FORCED is a tactical arena co-op game. You can join up with up to three other friends and play through the different challenges together, solving puzzles and slaying monsters as a team. There are four different classes, each with a varied playstyle but each one feeling truly badass in its own unique way.
There are four different classes which you can play as by simply switching to their relative weapons. The Spirit Blades which have very quick attacks and low cooldown abilities, the Volcanic Hammer which is slow but boasts very powerful attacks, the Frost Shield which provides utility and protections and the Storm Bow which offers ranged attacks and plenty of explosions. Each class has its own abilities and passives which you unlock as you progress through the game, although you can only equip 1-3 of each at a time. This allows for great customisability as two people would be able to play the class with varied playstyles. I for one like to bring utility and healing skills with me, while some others would prefer straight up damage. I could also see some great potential for new classes in the future, perhaps a weapon of the water element or a class bringing a more ‘mage’ like feel.
Whether you are with friends or not, you always have at least one more companion – Balfus the spirit mentor. He is integral to helping you solve the puzzles throughout the trials and is even able to help out with battling enemies. To activate certain shrines, he will have to travel through them, making your positioning very important. Which makes the fact you can call to him, making him travel to your location very useful. Of course, if you are playing with friends, controlling his movement can become even easier. If you all are working together, that is.
FORCED is definitely one of the most intriguing co-operative games I have played. It really tests your communication and teamwork, and in the later levels, can be quite punishing. In combat, each basic attack applies ‘marks’ to enemies, and these marks can be spent by using abilities, further increasing the damage of said ability or doing some other function. The Spirit Blades and Storm Bow have an easier time applying these, as they have very quick and ranged attacks respectively. The Volcanic Hammer, which applies marks quite slowly on its own, is able to do superior amounts of damage if able to use his abilities. This translates to quite tactical decisions in combat, that you have to very quickly think and communicate about. In addition to this the puzzles that are provided in FORCED can leave you thinking about what to do, which not only adds to a great variety in the gameplay, but once again, absolutely requires teamwork and communication to progress.
Unfortunately, with so much reliance on working together, if things don’t go so well there might be a few arguments at hand! The game gets quite hard later on, sometimes having quite long levels where if you die you have to restart from the beginning. The lack of checkpoints is certainly frustrating and one of the few issues I have with the game.
The graphics are very pleasing, with a great variation of levels – such as the blood forest, the desert, dungeons and the plains. The animations flow very nicely, and there were no glaring out of place textures or models. The music was pleasant enough, as were the majority of sound effects (the dying scream sound slightly grated!). There is a story going on in-between the trials, and you have the bosses of the zones taunting you from time to time, and while it is nice to have, it’s nothing spectacular but it need not be, considering the genre of the game. The controls of Forced are near perfect. They are very intuitive, actually using WASD to move around, and the mouse to guide your direction, and the clicking to control your attacks. Of course, you are also able to use a game controller, which as you might guess, works very well too.
Overall, FORCED is an amazing multiplayer co-op game. It is great to see another game that emphasises the importance of teamwork and working together, and I am very glad that the game has the puzzle elements, so you are not always just killing enemies, but working together to figure out how to progress. While I do think the game can be a bit off-putting in it’s difficulty, Forced is very much a game which needs to be played. So if you and a few friends want a great co-op experience, you should definitely buy FORCED.
Forced is a fantastic cooperative experience
+Amazing co-op gameplay
+Fantastic class and combat design
- Difficulty can be off-putting to some