Gaming on a projector in 2022 ended with a bang thanks to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II; I even dubbed it one of the best action First Person Shooters (FPS) for 2022. As we continue our series focused on gaming on a projector in 2023, we start the year with Forspoken. If you recall, Forspoken’s release date had been delayed multiple times. Luckily, the game is loaded with entertaining magical combat and wild character movements that kept me interested. If you are a Traceur (Parkour practitioner), you will most likely get a kick out of this game. The protagonist Frey beautifully uses magic-enhanced Parkour to traverse the massive open world fluidly.
Forspoken is a single-player open-world action Role-Playing Game (RPG) developed by Luminous Productions and published by Square Enix. Forspoken was released on January 24, 2023.
Forspoken is available on Windows PCs and PlayStation 5. Forspoken is interesting because, as far as gaming consoles go, Forspoken is a PS5 console-exclusive game, with the console exclusivity ending two years after the release date. For PS5, Forspoken – Digital Standard Edition can be purchased for $69.99 and is just the base game. Forspoken – Digital Deluxe Edition can be had for $94.99 and includes the base game, Rare Resource Kit, Forspoken Mini Soundtrack, Forspoken Mini Artbook, Forspoken: In Tanta We Trust, and Prequel Story DLC Early Access. For those who still like to collect gaming discs physically, the Forspoken Physical Edition can be found at many retailers for $69.99.
BenQ loaned Projector Reviews demo samples of their X3000i and TK700 gaming projectors to write our monthly projector gaming articles. BenQ is deeply embedded in the gaming world. BenQ owns ZOWIE, the maker of gaming monitors for eSports. ZOWIE is BenQ’s brand dedicated to developing professional eSports equipment. So, having a series of gaming projectors from BenQ provides us gamers with some great options.
I decided to pair Forspoken with the BenQ X3000i gaming projector for this gaming with a projector article due to the X3000i’s RPG game mode, which matches up perfectly with an RPG like Forsaken and its massive open world. The BenQ X3000i retails for $1,999 and is a 4K HDR 4LED gaming projector with 3000 ANSI lumens and dual integrated 5-watt chamber speakers.
BenQ states the X3000i was designed for use with PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, and Nintendo Switch. BenQ also says the X3000i 4K 4LED gaming projector is designed for cinematic immersion in gameplay with 4LED HDR-PRO™, for grand scenery in authentic colors with dynamic virtual 3D sound from various directions.
For this article, I connected my PS5 to the BenQ X3000i via a 48Gbps HDMI 2.1 cable. I then projected it onto a 100-inch (16:9) Elite Screens Aeon fixed frame projection screen with Elite’s Edge Free® technology and Elite’s CineWhite® UHD-B screen material. The CineWhite® UHD-B (Tensioned Matte White) is a 1.3 gain flexible front projection screen material that is ISF certified for achieving accurate color reproduction and image fidelity. BenQ proudly boasts the X3000i’s ability to reproduce authentic colors in games utilizing BenQ’s CinematicColor™ technology. For the BenQ X3000i, an ISF-certified screen made sense for this gaming article.
The X3000i is targeted toward casual and hardcore gamers alike. The X3000i has many specifications that make up a good gaming projector for an open-world RPG like Forspoken. For instance, the X3000i has dedicated game modes for FPS, RPG, and SPG modes with audio, visual, and optimized latency settings for action-adventure games like Forspoken. Changing the X3000i’s Picture Mode from HDR10 to HDR Game gives you access to the projector’s Game Settings, where you can toggle Fast Mode On or Off. With Fast Mode turned on, the X3000i minimizes the response time between the input source and the displayed image. I, of course, played Forspoken with Fast Mode set to On. BenQ states the X3000i has 4K graphics with 16.67ms input lag at 60Hz. Switching from 4K to Full HD (1080p) drops the input lag to a blazing fast 4.16ms (1080p@240Hz) and 8.3ms (1080p@120Hz).
Forspoken is a massive open-world RPG that transports New Yorker Frey Holland to the land of Athia after she comes across an enchanted talking bracelet in an abandoned New York building. Mysteriously transported to Athia, you find yourself unwillingly dropped into a conflict that has been tearing the land of Athia apart. Athia’s terrain, animals, and people have been twisted into nightmarish versions of themselves by a corrupting force known as “The Break.”
As Frey Holland, it is up to you to use the magical powers granted by the bracelet nicknamed “Cuff” to save Athia, which Frey learns once flourished under the reign of three benevolent matriarchs called the Tantas; Tanta Sila, Tanta Prav, and Tanta Olas. But now, a devastating blight has relentlessly corrupted everything it touched, and it is up to Frey to stop the three maddened Tantas that have turned evil.
Forspoken’s magic-centric combat is exciting. Learning multiple magic types enables customizable combat options and various ways to combat the adversaries threatening the realm of Athia. With the blending of effortless shooting mechanics with defensive spells and melee attacks, Forspoken provides gamers with a broad assortment of tools to take on enemies. The customizable arsenal of spells will keep you coming back for more game time.
