[Disclosure: A review code was provided for the contents of this review]
Forced Showdown is the next installment of BetaDwarf Games’ Forced series and is similar to both the terrible Captain Kaon shooter or the far superior Battlerite. While the problems this reviewer has experienced may not be an accurate reflection of the average gamer’s experience, they are worth noting even if they only demonstrate superbly how not to entice a game critic.
Forced Showdown is a deckbuilding game with rogue-like features and RPG strategy elements. Players will battle enemies in an isometric, real-time environment while looting cards and attempting to upgrade their character over the course of the game. The game features four playable characters from the Forced universe, and sees players battling through a TV-show style combat arena facing off against bosses and other challenges while unlocking new rule modifiers and cards that can switch up the gameplay.
Forced Showdown, however, is beset with presentation problems, right from the very beginning of the game-playing process. Reviewers, if not also other players, arriving from Steam are greeted by a load of information about downloadable content, news and so forth, and only in a relatively small area of the screen can be found directions to the actual playing of the game. Once one gets through that hoop to select a mode of play one finds that only one kind of battle mode and character, besides simply watching, are available, even though there are plenty of other options that you cannot even pick, obscuring the modes you can choose to play.
This lack of real freedom in how one can play the game, and the abundance of pathways showing how one might play but cannot actually play without going for different options like signing up for free DLC, are confusing. They severely curtail the potential for a reviewer or perhaps even a player to enjoy the game even if one thinks of it as a ‘demo’ kind of offering, which it is probably not supposed to be, or simply the opening provision of gameplay for those who have not yet progressed.
Here’s Why I Won’t Force Myself To Play Much Of ‘Forced Showdown’
(Gameplay video courtesy of GameZine)
There are other reasons, detailed in the following paragraph, against spending your precious time trying to progress in this game beyond the initial limited tutorial. At least offer us a change of costume or character to start with, please. And if you would rather not, how about giving us a reason to come back so we can unlock such things, which do not exert a great enough pull on their own?
Poor presentation and lack of variety aside, the combat in the showdowns is not much better either. One could berate the game for its mindless violence or lack of deep meaning or vapid development of significant interesting skills, but Cel Damage Overdrive on the Playstation2 did not feature any of these worthwhile things and was basically cartoon characters destroying each other with little else to offer, but that still made for a fun game that was not particularly boring or annoyingly stop-and-start with a difficult-to-make-out cursor. At least one could aim with a greater degree of precision.
It would also be useful if one could see the prompting to press certain buttons clearly enough. Yes, the lack of accuracy here in Forced Showdown’s aiming could be down to possible limitations of a gamepad, and the difficult in seeing the tutorial could be down to some extent to less-than-great eyesight, but surely many people play with such limitations and therefore these should be taken into account.