It seems I’m becoming Half-Glass Gaming’s resident cyberpunk representative. So it was pretty much my duty to check out Foreclosed to see how well it stacks up in the cyberpunk genre, and how it manages to set itself apart. The art style definitely had me intrigued from the outset, so I was anxious to kick its tires and see how it handled. But while Foreclosed turned out to be a gorgeous game worth checking out, it also suffers from a mediocre story and some questionable gameplay elements.

Foreclosed’s visual style is definitely the selling point here. The muted pastels and cel-shaded design really do stick out amongst the garish nightmares of other cyberpunk games. And the stylized comic-book-panel animations keep the story moving at a decent clip, while also allowing the player to see things from various vantage points and be privy to impending dangers. This aspect of Foreclosed, to quote Todd Howard, “just works.” What doesn’t work, however, is mostly everything else, but to varying degrees.

Without going into spoilers (most of this is in the game’s trailer), you play as Evan Kapnos, a private security employee whose identity is foreclosed upon, basically rendering him an non-person in the eyes of the law. You have until 4 p.m. to get to the courthouse to contest this before your identity is basically sold at auction to the highest bidder. This is easier said than done, as you are now being hunted by law enforcement and hired goons, the former because you are now pretty much legally a fugitive, and the latter because the tech in your head is experimental and various entities want to harvest it. You are aided by an employee of Securitech who designed said tech, as she seeks to salvage her research — I think… it gets a little muddied in its execution.

The lukewarm story is a moot point anyway, because the gun combat is truly awful. In fact, it resulted in me having to replay a number of sections, interrupting the narrative and eventually causing me to tune out once or twice. I understand that this is a small development team, but there are plenty of games out there with teams just as small — some even smaller — that manage to deliver more polished gameplay, so I can’t excuse this away just by saying the development team was small. The combat honestly feels like it was designed to work within the limited control confines of the PSP. 

All of the guards feel like bullet sponges, which incentivizes you to aim for the head. But there are often at least a half dozen of these goons all around you — or just moving towards you in a stream of oncoming bullets — which makes it difficult to stay alive long enough to line up a headshot. It doesn’t help that I had to turn the reticle aiming all the way down to 1 in order to offer enough precision to to move the cursor without over-aiming.

There is also no cover fire or shooting while your character is crouched. Aiming will automatically stand Kapnos up and put you in the line of fire. I pretty much just ended up popping up and firing off a few bullets until I eventually killed one guy, and then turned my attention to the next. And since it only takes about five bullets to kill Kapnos, and like 12 to kill even the lowest-level enemy type, this can get tedious pretty quickly.

Exacerbating this is the aggravating checkpoint system. Often when I would die, I would restart a few rooms back and have to sit through a canned cutscene of Kapnos ruminating to himself in a timid hard-boiled voice, or of enemies flooding the room, or of the same phone call in Kapnos’ earpiece, only to die again will trying to cheese my way through a gunfight. For some reason, even the smallest in-game cutscenes can’t be skipped.


Thankfully there were only a few instances that really made me question my commitment to seeing credits roll on this game, but even then, I only managed to get through most of the game’s gunfights because I learned which columns to hide behind while cowering my way through the game’s combat.

Foreclosed does offer an upgrade system, which applies to Kapnos’ hybrid handgun, and there’s also a suite of telekinetic powers at the player’s disposal. And these can really turn the tides. You earn XP from taking out enemy forces, but also by finding green nodes hidden throughout each level that you pinpoint using an on-screen proximity locator. Just make sure you are actually looking at the node when you do this, because even when you are close enough to reveal a node’s presence, you can’t unlock one unless you are actively looking at it. And even this can be easier said than done, considering the finicky third-person camera. These nodes are pretty crucial though, and should not be overlooked. They offer a sizable chunk of XP, which can help expedite unlocking more skills that in turn make combat scenarios a bit more manageable.

As far as the unlocks themselves, there are only a small handful. You’ve got six for your telekinetic abilities and six for your handgun, which does offer two firing modes: the default single-shot handgun and a more erratic and energy-consuming automatic mode. You’ll definitely want to unlock the ability that lessens the energy consumption of your alt-fire, as firing it too much, or even using your telekinetic powers too much, will overload your system. And this causes Kapnos to freeze, fully exposed, while holding his head and moaning in agony.

There is one ability that allows you to levitate enemies, rendering them basically unable to do anything for the three or so seconds they are floating, which can be a clutch attribute as well. It allows you to take at least one opposing bullet delivery system offline for a few seconds, allowing you to focus your efforts elsewhere, reposition, or just have a laugh while you pump the hovering goon full of lead.

This leads me to my next issue with Foreclosed: the enemy A.I. Thankfully, enemies are often too stupid to flank you, which makes finding the nearest cover and sticking to it a surprisingly efficient way of dealing with them. As bullet sponges with pretty precise aiming of their own, getting caught out in the open will end you quickly. But these idiots are so braindead that you can often cheese your way through tough spots.

For example, if you are able to get a stealth takedown, other guards will pay no mind to the dude who is now lying unconscious on the floor. I managed to get close up behind a guard while behind cover, which allowed me to initiate the stealth takedown move that overloads their brain chips and leaves them out cold on the ground. Another guard was only a few yards away, and although I was obfuscated by a waist-high wall, the other guard was not. From his viewpoint, it would have looked like his buddy just keeled over for no reason. Did he come over to investigate with a question mark over his head (a literal element of Foreclosed, the old question-mark-over-the-suspicious-guard’s-head trope)? Nope, he just acted as if the incapacitated guard wasn’t even there and went about his rigidly scripted patrol pattern.


Look, I know it probably sounds like I’m just crapping all over Foreclosed here. And I guess I kind of am. But I really did enjoy this game for most of the time I was playing it. Although I’m sure my partner would dispute that statement based on the amount of swearing she heard me engage in over the six or so hours it took me to see the credits roll.

But I really did enjoy Foreclosed. I love the visual art style, and the music is pretty stellar. The voice acting is questionable but charming, and considering the credits only list three voice actors, I’d say this was a job pretty well done under the circumstances.

The combat leaves much to be desired, although I did enjoy experimenting with the different upgrades and powers as I actively attempted to get every Trophy related to using them (despite the fact that I am very much not a Trophy hunter). And although the story isn’t much to write home about, its presentation elevates it above just boilerplate genre fair. 

If you enjoy smaller-scale titles, action-stealth cyberpunk gameplay, and cel-shaded art — and you can forgive its oftentimes frustrating combat and checkpoint system — I would say give Foreclosed a shot. In fact, a solid post-launch patch or two could probably address most of my complaints.

At the end of the day, Foreclosed is half-full, but that also means it’s half-empty.

Disclaimer: I was given an early review code for Foreclosed for this article, but the opinions expressed here are my own.

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