The sandbox RPG can be quite complex, antagonising the thought process from the linear escapade which completely contrasts the semi-open world wonders that are hidden in its broad landscape. Greedfall pushes the latter with a profound emphasis on revisiting landmarks and hotspots through its dialogue heavy campaign. While it strives to dilute its exposition heavy narrative, it breaks down many aspects of the role-playing magic with impressive, close ranged spars and scattered fetch quests. But its relatively fictional tale draws inspiration from both fact and folklore, melding a mixture of colonisation meets the occult. It’s hard to separate themes that are comparable to acclaimed smash hits like The Witcher 3, but Greedfall does its best to part itself from notable titles that bear similar twists and turns.
The French Development studio had a tumultuous predecessor in The Technomancer, that may have left a sour taste in the mouths of some gamers. It’s lacking polish, basic ranged and melee repertoire left little to be desired. Looking to rebound in some form of capacity, Developer Spiders went back to the drawing board in hopes of re-establishing their baseline action experiment with a brand new IP that could draw a niche market that had already been established by larger, more renowned studios with matching aesthetics of an Assassin’s Creed or The Order 1886. The seventeenth century-settlers delivery paints a broad picture for Greedfall’s expectations, through triumph and controversy, the title brings to life a vague depiction of colonialism, the insanity of a wild cultist looking to ‘cleanse’ the island of natives, with the inclusion of mutants that inhabit this mysterious enclave.
Booting into Greedfall, the player will be given the choice of portraying a man or woman variant of the same character, De Sardet. You may customise your protagonist’s appearance from facial structure, to detailed features, but most important of all, assigning one of three classes that will entail a set of basics from the title’s onset. Warrior; which has a primary focus on melee combat, Technical; allowing you to delegate actions which will control your party during battle, and Magic; allowing one to utilise ranged spells including Stasis. I personally sought a more grounded gaming experience so I chose Warrior for my playthrough. Settling upon Teer Fradee, the diplomat is placed in a leadership position by his cousin, Prince Constanin d’Orsay’s as his Legate – a high rank commanding officer, after the noble had been appointed ruler of Serene, the Capital of the Island.
As the colony settle upon this Island Paradise, De Sardet embarks on an ambitious quest to find a cure to an unknown plague that is sweeping his homeland. Infected by the illness, De Sardet’s time is limited and is hopeful that he can find the antidote that may eradicate this mystery ailment. Tasked with diplomatic duties, De Sardet forms relations with neighbouring countries and island natives for further investigation. The islanders divulge unexpected information upon the diplomat, that they’re able to harness unbelievable powers due to their bond with the land. Their deity “en on mil frictimen”, is believed to entail powers that could cure De Sardet of his illness and help many others from his land of origin. Requesting counsel to speak with the God, he is told that the only way frictimen’s sanctuary could be opened, is by King Vinbarr, who has gone missing.
a guilty pleasure-style conscience supports this notion of recommendation, but Greedfall's excellence is encompassed by its catalogue of countless offerings that are to be discovered through a litany of options, and paths that are carved out in each player's experience.
Meanwhile, Prince Constanin’s health has decline dramatically, upon finding that he too had been infected. A native by the name of Catasach, was the island’s resident healer but had been killed by Vinbarr’s henchmen, with the Prince taken to the King’s hideout located in the mountains. Traversing through the land’s greenery and tall valleys, De Sardet scours the hillside to find Vinbarr’s lair, where he holds Prince Constantin hostage. It’s from here we soon discover our path to a cure is not going to be as simple as initially thought to be. While it does come across as an elongated fetch quest with various duties placed alongside its campaign, Greedfall does a great job delivering a unique allure to its narrative. While I agree that it can be the conventional seek and destroy novel, the game’s descript plot does an insanely remarkable job of enticing and immersing you with its story beats, action, and progressive RPG elements despite its aesthetical gaffs.
✔️An intriguing take on seventeenth century colonialism.
✔️Exposition heavy, but does a great job breaking down imperative story beats.
✔️Choose your path, carve your tale. Experience the title a multitude of ways.
❌Performance Issues drag down the experience, even while in its possessive mode.
