Somewhere along the way gaming became a rather divisive community. To some, experiences are limited to only the most jaw-dropping and over the top experiences money can buy but some of the best games are actually rather simple. Much of the charm to things like Dead Cells is the simple, yet effective, gameplay. Find weapons, just around, kill enemies, hope you make it to the end and win. Foregone takes a page from arcade-esque experiences through simplistic means. However, with so many options out there and a few quirks, is this an experience worth investing in, or do other games do it better?
There isn’t much to the core narrative of Foregone. You essentially need to go back and correct mistakes to arrive at a more desirable conclusion. Whether this means killing a giant bird that is causing problems or defeating some robots, it is a narrative that is pretty easy to forget about. Unless you’re big into lore, of which there is a fair amount, most of Foregone will be running around killing enemies with something sparking a comment that relates to the larger narrative. Thankfully, regardless of how you feel about the overall narrative, the meat is absolutely gameplay.
For one reason or another, Forgone rides the line between extremely simple and tedious and complicated. Basic gameplay elements are extremely simple. Players have a melee and ranged attacks, a dodge, two special moves that you can select out of a variety of options, and some very basic rules. Some of these include, every melee hit gives you one ranged attack up to a specific limit, the dodge lets you move through enemies, and things like that. This offers a shockingly high amount of mindless fun. I had a blast simply jumping through stages, baiting an attack, and then stabbed them in the back. This also made trying different weapons and abilities a lot of fun, especially given there is a time and place for every weapon type. However, this leads to one of the biggest problems.
Not unlike Borderlands, Foregone will give you a lot of gear that is almost always useless. It wasn’t uncommon to get 10 to 20 pieces of gear and maybe one item was actually better than what I currently had. A lot of times you’re also limited by what your luck gives you. For example, I tend to enjoy swift weapons. Dual daggers match this playstyle very well, though I might have a higher rarity sword that works almost as well with 30 percent more attack. This just makes sense to be my main weapon, making anything weaker kind of obsolete.
Similar things can be said about the progression system. There are a lot of great options, the downside is an investment. There are a lot of things that fight for your resources and, to be perfectly honest, a lot of them are not worth your investment. Marginally better attacks or health management sounds great until you factor in immediate benefits or greater skills. Often times I would invest in gear and find it made a substantial difference, to the point where it will often far outweigh 2 percent better healing.
Progression is also filled with questionable choices. As much fun as it is to run around overwhelming most enemies, the difficulty can be fairly inconsistent. Most times enemies are a joke and you can brute force most problems. Get stabbed, kill the enemy and heal or rush a gunner and blow them away with a shotgun blast. These are just some examples of how simple certain challenges can be. However, enemies like the chain gunner can be devastating. A single mess up can result in you losing most of your health or possibly even death. And, taking a page from things like Demon’s Souls, you leave your resources. For those worried, there is a pity mechanic where you can take half your haul instead of chasing after it, though it feels out of place. Nothing about Foregone is really hardcore, yet this mechanic exists to further punish the like two or three mistakes you might make. Thankfully, smart players will know how to either reclaim it or accept their limits and take a guaranteed payout.
Foregone Review – Verdict
Perhaps the best way to explain Foregone is like this. It’s a really fun game, one that I could mindlessly play for hours and feel like I got my money’s worth, but there are a lot of generally lackluster ideas thrown in. Most players won’t have to worry about most things, will be fine rushing through, and just having fun. For this reason, it’s still easy to recommend Foregone, especially if you like the core non-roguelike elements of Dead Cells, you just need to keep in mind it works best if you just go with whatever your luck dictates.
[Editor’s Note: Foregone was reviewed on PlayStation 4 and a review code was provided to us by the publisher.]