Forspoken: In Tanta We Trust DLC Review – More Like Misspoken

    Title: Forspoken: In Tanta We Trust
    Developer: Luminous Productions
    Release Date: May 26, 2023
    Reviewed On: PS5
    Publisher: Square Enix
    Genre: Action-Adventure

Forspoken was a title that immensely disappointed me for a seemingly never-ending list of reasons. For one, its pacing was an absolute mess, with the vast majority of the story backloaded just before the final boss. Further, the cast was largely forgettable, and the acquisition of combat tools was all over the place. With all that being the case, I had little faith in a DLC scenario, and after playing it, I’ve discovered that I was, unfortunately, correct not to have much belief. While I found it a slightly more bearable experience than the base game, In Tanta We Trust suffers from familiar faults and an entirely too-brief playtime.

Forspoken: In Tanta We Trust occurs after the events of the base game, focusing on protagonist Frey time traveling 25 years in the past to the Purge of the Rheddig, where Athia’s downfall began. However, she has to abide by certain rules; them being that she can’t alter crucial events of history and that she can only be present by inhabiting the body of someone of that time, Thalia Solarius.

On a new journey to discover a method to rectify Athia’s Break once and for all, perhaps the past holds the necessary answers. During this time, Frey quickly becomes re-acquainted with one of the four women who govern the world, Tanta Cinta. The two cooperate to battle the Rheddig that have invaded Athia, though veiled truths become evident.

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In Tanta We Trust is an incredibly brief scenario that lasts a few hours. Of course, playtime never indicates quality by itself, but I’m confident you’ll be unfulfilled by the end. Like the base game, the main cast is not given enough to do for you to really care about them, and it’s emphasized more in this case, with only a couple of characters. The one narrative facet I enjoyed was a minor number of scenes between Frey and Cinta. Unfortunately, the latter’s characterization is barely given anything substantial. Still, specific plot developments make the relationship between her and Frey feel genuine.

On the other hand, the antagonist this time around is one of the most forgettable villains you’ll ever see in any type of media. While he’s a representative of the Rheddig forces at his core, he is also one of the few members of this compact cast, making his presence all the more vital.

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Sadly, he’s a skeleton of an actual character and does nothing to elevate the stakes or your sense of accomplishment after achieving notable feats. Instead, he’s obligatory to the degree that even after playing through the DLC today, I don’t even remember his name. As for the lore, the contents of archive texts you find across the world map aren’t sufficient. For such a pivotal period in this universe’s history, you don’t see, read, or hear much.

Gameplay-wise, the DLC is on an expectedly smaller scale, as the explorable map is only a fraction of the size of the base game. This isn’t an inherent negative since, conceptually, a compact map can feel dense if there’s enough to see and do. Alas, that isn’t the case here. There are some optional objectives to complete, such as defeating enemy camps for a higher number of holdable health items, but that’s kind of it. In an almost humorous sense, the base game map felt far too enormous for its own good, yet it’s the complete opposite here. A meticulously constructed middle ground of map size and content would have been much appreciated.

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Combat has the same fundamentals as the base game, with Frey utilizing both ranged and melee skills. Although there are significant additions to note, primarily regarding Cinta; she’s your companion throughout almost the entire DLC scenario, including during battles. Cinta fights independently, but you can command her to perform special maneuvers depending on the context of the enemies.

For instance, she can slash considerable space if a foe has been rendered immobile, dealing devastating damage. Moreover, she can create a shield Frey can stand within if her health grows low, so she can cover several bases. Considering how Frey isn’t nearly as powerful as she is in the main game, Cinta’s toolkit makes complete sense, and it’s somewhat enjoyable to play around with.

The combat encounters themselves leave much to be desired, though. Aside from constantly recycled enemies resulting in a lack of variety that stands out even across a handful of hours, the game has this odd habit of constantly summoning enemy reinforcements in the midst of bouts. I perceived this practice as poor padding since battles can seem like they take way too long, and the aforementioned lack of variety makes progress mundane. In essence, despite the scenario’s short playtime, the fights create this bizarre mismatch of simultaneous impatience and yearning for more that left me feeling innately conflicted.

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I’m admittedly scraping here, but the character growth was at least satisfying. The spellcraft challenges return, comprising activities to widen your understanding of specific combat mechanics and parkour. Additionally, you can learn new skills from the pause menu. These aspects are simply carried over from the main game, however, so they don’t exactly bolster the DLC’s identity.

In hindsight, I think I previously stated greater bearability of this DLC compared to the base game is because of how short it was, and even that doesn’t feel genuine because of how the combat encounters are paced. If you enjoyed Forspoken, the In Tanta We Trust scenario may be up your alley; otherwise, it isn’t worth the time. This may sound harsh, but I have still been disappointed after expecting nothing.

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Forspoken: In Tanta We Trust is a lacking experience that doesn’t provide enough substance on a gameplay, character, or story level to justify its existence. At most, I found some enjoyment in the new combat ideas and the dialogue between Frey and Cinta, yet their executions only reach a surface level. After the credits and accompanying conclusion, which also contains blatant sequel bait that will likely never be fulfilled, I wasn’t left feeling any more invested in the land of Athia than I previously was.

A review copy of the title was provided by the publisher for review purposes

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Orpheus Joshua

Random gamer equally confused by the mainstream and the unusual.