Forspoken, like many modern games, has enhanced graphics with HDR. The inclusion of HDR support in games means you see everything in the bright and dark areas alike. You won’t get very far in any video game if you can’t accurately see what’s happening around your character during dark and bright scenes. As I frequently say, nobody likes it when their character is killed by an enemy they had no chance of seeing. Playing Forspoken on a 100-inch screen allowed me to quickly see all of the corrupted beasts and humans in Athia well before I was in danger range.
Since the human eye is more sensitive to color and contrast than it is to resolution, having a projector with an HDR game mode like the X3000i is extremely helpful because it allows you to take advantage of these new games with enhanced graphics.
I played Forspoken in Full HD (1080P) @ 120Hz with Ray-Tracing turned on. I personally really appreciated the BenQ X3000i’s low 8.3ms input lag with these settings. The X3000i’s low input lag rivals the best flat-panel TVs, ensuring that gameplay will be responsive enough for most gamers and far exceeds the needs of a casual gamer.
A projector can project stunning images, but you won’t feel like you are being drawn into the game if the audio is lackluster. To feel fully immersed in the game, you’ll need the game’s audio to match the visuals. With that being said, some projectors have enhanced audio capabilities for those who want more sound than built-in projector speakers can provide in their chassis’. The X3000i, for example, has eARC support. Though the HDMI-2 port on the rear of the X3000i merely says “Audio Return,” the X3000i most definitely has eARC support. With eARC’s added capacity, the X3000i HDMI supports multiple audio outputs, including 2.0, 5.1, 7.1, and Dolby Atmos, to an external audio system. In addition, the following audio output formats are provided to achieve your desired audio performance: LPCM supports 2-channel audio output, RAW supports 5.1-channel audio output, and RAW+ supports Dolby Atmos audio output. Get yourself a projector that supports eARC to take full advantage of the cinematic sounds built into many games.
Forspoken’s sound design and music go a long way in improving the title’s overall experience. I am happy Luminous Productions took the time to develop the game with a soundtrack that includes booming orchestral arrangements. Also, the captivating beats and growls from Athia’s corrupted humans and animals do a tremendous job of drawing you further into the gaming experience.
The BenQ X3000i has treVolo tuned full-range speakers built-in, virtual 3D surround sound via Bongiovi DPS technology, and dedicated audio modes fine-tuned to bring out the sound details and directions of various game types and scenes. I switched Forspoken’s Audio Dynamic Range from Medium to Full. The Audio Dynamic Range determines the amplitude between the loudest and quietest in-game sounds. The Full setting ensures a large range.
Currently, my projector lab allows me to toggle between a Definitive Technology Studio 3D Mini sound bar and a Polk Magnifi Max sound bar. Both sound bars came with wireless subwoofers. The sound bars permit me to test ARC/eARC HDMI ports on projectors. Forspoken sounded great when played through the X3000i integrated treVolo audio system. However, Forspoken sounded incredible when utilizing the X3000i’s HDMI eARC port connected to either of the sound bars. I think it goes without saying that the sound bars paired with their respective subwoofer provided a much more powerful audio experience.
Forspoken has made Projector Reviews’ “Best Games To Play On A Projector In 2023” list because the gameplay is significantly enhanced on a giant projector screen. Easily, one of the best parts about gaming with a projector and a massive projector screen is your ability to effortlessly spot your adversaries before they see you. A bonus is your ability to view your character’s environment in greater detail due to the screen’s sheer size.
A majority of Athia is ruined by “The Break,” but, Athia is absolutely stunning. Viewing the landscape on a big screen makes it more impressive. Remember that Frey gets to parkour throughout most of the game in a tantalizing fashion. Again, the bigger the screen, the easier you can see the landscape and the parkour opportunities.
I sit approximately 11 feet from my projector screen. The 100-inch (16:9) Elite Screens Aeon fixed frame projection screen I used for this article was perfect in my projector lab with Forspoken. Everything was just the right size to make me feel fully immersed in the game. Depending on how close I was to NPCs, they ranged in size from 4-inches up to 35-inches inches tall. Of course, if you have a bigger space, you’ll be able to run a bigger screen; imagine gaming on a 200-inch projector screen; you could have 70-inch tall Forspoken characters!
Projector gaming on a 100-inch to 200-inch projector screen would be difficult to duplicate, even with a large flat-panel display. Sure, you could pull up your gaming chair extremely close to a monitor or TV to feel more immersed in the game. However, all those Nits at close range will most likely fatigue your eyes quickly.
I will leave you with this; Forspoken gets better the more you play it, so don’t give up after the first few hours. Once you’re out of the tutorial phase, the game really opens up. Magical parkour works great during your exploration of Athia. Frey’s movements are usually fluidly executed, minus the few times she gets stuck on random objects throughout the landscape. Magical parkour combined with spell-centric combat should keep you entertained for hours.