Diving headfirst into GreedFall, the recent title released by the independent game studio Spiders, and role-playing game fans are bound to be reminded of some classic names: Dragon Age, Fallout, Witcher, Kingdoms of Amalur, the list goes on. GreedFall feels like an ode to all RPGs that came before it, but somehow manages to still forge its own unique path.
Starting out, the game seems to check all the atypical boxes of a standard RPG. Your custom made protagonist, De Sardet, is chosen to venture out into a mysterious island called Teer Fradee. Their quest is to find a cure for a widespread plague referred to as the Malichor, which has taken hold in their homeland. Along the way you meet various comrades in arms, some familiar faces, and forge alliances across different factions to bolster your strength on this strange journey. The story however, manages to make a few different twists on the “standard” quest fare.
One great example is your friendship with a somewhat shady priest, who in fact turns out to be quite practical and helps your character acquire dirty laundry on various other powerful members of the religious organization for future blackmail use. All character quests are similarly fun to dive into, further pushing the player to invest in the companion characters from the get go. This is helpful, as the game is laden with sidequests to venture on, but a majority of them are genuinely engaging. The feeling of being placed on useless fetchquests is mostly avoided throughout GreedFall, with the exception of the final stretch of the game being laden with them (depending on your alliance strengths).
Indeed, the world-building of GreedFall is all-in. Players can improve their standing with various factions including the seafaring Nauts, politically inclined Bridge Alliance, land-nurturing Natives, and several more. All of these groups are involved with the protagonist De Sardet in different, but meaningful ways. Most of these groups are woven into the main story well enough, but some (such as the Bridge Alliance) can fall by the wayside in playthroughs. Playing to unite these factions works well over outright barreling over everything, but gamers have the freedom to do either.
The combat in GreedFall is very atypical of a role-playing game, but this doesn’t work in its favor. Players can choose between three major classes (Technical, Warrior, or Magic) that have various specialties, but fighting as any one of these feels very stiff. While it never becomes a game breaking problem, the lofty dropkick physics and occasionally missed hit boxes certainly don’t help. The combat overall is passable, but not terribly memorable.
Another frustration is the limitations of movement in the game. Players can fast travel from one place to another, but are forced to an interim camp between destinations. While the spot can come in handy for switching out characters or equipment, it gets tiresome having a pit stop loading area. The protagonist can freely run around various areas, but jumping up or down certain pathways cannot be done while in combat. This seems like a silly thing to have, especially given how much exploration there is in the game. Paired with random encounters and low potion stores, this mechanic makes traversing a map downright irritating at times.
As far as content goes, the game has plenty of it to offer. Side stories abound, players also have multiple romance options and endings to tackle. It would be a tall order to complete everything in one go, as it easily boasts close to 30-40 hours of game play.
GreedFall truly feels like a ballad to all the great RPGs that came before it. It invokes the very same feelings of experiencing a game like Dragon Age: Origins all over again. It’s not perfect, it’s a little rough around the edges, but it’s the spark of something more.
GreedFall final score: 4/5
GreedFall is currently available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Steam for $49.99.
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