by Matt Porter
previewed on PC
Next gen Roguelike
The original Forced was a top down action RPG with online co-operative puzzle solving elements. It has been less than a year since that first game released, so I was expecting much the same when we visited the developer at Gamescom for a showing of Forced 2: The Rush. Colour me surprised, because not only have there been a lot of changes, it’s actually almost a completely different game entirely.
Forced 2 continues the story from the first game where you played as slaves fighting in a tournament to earn your freedom. Now, there’s a new tournament, and it’s opened up to be interdimensional - allowing for more fantasy style characters to enter and be played. However, in a departure from the first game, the genre has been switched to what Betadwarf calls a “next gen Roguelike”.
Competing against others
Not many Roguelikes feature 3D graphics, and the graphics are one of the few things which are similar to the first game. Still controlled from a top down perspective, you will be progressing through randomly generated levels, fighting plenty of enemies as you go. Instead of online co-op, you will be playing independently. However there is a competitive aspect to it. When you start an online game you are matched with at least one other player. The game then generates a set of ten levels which are unique to your lobby.
From there, it’s a race to the end. As you play you will be able to see the progress of the other players on a bar on the right hand side of the screen, although you will never see exactly how they are completing each level. You have got to be fast, however if you die, you drop out and you won’t gain any of the rewards that the winners will receive. It’s not a case of playing safely though. The players ahead of you will trigger a firewall, which gets closer to the players who are lagging behind with each level the forerunners complete. Slow and steady will not win the race in Forced 2 (unless you get lucky and everyone else dies).
Run and gun
Another new element is the introduction of cards. You will build a deck based on which character you choose, and before each level starts you will be able to select any number of them based on how much mana they cost to play, and how much mana you actually have. The cards can be activated abilities such as an electrified zone to shock enemies who enter it. Or it can be a passive buff for your next level. Or it can even be a new piece of equipment that grants you a bonus.
The combat is similar to the first Forced game though. It’s a lot of run and gun (or smash) action, with a focus on positioning to avoid being hit rather than tanking up a lot of hits. Forced 2: The Rush will go into Early Access in about 6 months, but it’s already looking set to be quite an interesting and unique title.