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F.I.S.T.: Forged in Shadow Torch game review
F.I.S.T.: Forged in Shadow Torch is a new game from Chinese studio TiGames. Until 2021, it had only one project in its portfolio - the shooter Ancient Amuletor VR. There is no famous designer or artist in the team. This, however, did not prevent TiGames from making a very high-quality and exciting game in the genre of Metroidvania which involves finding secrets in branching levels and battles with many enemies. Here are the three most important elements of F.I.S.T.: Forged in Shadow Torch that make the game worth checking out.
The stylistics of the dieselpunk setting
The events of F.I.S.T.: Forged in Shadow Torch take place in the fictional city of Torch, whose inhabitants are sentient beasts. The main character is Rayton Rabbit, a former military man and now a member of the resistance. Together with his comrades, he fights against the Legion of Machines, which is trying to establish power in the city.
In the appearance of the city of Torches there are noticeable elements of Asian architecture of the second half of the XX century, and under other circumstances this place could be called beautiful and even cozy. Everything is spoiled by the steel mechanisms installed by the Legion - massive iron gates at the entrances to certain areas, a tall machine tower that looks like a steel mill, and multiple superstructures that only spoil the usual appearance of the metropolis.
Most of these machines, as in a dieselpunk work, are powered by creepy, rattling piston engines, and squeaky robots patrol the streets. During the recent war, of which Raytheon was a member, the clumsy mechanized exoskeletons now in the Legion's armory were used. Even the hero's main weapon, that steel fist hanging from the back of a rabbit, is another reminder of the setting in which the events of Forged in Shadow Torch take place.
"Dieselpunk may not be as popular as steampunk or cyberpunk, but we find the genre just as impressive and interesting. Besides, it fits perfectly into the story we want to tell, and we are sure that this game world will appeal to many players around the world. We tried to intertwine the architecture in the Oriental style with the complex diesel constructions, industrial technologies and weaponry of the period between the First and the Second World Wars", - noted the TiGames studio.
The City of Torches Full of Secrets
F.I.S.T.: Forged in Shadow Torch is a game that combines elements of platformers and bitemaps, but more of a Metroid. The genre name was formed from two iconic series - Metroid and Castlevania. In Metroidvania, you need to explore the levels, look for new items and abilities, and then return to the already explored locations to use the found items to unlock previously inaccessible parts of the levels. Metroid originally worked according to this formula, and Castlevania introduced such elements with the release of Symphony of the Night in 1997. Now some of the most popular Metroid games are games like Ori and the Blind Forest, Hollow Knight, Blasphemous, Guacamelee!
As in other games of this genre, in TiGames' adventure, the protagonist has not only to fight enemies but also to explore very branching levels in search of secrets. According to the genre tradition, you can't get to all the locations of Torch City at once - to access some levels you'll need to find new gadgets and abilities first.
Although the city in Forged in Shadow Torch can be clearly divided into levels, there are no loadouts when moving between locations. In fact, it's an open world, albeit not entirely accessible to explore at the beginning. New areas for Raytheon will open up as you progress - and then you'll have to return to them to find even more secrets and resources to improve your abilities.
Key mechanics of the genre are built around exploration. And yet, unlike open-world games, locations in adventure platformers are usually a multitude of interconnected "rooms," and any too abrupt change in the environment can cause unpleasant feelings for players. It ruins the integrity of the game.
"We were aware of this and knew that we would have to put a lot of effort into making the world of F.I.S.T. seem believable. All of its areas are significantly different from each other, yet they all remain parts of one big mosaic. Over the course of the adventure, the design of the backgrounds and levels changes smoothly with subtle and barely noticeable tricks, making everything seem natural. And the absence of loading screens between locations makes the city of Torchlight even more convincing," TiGames studios were told.
Combat system with massive combosa
Raytheon's goal is to rid the city of Torchlight of the tyranny of the Legion of Machines. To do this without fighting, of course, is not possible, so the protagonist will have to fight a lot with robots. In F.I.S.T.: Forged in Shadow Torch there are enemies that fire blasters and some that try to impose close combat on the protagonist. Of course, there are no flying enemies, either.
Raytheon's main argument against robot attacks is his three weapons, which you can switch between whenever you want. The rabbit can also move quickly over short distances to dodge enemy attacks, use a double jump and even use a mini-missile launcher with limited ammo, but most of the time you have to fight with the weapons mentioned above - a huge fist, a drill, and a metal whip.
"Each weapon has its own unique characteristics and combo sequences. The fist is a versatile fighting tool; it's the easiest to score combos with. The drawback of the drill is its heavyweight, but it does the most damage to enemies. The whip, on the other hand, is not as powerful, but its attacks are lightning-fast and allow you to reach enemies at a distance. Regardless of which you prefer, you'll have to master all three weapons if you want to survive in this dangerous city," explained the studio TiGames.
For each type of weapon the developers of Forged in Shadow Torch came up with a lot of combo strokes, with which it becomes a little easier to win in difficult fights. With a fist, for example, you can nail your enemy to the ground or, on the contrary, toss him in the air, jump up and strike a few strong and weak blows while he is falling down. The drill is handy for combining area attacks, especially if the enemies have Raytheon surrounded. And the whip can reach enemies that, for one reason or another, the hero cannot reach.
Combinations must be unlocked by upgrading your character for in-game resources, which can be found in the dark alleys of the city of Torches. You can't get all the combinations at once - you have to choose what is more important for the hero at this or that stage of the passage.
The five most important facts about F.I.S.T.: Forged in Shadow Torch
- F.I.S.T.. - a game in the Metroidvania genre, the nearest analogs are Guacamelee! , Ori and The Blind Forest, and Hollow Knight.
- The main character of the game is a talking rabbit armed with a huge iron fist and other equally threatening weapons.
- The events of Forged in Shadow Torch take place in the world created in the dieselpunk setting.
- Combat in this game is based on combining blows - you will not be able to defeat your enemies with conventional attacks at later levels.
- In October 2021 F.I.S.T. will be available only on PS4 and PS5. On October 3 it will be available on PC.
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