Foreclosed is a game that has me very torn. There are a lot of things that are right, and a few things that are not. I’ll be the first to admit, I wasn’t initially turned on by the idea of Foreclosed, mainly because ‘doing a Cyberpunk’ seems to be the in thing right now. I tell you what though, you cannot knock Antab Studio’s dip into the universe as it manages to tell a really good story.
After doing a bit of research, it turns out that the story for Foreclosed is based on a real-life event that Antab Studio co-founders Lara Gianotti and Andrea Tabacco went through together. Crazy stuff! You play the role of Evan Kapnos who one day wakes up to find that his identity and all his implants have been Foreclosed by a big greedy company, and they are about to be auctioned off to the highest bidder. To make a long story short, Evan is about to have his identity taken away from him.
This means all of his rights are stripped, he’s off the city Block-chain and is only allowed to head to the Court in order to settle up. On his way, he’s ambushed with unexpected results… His implants activate some hidden tech, alerting you to the danger and sending you on the run.
It was at this point I really started to appreciate the aesthetic of Foreclosed. As I ran, multiple comic panels opened on screen, showing bad guys shooting at me while I ran from one end to another trying to escape. It was all very slickly done, like a finely edited movie. It doesn’t stop there. The clever use of comic panelling is used throughout to give a really clever blend of comics and cinematics. You can sit there nodding, thinking ‘yep, this is cool.’
Due to its comic-book look, Foreclosed visuals are bold with a reduced amount of detail. This is not a bad thing if done correctly and I feel it works here. There’s a lot of colours on screen and too much detail would have sent my eyes into overload.
The gameplay itself is mainly third person, switching to isometric and other styles when comic panels are happening or the moment demands it. Like most games, Foreclosed has walls in place to keep you off the beaten path. The way it’s done here fits nicely into the narrative, however, with Evan’s implants creating a mental prison, controlling his path. Evan even comments on this in-game which is a nice touch.
Evan also sounds a lot like Max Payne, with inspiration for his character clearly coming from the aforementioned game series. Evan has many moments of noir style dialogue as he cuts about doing his business, using his best word porn to create a perfect image of his mind musings.
There are two types of upgrades available – The first being additional implant tech and powers, and the second is upgrades to your Symbiotic Pistol. The main firmware upgrades are unlocked as you play, letting you see through walls and using telekinesis to throw objects at people. These are bolstered by various skills you can unlock, Lift being one of them, which lets you lift an enemy in the air, leaving them vulnerable to gunfire. Combine this with Slam and you’ve got a good combo on your hands, as well as being a lot of fun.
The pistol you pick up can also be upgraded, letting you add explosive bullets or making them armour penetrating. You can have up to three upgrades on the pistol active at once, but the more you have, the quicker it fills your overheat meter.
The overheat meter makes combat very frustrating. Not only does your pistol use it, but so do your powers. I learned this the hard way. I’d just unlocked my barrier power which in one use almost fills the entire overheat meter. I decided to fire my modded gun a few times which maxed it out, freezing Evan on the spot while he dealt with his brain freeze. This gave the enemy plenty of time to gun me down.
This is something I found happening a lot, with gunfights being broken up with the fact I had to wait behind cover for my meter to reduce. With the enemies mostly remaining stationary, I never really felt like I was in danger, but instead grew bored of waiting for things to happen. It is more of a game of meter management. I never felt comfortable using my gun upgrades with my regular powers as I meant I could only get a couple of shots off. Instead, towards the end game, I mostly kept them deactivated which felt off to me. You’re supposed to feel like a badass and instead I felt very limited.
It doesn’t help that the combat isn’t very inspiring and feels very clunky. I had to reduce the aim speed down to two just so I could easily aim at enemies and shoot before I got slaughtered. It’s irritating because I feel what the combat wants to be and in some segments, I got it. I really felt what Antab Studio is going for. But for the most part, it was frustrating, a little boring and multiple deaths meant I was doing the same thing over and over.
If there was an option for stealth, I took it because it felt much better brain-jacking fools all sneaky-like. The force stealth sections though can also get in the bin. Insta fails when you are restarting a ton is not fun, especially when you were spotted by something off-screen you couldn’t see.
Foreclosed was over a little quicker than I was expecting. I blame my own expectations for this but given the RPG nature and the storytelling, I just felt like it was going to be longer. That being said, it’s a good length for its price, so I can’t complain, really.