The action-RPG GreedFall heavily focuses on an in-depth story about seeking a cure in unknown lands, but adds magic and fantasy into a tale where narrative choices will be the driving force of outcomes. The title looks to be akin to early Bioware games such as the Dragon Age series, where choices of violence or diplomacy are options, but it is the indie developer Spiders behind this RPG. How does this open-world fantasy title fare in terms of combat and story? Read on for our review as we put the title through it’s paces as we venture into the new world!
GreedFall Review – An RPG with Plenty of Choices
Developed by: Spiders
Published by: Focus Home Interactive
Release date: September 10th
Platforms: PC (review platform), Playstation 4, Xbox One
Price at the time of review: $49.99
Story & Setting
Gather your party, pick your weapon, and make your choices wisely as you venture into the unknown lands of Teer Fradee. In the 17th century, as the Old World lays dying, you will take passage to the new, in the quest to help your plagued town of an incurable disease. You will be playing the character De Sardet, a “Green Blood” who’s mission is to venture into a magical island said to hold secrets, even harbouring the cure to the Malichor plague. Along your journey meet a number different factions including the Nauts who spend their time sailing the seas and the Natives who also possess magical influence.
In this journey face beasts, harmful foes while mastering a number of skills and weapons of choice. Whether it be magic, two-handed weapons or even pistols that take your favour. But it won’t be just combat you will need to master as there often different ways to deal with situations, you can maybe talk your way out of things or even use science to blow up and unblock a new path. The narrative plays out as you would expect, you encounter a native land where not everyone is happy to see these settlers and relations are tense. How you react to certain factions requests can negatively or positively affect your standing with them. Even siding with your companions is not always straight forward as it could also affect how they see you too. This feeling of having something to lose makes GreedFall more interactive with the story telling.
The narrative gives players a sense that choices matter, I was in charge of my own story when it came to how I wanted to deal with potential hostile situations and there were consequences. One quest had me choose whether to arrest a character or let them go in a bit of a moral dilemma. It’s up to you to decide what is just, or if you just want to see what happens. You can have multiple saves and quick saves, so you have plenty of chances to go back to some of these choices to see how they would play out differently. You can also test your Talents such as Charisma, which can help deescalate heated situations, but depending on your chances and how levelled you are, your choice might lead you into taking up your sword.
As you’re not travelling alone, you have a chance to get to know your companions a little better, ask them questions about their past or even flirt with them slightly. They will also chime in, in certain situations which makes the story feel a little more involved. I would have liked to maybe have further options to interact with characters at campsites to find out more about each of their backstories, but this only seemed to progress with their particular story quests, and the questions you can ask at times are little limited. You can also form romantic relationships with them.
Having companions do help in battle but there were certain situations against higher level beasts in the wild where the AI would just stand in AOE attacks which was a little annoying. This is where Resurrection Powders come in handy, but it became a bit tiresome to watch them repeatedly stand and attack in dangerous areas.
GreedFall allows you to customise your party in a number of ways, through gear, who to have in your group and even what weapons they use. But one thing you can’t control is their abilities. Those hoping to have more control over what your companions do will find this maybe a little disappointing, as they will auto-attack in fights.
After you leave old Serene, things do open up a bit as there is a whole New World to explore. You will find many side-quests to complete and these can come from even talking to your companions. The island of Teer Fradee is full of nasty beasts, and enemies that just want to take a chunk out of you, but luckily you have a number of ways to fight them off.
Combat is a bit rough around the edges, taking up Magic while seemed like a fun choice, had some drawbacks. Since Shadow magic is cast from a far, aiming at foes can be a little tricky. While most shots seem to fire in the right direction, in places where there are varying levels such as stairs can be a bit problematic. Since there is no reticle aim to determine where these shots go, it’s a bit of guessing game but it mostly relies on auto-aim. GreedFall has your typical health and mana bars but stamina is no where to be seen. Instead, you have a Fury bar, a resource that is built up over time to unleash devastating blows.
The abilities did have some enjoyable spells such as Stasis which allows you to freeze enemies for short periods of time, letting you take a quick health potion or let you plan your next attack. While I did appreciate the pause menu, I didn’t find myself using it that often except in situations I felt overrun and needed a bit of breathing room for more intense battles. I enjoyed using Pistols and Magic, but pistols seemed to do the main amount of damage. The combinations adds a good variation, you can even use a combination of melee, magic and guns if you wish. Each weapon has their own requirements for use, so you might find you need to put points into Accuracy, or unlock two-handed weapons in order to use them.