❌Littered in bugs.
While at times tactical, melee attempts and ranged action sequences are pretty straight forward. Allocating classes to your protagonist will customise your arsenal for respective use. Evading attacks from hordes of monsters or swarms of renegade mercenaries, your offense consists of actions, spells, techniques, combined with the use of potions banked in your inventory. Using your long sword you can attack enemies head on, while holding down on R1/RB will switch out weapons. An action list will appear on your UI gauge, assigning empty slots for quick shortcuts to activate health, shield, or using your ranged weaponry such as your old duelling pistol or great scythe. A tri-tiered skill tree will enable you to unlock a myriad of abilities, after banking some XP.
There’s a forced mandate in skill tree progression, as you may find your experience to be bottlenecked after countless attempts in future battles only to fall short. Difficulty is a factor, and escalates drastically, so keep an eye on your character’s attributes and talents. Agility, Strength, Willpower, Accuracy, Endurance and Mental Power will in-turn balance your character and shape your experience but balance between each of these is most important. Some monsters will pack an extra punch, so crafting unique and specified items will aid your quest through moments that may suddenly go awry. Each weapon entails its own respective attributes that are shown in menu, including its durability and quality.
Despite its efforts to maximise performance by natively releasing the title on next generation hardware, Greedfall still outputs a sluggish demonstration in moments of demand. Bathed in bugs, and enveloped in lag, my frustrations began to surface around mid-campaign when groups of enemies began to grow from devious duos to a quartet of quandaries that suddenly slowed the experience down, forcefully. While I had done my part to switch out from visual to performance mode, it made minor difference in overall presentation. It may have some gorgeous design elements, but Greedfall suffers the consequence of quantity over quality. Some encounters that called for rapid kills were almost impossible, as the game moved in slow motion. It’s deeply concerning that it hadn’t been considered to downscale some pre-conceived gameplay inclusions to improve this upon porting the title to next gen consoles.
I will state that while this does happen more in visual mode, performance mode does show the game running at a smooth 60fps, but this might be on an off-chance that the areas that are being investigated aren’t overcrowded in NPC’s and enemies. While I would have preferred to have experienced the title in visual mode at a locked 30fps, I knew what I was in for so switching out to performance was something I was willing to do to enrich my experience, but it should not have to be mandatory. Regardless, the title is still visually appealing but bears more issues in its jarring gameplay. Climbing hills, or de-escalating down cliffsides, you will notice an unnatural movement of characters and other dynamic creatures in the environment. Sloping down stairways and teleporting off treads, the title’s hitboxes for platforming are unrefined and definitely in need of some patch work.
Steering your character through brushes of leaves, and the blades of tall grass seem all natural, but their lifeless presentation make for more a cardboard cut-out delivery. Then there’s facial animations that have somewhat improved from Spider’s last title. I will say that the studio did make an effort to improve in-game lip syncing, however it still demonstrates issues that the studio has in developing lifelike characteristics in its cast. There is potential to vastly improve upon these glaring issues, but Greedfall’s Gold Edition should have already addressed these after its initial release on last generation consoles. It’s easy to port the “Extreme” PC version over to next generation units, but without some cut-and-polish applied then you’re essentially leading towards an empty promise, and attaching an accolade that does not match.
Nevertheless, Greedfall is still an excellent title to experience. A strong narrative that indecisively attempts to challenge the player’s moral stance while campaigning to guide Teer Fradee to freedom while, seeking aid for his countrymen. De Sardet’s resolve lies in his escapade through the cavernous, mystical and astonishingly gorgeous paradise, plagued in mythical beasts that look to feast on the flesh and bones of those that dare to threaten them. While its issues are evident, I did have an amazing time playing the campaign. Yes, a guilty pleasure-style conscience supports this notion of recommendation, but Greedfall’s excellence is encompassed by its catalogue of countless offerings that are to be discovered through a litany of options, and paths that are carved out in each player’s experience.
GreedFall is an action role-playing game developed by Spiders and published by Focus Home Interactive. The game is set in an early 17th century-styled fantasy setting, and was released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on September 10, 2019