F.I.S.T.: Forget In Shadow Torch is a MetroidVania-style platformer featuring exploration and intense combat. The game takes place in the rundown industrial Torch City. You play as Rayton, a badass cyber bunny with a giant mechanical FIST, plus some other sweet mechanical upgrades you find along the way.
My journey into Torch City first reminded me of many MetroidVania games I have recently loved like Guacamelee 1 & 2, Hollow Knight, Steamworld Dig 1 & 2 and other side-scrolling adventures. I’m a fan of the next-gen visuals (playing on PlayStation 5), although I don’t know how much better they are than those of the PlayStation 4.
I’m also a fan of the PlayStation 5 visuals. I don’t know the big differences between the next and current gen versions of F.I.S.T.: Forged in Shadow Torch, I just know there are two different versions of the game. I didn’t notice much use of the adaptive triggers on the PS5 version, but I believe they did utilize the haptics a bit.
I really have been enjoying the MetroidVania style of side-scrolling exploration in F.I.S.T., so far. I’ve always been a fan of starting out with a small world and slowly unlocking more and more of the map as you go. Also, finding dead ends that later open up with new abilities is always a nice addition. Of course, some of these maps get too large and by the end of the game you have no idea where to go or what you’re doing.
The skill tree is simple and easy to understand, however I feel I may get overwhelmed by the number of abilities and movesets you can unlock in the game. I’m already having trouble remembering how to perform some of my newly acquired combos. For instance, to open certain looked doors you need to use certain abilities. It gets a bit tough to remember which ones to use at times. The repair/upgrade arcade-style machines above are laid out all throughout Torch City and are where Rayton can heal and upgrade his skills and abilities.
F.I.S.T.: Forged in Shadow Torch features wonderful cinematics and cutscenes, great voice over for the different characters, sweet ass weapons and beautiful level design. There’s also some puzzles to solve, but so far in the beginning of the game they’ve been pretty simple. I’m sure they may up the difficulty along the journey.
I really enjoy the music of F.I.S.T.: Forged in Shadow Torch. The game features many different genres of music. While in battle you get some heavy rock in the video below. And in the video above you’ll experience some of the smooth jazz from Joffre Street along with Able’s beautiful guitar melodies. The game also features fun arcade-style music when interacting with repair/upgrade machines.
Although the combat is fun and well-designed that is still the area where I found most of my problems with the game, which I will expand on in the next section.
The Not so Good
During combat you need to constantly be on the move. Jumping back and forth over enemies and their attacks. It took a little while before unlocking the parry/block mechanic, which although it’s limited to a few uses it is way too easy to perform. I would rather have a parry that is unlimited and relies on timing. In F.I.S.T. as long as you have another parry in your pocket there is no timing or skill needed to use it — just hold down the trigger.
Some of the character animations are a bit off. Even though the animation from standing to parry flows nicely, once you quit your parry there is no in-between animation. It just sort of glitches back to standing. I noticed other small problems like this throughout the game, even though the graphics and visuals are super smooth.
Many of the enemies in the game shoot their tracking missiles at Rayton. They first aim with a laser before launching missiles or shooting their shotguns. You can parry some of them, but you mostly have to move out of the way. It sucks when you first think, Oh, that’s ok. The missiles will hit his friend standing in front of me. Then, the missiles pass right through the enemy and hit you anyway. Enemy friendly fire would have been a neat addition to this game, so you could try to trick your enemy into standing in the path of a friendly missile attack.
There’s a few other fighting mechanics that feel a bit off. There’s also enough in there that’s pretty cool though. For a next-gen playable game I would like the combat to be a bit more fluid. If your enemy is mid-attack you have to stay away for the most part. Only certain enemy attacks can be overthrown by hitting them first, others by parrying. It’s also annoying that once you knock an opponent to the ground, you have to wait for them to slowly get back up before attacking them again. This is especially troublesome when fighting multiple enemies.
Some of the fight mechanics just feel more like luck than skill based. The cool thing about a good parry mechanic that relies on timing is that you slowly learn how to master it, but even in a fight later on once you are a “Parry Master” you can still mess up and lose the battle.
Who’s it for?
Although I did find a few problems with combat and certain mechanics, I still think F.I.S.T.: Forged in Shadow Torch is worth giving a shot. If you are a true fan of MetroidVanias then this is definitely a good game for you to try out. It does a great job with most of the MetroidVania-style gameplay.
The story is fun and interesting and so are the characters. I had given F.I.S.T.: Forged in Shadow Torch only a few hours of my time before beginning my review to post it last week. Some time during last week I came across a big part of the story and decided to keep playing over the weekend to expand my views on the game.
The problems I faced with the game were still present in the next section of the game, but it’s still a fun game, especially for fans of MetroidVanias. I hope to find the time to continue playing this game and see the whole story of Rayton through to the end.
F.I.S.T. Forged in Shadow Torch is available on PlayStation 4 & 5 and is coming to PC next month (via Steam).
*We were provided a review code for F.I.S.T.: Forged in Shadow Torch from the publisher.
**Reviewed on PlayStation 5.