Published on October 25th, 2013 | by Ghost_1170
Forced – Review
Summary: Forced proved to be a game that was well worth the wait and could be enjoyed for hours on end. Luckily, players will be able to enjoy the full release now and see what Early Release players had been raving about with this game.
Kickstarter games are aplenty these days, and while many have been hit or miss, Forced was a definite hit. Receiving another 50% more than their goal, BetaDwarf knew that they would have a great game on their hands. With that, Forced was a special kind of game that took the simple yet ferocious combat of Diablo and Torchlight and added the cooperative insanity of Left 4 Dead to form a special kind of puzzle-based action RPG.
Set in a world where captives have been placed in coliseums to fight for their survival and to appease their captors, players had to take the role of a new prisoner being sent through the challenges to fight in the arenas. Armed with one of four different weapons, players were forced to move their way from arena to arena, fighting hordes of monsters and solving the puzzle of each area. Puzzles ranged from simply killing a required number of enemies to having to destroy pillars using the spirit mentor as a small explosive. All of the arenas in an area led to a large scale fight with the champion of each coliseum. Each fight brought a different element to the table and required players to use a different strategy and weapon set to overcome the challenges of the coliseum.
Being a Kickstarter game, people have had to come to expect either a phenomenal experience or a shell of a promise. Luckily for Forced, it fell into the former category. The art style offered a dark, yet cartoonish styling, not unlike Torchlight. The music was very atmospheric and had crescendo moments when key things happened in each arena, ranging from a swell when monsters began to swarm onscreen to heavy handed tones for boss fights. Voice acting was also very well done for such a small studio. The Spirit Mentor was voiced perfectly and had just the right tone of cynicism to push players along. The gameplay also followed the aforementioned dungeon crawler’s console version with the joysticks assigned to movement and viewpoint while attacks were controlled with the shoulder buttons and triggers. Forced also played extremely well with a mouse and keyboard, again having had a style similar to Torchlight. The thing that set Torchlight and Forced apart was the very well thought out approach to co-op play. Whether it was played online or couch co-op, multiple enemies and the rush to complete the puzzle to beat the challenge time offered players reason to continually play through the game, adding to the replayability.
The story added another layer of awesome to the game that has generated buzz throughout the gaming community since the Kickstarter was announced and being released on Steam Early Release. The campaign made it very much the focal point of the game, rather than being an after thought. The story centered around the arrival of a new gladiator to the arena. As the new challenger, you are given a Spirit Mentor that went by the name of Balfus. Using him, the gladiators will proceed through each arena in hopes of trumping the leader of each area, so as to free yourself from the forced (see what we did there?) slavery you have been put in to entertain the gods. It was with this that the campaign seemed to set itself apart from Torchlight, in that the story mattered. It was not merely a plot device to move forward, but an actual reason for continuing. The co-op campaign also made sure to have it as the reason for proceeding from challenge to challenge, arena to arena. However, the other mode available should not be counted out. Survival mode added an extra style for players to keep going. Played single or multiplayer, Survival forced the player to endure wave after wave of tenacious enemies whose only reason for existing was to rip you to shreds. There were no puzzles, only combat with enemies having become progressively stronger as each wave fell to the gladiators’ hands. Only around 20 enemies were on screen at a time, but those enemies were always chomping at the bit to sink either their claws or swords into a wandering player who chose the wrong abilities prior to entering.
This led to the main gripe of the entire game: the difficulty spikes. Once started, the game had no difficulty setting. With that being the case, enemies would either be swiftly dealt with or would become so overwhelming that rage inducing fits were had. The spikes in difficulty also become apparent in boss fights, where damage was dealt in large amounts and smaller enemies would swarm players while they were either dazed or knocked down from a heavy boss strike. Had a difficulty slider been introduced from the get go, certain frustrating areas might not been so hard, but since there was no adjustment, gameplay comes down to sheer skill and that in itself became a reward. Another minor gripe was that, while a beautiful game, graphical lag could be noted even when run at the lowest settings with a large group of enemies on screen and visual effects having appeared due to explosions or special attacks being enabled.
Forced proved to be a game that was well worth the wait and could be enjoyed for hours on end. Luckily, players will be able to enjoy the full release now and see what Early Release players had been raving about with this game.
Editor’s Note: A copy of Forced was provided for review by PR.