Despite its dark and dreary name, Bleak Faith: Forsaken is a passionate, three-person-made love letter to the Soulsbourne genre.
Look, it’s not always a perfect one, as it suffers from a number of blips and bugs, but it’s an honest one that is tough but fair. And that will make it a success — just not quite yet.
Build back, better
My favourite part of Bleak Faith: Forsaken is its character development system.
The player character is an automaton devoid of a real backstory and, more offputtingly, any ability to grow independently. You are merely left to battle, collect, craft and explore. As you do so, you’ll come across gear and items to help you become a better fighter. The part I love is that the only cost of failing to do so is progression and being forced to see another dead husk of yourself upon the vast rustbelt of an environment.
I love how it makes a game that feels punishing and directionally confusing feel welcoming at the same time.
It’s an idea that is shared by the gameplay, which guides you through it just enough to let you know how to make some progress — leaving lots of systems and inputs for you to figure out on your own.
The devs don’t expect you to give them 45 minutes to an hour for a tutorial. Instead, they give you base gear and guidance as you come across items and crafting material.
Because there’s no levelling system or skill tree, you have to get better through the exploration to find new equipment and more potions and crafting materials. It’s a formula that demands a lot of your time but rewards you by being tough but fair.
I’ve dropped off a lot of games in the same vein as this because they have taken EXP or items from me and made me feel like I could never beat them.
Everywhere, Everything, Omnistructure
This leads me to my next positive point: the Omnistructure.
Bleak Faith: Forsaken‘s setting is a greying and decaying world full of your standard gaming biomes that are awe-inspiring and designed in a way where exploration is key, but backtracking is made easy.
You’ll find ladders, hallways and gates throughout the world that will take you where you’ve been but in new ways that will help your adventures.
While there’s only a little story to go with these locales, I do find myself endlessly drawn to simply exploring how they connect and prime you to investigate one another.
Bleak Faith’s Got Some Bug Battles
Adventuring out of the way, bugs are a major hindrance to the overall experience.
A dead enemy is more likely to end up a spinning, flailing mess than a totally lifeless husk. While it’s hilarious, it can be very annoying — especially when you get trapped behind a body that is writhing its way across the ground. I’ve taken more than my fair share of hits from other baddies simply because I was trapped by a fallen foe.
I’ve also experienced a number of NPCs and enemy characters fall through the map or end up somewhere they have no business being.
Lastly, I’ve run into a number of instances where attack and dodge inputs, as well as hitboxes, seem to not register, which is especially annoying with bigger bosses that hit hard and fast.
Bleak Faith: Forsaken has a lot of potential, but it also has a lot of bugs. I enjoy this game immensely in a genre where I find myself extracting less and less fun. Despite a higher-for-an-indie $40 entry price, I’m giving this game a recommendation because I think there’s a lot to love in terms of exploration and the feeling of your growing power. Speaking of growth, developer Archangel Studios appear to be leading a massive campaign of patches and improvements, so I’m confident brighter days are coming for the Omistructure.
[A copy of the game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.]
Reviewed on: PC