This week we are going to be looking at another ID Xbox game that has hit the console in the shape of FORCED (all caps) which is an action RPG with heavy puzzle elements thrown in for good measure the game is developed by Beta Dwarf and is strongly focused on co-op, so will it fall at the first challenge or rise to be crowned ultimate champion?
FORCED starts with a message that reads “This game was made to be a challenging and you WILL die trying to beat it…REPEATEDLY having a buddy to share in your trials is recommended sincerely Beta Dwarf.” Now if that isn’t setting up your shop front for an ass kick I don’t know what is.
You start off as a slave who is forced to fight in gladiator style trials. The slaves are from a village where people are bred just to be gladiators and fight for the pleasure of “their Gods” who are demons to win their freedom. Though you are not alone on this quest as you are joined by Balfus, a Spirit Mentor and guide, to help overcome the challenges and defeat the Gods and their guardians of each arena.Balfus guides you through the arenas but it soon hits you Balfus has done this a time or two before with previous arena gladiators before you. Balfus is the mean storyteller in the game as none of the gladiators talk during the game so when starts talking, listen up.
The game sees you in the starting arena, fighting the first guardian called Wrathhoof, who once you have beaten, refuses to accept he’s been beat and to let you move on to next arena. Balfus warns him that this is against the rules of the arena but Wrathhoof continues to attack you forcing you to kill him – a big ‘no no’ in the world. Which follows a tale of betrayal and verges as Balfus’ past comes back to get him and a few home truths are revealed as you fight for your freedom and face the final guardian Mordar who is called “The Master” the main campaign will clock in are the 9 to 10 hour mark and once you have completed that, there are a host of survival maps that you unlock as you play through the campaign.
The game has a top-down view for up to four players in the combat arena. At the start of each arena you have to select one of four weapons. These are the Storm Bow (like Hawkeye), the Volcanic Hammer (like Thor), the Spirit Knives (like Wolverine), and the Frost Shield (like Captain America)each have the tactical roles of a long range attacker, slow melee attacker, fast melee attacker and a tank respectively. All of which have 16 unlockable abilities each, similar to a character classes in other games but in FORCED you level up the weapons and not the player. Though single player mode is also available, the game is definitely focused on co-op gameplay by selecting a weapon class and abilities which complement the other players, while fighting a range of demons of various sizes and solving environmental puzzles where Balfus the Spirit guide plays a key role.
Balfus can be made to interact with the environments spiritual plane by ordering him to activate or trigger set statues which let him have abilities like healing or set off a stunning blast traps. He can travel with the characters, float in space or can be called to their location by pressing X. Good positioning and communication will help you and your team get the most out of use Balfus.
As of the look of the game its build in the Unity engines and has a lovely high fantasy feel to each area and is full of colour the general art style of the game has an almost cell shaded look to it. As of sound again, it has a fitting fantasy style sound track and Balfus is well voice acted if a little full of himself at times.
The things I feel let the game down are the general movement controls as it plays like a twin stick shooter in that your left stick controls your moment forward and your left stick controls your direction of attack it’s a bit of a pain to get your head around at the start. Also Balfus movement is murder yes you can call him with X but be moves in a strange line to you this is extremely annoying at time especially if he has any abilities active.
Also a HUGE let down on the game was trying to find a game in co-op when I was searching for a game it would often return I estimated waiting time of 4018 minutes that’s all most 3 day to wait for a game 3 DAYS. Now I don’t know of it was because of issues at the time I tested it or if not many people have the game just now but this FORCED will live and die based on its co-op mode as the message at the start said it’s recommended to be played with friends.
Overall FORCED is a fun challenging game that mixes to game times well and presents it in a well-polished and enjoyable package but the fact it really needs co-op player to be played at its fullest may hold it back over time hopefully more people will pick it up and a community will be formed around it but only time will tell on that front. At £11.99 it’s a bit of a gamble though I feel just now but as a single player its rock solid and if you’re looking to give yourself a real challenge then FORCED is the one for you.
Midlife Gamer Rating: Single Player 5/10 Co-op n/a Format: Xbox One / PlayStation 4 Release Date: Out Now
Disclosure: Midlife Gamer were provided a copy of FORCED by the publisher for review purposes. The title was reviewed over the course of five days. For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.