Ever wanted to play an RPG set in a time only read about in history books with a mixture of fantasy creatures, magic and sorcery? Well you could already, with games like The Witcher and Fable to name a few, but now Spiders has taken a crack at it with their newest title Greedfall. What is clear from the start is the passion that has gone into the game, but is there a little more to this than just hard work? Although these games have similarities between one another, the biggest feature that separates them is the story.
You start off your story as De Sardet, under the family of the Merchant Congregation. The continent has been plagued by a deadly disease known as the malichor. There is no known cure for it and it is slowly spreading, creating fear and desperation across the city and the continent. You are called forth for adventure to an island known as Teer Fradee; an island shrouded in mystery and opportunity, where you are to escort its newest leader of the settlement called New Serene, and your cousin, Prince Constantine. From there it is your job and your choice whether to colonise the island with a faction group of your choice, depending on what ideologies suit your taste, or keep the island free from change and industry by socialising and bonding with the locals, so that you may perform trade deals and learn about the islands secrets without having to cause destruction.
The island of Teer Fradee holds vast mysteries, dangerous bandits and towering beasts. Before you board the ship to the island after rescuing your cousin from an interesting night out, you go up against one of the beasts that bursts from captivity of the ship. Once defeated you set off on your conquest to decide the fate of Teer Fradee.
I won’t spoil the rest of the story for you but it is filled with endless choices which can lead to various endings. Filled with a lot of plot twists and surprises to keep you on your toes as much as possible.
Attributes and Combat – Greedfall wouldn’t be an RPG without some skill trees and attributes to upgrade and adapt your game style around. Other than increasing and upgrading your combat skills, you also have other assets such as lock picking, stealth, and of course the most overpowered skill in all aspects of RPG, speech; because literally talking yourselves out of a firefight or a war has to possibly be the most overpowered feature in any RPG. So, there are other things you can do to avoid or mitigate combat to get the job done, which to be honest isn’t the worst idea in the world after you experience what Combat is like.
See, Combat is a little bizarre in Greedfall. Firstly, you have your armour, which prevents you from taking the full brunt of damage, however your armour can break during the fight which means you will take much more damage. Enemies have this too, which means you can strategize, using blunt weapons to punch through the armour to finish them off with your sword, rifle, magic or whatever else you have at your disposal. Using magic is by far the most interesting because of the cool effects and animations you perform whilst casting spells, whereas using melee weapons are sort of stale; sure they can do a lot of damage and give you the upper hand in close combat, but you only ever use two buttons to attack and can become repetitive. Yeah sure different weapons, one or two handed, make have different stats and abilities, but essentially, it’s ‘little hit, big hit’ strategies. Firearms are incredibly powerful in the game too; for as long as you have ammunition you can hit your enemies from range by simple target and shoot mechanics, dealing crazy damage.
Using these methods depending on your character development is fun in normal 1v1 situations, but when fighting more than one enemy can be a bit of a challenge. There’s no remorse, and you have to keep moving constantly. But sometimes the hit boxes and movement can be a little jittery, which can lead to you yelling ‘bullshit’ at the top of your lungs from time to time. Even with the edition of their Tactical Pause feature, allowing you to freeze the fight and choose your next action to perform. It’s a neat trick, but it won’t save you from every situation.
To finish off with combat it’s important to know about the status effects that occur during a fight. These status effects such as unbalanced and stun, knocked over and so on. Generally speaking, firearms always do stun damage, so I tried to aim for the highest stun applying weapon which generally knocked the crap out of anyone I shot at, that is if I was being battered and knocked down myself. These effects can be a game changer if you know how to use them or who to use them effectively. It would take time, but it would place you more aware and on top of any combat scenario.
Crafting and Customising – To aid you and make you look dashing and flashy during your escapades, customising and crafting is available. This not only changes the look and style of your characters clothing and weapons but also improves and adapts their current states to suit you, and there are hundreds of options giving players a wide variety of choice. It’s not all about crafting weapons and armour though; ammunition for firearms, poisons, even items needed for a quest can all be crafted too.
Speech – Remember when I mentioned about dialog being overpowered? I never really specified how. But it works in a similar war to a popular Bethesda game. Speech and dialog options depend on your skills as well as how you react to that conversation as well. Certain skills will allow you to literally bypass huge combat scenarios just with your linguistic skills. Not every situation can be avoided just by chatting up the town, but it can certainly aid you, and almost carry you through the game. The only reason I could see possibly to avoid using speech to sore through the game is the looks of dialog cutscenes themselves. Lip syncing and general movement of characters throughout conversations do not look natural at times. There are times where De Sardet looks a little angry or annoyed but this appearance seems to happen during most dialog cutscenes, maybe even all of them. That being said, the conversations you do have can vary from native to townsman, and each chat that takes place can seem more varied than the other.
Gameplay wise it’s not bad. The side quests and collectibles are great distractions from the main game and don’t have a time scale to them, so you can cut right back into the main quest line whenever you like, even if some silly NPC tells you otherwise. There are plenty of areas to explore and collectibles to grab across the world. You might find the movement around the world a little erratic though. It seems you have the ability to turn full sprint on a dime, and can cause a little disorientation. A little altercation could sort this issue out however.
Graphics and Audio
The games audio is surprisingly good throughout the game; both giving dramatic music when needed, variety of sound effects during animations and actions like gunfire and magic, and a great sense of ambiance as well, even with the dodgy lip syncing in conversations, the audio does well with the voice acting. The graphics aren’t too bad either; although for some reason you have to fiddle around with the Xbox graphics features to get 144hz. I had issues trying to start mine up in 4K, not sure if that is a known issue at all however. In either case, the distant or scenery shots look great, as well as a good use of colours to really capture the vastness of an island forest or dark, damp desolate streets of a city. But although the texture on weapons, armour and characters look pretty good, some of the building textures look a little off, just as if something was missing like it needed a few more details and refinement to give the buildings or trees and other cosmetic objects some character. Maybe even use shaders and shadows more effectively perhaps.
In short then, Greedfall is a good RPG game in terms of its story and the campaign, with a good block of side quests, mysteries and collectibles. If you can get used to the combat and the movement too this will be a fun adventure for you. That is if you don’t mind a few graphics issues and some puffy cheeks in conversations.
- Great content throughout
- Good long storyline
- Large variety of customisable options, skills, and abilities
- Textures and Shades somewhat lacking
- Combat is a little sketchy in places
- Lip syncing in dialog needs improvement