After Forspoken’s less-than-stellar reception, I was surprised to hear that players would be given another chance to join Frey on an adventure. However, despite arriving as a new DLC, from developer and publisher Square EnixForspoken: In Tanta We Trust proves that this approach to the Action RPG formula can work and that the development team will only improve over time, whether it’s as a standalone studio or as part of a larger team.
Forspoken: In Tanta We Trust wastes no time getting the player started going beyond the original game’s story. The DLC even appears as a separate option in the title screen, ensuring no time is wasted trying to figure out how to access it even for players lacking experience. You can even play it without finishing the base game, although it’s definitely meant to be played after rolling credits. After some quick expository text, we take control of Frey and her talking cuff to set off on a new mission; after some soul searching, a mysterious voice tells her to investigate a seemingly innocuous location. From here, the story doesn’t let up until the end of this all-too-brief affair and manages to deliver a fast-paced, enjoyable story that can be enjoyed in an afternoon, never daring to overstay its welcome.
Frey is powerless at the start of Forspoken: In Tanta We Trust but it’s a blessing in disguise because when she gains her new powerset (exclusive to the DLC) we’re given some light tutorials to re-familiarize ourselves with the game. Starting with just a handful of powers, I initially saw this as a negative but after months away from the game, the pared-down toolset gave me room to learn each new spell and grow comfortable with them by the time I had the chance to learn more.
By the end of the story, Frey once again feels like a powerhouse, darting around the battlefield and slinging spells expertly, destroying enemies of all shapes and sizes with the help of the titular Tanta Cinta. While you have a new set of magical abilities, the smaller set of spells also made each one feel more important, in contrast to the base game’s 30-plus spells, some of which I never felt the need to use or even unlock. This allows new combat strategies to take center stage.
Enemies in this DLC follow parallel reasoning, where the reduced variety makes each one stand out more, even if you’re going to destroy them all in the same manner. Regardless, it’s the reduced roster that allows the gameplay and the game’s mini-boss and boss fights to shine in comparison. Gorgeous models teeming with light and crackling with all manner of energy and particle effects, make each of their attacks feel powerful, and with an exhilarating score, these battles truly feel legendary.
While the combat has always been a shining point in Forspoken, I can’t say the same about the dialogue. I enjoyed Forspoken’s dialogue for the most part, but it occasionally came across as campy or silly (especially out of context.) Thankfully, the DLC featured much-improved writing, at least when it comes to moving the story forward. A few moments exist seemingly just to dump lore and they can grind the pace to a screeching halt, but they’re skippable if players aren’t compelled to learn every little thing about the world or if they just want to keep things moving. Otherwise, the writing is more enjoyable overall, seemingly poking fun at itself at times. It may be because there is vastly less dialogue than in Frey’s journey the first time, but Forspoken: In Tanta We Trust handles its characters and sensitive subjects deftly, eliciting a few laughs and some empathetic sighs.
For the lore seekers, completing the DLC even adds a couple of entries to the in-game archives, shedding light on some of the more mysterious aspects of the story of Forspoken and the past of Athia. While this added context may not matter to most, I appreciated the additional insight into the world and history of Forspoken going beyond just one pivotal event and expanding the land of Athia.
While Forspoken: In Tanta We Trust may be too little, too late for some, it showcases the developers’ potential as they grow in skill and familiarity with the world they created. If there’s more to come for Frey’s journey and her cuff, I cannot wait to play through their next adventure, but if this is their last ride, it was a worthy sendoff.
Forspoken: In Tanta We Trust and the main game is available now on PlayStation 5, Playstation 4, Xbox Series X|S, and PC.
Forspoken: In Tanta We Trust
While Forspoken: In Tanta We Trust may be too little, too late for some, it showcases the developers’ potential as they grow in skill and familiarity with the world they created.