Foreclosed Review (PS4)
At least let me get some breakfast before locking everything.
Publisher: Merge Games
Foreclosed takes place in a cyberpunk dystopian future where everyone seemingly has brain ID implants and identity theft that no one can pay off. We play as Evan Kapnos who wakes up one day to his normal routine until he gets the news that the company he works for, SecurTech, suddenly went bankrupt. As SecurTech took on their employee’s debts, everyone there is having their identity foreclosed. This entails everything being blocked and being kept from exiting unless he makes it to court in time. However, he quickly gets attacked. Someone does come to help him, the founder of SecurTech Dahlia Khari, and it gets revealed that it’s because he has some experimental implants that lets him do the things he is able to do now. It seems like the stress of his life being in danger activated it earlier than intended. So you try to follow the breadcrumbs of who could be targeting you.
The story overall is okay, but it was enough to keep me wanting to find out what exactly is happening and help out Kapnos. Though, there will be a lot of people that just won’t care.
You’ll be getting into combat a lot and it will evolve shooting the gun that is connected to your implant. The combat never felt good and I don’t know how to explain it. I’m very much used to how shooters are when playing on controller, I was a console only player (aside from WoW and Nancy Drew) for a long time, but it just didn’t feel good and it wasn’t something where you just had to get used to it. It does get better as you get your upgrades, but it still doesn’t feel good to play. It also doesn’t really help at all that it is so frustrating at so many levels due to the checkpoint system often putting you at the beginning of the level (despite there being a lull before the fight you died on) and there being way too many enemies out at once shooting at you (which contributes to killing you more) and appearing at angles or one moving to a spot that just narrowly gets you behind the cover (or appears behind you).
Anyway, other than shooting, making sure you crouch behind things to shield yourself (as this doesn’t have a cover system), and try to shoot when the enemies are reloading so you don’t get hit when you stand up to shoot, your implants do give you an opportunity to upgrade yourself. As you continue the story you’ll unlock abilities thanks to your experimental implant, like overloading a clueless enemy’s implant or telekineses, and you can put in your points from leveling up to get additional skills that are tied to them. These can actually make the combat a bit better as you can lift or smash an enemy on the ground or overload your implant to cause an explosion. There are also gun upgrades, which you can only equip three, which can give you explosive bullets, pierce shields or armor, telekinetic bullets, and others. Though, both the skills and the gun upgrade equips will heat up Kanos’ implant with each use/shoot fired so you have to keep an eye on it before he gets stunned and unable to use them for a good couple moments.
However, there seems to be a bug with this aspect as this game has a nasty habit of unequipping your upgrades or having them disabled despite being equipped. Aside from one situation where it would be understandable why they were all unequipped, you will often times come back from a retry or going into a new chapter with everything unequipped or just plain not working. They will also stop working if your implant is overloaded, but while it makes sense why it will be as you can’t use them, it won’t switch on to work again when your implant is fine and will require you to go into your gun upgrade screen to unequip and equip them again. It also doesn’t help that you won’t know if they are enabled as some of them don’t have any good indication. I’d know if the upgrade that has the bullets explode or pierce energy shields work as there is a visual affect or the enemy with the shield will go down respectively, but it’s hard to tell if the one that pierces armor works as it seems to be a toss up on whether the armored enemies flinch when hit or not. And on that note, during my playthrough I noticed some of the upgrades seem to be useless, like the one that makes bullets explode didn’t seem to do more damage (or if it did, not a lot), it was pointless upgrading shooting range as you can already shoot across the room, and it didn’t seem worth overloading your implant to get a quick shield.
There is a kind of collectible here. Kapnos will be able to pick up a weird signal and after tracking it down by finding the spot that will give you a full signal, you’ll be able to see a green shadow of a strange device that is hidden in the wall or ceiling or floor. After connecting to it, you will gain a lot of EXP. These will then be found in all of the other chapters, either where you would realistically go to normally or out of the way in a corner. It will also unlocks a secret ending if you find all of them. However, unless you really like the game and don’t mind having to watch unskippable cutscenes again, I wouldn’t recommend aiming for it if you didn’t manage it your first time around. It’s as disappointing and unsatisfying as the regular two endings (though one is a bit better than the other) or even more so as it doesn’t add anything both to the overall story and that it was already quickly mentioned what it was when you first encounter it. Plus, there’s no way to know if you found all of them in the area and there’s a chance it will bug out (for me, I’m pretty sure the first one wasn’t counted as I had to step away from the game and when I opened the game back up and reloaded my game file, it acted like it wasn’t there and I missed out on the EXP).
Other than combat, there are some puzzle aspects here. There are a couple that are only a one-off, but the two that return time and time again is one where you input buttons to hack and open doors, which I oddly enjoyed, and the other being one where you have to find 3-4 blue hidden terminals by their signal, which does get a bit tiring when you start to have to backtrack the whole level to find them.
There is also a couple stealth sections with some of them fine and others not so much. The stealth sections with the human enemies are fine, aside from the annoyance that they will automatically turn to you when you roll. The frustration comes with the stealth sections with the machines as they only have a light that you only see reaches a couple inches in front of them so it’s unsure whether they’ll actually see you or not. One particularly frustrating stealth section is at the end-game, where you have to not let drones see you. However, with the uncertainty of the search light or just the AI, there are a lot of times where it seemed like it shouldn’t have seen you. And it doesn’t help that there is no checkpoint until you reach the final area (at least it doesn’t put you back to the beginning).
That being said, the presentation is really nice. I was mainly interested because of the comic book aesthetic and I liked the other games that I’ve played that took that same approach to their presentation. All throughout I liked how everything looked, how it was all colored, and the times when it took an interesting approach to showing you what was going on by displaying it like panels and/or giving you a different perspective to play that sequence in. Not to mention that the music is pretty good here.
This is the kind of game where the sum of its parts matter, and while the presentation was nice (and probably the reason a lot of people got interested, like me), the story was interesting enough to want to get through, and the voice acting was subpar (though weirdly kind of fits), the combat, how upgrades are weirdly unequipped, certain stealth sections, and poor checkpointing really brought it down for me. Not to mention that the ending was unsatisfying (especially the secret ending which I’m glad I didn’t go out of my way to get) and this may be too short for some for the price, despite it feeling like was the proper time to end (it took me about 3 hours to complete). I didn’t have fun through most of the game, and a lot of frustration, I don’t think I can recommend it. I even was tempted to just stop playing and I probably would have if I wasn’t already set on reviewing this game. Though, if you feel like you’d be fine with the combat and can look past its flaws, consider getting this when it’s on sale.