I want to like Foreclosed, I really do. Sadly, it’s just not going to happen.
A hyper-stylised cyberpunk-action game presented like a live action comic book, Foreclosed absolutely oozes style. Its art style makes you feel like you’re in a living, breathing comic book, heightened moreso when scenes transition via literal comic book cells. It’s lovely to look at, and it’s inviting as heck; this is a videogame world I desperately want to be part of. Sadly, Foreclosed has other ideas.
I had my first pause when, early on in the game, I had to stealth my way past some guards on a rooftop. The fixed camera angle – for added comic book-style effect, of course – made it hard for me to see where I could go and where I would remain out of sight. A few failed attempts later, I finally nailed it, but it left me cautious of more stealth sections that might rear their ugly heads. I’m not a fan of stealth.
Then came the gunplay. Oh, Foreclosed‘s light stealth sections are nothing compared to its gunplay. There’s an awful lot of combat on this game, but its shooting mechanics are woefully basic. Yes, you do have the option to sneak your way through some encounters: get close enough behind a guard and you can hold triangle to mess with their head-chip, instantly killing them. Can’t be a pleasant way to go, but it’s one less crony pointing a gun in your face.
But stealth isn’t always possible. There are areas you walk into where six or more enemies are already waiting for you, firing their guns in your general direction before they’ve even seen you. This is not smart AI; enemies shoot at the same time, they reload at the same time. You’ve got a very small window to jump out of cover and shoot at one of them before they all unleash bullet hell on you. And I say ‘jump out of cover’; there are no real cover mechanics here, either. You can crouch behind a wall or a box. Don’t get any ideas of stylishly clicking to walls, or diving from one cover spot to another.
Foreclosed has one thing going for it, at least: your magical, futuristic, cyberpunk gun will never need reloading. You can fire bullets ’til the cows come home without never needing to stop for breath. As long as you don’t get interrupted by enemy fire, of course. You have no real health meter here; your screen will simply go black and white when you’re close to health, indicating you need to step back into cover in order to recover. Sometimes, it’s not enough of an indicator. When there are multiple enemies on you, you’re brown-bread before your screen’s even had chance to drain the colour out of itself.
In those situations, it’s hard to know what to do. I get the impression that Antab Studio, Foreclosed‘s developer, has a very specific strategy in mind for you; that you’re supposed to tackle enemies in a precise order and exact faction. But if that’s the case, there’s absolutely no way for you to figure it out other than painful trial and error. You will die in this game, a lot. The worst thing about the whole experience is terrible checkpointing. You’ll finish an encounter, even be given XP for it, before more enemies roll in. That seems like a logical place to put a checkpoint, right? Not so much – you’ll frequently be taken back several waves of enemies. And having to repeat the same fights again and again is probably the most tiring thing of all in Foreclosed.
You’ll unlock cool upgrades later on as you play, some of which make combat much more palatable. There’s a manipulation skill that lets you fling objects in the environment – barrels, fire extinguishers – into enemies, killing them instantly or making history of their full-body shields. There’s a skill that lets you suspend enemies in the air, too, essentially disarming them and leaving them open to your attacks. These help a little, but the core issues of Foreclosed‘s combat still remain.
Yes, it’s a shame, because outside of combat there’s an intriguing narrative that I’d like to know more about. There are some decent exploration sections, where you’ll need to find hidden switches to open doors, or crawl through vents to access closed-off areas. Everything’s slightly basic, but this an engaging world that’s clearly had a lot of love put into its creation. Foreclosed really could be fun, if only its combat wasn’t so infuriating.
I got about half way through the game, and as I battled the urge to pull out clumps of my hair, I realised it was probably time to call it a day. I’m sorry, Foreclosed. I don’t like giving up on things. I wanted to like you, and I tried to, I tried really hard. But by god, I can’t take one more failed enemy encounter.
Foreclosed is available on PlayStation, Xbox, PC and Switch.