The hostile realm of Athia can be an unforgiving place, so here are a few handy Forspoken tips from my time with the game that will hopefully help you find your feet fast.
As well as the more typical gameplay stuff, the main thing to bear in mind with Forspoken is to not let the incredibly rough opening exhaust your patience. While it doesn't necessarily reach the heights of the absolute best games out there, you can still have plenty of fun exploring the lore-filled landscape and engaging in explosive battles throughout Frey's extensive adventure.
Once you get to grips with everything at your disposal in Forspoken, you will be freerunning up hill and down field in no time, but these are some things you should know from the beginning.
Unlock different skills, then focus on upgrades so you’re on cooldown less often
In a lot of games, it makes sense to specialize. You’re using your basic damage-dealing ability more than any other, so it makes sense to upgrade it to be as powerful as possible as early as possible, right?
Forspoken doesn’t quite work that way. While the three levels of the different magical shots are increasingly powerful, rather than a base buff to damage your upgrades give them more time to charge up. So while they are stronger, you also have to spend longer winding up your cast in most cases.
Over the course of your time in Athia, you will easily collect enough Mana to unlock every skill and ability on offer in Forspoken. So in the early game, it’s better to focus on grabbing a wide range of support spells so Frey spends less time on cooldown and more time putting powerful effects out onto the battlefield.
A number of the support spells are better than they first appear and are most of the time stronger than just plugging away with either Blast, Scatter or Shield Shot.
We have a full page highlighting some of the best spells in Forspoken, here.
You can use the golden/yellow rocks to climb inaccessible cliffs once you unlock Zip
The landscape of Athia can be frustrating to navigate at first.
It’s not very well communicated that rather than having uber-strong enemies you’re not supposed to fight until later patrolling an end-game area, progress is gated behind zones that are inaccessible until you have unlocked a particular movement ability.
This doesn’t just extend to full areas of the map, but points of interest in early areas too. For example, there are plenty of stat-boosting Monuments and the like placed on tall, rocky spires that you can’t climb until much later in the game.
Most obviously, as you explore during the early game, you’ll see glowing golden/yellow rock jutting from the sides of cliffs and other rock faces. You will be able to use these to climb to higher places once you’ve defeated the first main story boss in Forspoken and unlocked the Zip ability.
Until then, if you’re circling the bottom of somewhere wondering why you can find a way up, but can see these rocks around, you will have to come back later in your adventure.
Zip breaks your fall
On that note, you might have noticed that, if you’re not careful, you do a lot of falling in Forspoken.
To combat this, once you’ve unlocked Zip, if you press Square before you hit the ground Frey will throw out a magical rope and pull herself into the ground, breaking her fall, negating fall damage and letting you plough on, stride unbroken (there's also another skill that does a similar thing, but it's later in the game).
You can easily Spellcraft movement skills to make them a lot better
One final thing on movement abilities is that you can upgrade them with Spellcraft just like any other skill.
If you’ve not unlocked it in-game yet, Spellcraft is a system which becomes available early on in Forspoken where you can complete a specific feat with a skill a given number of times to upgrade it permanently.
They’re often quite easy challenges to accomplish and offer huge benefits over the base skill. With movement abilities, you can increase your overall stamina recovery or even remove the stamina cost of a skill entirely, just by doing something like using it 20 times out in the field while the Spellcraft challenge is active.
If you’re feeling naughty, make your way to a Refuge - where you find the easiest access to Spellcraft bookcases - and select a movement skill (upgrading Zip is a must). You can then grind out the movement challenge in the immediate area around the refuge relatively quickly, return to the bookcase, and move onto the next skill.
Before long your freerunning abilities will be stacked out and you’re able to focus on your damage-dealing skills with a full range of motion.
Don’t get bogged down exploring every little thing
Forspoken is one of the most open world games to ever open world a game. There’s a dizzying amount of points of interest visible on the map, and to avoid getting bogged down in the weeds of it all you need to quickly learn which you want to prioritize.
Personally, I like collecting gear, so I visited pretty much everywhere you could grab a cloak, necklace or nail art design, since they offer tangible rewards.
As well as those, stat-boosting Monuments are always worth making a pit-stop to visit since they’re one of the only ways Frey gets stronger throughout your adventure. That means it’s worth taking on any challenge on the map that boosts your stats.
The other points of interest are more about personal preference. If you’re particularly interested in the lore of Athia (and why wouldn’t you, it’s one of the best things about Forspoken) then you can hit up the Archive Entry spots.
I never felt like I had to grind out experience or resources during my time with the game, so if there are any that you should skip, I recommend leaving those alone to avoid burning out.
You can customise the controls to make things easier
The control scheme in Forspoken is complicated. And while it can be rewarding to go toe-to-toe with a challenging system and come out victorious, sometimes you just don’t want to invest the time and effort into something you’re supposed to be enjoying while you switch off in your downtime.
Luckily then, in the myriad menus of Forspoken there are a slew of powerful options and sliders which can tailor your spell-casting experience to be more automatic. This includes things like auto-dodge, where Frey will use magical parkour to evade an incoming attack without you having to press or hold Circle using the same thumb you’re already using for something else.
You can also set the camera to move automatically, which is particularly useful if you’re struggling to see straight when you’re also using the right stick to switch between spells.
And on that note, you can set your support spells to switch automatically once used, so you’ve always got a new spell ready to cast when the others are on cooldown.
That's not all you can change in the menus however. If you're tired of hearing the same voice lines over and over again, you can reduce the banter frequency in the sound settings.
For more on what we thought of Frey's Athian adventure, here's our Forspoken review.