Oh, what potential you had, Foreclosed. What potential. It’s heartbreaking, really. Starting off this review, I was instantly enamored with Foreclosed’s presentation: a slick, comic book style that combined different frames, comic book fonts, and forced camera angles to make one badass looking video game. I was absolutely excited at the ride I had in front of me—that is, until I got into my first combat scenario. And then it all fell apart.
Foreclosed is an ultra-stylized third person action game set in a futuristic dystopia where cybernetic implants are common—and can be repossessed by greedy corporations, forcibly extracted, and resold. In Foreclosed you play as Evan Kapnos. Cybernetically augmented, he soon learns that his life in in danger—and his augmentations are certainly not as run-of-the-mill as he was expecting. What ensues is an ultra-stylized action game that switches between light puzzles to third person action with cybernetic enhancements. You can choose to tackle most situations using stealth, or run in guns blazing relying on your upgrades to stay alive. Sounds great, right? Yeah, if the combat didn’t suck.
I really don’t say this lightly, but: Foreclosed has terrible combat. It’s just awful. Whether you’re using cybernetic enhancements to throw around barrels or your modified pistol to take down enemies, shooting just feels weak and unfun. I kept switching between controlling Foreclosed with a controller and mouse and keyboard to try and get that sweet spot of playability, but no setup made Foreclosed gunplay any fun. Enemies are bullet sponges, even with weapon upgrades—and even worse, their AI is abysmal. Enemies will literally stand there shooting at the wall in front of you, sometimes not even attempting to flank or overpower the character. If you thought that means combat is easy, that’s not true: enemies have deadly accurate aim, and can kill you with only a few shots. Augmentations feel pretty useless in combat, too. Most of them cause massive heat build-up, which causes you to be unable to fire your pistol if it’s modified, which it most likely will be.
I wish I could say that mediocre (okay: bad) combat is the only thing that I can mark against the super cool looking Foreclosed. I mean, when I say I dig its comic book presentation, it’s no understatement: I really wanted to like this game. But the more I played, the worse it got, especially with its checkpoint system. Certain sections of Foreclosed force stealth, and if you’re caught, it’s an instant fail. That wouldn’t be so bad if you didn’t have to repeat large chunks of gameplay (with unskippable dialogue) if you fail. And remember when I mentioned that enemies can kill you in only a few shots? There were plenty of times I wanted to rage quit when I would die after getting ambushed by nearly silent enemies near the end of a combat encounter.
Foreclosed is heavily narrative driven, and as far as its story goes, it’s nothing that really hasn’t been done before. The dystopian cyberpunk future of Foreclosed has corruption at the highest levels of government, and a story that seems like only affects a few individuals is soon revealed to have much wider ranging impact. But its twists aren’t very surprising, and mundane save for the visual style in which its told. Even the voice acting is uneven, resulting in some pretty strangely delivered lines.
I want to say that Foreclosed feels like it belongs to an earlier era of games. Like it’s a PlayStation 2 era game that’s remastered, clunky combat, dialogue and all. But it’s not from yesteryear, it’s a modern game with bad combat and an unforgiving checkpoint system that makes it more frustrating than fun—and that’s something its super stylistic presentation can’t cover up.
Foreclosed is available today on Steam
If you like the video game, tabletop, or other technology content that Third Coast Review has to offer, consider donating to our Patreon. We are the only publication in Chicago that regularly reviews video games, and we cover lots of local Chicago-based events and more. If you want to contribute to our coverage of Chicago’s video game scene (and more) please consider becoming a patron. Your support enables us to continue to provide this type of content. Patreon.com/3CR
You can also catch us streaming games we’re reviewing and staff favorites on our Twitch channel.