Published on October 29th, 2019 | by Michael Newman0
Greedfall the latest action-adventure roleplaying game from the folks at Spider and Focus Home Interactive is set in the far-off land of Teer Fradee where numerous factions vie for dominance over the continent (and its native inhabitants) while searching for an elusive cure for the Malichor, an insidious disease that threatens to wipe out the inhabitants. The story begins in the plague-ridden streets of Serene, where you immediately get a sense of what it must have been like in Europe while the black plague threatened to wipe out entire societies. You play the role of De Sardet, a young noble who sets sail for the new world in an effort to bring back a cure and assist his cousin who has taken over as the newly appointed governor. Using your skills of diplomacy, sword play, and stealth you’ll have to befriend not only the other factions, but the natives if you wish to bring a cure home.
Greedfall is a beautiful game, taking place in large expansive cities reminiscent of Paris or London in the 18th century and the lush forest landscape of Teer Fradee. Each character is costumed in what could only be considered French Musketeer and the island natives’ representative of what early European settlers in North America must have encountered. The sense of scale between the massive cities, and the vast expanse of the frontier provides a sense of openness that rival many other titles.
It’s this sense of openness however, where Greedfall initially stumbles. Much like games such as Dragon Age, the illusion of an open world environment is regularly halted by “invisible” walls that impede your progress. Looking through a small grove of trees you see your objective but are unable to pass through them directly. Instead, you must follow the path and climb a rock ledge to reach it. Several times while attempting to get to my highlighted objective, I’d get stuck on small bushes, or my path stopped by what should be easily passable brush. There are moments where it’s uncertain whether or not I could pass through the environment, so I’d have to refer to my map to see if that was the correct path, or I had to follow some other indirect route to get there. While this game style is hardly new (and had been common in the past until advancements in both computing power and storage space allowed for larger environments) the inconsistencies of what was passable and impassable lead to a bit more frustration then it should.
Combat is quick and easy to pick up with a light and heavy attack and a block or dodge for defense. Each successful attack also builds up your fury meter which allows for stronger strikes against enemy opponents. You and your opponents also benefit from armor and health attributes. Armor can help defend against health damage, but once the armor is depleted there is little standing between you and certain death at the end of a musket or blade. Numerous spells and potions can be used to buff up your character, cause elemental damage or provide quick healing when needed. Besides swords, maces and axes there are also an assortment of pistols and rifles for ranged attack. If you so choose, you can also create magic wielding warriors who can utilize spells and magic rings in combat as well. Various skill points can be added to your offensive and defensive capabilities that allows for stronger strikes, better mobility (unlocking the ability to roll away from danger is something that I highly recommend) and increase the length of spells.
The story and character voice acting is typically top notch, the one glaring exception to this was the accent used by the natives. As much as I hoped I would get used to it, the worse it tended to get. While creating an accent that is supposed to be unique to the people who share it should be applause worthy, it often felt forced and in most cases entirely TOO artificial. The cut scenes that are used throughout to further along the story are outstanding, and while the facial expressions generally left a lot to be desired, it didn’t detract too much from what was being said. The amount of voice acting and cut scenes puts it on par with far larger budget titles and outside of those few gripes feel they are done well overall.
Technically the game tends to suffer from some annoying and immersion breaking problems. While I played the game using a Nvidia GTX 2080 Super, there were times when the frame rates would drop from the typical 80+ on my ultra-wide screen down to 15 or 20. These slowdowns didn’t last long but seemed to come at times I wouldn’t have expected them. In my attempts to isolate them, I tried lowering a number of the graphical settings, but in most cases, it didn’t seem to have much effect. These have improved somewhat with the latest patches to the game, but still exist from time to time. There are also the random crashes to desktop for no reason at all, thankfully the game autosaves frequently enough (and allows you to manually save as often as you wish) that I never lost much progress when these occurred, but it’s something to be aware of. Characters and animals occasionally get stuck on the environment, I one time found myself stuck in a small hole that I should have easily been able to walk out of, and another time a large deer was stuck running in place next to a large rock. While these glitches didn’t cause any serious quest ending problems, they are just additional polish issues that still need to be worked out. As other reviewers have pointed out, there are some issues going from light to dark environments where it seems to take awhile for the lighting to adjust as it should.
Greedfall even with the inconsistent accents and technical difficulties is still an easy game to recommend for folks looking for a change of pace from the standard Dungeons and Dragons tropes. There is plenty of political intrigue and mysteries to unravel on Teer Fradee and no one faction that can be singled out as good or evil. Sacrifices have to be made when dealing with each faction and doing something for one will almost always cause a conflict with another. While the choices you make, do impact how others see you, they aren’t as world changing as they could have been. Greedfall is a long game easily 40+ hours depending on how many side quests you choose to complete on your search for a cure and it tells an interesting enough story to keep you engaged throughout.
What I liked: Interesting factions, Beautiful scenery, Unique setting
What I liked less: Invisible walls, Technical glitches, Inconsistent voice acting
3.5 out of 5 stars