Cyberpunk Gear Solid: Control
Foreclosed is a real hodgepodge of different influences. In its simplest form this narrative-driven game blends the story elements of Cyberpunk 2077, the gameplay of Control and the stealth of Metal Gear Solid. Unfortunately all three of these elements feel half baked and a far cry from how good they could have been with a bit of tweaking.
Now, it’s worth bearing in mind that Foreclosed was created by a talented handful of individuals. There’s no AAA budget or large publisher like Activision hovering over this so the solid framerate and a pretty interesting premise is reason enough to support this one. The other stand-out element comes from the aesthetic, which is both unique and creatively deployed.
Before we dive into the presentation though, we’ll briefly explain the game’s story world. Foreclosed takes place in the near-future, embracing a futuristic world of implanted and cybernetic advances.
Insert generic protagonist here
Our playable character is a gruff male protagonist called Kapnos. Basically, he’s like every other male protagonist we’ve played a million times before in these sort of games. Anyway, Kapnos is on his way to court when he finds his cybernetic implants hacked by a mysterious force. Before he knows it, armed guards are after him and Kapnos is forced to flee.
It seems someone is trying to sabotage the security company Securtech, and it’s up to Kapnos to figure out who. In order to do that, the game’s 3-6 hour run-time sends you across to several different office complexes, evading police drones, shooting through faceless goons or uncovering bits of the story. To be honest though, the story is pretty indifferent at the best of times but it’s just enough to keep you playing until the end.
Where the game really stands out though is with its aforementioned presentation. Designed like a comic strip, the cel-shaded graphics work hand in hand to really complement this style. Several times in the story the game splits the screen up into two or three sections, displaying the action from different perspectives. It’s incredibly clever and personally, I would have liked to see more of it deployed across the story.
The Gameplay is serviceable enough
The actual gameplay is serviceable, to say it nicely. Both shooting and stealth feel like they’re in their alpha stage and are in desperate need of an overhaul. There are abilities to be unlocked and equipped, and a few of them feel absolutely essential for the later sections in the game.
To make matters worse, Foreclosed also has the annoying tendency of removing your equipped abilities from your weapon when you move to another area. It’s not a deal breaker but it’s enough to become a tedious annoyance through your playtime.
This is not helped by the fact that the enemies here are complete bullet sponges. Although the earlier goons can be taken out with one well-placed headshot, later on you’ll be streaming bullets into armed guards holding either a shield or dressed in armour. With no health indicator and a few stock animations, it’s hard to know what damage you’re actually doing.
Enemies are incredibly generic too and there’s not much variety beyond the same lowly guards with the same stock animations. They all stand statically behind cover, rarely moving unless it’s on a set path. The AI is incredibly lacking, and only on one occasion did the enemy think about flanking, and that’s mainly due to the scripted nature of this encounter.
The woeful AI though is most notable during the stealth segments. Taking out guards can be done by creeping up behind them and tapping triangle repeatedly. It’s all pretty standard stuff so far.
Only, after downing this guard fellow AI members don’t even bat an eyelid to their comrades being knocked out. On one occasion I managed to take out a guard, who was then literally walked over by another AI companion. No alarm was rung, no high alert sounded; it’s business as usual here guys, Bob is just taking a nap.
This completely breaks the immersion of stealth, made worse by the narrow, straight forward nature of the level design. There’s a feel of The Order 1886 about some of the level design here, with little room for innovation or exploration. Foreclosed is essentially a sequence of different corridors joined together – and that’s a bit disappointing.
This should have been an interactive comic
Now, the game does get some props for some imaginatively played isometric sections, but these aren’t utilized as much as they could be, and had they been – along with the aforementioned comic strip camera shots – it could have made for a more varied gameplay experience.
There are some puzzles here too though, including environmental challenges requiring you to move bunkers around to progress, or following signals to uncover control panels, but these are largely busywork rather than a meaningful use of the gameplay mechanics.
To be honest, I actually think Foreclosed should have just been an interactive comic strip with echoes of gameplay here and there. What we get instead is a tonally conflicted game with glimmers of brilliance but execution that’s closer to something like 2019’s Past Cure.
Props to the devs for the aesthetic and cool comic strip ideas, but one can’t help but feel this game is in need of some serious work to elevate it above mediocrity.
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