Forspoken, a new open-world action RPG by Luminous Productions and Square Enix, has officially been released on PlayStation 5 and PC to plenty of negative reviews. Despite the criticism, many players are enjoying their time in the fantastical land of Athia, exploring an unknown open world while fighting a variety of enemies as Frey Holland, the game’s protagonist. Most of the time players will spend in Forspoken is enjoyable, with fast-paced combat, an emotional story, and plenty of skills to unlock and gear to collect. There is one thing about the game, however, that may make it less enjoyable.
Many role-playing games these days are not short of companion characters. These individuals generally function as sidekicks to the player and often help advance the story or assist with character development. Cuff, Forspoken‘s companion character, is a sentient vambrace whose primary role is that of giving Frey magical abilities and assisting her in combat. That alone is enough to make Cuff a necessary part of Frey’s journey, but it comes at a significant cost. With mediocre voice-acting, poor sound quality, and dialogue full of snarky quips, Cuff becomes Forspoken‘s most annoying character, forcing players to either quit the game or at least discover ways to make him more tolerable. Fortunately, there are ways for players to tolerate Cuff and even learn to appreciate him.
Make Cuff’s Voice More Intelligible
The main thing to understand about Cuff (played by Jonathan Cake) is that some poor audio mixing has resulted in his voice sounding muddy, muffled, and altogether unintelligible at times. The inability to hear a character’s voice clearly is enough to irritate anyone, regardless of the voice actor’s talent or lack thereof. While there is no option to adjust the equalization of Cuff’s voice, there are some workarounds players can apply to hear him a little better.
The first thing players should do is turn on subtitles for the game. This may subtract from immersion for some, but it will ultimately result in the game’s dialogue becoming more understandable. To turn on subtitles, players should go to “Settings” in the game’s menu, go to “Accessibility Settings,” and then switch “Subtitles” to “On.” After turning on subtitles, players may also benefit from turning down the game’s music. There are more than enough moments in Forspoken where the music overpowers the dialogue, so turning it down should help. To turn down the music, players should go to “Settings” in the game’s menu, go to “Sound Settings,” and then adjust the “Music Volume” slider. Keeping the music volume at 70% is a sweet spot for a decent balance between music and dialogue. Adjusting the “Sound Effect Volume” in the same menu to 90% may also help.
Make Cuff Talk Less
Like most companion characters, Cuff will occasionally engage in conversation with Frey throughout her time exploring Athia. The only problem is that those conversations are very frequent and often contain lines that have already been repeated multiple times. It’s so bad, in fact, that most players should begin noticing repeated dialogue within the first hour of playing the game. There is, however, a solution.
The developers were kind enough to include an option in the game’s settings to adjust the frequency of Cuff’s chats with Frey. While those chats cannot be eliminated entirely, they can be reduced so that they almost never occur. To do this, players should go to “Settings” in the game’s menu, click on “Accessibility Settings,” and then lower the “Cuff Chat Frequency” using the left arrow. The “Minimal” setting is what most players will likely end up choosing, but setting it to “Low” may make those chats infrequent enough for some.
Learn To Appreciate Cuff
The only other recommendation for players who find Cuff insufferable is to learn to appreciate him. Although he may not look or sound like much at first, he quickly becomes more than just a necessary tool to help Frey win her battles. As he finds himself in a similar situation to Frey, Cuff eventually plays a very significant role in the development of Frey’s character, and for players who invest themselves in Forspoken‘s story, this is a very helpful perspective to maintain.
Cuff can be difficult to tolerate at times. Whether it’s the player’s inability to hear him clearly or the fact that he talks way too much, he has plenty going against him. That said, if players make these adjustments to the game’s settings and their perspective, they may find themselves making it through the game without rolling their eyes all the time.
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