Spiders’ track record on the current generation of consoles isn’t exactly stellar. Its first effort, Bound by Flame, was catastrophic at best and downright depressing at its worst. Whereas the Technomancer, which came after it, was so painfully dull, that it was simply not worth anybody’s attention. However, the French developer behind both those games seeks to redeem itself, with the just released Greedfall.
Greedfall, unlike most modern RPGs, picks on a setting which hasn’t been explored before all that much. Sure, we had some games set in the 18th and 19th century before, but Greedfall puts its own spin on it, by introducing a range of fantasy elements. While many of those are aptly far-fetched, then some are not as fantastical as you are led to believe by Greedfall, as subjects such as alchemy have been practiced in the past – even if the pursuit of such was ultimately fruitless.
When it comes to the overall design of Greedfall, then it has to be said that it stands out significantly in the world of modern RPGs, as there is nothing quite like it on the current generation of consoles. However, certain creatures which are present within the title, such as the very first boss, do overlap a little with games such as the recently released Remnant: From the Ashes. While this is surely nothing more than a simple coincidence, then it can be quite jarring, especially if you have played both those games back-to-back, just like I did.
As you have had a chance to read already, Greedfall is a rather unique title – as far as visuals go. However, despite of its striking design, it unfortunately does not leave a very good first impression. Visually, Greedfall is simply underwhelming and while nothing particularly negative can be said about the in-game models, then there is a lot that one can point-out, when it comes to the textures which envelope such.
On the surface, to put it nicely, Greedfall looks simply imperfect. Nearly all in-game textures look grimy and of a low resolution and when put together, form an image which is rather uncomfortable to look at. This is the most jarring during the introduction, as while moving down packed streets, the grime hits you right in the face and leaves you with a fairly bitter taste in your mouth. However, once you drag yourself out of the first city and quite literally sail away, you’ll enter what could be perceived as ‘the real game’ and such is much superior to the introductory city.
Once you leave the claustrophobic, and jarring streets of Greedfall’s numerous cities, you will enter a whole new world, which is not just pleasing to the eye, but also much more enjoyable as far as the gameplay goes. The title’s planes, farms, forests and meadows are of a much better quality than the aforementioned cities, as they feature a wider array of quests, enemies and most importantly, environments. While Greedfalls story does heavily revolve around intrigue and interpersonal relations, then ultimately, the title is at its best when such are far removed and you, the player, are given a free reign to explore, and quite simply, LARP.
Greedfall is an old school RPG through and through and while it borrows many of its elements from Bioware’s Dragon Age series, then it is ultimately much closer to Piranha Byte’s Gothic. This is mainly due to the fact that Greedfall is a much looser RPG than some of the Bioware crowd is used to, because just like the original Gothic, it allows you to do whatever you want, whenever you want; that is as long as you complete the introductory chapter first. Yes, just like Dragon Age, Greedfall features a range of markers and pointers which constantly guide you to your next main objective, but those can be easily turned off and ignored.
The world of Greedfall, just like the world of Gothic, allows you to explore, interact, and act at your own pace. It also allows you to fully immerse yourself in its RPG elements, and as it happens Greedfall has quite few of those. It does not feature just one skill tree, but three and those are not really skill trees, but skill discs; because just like in the Yakuza series, potential unlocks fill the entire screen, not just a triangular portion of it. While at first, the sheer abundance of skills and abilities can be a little overwhelming, they ultimately, once you get a build going, zero-in on those perfect stats; then Greedfall becomes the perfect RPG – as far as micro and macro management goes.
As you already know, Greedfall features a truckload of unlockables. However, those can only be gained by levelling up. One particular skill tree, or rather skill disc, allows to unlock one skill, only once every five levels. This wouldn’t be as much of a problem if Greedfall didn’t reward you with exp only at the very end of a quest. Unfortunately, many in-game quests and side missions can drag on for hours, so more often than not, you can spend immensely long stretches of time without really unlocking anything. This gets more frustrating as you play, because the more you unlock, the more expensive the skills and abilities become and this dynamic can be fairly disheartening at times.
Greedfall, is incredibly conservative with its exp allocation. While you can earn exp by killing hostiles, then as you have probably already guessed, doing so cannot really be considered to be a good time investment. That’s because the combat exp is just as stringent as the exp awarded for completion of quests and side missions. While this is not really an issue, as many games resort to limiting exp gains from combat, then it does feel a little disheartening, especially later on in the game, where you can spend seemingly endless amounts of time making no progress in terms of player character development.
As we are heading towards the final conclusion, it is probably wise to comment on Greedfall’s combat. As such, is surprisingly satisfying, and at times even exciting, as the options which it lays out in front of you are seemingly endless. The core combat revolves around two melee weapons and one firearm and it is wise to use one bladed weapon and one blunt, as just like in Destiny, many of the Greedfall’s enemies wear armour. This armour can be easily dismantled with the use of blunt weapons, but once it is gone, it is advisable to switch to bladed weapons, as such are much more efficient against flesh. On top of that, Greedfall also features a range of additional mechanics such as Fury, which allow you to expand upon your combat approach significantly and once you add magic and firearms to the mix, Greedfall becomes quite a broad and complex experience.
Greedfall might be a Eurojank through and through. However, just like your Gothics and Kingdom Comes, it is a Eurojank with a heart and soul, which unfortunately many modern RPGs miss. While Greedfall does try to appeal to the Bioware crowd with things such as the companion mechanic, or the combat pause, then even then, it feels more like the great, grand European RPGs of old, than the modern, half-cooked American RPGs of the likes of Dragon Age, or Mass Effect.
To end on a high note, all that has to be said about Greedfall, is that it is a great RPG. Sure, it has its shortcomings, mainly within its visual department, but such are ultimately overshadowed by all of the title’s great achievements. As from exploration, throughout combat, all the way down to the stone cold LARPING, Greedfall is simply great. To add to that, it is also surprisingly stable, so unlike the recently released Remnant, you don’t have to worry about the framerate dropping to single digits, or the game crashing every time you reach a checkpoint. So to put it bluntly, yes, Greedfall is definitely worth the asking price, as besides Kingdom Come, and The Witcher 3, Greedfall is one of the most enjoyable RPGs of this generation.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gameplay - 8/10
Graphics - 8/10
Sound - 8/10
Replay Value - 8/10
User Review( votes)
Greedfall may not be the flashiest RPG of this generation, but it is definitely one of the best.