Greedfall is a Single-player action role-playing game published by Focus Home Interactive and developed by the French studio, Spiders, who previously worked on a couple other RPGs such as Bound by Flame, Mars: War Logs and The Technomancer.
Their latest game, Greedfall, leaves players with mixed feelings, while it’s not a masterpiece, it does many things right. Don’t expect to get a lore as rich as The Witcher Series or a story as emotional as Final Fantasy games, the Greedfall‘s scope isn’t half as massive as series like Fallout, The Elder Scrolls or Dragon Age. High expectations for Spiders’ new RPG will certainly disappoint you. In this review, we want to explain what parts of the game are promising, and what parts need improvement.
What Greedfall Does right:
Greedfall takes place on a fictional island called Teer Fradee, which is a mysterious place full of secrets to unfold, and people to help out, the game’s map isn’t like your typical role-playing game where you can explore the whole map all at once. Instead, GreedFall’s world is broken up into different mini hubs that each has lots of different things for the player to interact with. Looking for hidden loot chests? It’s there. Want some fresh side quests to give yourself a break from the main story? Greedfall provides it.
For me, the most interesting thing about the world design was the way that Spiders approached fantasy. Yes, there are tons of fantasy-themed stuff in the game which affect both gameplay and story, but the way these fantasy elements have mixed with real history makes Greedfall’s Worldbuilding excellent.
In Greedfall you play as Sir (or Madam) De Sardet a young lord or lady, who’s been appointed by his or her noble father to serve as a Leget (ambassador) to the isle of the Teer Fradee. At first, your main role is to go to the newly settled island and start developing relations with different colonial governors, each of whom have begun establishing cities as part of the settlement of this 17th century-styled fantasy setting.
While it’s not the best story you can find in an RPG, the game still delivers. Greedfall manages to tell its own story using well-written dialogs and a setting which feels unique. Inconsistency in characters personalities, hurts the story here and there, but the general story is able to maintain player’s interest and not lose it before the finish line.
This is where Greedfall really stands out for itself. The composer for this game, Olivier Deriviere, has worked on so many great titles in the videogame medium. Games like Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag — Freedom Cry, Vampyr, Remember Me and more. So with him at the helm, we couldn’t expect less from the music. Deriviere’s work in Greedfall is impressively experimental and I wasn’t prepared to hear it in a game like this. From epic battle tracks that lift the action to hunting instrumental ones playing in the darkest jungles.
In terms of voice acting, Greedfall does the same thing. A character dialog is well delivered and voice-actors have injected distinct personalities or flairs to characters. You can feel how in pain one character is, just by hearing his voice.
All and all, music, sound effects and voice-acting are a big plus for Greedfall and easily one of the most enjoyable parts of the game.
The RPG elements this game has to offer are absolutely amazing. Just like many other RPGs, the foundation is based on the points you could put into core abilities like science, vitality, lock-picking, charisma, etc. But in Greedfall the way you choose to spend your point, profoundly impacts your playthrough and different people will have different experiences with the gameplay. From Stealth and sneaky play-style to diplomatic approaches, Greedfall supports it all.
Crafting is present in the game and once you get the hang of it, it becomes enjoyable. Customization is another thing that Greedfall does right. You can change almost everything you’re wearing. It’s possible to add unique cosmetic items to your armor and style your character the way it pleases you.
Almost any given quest you’ll encounter while exploring the game, no matter in the main campaign or side stories, give you more ways to complete the quest than you’ll ever be able to play all of them in one playthrough. For example, in a quest in which your character needs to retrieve a stolen item, you can approach it by being as stealthy as possible, or jumping straight to the action and kill everything that’s in your way. You can kill the guard who has the key to the chest, or use attribute points to buy lock-picking skill and unlock the chest with it. The choice is yours.
What Greedfall Does wrong:
This is a major issue and has the potential to make Greedfall a repetitive and dull experience. There are 3 cities total, all of which look identical, almost the same. Within those cities, a significant portion of buildings are just copy and pasted, no different architecture, no unique design, nothing. There are over a dozen outdoor areas for the player to explore but they are all similar to each other. It kind of seems that developers at Spiders create a single world zone and then decided to chop it into smaller and more sparsely populated parts.
This problem continues with enemy variety. There are about three or four enemy types, and despite armor differences or some sort of reskin once in a while, players fight the same enemies over and over again. Even boss fights are the same. Not including the final boss, Greedfall represents its 3 bosses over and over. Their fighting style doesn’t change at all and after several hours into the game, every encounter with enemies just seems repetitive. Like you’ve done it a thousand time.
The protagonist is a one-dimensional character. He or She is more interested in introducing himself / herself than creating a more meaningful relationship with others. I mean just look how one-dimensional he or she talks:
“ I have as of yet to present myself, I’m Sir De Sardet, legate of the congregation of merchants of Teer Fradee, and as the title infers I have the power to inspect this barracks and all that it contains.“
He or She rarely gets to show emotion or look vulnerable like an actual human being. With a protagonist like this, it’s really hard to care about the story or any dialog that comes out of his or her mouth.
Greedfall has one of the worst lip syncs I’ve ever seen in a game like this. Of course, there are tons of other games that have done lip-syncing worse than Spiders, but for a game that its main focus is on dialog and dialog options, if the lip-sync is off, then the player can’t follow the conversation without constantly being pushed out of the immersion. Almost no effort has gone into polishing the lip-syncing and its animations. NPCs look and talk emotionless and at times, it completely damages the emotional value which writers and voice-actors provided.
One of the fundamental issues with level design in Greedfall is that it’s not an open-world game. Which at first doesn’t seem that bad, and it really isn’t. The problem only begins where you’re exploring the world and suddenly, everywhere you want to go, there is an Invisible wall and the game doesn’t allow you to pass. We all are familiar with invisible walls and by now, are quite used to them. However, Greedfall’s level design overuses them to the point that it becomes annoying and every time that it happens, it breaks the immersion.
The dodging mechanic, the parrying, even the simple attacking don’t feel fast and polished. Instead, they feels clunky and utterly unsatisfying. Also, the camera movement has its problems, sometimes the camera gets stuck or for an unknown reason, isn’t able to follow the character. Nonetheless, RPG elements within the combat are amazing, just like Final Fantasy XV you can pause the game at any moment to change out or use different items, abilities, etc. This gives Greedfall’s Combat gameplay a sense of strategy which for some type of players elevates the combat a little bit but in general, combat isn’t Greedfall’s strongest suit.
Greedfall with weak facial animations, awful lip-syncs and a clunky combat, definitely shows its budget and leaves a lot to be desired. The story, the world, and the setting are interesting. Great use of RPG elements, the music, and impressive voice-actings are the reasons why sometimes Greedfall feels like a breath of fresh air.
Greedfall is released for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. And this review was based on the PC version of the game.