There are many RPGs that take the top down route for gaming, namely the Diablo series, there are also others that like to integrate puzzles into it’s cocktail of meaningless violence to keep it fresh, that way it doesn’t go stale and get repetitive. Which brings me to the game called Forced; I never really gave the name much thought as it could have been named “Macho Men Beat the Snot Out of Zombies” and I still would have been intrigued by the trailer that I saw. When it came to around to me actually playing the game I honestly did not know what to expect, other than the fact this game was about violence and a glowing anomaly that follows you around everywhere, so that’s something to look forward to.
The game begins with a narration, alongside a well-drawn cinematic cut scene, telling you, the protagonist, of how you were born into a tribe stuck in the middle of nowhere about to be thrown into a pit as they are in need of champions or chosen ones. So you, knowing you were chosen, spent all your life preparing for this moment through variety of meditation and martial arts training. It is at this point you are thrown, pushed or jumped into a giant pit known as the crucible. This is where the game truly begins.
This point also acts as the tutorial; sorry for those hardcore gamers it doesn’t throw you in the pan right away. You meet the glowing anomaly mentioned early called The Spirit Mentor. He acts as your advisor, friend and the games comedy relief, because as usual, you are just another mute protagonist. And I have to say he is by far an enjoyable character.
The tutorial section is very simple, as with the gameplay itself, you have a choice of four weapons, A Fire Axe, Thunder Bow, Earth Claws and an Ice Shield (I chose the Ice Shield) each of these weapons have their own feel and play style so it’s best to get use to each one if you ever feel bored with just the one, luckily you can also change them before any challenge and each of these have their own passives and skills. Marks also play a big role in the game. These are basically damage boosters, smack the enemy around with a basic attack and the Marks stack up use a special skill and it does more damage based on how many marks the enemy has.
As stated earlier Forced has a top down/ helicopter perspective on the game and some RPG elements, however, though it may fit into this category it doesn’t follow the common rules of RPG games. With a standard RPG you have to kill enemies and gain experience to level up and learn more moves and you repeat it. Forced on the other hand has thrown that concept out the window. To level up and earn skill you must complete objectives and side objectives through each arena, this earn you gems and once you earn enough you unlock a skill or a passive for all your weapons.
The main gameplay mechanic however is using the ball of light to solve puzzles. Yes, there is more too it then bashing in the skulls of creatures with your Ice Shield. Forced is primarily focused around puzzles than it is action, although so far it mainly consists of having The Spirit Mentor pass through statues to destroy them or absorb the fire from one end of the arena to quickly kill all the enemies and have The Spirit Mentor pass through another column on the other end to advance in the challenge. And this continues on with each different challenge. Although there is only one of The Spirit Mentor so playing in multiplayer you need to inform others of your going to use him or not.
The only flaw in this game is how challenging it is. Truly, Forced is just frustrating at times, I have never raged quit so furiously at a game in my life. And it is not just progressing through the main story that brings this frustration to the surface, it’s the secondary objectives as well, especially when the floating ball of sass and wisdom informs you that you might need to complete them to beat the first boss, what a way to guilt trip the player.
Maybe I’m just no good at the game or I’m just terrible with time management which is what most of the objectives consist of. I could not complete Forced due to my intense frustration with it. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t have fun as Forced is really an enjoyable game that sets the playing field right with something unique and challenging, if a bit too much for people like me. I enjoy the multiple styles as it gives me versatility when I play and it’s useful for when you have only four players.
I would recommend this game for people who want to try something different and challenges them not only physically but mentally, seriously moving that ball of light while beating off monsters really challenging. It’s fun, it’s different and I like it.