in terms of hacking, movement, and augmentations. But it’s the shooting that completely lets Foreclosed down. I just don’t understand why you would have so much of it, particularly when it’s the weakest element by far.
Take back your identity as you venture through the neon locales of Foreclosed, on Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One