9 Forspoken tips to get you started in Athia

Forspoken screenshot
(Image credit: Square Enix)

Use our Forspoken tips to ease you into the ruined world of Athia and the magic-focused, parkour-infused combat that you’ll need to learn quickly. Between open world exploration, parkour traversal, large spell sets, and Detour side quests, there’s a lot going on in Forspoken, and it can be a bit overwhelming to begin with, especially regarding the chaos of combat. However, with our tips, which provide advice on battle strategies, important gameplay mechanics, and even what assists you should have on, you should be off to a good start in Frey’s otherworldly adventure. Here are nine Forspoken tips to get you started.

1. Adjust your settings

Forspoken setting menu accessibility options

(Image credit: Square Enix)

Forspoken has a pretty extensive list of accessibility, difficulty, and comfort settings that you can mess around with to tailor your experience. While you can pick overall difficulty levels, you can also adjust specific gameplay elements to rebalance the experience, such as increasing or decreasing things like the damage Frey receives. You can also freely rebind all your controls. Here are the essential settings that we recommend you adjust for greater convenience and a smoother experience, but there are plenty of other things you can change:

  • Spell-Switching Slowdown: Full Pause or leave as the default.
  • Image Quality Settings: Performance-Focused, especially on PS5.
  • Automatic Item Gathering: ON
  • Cuff Chat Frequency: Minimal or Low

2. Attack Forspoken enemies from behind or at their sides

Forspoken fighting enemies in a purple room

(Image credit: Square Enix)

Striking enemies from behind or at their sides will do the more damage than just attacking head on. Make sure you use target locking to keep your enemy in view, Support Magic to distract or control them, and then use Frey’s agile parkour abilities to manoeuver your way around. You’ll know you’re hitting the right place when your damage numbers are glowing yellow. High level or well protected enemies can also be resistant to your attacks, meaning you’ll do little to no damage with each hit, so getting behind them is even more crucial, or just runaway and come back when you’re more powerful.

3. Don’t button mash

Forspoken fighting enemies with star battle rank

(Image credit: Square Enix)

While moving aggressively, dodging, and spamming magic attacks are your broad combat strategies in Forspoken, you need to do these with some level of care and avoid button mashing. Projectiles and attacks mean frequent dodging is crucial to survival, and it can be really tempting mash Circle (although there will be plenty of instances where this is necessary) but this can chew through Frey’s stamina, leaving you vulnerable to subsequent beatings. Good timing, quick reactions, and strategic hot-swapping of spells are important too, so don’t rely on spamming the same buttons as you’ll miss great opportunities for healing, counters, Killer Blows, and more in the process.

4. Switch powers frequently

Forspoken support magic radial menu spells

(Image credit: Square Enix)
Forspoken length

Forspoken preview

(Image credit: Square Enix)

Wondering how long it takes to beat Forspoken? We've got rough estimates in our guide

Switching through your powers will really help you in combat, making the most of Frey’s powerful spells and applying a variety of effects to enemies or even herself. This is especially important for your Support Magic abilities as each one has its own cooldown. Essentially, when you use one, immediately switch to another and land some Attack Magic spells to boost the cooldowns further, ensuring you’ve always got at least one Support spell to fall back on. Later in the game, you’ll get entirely new spell sets that use a different type of magic to Frey’s regular Forspoken Purple Magic, so you can even hot swap through spell sets to get the right magic for the job.

The other reason why switching spells is important is to maximize your Battle Ranking – the letter grade you receive at the end of every combat encounter determined by your fighting skills. Using a variety of spells and abilities will allow you to quickly rack up and maintain points towards an A rank or even Star rank. The better the rank, the higher your XP rewards and loot drop rate are. The most important thing is to not take damage as this will massively reduce your score, and it can become quite tough to build it back up.

