Let’s get this out of the way right at the beginning. Colonialism is bad. Are we all in agreement? Good. Now be warned, Greedfall, the newest release from Spiders (studio), uses colonialism as its setting. If this in any way upsets you, this game is not for you. The backlash that this game is getting for this reason, in my opinion, is completely unfortunate. It’s not the first game to use this setting (Assassin’s Creed 3), and it probably won’t be the last. But the real question is, does it take away from the actual experience that is the game?
In Greedfall, you assume the role of De Sardet, an emissary from Serene sent to the island of Teer Fradee with your cousin, the new governor. Your job is to uncover the mysteries of the island while searching for a cure to an incurable disease that has ravaged your home. Along the way you meet numerous people, some of which become your companions. There are also different factions, including the native people, who’s support and help become essential in latter parts of the game. Your relationships with these factions are initially fragile at best. Throughout the game, you gain (or lose) influence with them based on decisions you make. You also form bonds with your companions (who coincidentally, each side with a different faction) through different missions and choices. Admittedly, there’s a lot going on and a lot to keep track of. Do you side with the indigenous people of the island, or with the Nauts, a sea bearing faction of sailors? Or maybe you should side with one of the other handful of groups vying for their share of the new world? Actually, assuming you have the requisite skill set, you can potentially satisfy all parties involved.
Skills are separated into three different categories. Want to be a soldier slicing your way through enemies with ease? You can. Want to be a more rogue like player or a mage? Yup. You can even mix it up. The trick is, skill points aren’t very abundant, so you have to plan it out a bit. You can, however, respec assuming you have the required item. On top of skills, you have attributes and talents. Attributes, such as strength and agility will dictate your ability to use or wear certain items. Talents are more focused on how you deal with the world. Want to avoid some tense situations, up your charisma and talk your way out of it. Want to be able to craft and upgrade your equipment, throw some points into craftsmanship. Be warned, these points are much more rare than even the skill points. You almost need to commit to one branch to get the most out of it. It makes your choices more meaningful. With dozens of main and side missions, you should be able to level up at a decent pace. The rewards, however, are a bit stingy.
Combat is handled fairly well. Depending on what class you decide to focus on, you’ll be given several options to tackle the situation. Aside from your typical attacks, you also can hotkey or assign skills to your d-pad. It’s not particularly challenging, but it can be a bit clumsy. Several times I felt like the game was a button press behind. It threw me off a bit when I went to use a power but my character was still swinging his weapon. Overall, it’s not reinventing anything. It’s simply your standard third person combat.
And that lack of bringing something new to the Western RPG genre is pretty evident throughout the game unfortunately. The game borrows heavily from previous releases in the genre. I’ve heard people describe it as “BioWare-esque”. That’s pretty accurate, especially if you look at the Dragon Age series. I can’t speak for what the team’s influences were, but I can point out several instances where I thought I was back in 2014 playing Inquisition. That’s not a bad thing necessarily, I really enjoyed that game. Sometimes Greedfall felt dated though. Several locations were reused in the game. Every faction headquarters was almost identical save for a fresh coat of paint. Character models were pretty similar as well. One of my companions seemed to be a quintuplet. He not only fought by my side, but also sold me potions and guarded some barracks. I think I saw him cooking a stew at one point. It would be funny if it didn’t happen all the time. Who am I kidding? It was pretty hilarious. Short of that, the game didn’t push the envelope in really any area. It didn’t even nudge it. It was very safe.
I can say that I didn’t run into many bugs, only a handful. For a game of this size and scope in today’s landscape, that’s an amazing accomplishment. And the game looks great on the Xbox One X. From time to time it looked like there were distortions, almost waves, on the screen. I’m not sure what they were, but they got a bit distracting. It’s not going to blow you away with it’s tremendous vistas, but they do the job. Audio quality is up to par. The voice acting is fantastic, especially of your character. The syncing, on the other hand, not so much. It’s pretty evident during conversations that something is off. Again, it was a bit distracting, but nothing game breaking.
Even with its shortcomings, Greedfall is still a blast to play. There’s a serious lack of these kinds of RPGs, especially on the consoles these days. What this small studio accomplished is nothing short of amazing. It’s an enjoyable game that hits all those fun nostalgia notes but still keeps it fresh with an incredibly engaging story. Don’t sleep on this one, it’s definitely worth your time.
Final Verdict : 8
Fun Factor : 8
Technical Prowess : 7
Time Investment : 25-35 hours
Replayability : 7