Platform(s): Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Genre: Platformer
Developer: Big Blue Bubble
Release Date: 2020


Switch/PS4/XOne/PC Preview - 'Foregone'

by Chris "Atom" DeAngelus on March 19, 2020 @ 1:00 a.m. PDT

Set in a fantasy world devastated by war and twisted by an all-consuming evil, Foregone is an action/platformer that follows a powerful Arbiter tasked with keeping the peace – by any means necessary.

Gamers would be forgiven for comparing Foregone to Dead Cells. The two games have a lot in common, such as the art style, postapocalyptic setting, and terrible enemies. The similarities are not just skin-deep, though. From the moment I picked up the game, I felt like a number of my basic skills from Dead Cells transferred over. Based on my experience with a recent preview build, Foregone is more of a linear experience than a roguelike. Death takes you back to your last checkpoint, and your goal is to keep pressing forward and taking your lumps as they come.  Fans who didn't enjoy the try-and-retry aspect of Dead Cells might love Foregone.

Similar to Dead Cells, you have two weapon slots in Foregone, but they are specifically divided into melee and ranged weapons. Melee weapons, like daggers and swords, do good damage but require you to be up close. Ranged weapons include longbows, pistols and shotguns;  they do solid damage from a distance and auto-target the nearest enemy in their range, but they have limited ammo. You renew ammo by attacking enemies with your melee attacks, so the limited ammo is mostly there to stop you from sniping everything from a distance instead of getting up close and personal.

This gives the combat a really solid flow. You constantly swap between melee and ranged combat to maximize your safety and damage. I generally found myself dashing in toward enemies, and then sliding away once they started to attack and take advantage of their animation frames to pour bullets into them. Some enemies who fight from a distance are best whittled down with bullets before you close in for a kill. Enemy hit-stun is minimal to nonexistent, so running up into an enemy and slashing them to stop their attack is a great way to eat a Gatling gun.

In addition to weapons, you have multiple slots to equip defensive and offensive special moves. These moves can be unlocked by finding them in-game. The first one you'll get is a powerful forward dash that tears through clustered enemies, while the second is a health regeneration skill that lets you slowly replenish your HP. Skills are refilled by fighting enemies, so you can't spam them all day, and it encourages getting up close to enemies to beat them down.

Foregone also has varied weapons, but this is more akin to Diablo than Dead Cells. When you defeat enemies, they have a chance to drop weapons and armor of various rarities. Most weapons have special attributes, ranging from more damage to higher chance to proc certain special abilities. You can bring these weapons to your home base to upgrade them, which increases the base stats and improves the special effect. It's hard to say how long you'll be able to hold onto a weapon in the final release.

You can also upgrade passive skills at your home base to get a numerical boost to your abilities and gain special attributes to improve your attacks. For example, one will grant health steal on attack, and another allows for stacking damage "bombs" that explode for massive damage after a short period of time. Each ability has a percentage chance that goes up as you upgrade it, and some weapons can even improve the effects of these powers.

Another nice element of this system is that it actually means damage-per-second (DPS) numbers aren't all that matter. Daggers are almost universally weaker than the swords I found, but when you regain bullets from each hit and have a chance to proc a special ability on each hit, you can end up doing even more damage that an upfront DPS weapon. It's hard to say how it will scale into the later game based on the preview build, but the system has a lot of potential.

All in all, Foregone is shaping up to be an excellent Dead Cells-inspired game with its own flavor. The smooth gameplay and excellent visuals make it something easy to pick up and play. Assuming the final game lives up to its potential, it should be an excellent salve for anyone looking for more Dead Cells-style gameplay in a new setting.

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