There are few things in this world that are as negatively impacting to a person’s life, outside of death, than having their home taken from them due to non-payment. But, what if it wasn’t just your home, but your very identity that is at risk of being taken? It’s a chilling premise, especially in a world where a fair amount of the population thinks that the government is trying to force a vaccine upon them, which they believe includes some sort of tracking. This is the overall premise of Foreclosed, a new cyberpunk RPG action-adventure. Despite having a thought-provoking story that paints a bleak dystopian future that could very well become a reality, the biggest question the title raises is do great visuals make for a great game? The answer is no, and this is probably one of the best examples in recent history to back this viewpoint.
The game is packaged as an interactive graphic novel, featuring cel-shaded visuals that give off XIII vibes, reinforced by the occasional speech bubble and panel transitions. I thoroughly enjoyed the limited color palette that prioritized pinks and purples; it really felt like I had warped into some futuristic dimension that let me throw a comic onto my TV screen and then move about like I owned the place. This really spoke to my inner comic book nerd and made the first few minutes of the adventure feel like I was in for a real treat, but it quickly degraded like I was tricked into eating a Choco Taco that was filled with a dog turd and then wrapped back up, and took about half the time to discover the ruse.
Everything started falling apart within the first few minutes, as I began the first stealth segment that tasked me with making my way across a rooftop while evading a handful of Agent Smith doppelgangers in a play-by-play remake of Neo trying to escape the agents, with Morpheus feeding him info remotely. Normally, one would expect that the first encounter with the enemies would be a memorable one, in which you still manage to get out relatively unscathed; but not in the world of Foreclosed. From start to finish, most of the enemies have pinpoint accuracy and every once in a while open a set of eyes in the back of their heads. Sadly, our hero Evan doesn’t have much going for him in terms of stealth-based tools, just the ability to crouch. He cannot actually take cover by clinging as you’d find in just about any cover-based game, so we’re left with a character that would be more effective hiding in a cardboard box against enemies with precognitive abilities. This went about as well as you’d expect, with Agent Smith #2 one-shotting me about a dozen times before I even left this encounter.
One would think that since the bulk of the gameplay involves shooting, this aspect would at least kind of work. Sadly, it’s probably some of the worst gun play I have ever experienced in my thirty-plus years of gaming. No matter what settings you toggle or shift around, aiming is a downright chore and feels off, either entirely too loose or tight depending on which direction you are moving the right stick. Out of frustration, I went as far as to turn up the auto-aim feature that does not work as intended, since around 50% of the time your cross-hair is pulled just outside of the enemies’ hit-box, thus making the option completely contrary to its goal. This becomes even more infuriating once you realize that the Great Value brand Agents that make up the bulk of enemies are massive bullet sponges that ignore dead to right headshots, shoot right through your meager cover like every asset is made of glass, come in waves that would make your favorite bullet hell title blush while shooting relentlessly, only stopping to reload every three shots like clockwork.
One would assume, as you progress through the game and acquire upgrades that the upgrades would actually help you in some meaningful way. This works in a very counterintuitive manner, as your gun actually becomes worse for wear with each upgrade. The vanilla option allows you to pew pew pew your way to victory in most cases simply by triggering some enemies, backtracking to the most secure bit of cover possible, and firing endlessly, being limited only by the occasional trigger lock, akin to what I would expect from Deathloop on the DualSense controller. Once the upgrades come out to play, it gets much deeper, and actually feels like a huge step back since your gun decides it’s now going to trigger the microchip in your brain to short circuit and immobilize you for a short time; I actually removed the upgrades and trudged on with the basic gun.
Outside of the lackluster stealth and gun play mechanics, the rest of your journey into this game will involve hacking. As a general rule, this is typically something that is somewhat boring; no matter what game you’re playing. This one is no different, as hacking comes in two forms: searching the game world for what appears to be Wi-Fi signal meters, getting close enough and holding X until it unlocks; the other is pressing a few direction keys as quickly as possible with no consequences outside of a short delay before you can try again. It’s aggressively mediocre, but on the plus side, it works… unlike most of the game.
To date, I have only acquired a shortlist of games that were designed to run on the PS5 natively, and this is by far the most unoptimized one. It seemed like every other checkpoint would throw the system into a fit where it would completely lock up. After thirty seconds or so, it would give me the option to send a bug report and boot me back to the dashboard. This was an annoyance I could work through for the sake of this review, up until the point where it corrupted my save around what I would say is the mid-point of the narrative based on my trophy unlocks compared to what was left. This was the point of my adventure where I promptly uninstalled the game from my system and swore to never revisit this abomination.
Foreclosed is a prime example of a game that looks like it would be a groundbreaking experience, one that you’d find on countless game of the year lists; but the horrendous gameplay and numerous bugs leave the end result feeling like getting to spend an evening with a supermodel who’s easy on the eyes, but full of rotten meat that is spewing from every pore in the most repulsive of ways.
4 out of 10
- Stunning Graphic Novel Presentation
- Unique Futuristic Narrative
- Uninspired Hacking
- Broken Gun Play
- Frequent Crashes
- Horrible AI
Foreclosed was developed by Antab Studio and was published by Merge Games. The game is available for Google Stadia, NS, PC, PS4, PS5, X1, and XSX. The game was provided to us for review on PS4 and played on PS5. If you’d like to see more of Foreclosed, check out the official site.
Here at GBG we use a rating method that you are more than likely familiar with – a scale of 1 to 10. For clarification, we intend on using the entire scale: 1-4 is something you should probably avoid paying for; 5-7 is something that is worth playing, but probably not at full price; 8-10 is a great title that you can feel confident about buying. If you have any questions or comments about how we rate a game, please let us know.