Melee on the other hand while not as in-depth as say Dark Souls, hits although seemed to connect and felt pretty natural. Facing the first boss was a sudden “git gud” kind of feeling, as you will need to figure out your abilities and how best to use them in this fight as previous battles don’t seem to compare. I think different people’s experience up until the the first boss fight will vary, as if you explore certain places you, you will run into enemies or even how you choose to handle situations will determine how much combat you will run into up until this point. Locking on was the best move here as camera angles can be a little unfriendly at times. Boss fights have a good variation of move sets, even some emitting poison gas or disappearing into the ground, making for some interesting fights.
Loot and Crafting
Loot is aplenty, you can sort through it either equipping it for yourself or a member of your party, and you can even break it down using a crafting bench to gain some materials. There is also a lot of choice when it comes to the crafting system itself. Weapons and armor have a few different slots, for example using a hammer I could upgrade the handle which can add some more damage or even the pummel to add different effects. Spiders gives players a whole range of ways to upgrade your favourite basic weapon, adding further ways to customise combat style.
If you’re looking for some challenging combat, you can take part in the Coin Guard Tavern, a sort of underground fight club which puts you through a number of rounds against increasingly difficult mobs, ranging from human opponents to beasts. Stumbling upon this arena was a fun discovery, as you can really test you abilities and your companions, as you won’t be battling alone.
Skills & Attributes
There is a number of Skills you can choose from, and on Normal difficulty you will start with one skill point as well as a chosen class which begin with a few starting skills. You will need a couple points in order to unlock other skills such as Pistols or two handed weapons depending on your starter skills, which means completing side quests or main quests. At the beginning this seemed a little locked down, limiting you to choosing abilities wisely as not many points were available.
Since this game is all about choices, it makes sense that you have to think carefully about your builds as well. Going down the magic route, there are ways to increase your spells effectiveness and points felt like they needed to be earned from completing the story. You do also gain experience from fighting beasts you encounter in the wilderness, which helps you level your character to gain more skill points. If you do decide your want to respec there is an option to use Memory Crystals, so you don’t have to restart from scratch.
Audio & Visuals
Let me start by saying in no way is GreedFall a AAA title, characters are quite stiff in facial features and you will notice some strange textures here and there. That being said, the settings are quite beautiful and Spiders has done well as an indie developer to bring life to this world. Running around the towns really makes you want to explore, and there are plenty of places to sneak into. There are some really scenic views, specially as you discover other towns which make you just want to stop and take in the scenery. The environments are also pretty varied, you can find grassy hillsides, towns, rivers, caverns and more.
I got to commend the developer Spiders for just how much customisation is visually seen in GreedFall, as you can customise weapons and armour you will see these appear on your character. There are some pretty awesome head dresses too. I should also mention armor is not just purely fashion as some are tied to factions, so you’ll need to wear some faction friendly threads in some situations.
The colour scheme is soft and just adds to the fantasy, and Spiders did well to make towns feel like actual living places. NPCs are a little limited in their actions, from time to time you may see one walk into things (or through things), but they do what they’re suppose to do and that is provide a little life to surroundings. Voice acting was pretty good, and cutscenes definitely were full of emotion. However, because of the muted faces, it was not always expressed well visually.
I really liked how the magic was shown, your hands are aglow with power, especially when your fury levels are high. The casting effects were great to watch and Stasis felt pretty awesome to freeze enemies in their place.
You can tell that Spiders wanted to add a number of in-depth systems and they work well in GreedFall, but can be a bit overwhelming in the beginning. The choice of difficulty levels should be able to cater to different players, from those who just want to enjoy the narrative to those who are looking for more challenging foes in combat.
The amount of choice for your own character as well as gear choices for your party is abound and that’s where GreedFall does well, the amount of choice. Combat is a little clunky in places, not overly smooth but still enjoyable and having a party to accompany you can help round out any combat skills you decided not to pick for your character. You could spend a number of hours making different builds and party customisations.
My overall experience was a fun one, but there are definitely areas that could have been improved to make the experience more polished. Spiders have ambitiously taken up a quite in-depth choice system in terms of narrative, gear as well as party, and have given players plenty of options when it comes to how they want to take down the creatures in GreedFall.
If you enjoy a mix of fantasy, magic and a colonial setting you’ll have a pretty enjoyable time exploring, but it might not be worth the price tag for some who are looking for a more polished experience as visuals for characters’ facial expressions feel a little dated.
If you enjoyed this game review be sure to check out some of our others including the souls-inspired co-op shooter Remnant From The Ashes Review: Merry Multiplayer Mayhem. You can read next about the lovecreaftian investigative detective adventure The Sinking City Review – Maddening Exploration.