After flinging herself up a sheer cliff face with the help of some high-flying parkour magic, Forspoken’s protagonist, Frey, approaches a rotunda made of stone and metal. Blazing in the center of the structure is a pool erupting with a glowing, flame-like aura. This is our first introduction to a Seat of Reflection, a kind of mini-dungeon players will be able to fight through while traveling in Athia. Overcoming its challenges will be tough, and monsters lurk within which players won’t find outside the complex. But with the potential to enhance your fighting skills, the rewards promise to be great.
This trek into the unknown begins with banter. Forspoken’s creators admit they took fans’ criticisms to heart about the amount of dialogue between the main character and her golden companion.
“There’s been some commentary about the frequency of banter between Frey and Cuff when you’re out in the world,” says creative producer Raio Mitsuno. “Those kinds of things we’re looking at in terms of fine-tuning the frequency, making sure that it’s not to the point where it feels overwhelming, but we want to make sure it’s timed nicely. Where it doesn’t feel like there’s too much silence when you’re playing out in the vast world. But we don’t want it to be too much. You know, you don’t want it to be noise, obviously. So, we are taking a lot of feedback and making sure we’re adjusting things to make sure that it’s kind of the optimal experience.”
Though the developers are adjusting the amount of chatter, the tone remains very similar. After being asked whether she intends to go into the dungeon, Frey responds with an emphatic, “No!… But I mean, it’s kind of asking for it.” It’s not the most heroic line, but it does underscore the duo’s relationship. Cuff and Frey are more along the line of frenemies in the early game, with our heroine blatantly disinterested in helping Cuff save the magical realm she’s somehow stumbled into. Understandably, this upsets Athia-native Cuff, and much of the pair’s early dialogue reflects this tension by way of teasing and sarcasm.
Her curiosity gets the better of her, and Frey plunges into the dungeon. Thanks to a helpful text, we learn that we are in The Seat of Reflection, a subterranean labyrinth historically tied with the land’s powerful rulers, the Tantas. Inside, the walls are thick stone and look like a medieval fortress’s hallway. Erie purple light emanates from sconces on the wall. Along the corridor, Frey picks up a valuable resource for crafting just before encountering a horde of enemies.
Unlike the Break-touched creatures outside, these foes look like they have been conjured by magic. They glow with the same purple light found in the hallway, and their bodies are visibly immaterial, but that doesn’t mean they don’t pack a punch. Frey goes on the offensive, mixing a variety of ranged magical spells to take down a shimmering deer-like creature and several winged threats. We go more in-depth into all her mystical attacks and what we learned about Forspoken’s magic combat here if you want to dive deeper into the game’s arcane knowledge.
At this point, our preview skips ahead to the main boss, leaving us little time to check out the twisting stone tunnels and what might lurk inside them. Pushing back a set of heavy doors, Frey confronts a “Proto Jabberwock” that materializes from a wall of shimmering blue sparks. Frey’s formerly formidable spells now barely dent the massive, spindly monster. Aiming for what looks like a singular eye in the middle of the Jabberwock’s cluster of long appendages, Frey combines her offensive powers with magical parkour to weave around the limited battleground. She mutters to herself at one point, growling in frustration that something she’s doing isn’t working, which seems like a clue to the player that they should switch up their approach. When the beast finally goes down, Frey gets a burst of EXP and 10 plus to mana, which will help level up the character and expand her ever-growing magical abilities.
Several Seat of Reflection dungeons are scattered throughout Athia, but those aren’t the only activities to look forward to in Forspoken’s open world. Check out our side activities breakdown if you want to know more. Interested in getting all the latest info on the upcoming title? Head over to this month’s cover story hub for all things Forspoken!