If Cyberpunk 2077 was too buggy a mess to scratch that Blade Runner shaped itch for you then worry no more as Antab Studio brings you into the stylish cyberpunk world of Foreclosed this summer. Stylised magnificently as a real-time comic, Foreclosed tells the story of Evan Kapnos, a Securetech agent who has had his identity and employment suddenly relinquished in an ominous conspiracy that leads all the way to the top.
Armed with a gun and some new experimental mind implants, Kapnos is taking the fight back to the capitalistic mega corporations that damned him, aiming to reclaim his identity and unravel the insidious mystery against him and his colleagues.
Unfortunately, however, as impressively stylistic as Foreclosed manages to be, this is one title that doesn’t deliver quite enough bang for its buck to match up against its glossy visuals. Try as it may, Foreclosed holds plenty of half ideas that it does not quite manage to fully follow through on effectively. Amid stylish comic artistry, where comic panelling fills out scenes and transitions with elegance and confident flashiness, lies a game that’s frustrations become all the more overbearing under their sparkling makeup.
I was initially quite impressed with Foreclosed. The game roars in with an excellent synth soundtrack that gets you right into the Cyberpunk mood, and its comic panelling art style is very good. I loved the way scenes flow seamlessly from panel to panel, making full creative use of its mixed blend of comic and game medium. This stylistic framework also gets you ready for the type of story that is about to unfold. It’s a classic comic story of comic characters and comic action; a hardboiled detective story with plenty of typical comic campiness littered throughout.
Unfortunately however this is where my love of the game ends, as the rest of Foreclosed is rather frustrating instead. Gameplay for one has its issues. Evan Kapnos primarily guns his way through room after room of Agent Smith-like footmen, using mind augments too where necessary to aid his fight. However for Foreclosed most of this gunplay and action is lacking any distinct oomph or fashionable quality.
Your pistol feels far too lightweight to then be the only gun used throughout the entire game. There is no satisfying response or noticeable stopping power action to your gunshots, leaving them feeling lacklustre. It’s difficult to gage whether you are actually doing noticeable damage to your enemies with each shot or whether you are merely tickling them with a pea shooter. To that end the health of and/or damage done to enemies appears to vary wildly too. Some enemies will frustratingly take nearly a hundred rounds to drop while others might drop with a half dozen—and this isn’t an issue of missing, or getting headshots, or of stronger enemy types, it is just seemingly entirely random.
The other issue with shooting is that it is also incredibly disorienting to do. With the comic art style your entire screen is ostensibly a “panel”, and to add to the stylistic framework and immersion of the medium that panel will shake every time you fire. Unfortunately however this screen shake makes it far more difficult to accurately land your shots. I had to ramp the aim assist way up just to account for this screen shake and even then this didn’t do much to help the fact that the screen shake itself is also just horrific to look at. The camera as a whole isn’t so great in the third-person mode, either. It seems to be just slightly too close in to Kapnos making the whole thing feel a little too closed off/ claustrophobic—there are no options to change this either.
Kapnos’ augment powers add a nice flavour to the action but again for the most part they feel pretty lacklustre and reductive. The exploding bullets option for one makes shooting nigh on impossible (so that was quickly swapped out after purchase), the faster rate of fire sometimes just stops working, armour piercing rounds are sometimes just not, uh…armour piercing, the shield doesn’t make too much noticeable difference to the damage you can take, the health drain is basically just a momentary stun button, and the same goes for both the ground slam and the enemy lift. The latter three in that list should be your best offensive options – you might expect a ground slam to do some damage, for one—but instead they are basically just three minorly different options to momentarily slow down an enemy so you can keep shooting them while they are stunned. There is little difference between lifting your enemy into the air to then shoot them while floating or slamming them down to shoot them on the ground. All in all these augments that should be an excellent function of the “Cyberpunk” experience just don’t quite get there.
The gunfights are disappointing enough to bog the game down, unfortunately. It can sometimes feel like a slog to face wave after wave of enemies as you cycle through slamming/lifting tactics and just firing a hundred or so bullets into an enemy as quickly as you can with little rewarding satisfaction. To break up the monotony stealth is an option in some sections, but much like the action sequences these sections are not terribly fulfilling either. It can get a little repetitive and frustrating to sneak through since there is really only one tool at your disposal and being seen reverts you back to checkpoints that are often way too far back.
Style Over Substance
The world that Foreclosed creates is good, even if the writing itself is a little straightforward and basic. To give the campy dialogue the benefit of doubt it does fall in line with the comic style the game is going for, even if, however, that dialogue is delivered with some truly woeful voice acting—although it did make me yearn forlornly for some of the campy comic cartoons of old.
Kapnos’ revenge trip does hit that John Wick-like itch that the video game industry has been calling out for for years (seriously, someone just make that game) and the comic style does well to aid that where it can, but the frustrations of its gameplay are just too much to be entirely ignored in favour of its style and narrative.
As much as I wanted to like Foreclosed for the uniqueness of its artistic framework and aesthetic, this is unfortunately a game that ultimately holds far more style than substance.
Final Score: 5.5/10