In this F.I.S.T.: Forged In Shadow Torch Gameplay & Features Overview, we’re going to take a deep dive into the story, gameplay, combat and overall features of the new Metroidvania and Action RPG developed by TiGames and published by Bilibili and Antiidelay. F.I.S.T. was initially released last September 7, 2021 for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5. It was then ported to PC on October 3, 2021.
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F.I.S.T.: Forged In Shadow Torch Gameplay & Features Overview
- Name: F.I.S.T.: Forged In Shadow Torch
- Platforms: PC (Steam), PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5
- Developer: TiGames
- Publishers: Bilibili and Antiidelay
- Release Date: 7th September 2021
- Genre: Metroidvania, Action RPG
What is F.I.S.T.: Forged In Shadow Torch?
F.I.S.T.: Forged In Shadow Torch is a Metroidvania and Action RPG with a signature dieselpunk style that brings Asian inspired landscapes to life. What’s fascinating about the level design is how well it’s presented where you get a heightened sense of the entire environment as well as exciting 2D gameplay and vivid 3D backgrounds. F.I.S.T is quite similar to other Metroidvanias like Hollow Knight and Salt and Sanctuary when it comes to exploration and traversal.
Exploration encourages you to revisit certain areas of the map in order to learn more about the story and to receive unique rewards. You gain access to these when you unlock specific abilities, weapons and keys. Meanwhile, it’s important to learn the different techniques associated with traversal given how difficult the platforming aspect of the game can be later on.
In terms of combat, however, F.I.S.T. sets itself apart from the rest because of how it greatly emphasizes stacking skill combos in order to effectively defeat enemies. As such, you can expect to experience action-packed and fast-paced encounters all throughout the game. It isn’t Souls-like either in the sense that you don’t lose money such as Geo in Hollow Knight when you die. Instead, you simply respawn from a checkpoint but your enemies also re-emerge with you.
F.I.S.T. follows a classless system where you create your character’s build based on the skills you choose to unlock. It also features three unique weapons, intricate and interconnected locations, numerous abilities and devices that help you survive in combat.
Overview and Setting
F.I.S.T. is set in Torch City and Western Range, which are populated with animals such as rabbits, bears and rats, to name a few. These locations are enormous since there are so many areas to explore over and over again like the underwater base, prison, sewers and mines.
It also houses some of the most charming anthropomorphic residents known as Furtizens as they strive to live peacefully in spite of the problems brought about by the invasion of the Legion Iron Dogs. You play as Rayton, a Champion of the Resistance, who decides to wield his massive, robotic Fist once again to uncover the real purpose behind the machinations of the Legion. Your first mission is to rescue your friend, Urso, who has been wrongfully imprisoned by this group.
The game involves a story of betrayal, power, and struggle between machines and Furtizens that shows the impact of greed and slavery in society. It’s not as in depth as other RPGs in terms of making decisions to alter the outcome of certain events, but the narrative unfolds in a clear and interesting manner, which entices you to thoroughly explore the entire map to understand what’s happening.
Although I would have preferred the characters to be more fleshed out, I enjoyed my interactions with them. Due to this, I established connections and an affinity for these animals, especially for Rayton, that made me concerned about what will happen next. F.I.S.T. doesn’t include companions so you’re left to your own devices even if you encounter and meet new friends along the way.
F.I.S.T. introduces the main characters and then immediately gets right into the action where you make do with the first weapon you have, which is the mechanical Fist. You explore Old Town while punching machines left and right, and platforming doesn’t come until a few more minutes into the game.
How Combat, Weapons, Skills and Abilities Work
F.I.S.T.’s combat starts off easy because there’s no strict stamina bar to manage, no money to lose when you die, and your health bar is essentially above average. Your enemies aren’t formidable just yet. But when you reach other locations where you meet the rest of the game’s enemies, like the Samurai and Mechs with Shields, you begin to feel the difficulty kick in.
Although it seems as if you’re destabilizing these machines, it will surprise you that oftentimes, this isn’t the case. I’ve experienced several encounters, particularly in boss fights, where I’d continuously hit them thinking that they don’t have enough power to retaliate, which is far from the truth. Positioning and environmental awareness are of prime importance in any type of encounter because it’s quite easy to die in later areas if you’re not careful.
Another good strategy is to prioritize fighting machines that are situated above you. From the top, they perform ranged damage with their laser guns, which provides a distinct advantage. Once you’ve dealt with them, you can focus on the others in your same level. Jumping on walls is also essential because this gives you an alternative to evade attacks in addition to dashing upward or sideways.
What makes combat compelling is the three unique weapons that you can seamlessly switch to in any encounter. You have the Fist, Drill and Whip, with the latter two being obtained from exploration. The Fist has been salvaged from Rayton’s previous armor and it packs mean punches like the Whirlwind Punch, Pulverize, and Rising Punch Skills. What’s good about this weapon is its swift animation, which gives you the time to react quickly in order to dodge attacks. The Drill, on the other hand, is a tool manufactured by the Legion.
