The RPG Genre, ah, what a two-sided phenomenon we find ourselves in. In this genre you can screw it up or take it all in, but there's no middle ground. Or is it?
Greedfall came out on September 10th and after a long playthrough this game left me in doubt. After a long period of trailers that promised a lot for the game, the hype was great, sometimes immense for many. After a long period of sitting in disbelief I gave in, the latest trailers for Greedfall got my well-deserved attention and eventually even a lot of hype. But, who would have thought that a game could have so many problems, but be so much fun at the same time.
A disease reigns over the country, besides that overpopulation is also a thing in itself. As if that weren't enough, poverty is also just around the corner. Political scenes are the order of the day in Greedfall and you notice this from the first moment. In the beginning you start by creating your character, the choices are limited, but good enough. It's up to your character to find an opportunity to live with or flee from the problems in 'The Old World'. There are stories of an island, a land free of the pests and diseases that lurk around every corner in this so-called ancient world. While you search for a solution, you come across different problems, challenges and solutions.
The world of Greedfall is grim, in a good way. The architecture and setting are in a 17th century European setting, something quite unique for an RPG with fantasy elements. However, in the world you will encounter many different types of enemies, beasts, mysteries and areas. In this aspect, the game has a big plus. Spiders Games succeeded in mixing an unusual setting with an atmosphere creation that we are used to and every area fascinated me again. Magic is a big aspect of the game and it shows throughout the storyline.
A Core RPG
Greedfall is, as promised, an RPG with many core elements. These are features that we are used to from OG role-playing games from the past. You have a certain freedom that many games lack these days. However, it takes a few hours before you can actually experience this free feeling. The classless progression system, as Spiders calls it, enriches the gameplay. You can immerse yourself in multiple skills and so you have more freedom to create your own hero. Customizing your clothes is also such a fun, unique aspect. It is not the case in greedfall that you are constantly looking for new armor, clothing or weapons. No, it is precisely the intention that you can expand current clothing. You can add pockets for extra space and padding for extra armor.
The combat is where it gets a bit clumsy. The camera can't be tough at times, movements feel downright clumsy and the fights sometimes feel like it's 'not supposed to be that way'. Other than that, all attacks look cool and, for example, a gunshot has real impact. It feels great to blast someone with a load of gunpowder spewing from your handgun like a Saturday night dragon gathering! This is where the reverses of the coin started to alternate more often.
You can choose multiple factions in Greedfall, each with their own goals, norms and values. You will be recruiting people to accompany you on your path to a better world and you will have to make diplomatic choices with that idea in mind. Your recruited allies can betray you if you don't give them enough attention or stand up for them and that's an element that has been worked out well. Every choice you make can anger or reassure other factions. Also, your allies can make ecological changes in the world. These systems work great and if this hadn't been done a little better, the game could have been carried on purely here.
Budget is a thing
Spiders is a studio known for games like the Technomancer and Bound By Flame. These are all games that just can't bear the title 'Triple A'. Greedfall swings just over that edge and may be on that infamous AAA list, but really with heels over the ditch. You notice that there is a heart for the cause and that the game distinguishes itself on many fronts, at the same time you cannot avoid the fact that the game could have handled its budget cuts differently. The movement, camera and combat just doesn't feel great at times. Your character's walking looks like you just tripped over a sack of potatoes and now your big toe hurts. The camera sometimes changes just a little too fast or not fast enough at all.Beyond that, there are simply missing aspects that have made room for a form of uniqueness and self-esteem. At first glance there is nothing wrong with that, but still, if the game had been given more budget or maybe even more time, it could have been better.
Cinematics is also such an example, everything feels so scripted and the dialogues don't fall into a good 'flow'. NPCs keep walking the same circles and paths or suddenly stop randomly and then do nothing. These are aspects that quickly ruin an impression that is actually very strong. The game is full of bugs and teething problems that you can hardly overlook. This is the most disturbing aspect of the entire game and if more attention had been paid to this, the game would have gone down in the history books as arguably the most unique RPG ever. Unfortunately this is not the case now.
Graphics and Sound
except for some blurry textures, Greedfall is a breathtakingly beautiful game, especially for the genre in which the game is located. Enemy design is varied and gives a clear picture of the danger that is coming your way. The clothes and weapons all have unique looks and can be expanded in fun ways and I could go on and on. The lighting is beautiful and the environment gives a nice grim atmosphere when necessary, but can also look nice and sunny the other way around. Sounds are a double thing, footsteps and spoken dialogues are of mediocre quality and not always fantastic. On the other hand, sounds in combat and the shooting of your gun are nicely picked up again.
Greedfall could have been so much more than it has become, but despite all the bugs, flaws and technical minorities it was an enjoyable game. I could play for hours on end and at times even put all minorities aside for the unique aspects that the game contains. Spiders is not an AAA studio and can deliver better quality with a low budget than average large studios and developers. This in itself is worthy of applause and Spiders is definitely heading in the right direction. You can tell that a lot of love has been put into the game and despite the technical minorities it is a very unique experience. Every RPG fan should definitely give this game a chance for the price.
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