Greedfall dropped on to the market with surprisingly little fan fare, this is probably because it isn’t one of the AAA games. As a casual gamer I had never heard of the developers and to be fair the promotional material didn’t particularly grab me. I only downloaded it because I had a gap between completing Witcher III and waiting for Jedi Fallen Order. A good review by Outside X-Box prompted me to give it a try and colour me impressed.
This may seem like a budget RPG but there are factors that elevate it to those produced by giants like Bethesda and Bioware, bold claims but bear with me.
The game is a fantasy RPG set in a fictional 18th Century world where three countries/organisations are vying for control of a wild island called Teer Fradee. The story follows your character as Legate, basically assistant to the Governor who is your cousin. You are his fixer and have to fight and finesse your way through the story. The graphics are good, but not outstanding although many of the animations are great and the cut scenes are great. The characters are fairly well developed and the traditional loyalty mission have weight and meaning, I found myself thinking about the right decisions rather than grinding them out for XP. Levelling is easy and unobtrusive, the pace is good and there seems to be little gating. Enemies only have level numbers in tactical pause mode, making encountering an enemy genuinely scary, you never know if you are being totally outclassed and have to go away and level up before returning. The game isn’t open world in the Assassins Creed sense and is more like Dragon Age with zones which are explorable which can be kind of linear and on tracks. Obstacles on the way include several kinds of creatures which are all inventive but do become a little tiresome after a while. Random pop ups of bandits help keep things interesting and the idea of setting up camp allows you to refit you team and access to fast travel. Speaking of which, the greatest innovation is to allow you to upgrade and shop for your character while the next scene/level loads, this is something Witcher could have done with, with its eternal loading screens. It means you never feel you are waiting for sections to load.
The game allows you to complete missions in different ways, there are violent ways, diplomatic and stealth. All of these can be improved in the skill tree and particularly interesting is the barriers this presents, at one point my agility wasn’t high enough to cross a narrow plank in a ravine, instead I had find a new path down and around, it was longer and harder but felt real. Charisma and Intuition now become as important as strength and accuracy although you will find it hard to charm those monsters that you are forced into fighting.
The story is solid with good fantasy writing with set pieces that feel genuinely exciting. This game is by no means perfect, it lacks the polish of a triple A game. There are a few typos, there are a few glitches in places and the controls do not feel entirely smooth but I do not think there are many who could do better on the budget they had. Greedfall is laying down a marker for future RPGs, don’t just rely on the tried and tested methods strive to improve and innovate – listen up Bioware- Dragon Age 4 could do with looking at this game.