Its blades are deadly because of how it can precisely slice through enemies. The Drill has very potent Skills such as Double Wing Slice, Power Tornado, and Hurricane Slash providing massive damage. The drawback to using this weapon is the slow animation so you’re more likely to get hit as you’re executing your combos. Lastly, the Whip is a byproduct of the Western Range that lets you attack from afar. This is charged with electricity to throw enemies into the air or to create a huge ball of energy with the Power Storm Skill.
What I love about these weapons is their versatility because they don’t just deal damage, but they’re also used for platforming. The Drill allows you to maneuver underwater and glide in the air whereas the Whip lets you hold onto an anchoring point like a blue robot to swing from one section to the next if jumping on walls is not an option.
To gain access to these skills and to restore your HP, you’re going to need to approach Save Points in the form of Terminals. This is the only way to unlock and check said skills. As such, it feels limiting at times especially when you need to refer back to them in order to review respective combos. You don’t have to unlock everything since you’re limited by the number of coins you have and the data disks you acquire.
There’s certainly no shortage of moves to learn so try out as much as you can to defeat machines as efficiently as possible. You can focus on specializing with one weapon first by unlocking most of the skills in a specific path. For instance, you’re able to upgrade to Pile Driver once you’ve obtained Power Punch.
Also remember that going to these Terminals and backtracking your way to different places respawns enemies. You can opt to ignore them but you’ll miss out on coins to access more moves. Additionally, you can also replenish your HP, SP and EP here. SP is used for highly advanced skills such as Rising Punch and is indicated in the Terminal itself. It acts like your stamina bar that’s helpful in boss encounters. However, it’s also possible to beat bosses without making use of it.
Meanwhile, EP is the compound that fuels Devices, namely the Carrot Juice, which restores HP, and Shock Baton to parry attacks to render targets vulnerable for a few seconds. To increase these stats, you need to obtain their three corresponding materials. For example, to raise your EP by 1 bar, you have to search for 3 EP Compounds. Lastly, you also have multiple Abilities such as the Wall Jump and Propeller for combat and platforming. You unlock all of these when you discover points of interest in the map.
Exploration and Quests
When it comes to exploration and quests, F.I.S.T. wholeheartedly delivers. The vastness and intricate map coupled with stunning 3D backgrounds make the journey and tough platforming worth it. As you unlock more areas, the puzzles become more challenging though difficulty progression is linear, so you have enough time to learn how to navigate each place with care.
Like other Metroidvanias, you’ll be traversing locations more than once when you acquire additional Abilities. Quests are also direct to the point in the sense that you’re instructed to go from one place to the next by the animals you meet. However, this doesn’t dull the overall experience of watching the story unfold and figuring out how things work. Moreover, another reason to fully explore the map is to get collectibles such as posters to customize the color of your weapons.
Audio, Visual and Design
Next up is F.I.S.T.’s audio in terms of the sound effects, music and voice overs. All three of these aspects are done wonderfully from composer Caisheng Bo’s highly diverse score to the meaty and impactful sound effects of each action. Every combo is hard-wired to show and indicate how painful they are, from your Drill’s ability to shred to your Fist’s smashing power.
Meanwhile, the music changes from eastern, calm and retro themes when you’re running around the city and accessing Terminals to loud and fast-paced tempos in combat. I adore how well these come together because they certainly merge well to create an immersive experience. What’s more is the top-notch voice acting of the characters that makes Torch City and Western Range alive.
When it comes to the level design, you won’t be disappointed either as they’re gorgeously rendered. Every environment is distinct, which makes exploration that much more enjoyable. You’ll also notice how elaborate the textures of Shanghai landscapes are as well as the rest of the locations hidden underneath it. It’s so easy to get lost in F.I.S.T. because there’s several things going on in the background depending on where you are. Places don’t feel empty since there’s almost always a puzzle waiting for you to solve. This is also brought about by the availability of Ray Tracing to further highlight the level of detail of each art piece.
In fact, the game somewhat reminds me of the dieselpunk theme and physical rendering done in The Ascent because of how realistic the design is so much so that they’re beautifully discernible. Additionally, there’s also the Nvidia DLSS and Nvidia Reflex to further improve the game’s performance and responsiveness on PC.
F.I.S.T.: Forged In Shadow Torch is a 2.5D Metroidvania and Action RPG where evasion and skills matter to survive and defeat machines in combat. This isn’t as straightforward as mashing buttons together since you need to utilize every ability you have. You’re rewarded through heavy exploration as you discover more of the secrets of Torch City and uncover additional abilities to access locked passages.
It’s easy to get immersed in the world while you try to figure out how to traverse certain areas, but I would’ve wished for the story and characters to be developed even more. It would also be cool if the amount of customization is expanded together with the number of unique weapons you’re able to wield. If you’re looking for a fun Metroidvania with arcade-style combat, a fantastic exploration system, and phenomenal audio and level design, then you may want to check out F.I.S.T.: Forged In Shadow Torch. It’s already available on PC, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation 5 and costs 29.99 USD. You can use the link below to support the channel!
What did you think of this overview? Will you be purchasing F.I.S.T. anytime soon? Let us know in the comments below! If you enjoyed this article, be sure to check out our recent previews Disciples: Liberation Gameplay & Features Overview and Salt and Sacrifice Gameplay Hands-On: The Soulslike Monster Hunter You Can’t Miss.