We were very impressed when it was first revealed, and now F.I.S.T.: Forged In Shadow Torch is finally out on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5, with a PC release following later. We tried it out on a PS5.
For many, ourselves included, the first time we saw F.I.S.T.: Forged In Shadow Torch in action was during a PlayStation showcase event. For us, amidst many previously revealed titles, it was a standout game that we couldn’t wait to get our hands on. It came out of nowhere though, and being unfamiliar with developer TiGames and publisher Bilibili we didn’t know what to expect. All we knew was that it looked like a great 2.5D action platformer with gorgeous visuals.
Now that it’s here, we mostly just wonder if they couldn’t have come up with a better acronym for F.I.S.T, but that’s beside the point. This is a wonderful game that features anthropomorphic animals that are armed to the teeth in a dystopic environment filled with grime and violence. The dieselpunk look and feel introduces us to our hero Rayton, who’s a former top pilot now dealing with the aftermath of a war that didn’t end well. Torch City, your home, was invaded by a legion of robots and their “Iron Dogs”, and now they’ve gone one step too far by taking your best friend prisoner.
Things are personal for Rayton, as he sets about to invade the enemy’s base of operations and set his friend free – with your main weapon being a mechanical fist that you wield. There’s a serious learning curve here and you’ll quickly run into overwhelming odds, but with this being a metroidvania you’ll also gradually get better and the odds start to turn in your favor – though boss fights continue to provide quite the challenge.
F.I.S.T.: Forged In Shadow Torch looked great in the reveal trailers for the game, and luckily it manages to keep up that high level of audiovisual presentation throughout the campaign, which is way longer than we expected and will clock in at 15+ hours for most, and that’s with plenty of optional stuff still left to uncover. I imagine I’ll head back at some point, even if it’s to just take in the wonderfully detailed backdrops and level designs that the game features.
If I had to fault the game for something, it’d be that it could have used just a tiny bit more polish. English wasn’t the core language during development, and some of the translations could have been done better – though this is something that can be ironed out post-launch with an update. It also doesn’t introduce anything drastically new to the genre and combat could have been a bit more balanced, but that’s just nitpicking. This is a wonderful metroidvania/action platformer that people will want to pick up – it looks and performs great on a PlayStation 5 and is one of the pleasant surprises of 2021 thus far.