5. Use Cuff Scans often

Forspoken combat cuff scan

(Image credit: Square Enix)

Another of our Forspoken tips is that you should be using Cuff’s Scan ability quite frequently, mainly when you’re out in the open world. Press up on the D-Pad to briefly mark important things in your general area, helping you find and collect important items for Frey’s journey. As well as using the map, it’ll help you find structures, chests, Mana Pools, and more while you’re exploring.

Forspoken cuff insight combat

(Image credit: Square Enix)

Cuff Scan will even reveal nearby enemies, making it an effective scouting tool to help size up combat encounters. If you’re already in the thick of it, lock onto an enemy with R3 and press up on the D-Pad to get Cuff’s Insight which might reveal some useful details about an enemy and how you can better deal with them.

6. Speak to NPCs and complete Detours for XP

Forspoken detour side quest chasing a cat

(Image credit: Square Enix)

Detours are Forspoken’s answer to side quests and completing them can offer you some good rewards to help Frey out. The cat-chasing Detours in Cipal which see you following a cat as it leads you to some loot are good ones to do as you’ll get XP and a Poppet collectible for your efforts. Poppets can be exchanged with the Trader, who’s found in Obrana Square, for crafting resources. Detours become available as you progress through the game but be warned that some will also disappear if you progress beyond a certain point, so it’s best to complete Detours as soon as you spot them.

When you’re in Cipal, there are usually lots of NPCs you can speak to – use Cuff Scan to mark who you talk to. Some of these NPCs will want to take you on Detours, while others might just want a short conversation, and even these can get you a little XP to help you on your way.

7. Seek Monuments to boost your stats

Forspoken Frey interacting with open world monument

(Image credit: Square Enix)

Forspoken’s open world is full of things to do and explore, most of which will enhance Frey’s abilities in some way. One of the easiest things you can do is uncover Monuments. These large statues are related to the four virtues of the Forspoken Tantas and destroy the Break corruption covering them adds a permanent boost to one of Frey’s statistics:

  • Monuments to Strength = +5 Defense
  • Monuments to Justice = +5 Health
  • Monuments to Love = +15 Healing Effects

Monuments to Wisdom are quite different, however, as they don’t need to be uncovered. Instead, they offer a Flashback time trial challenge which offers different rewards based on your score – usually varying amounts of Mana and crafting materials, so they’re still worthwhile.

8. Check in at Pilgrim’s Refuges often

Forspoken Pilgrim's Refuge open world safehouse

(Image credit: Square Enix)

Forspoken Pilgrim’s Refuges are safehouses found out in the Break-corrupted lands of Athia, and you’ll want to stop off at as many as you can whenever you’re out exploring the world. The main reason is that they’re important fast travel points, allowing you to quickly get around Athia without having to magically parkour all over the place.

Moreover, Refuges have a crafting bench, a bed, and an old bookcase for changing your Spellcraft Challenges, so they’re great places for a break to resupply and heal up. You’ll also usually find a lore entry or two, and any Tanta familiars you befriend have a chance to visit you in a refuge!

9. Always have Spellcraft Challenges active

Forspoken spellcraft combat challenge objectives and progress

(Image credit: Square Enix)

Our last Forspoken tip is to make sure that you always have the maximum number of Spellcraft Challenges active at any time. You won’t unlock Spellcraft Challenges until you get through the ‘An Oath of Vengeance’ quest in Chapter 4, but they’re important as they’re another way to bolster your Forspoken Magic spells with extra power. You can have up to three challenges active at once but can abandon the challenges and swap them for others at an old bookcase at any time. Once you’ve completed a challenge, make sure you apply the spell upgrade and get a new challenge to fill the slot as soon as possible!

Will Sawyer
Guides Writer

Will Sawyer is a guides writer at GamesRadar+ who works with the rest of the guides team to give readers great information and advice on the best items, how to complete a particular challenge, or where to go in some of the biggest video games. Will joined the GameRadar+ team in August 2021 and has written about service titles, including Fortnite, Destiny 2, and Warzone, as well as some of the biggest releases like Halo Infinite, Elden Ring, and God of War Ragnarok.