Saturday 28 September 2019

GreedFall ★★★☆☆

GreedFall is the latest RPG to be released from the fairly indie developer Spiders and is available to buy now on most platforms (except Nintendo Switch). In the past Spiders has been known for having some very interesting ideas in their games but generally, they have never had the budget to really make these ideas blossom into compelling experiences.

Their previous game ‘The Technomancer’ has an awesome premise but the gameplay and graphics did not amaze, leading it to becoming average in most departments. Spiders is looking to break this trend with ‘Greedfall’ and, although still on likely a smaller budget than most AAA studios, they have finally been able to put out a much more well-rounded game then they have before.

The game takes place mainly on Teer Fradee in the 17th century inspired setting – it has some supernatural themes such as monsters and magic but is still grounded in reality when it comes to architecture and weapons. Teer Fradee is a recently discovered island and now several factions are trying to colonize it. A group of people are already settled on the island and, as you can imagine, things get quite heated between everyone.

You play as a diplomat sent to the island to find a cure for a disease plaguing your people, and along the way, you get dragged into a variety of different human and supernatural events. The scope of the game is a little smaller then what you might expect from an ARPG though - you won't be saving the world from some massive cataclysm, but rather taking on little stories set in the world which usually have interesting and sometimes unforeseen outcomes.

Gameplay-wise, ‘Greedfall’ is similar to the likes of ‘Dragon Age’ or ‘Mass Effect’. Most of the time you will either be talking your way through situations or killing monsters and/or people with a vast range of weaponry and skills. You could also take a third route by partaking in stealth. Each method can have different outcomes to the problems you are facing but much of the time it’s pretty much the same outcome, just exhibited a little differently.

The mechanics of fighting and talking are fairly interesting for the first ten hours or so but there isn't really enough to keep this going. Had the developers concentrated on just one route and made it a little more linear at times then perhaps the scenarios and stories would have had more impact. The game is designed to be played multiple times with different choices and classes that you can choose but, once finished, I didn't really feel inclined to go through it again to see those (despite enjoying my first playthrough).

Graphically the game is much more in line with a AAA game – the environments of the island and settlements are gorgeous and you just have to stop and screenshot every area. The only main issue with the graphics that I had was the animation of the characters and lip-syncing. The lip movement is especially bad and doesn't look associated with the words being said, which can really bring you out of the experience (one of my pet peeves). 

Spiders have created a much more fleshed out experience than in their previous games, but you can still see that they are trying to create a AAA experience with a smaller indie budget. If given more time to iron things out then I could see Spiders creating ARPGs in future that would rival the likes of Mass Effect and The Witcher 3. Unfortunately, ‘Greedfall’ just doesn't quite live up to the cult hype behind it leading up to its release.

Hannah Read

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