The last time we spoke about Forspoken back when it originally came out, we thought it was a generally fun game marred by exposition and weighed down by the demands of having an open world. Forspoken has since been in quite a few headlines both good and bad, and five months since its original release, we now have a new DLC to play around with: In Tanta We Trust.
With its DLC, Forspoken takes a rather interesting approach to both gameplay as well as story. In Tanta We Trust essentially throws you back into the past of Athia, just in time to witness the Purge of Rheddig—the event responsible for much of what went wrong in the world of Athia that we saw in the base game. The moment is so incredibly pivotal in the backstory of Athia that it essentially gave us the primary reason for the Tantas having gone insane in the main Forspoken campaign.
While the story continues to be a much weaker part of Forspoken than its gameplay even in the DLC, In Tanta We Trust still represents a massive uptick in quality when it comes to the writing of our protagonist Frey. Rather than coming off as an incredibly whiny character like in the original, In Tanta We Trust taking place after the events of Forspoken means that we have a Frey that’s much more mature, a lot less annoying. Despite her modernisms in speech still being present, they don’t seem nearly as annoying as constantly shouting expletives every time she fought monsters in the early parts of Forspoken.
Another interesting turn the story takes is by introducing a historical version of a pivotal character in Forspoken’s backstory—Tanta Cinta. Since the DLC expects that you’ve finished the base story of Forspoken, it’s quite quick to drop a major spoiler about Cinta from the moment you first meet her, but it is this very spoiler that makes her such an interesting character to feature so prominently in Forspoken: In Tanta We Trust.
"In Tanta We Trust still represents a massive uptick in quality when it comes to the writing"
When it comes to gameplay, the biggest addition in In Tanta We Trust is Cinta as Frey’s constant companion. Rather than just being a presence in the story, Cinta also actively takes part in the many battles you’ll fight. Her integration into the game’s combat is done in an interesting way. Her moveset revolves largely around supporting you and getting support from you. For example, if your health gets too low, she’ll teleport next to you and set up a barrier that blocks attacks and heals you and Frey can help her out by using attacks that freeze enemies, allowing Cinta to use attacks that deal massive damage.
When it comes to combat, Forspoken has never felt as good as it does in In Tanta We Trust. The DLC brings with it a host of new powers, and your new starting power giving you a melee option does a lot to make the combat start feeling good before getting to the mid-game point. The best ability that you get fairly early is undoubtedly Skewer, which basically allows you to throw a massive spear that can stun enemies, allowing Cinta to nail them with an Allied Strike for a frankly absurd level of damage.
One of the first things that happens to you In Tanta We Trust is the complete loss of all of your powers and abilities, with the DLC essentially acting as a reset to your power level. It makes sense in the context of the story, since you’re essentially inhabiting the body of a different person in the past. The downside of this is that you’ll be spending a large part of the DLC’s opening levels without your magical traversal abilities, making running through the repetitive corridors of the tutorial level more of a slog than it really should have been.
"Frey can help her out by using attacks that freeze enemies, allowing Cinta to use attacks that deal massive damage"
The lack of a massive open world also does wonders for In Tanta We Trust, since DLC now feels like an incredibly-tight, focused experience rather than the borderline-bloated mess that the base game felt like. Rather than chasing down random icons on the map for the sake of minor power-ups that don’t really feel rewarding, In Tanta We Trust is instead a short experience with a much smaller map, featuring clever encounter design and interesting traversal options.
Unfortunately, when it comes to pacing, In Tanta We Trust follows Forspoken in putting its worst foot forward. When it comes to first impressions, you’re not going to get a good one, since you’ll be stuck in an incredibly-linear tutorial level that constantly takes control away from you to show you things that just aren’t important. The opening level only really starts getting fun once you encounter your first Breakbeast of the DLC, and things quickly escalate in fun ways from there.
While it still features an open world, In Tanta We Trust’s scale is a lot smaller than that of the base game. This helps make the experience much tighter, giving you obvious objectives to go for. Sure, there are still smaller side objectives you can chase, but not only are there not as many of them in the DLC, but the power-ups they offer feel a lot more substantial than anything in the base game outside of unlocking new magical abilities.
"In Tanta We Trust’s scale is a lot smaller than that of the base game."
In Tanta We Trust ends up being one of those rare DLC releases that ends up surpassing its base game in terms of quality. Just about every aspect of the DLC feels like it was developed with the reviews and feedback the studio saw from Forspoken’s release in mind. The story focuses on interesting characters and events, and characters interacting with the protagonist won’t constantly make you cringe anymore. In terms of gameplay, you don’t have to worry about going through a checklist in an open world anymore, and the new spells and abilities you get are an absolute joy to use.
Despite taking place well after the events of Forspoken, it is interesting that the game allows you to start up In Tanta We Trust right from the main menu. Sure, you do get a warned that just about everything from the base game is off-limits when it comes to spoilers, and the opening minutes of the game prove just that with an important character from Forspoken showing up in In Tanta We Trust, but I’d still say that allowing new players to jump into the DLC is a strange choice.
On the bright side, at least the DLC is actually good. It builds on the excellent traversal and combat abilities you had in the base game, all while adding fun new options to play around with. Your new traveling companion might not be the most cheerful character you meet, but the utility they bring to the combat encounters in In Tanta We Trust makes them an absolutely welcome addition. Despite the quality of the DLC, however, I still have trouble recommending In Tanta We Trust, since you’d still have to pay for the not-as-good Forspoken. If you happen to already own the base game, however, In Tanta We Trust is an absolute no-brainer.
This game was reviewed on the PlayStation 5.
The gameplay is still excellent; New spells are a welcome addition; Characters aren’t written that badly anymore.
Terrible pacing in opening hours; You still have to buy and play Forspoken.