GreedFall (PC) Review

By Athanasios 21.09.2019

Review for GreedFall on PC

'Eurojank' is the unofficial term for games that, usually hail from Eastern Europe, are made from a small team, with the use of an equally small budget, and, as expected, are quite rough around the edges - but, in all honesty, it's great that they exist, as they provide something that's usually different, and, many times, more ambitious than most triple-A titles. GreedFall, the new creation of Spiders, is definitely a Eurojank RPG. It looks like a bargain bin Dragon Age/Assassin's Creed, yet has that special something fans of the "genre" (like yours truly) crave for. Sadly, while definitely the best work of the French developer so far, it's clear that the team behind it is still "not there," which is a shame, as most will find plenty of things to love while trying to conquer and/or explore the wild lands of Teer Fradee.

This adventure begins with the painting of your portrait, which is basically the character creation screen. After all, you are not just a simple nobody like in most RPGs, but De Sardet; a blueblood who lives a pretty comfortable life compared to others, since most have to survive a city that takes its cue from Dickensian London. Being a noble can't do much against disease, though, can it? De Sardet's world is plagued by the 'Malichor;' a sickness that slowly kills whoever it "touches," with one of its many victims being his dear old mom. Driven by the suffering of that accursed malady, the hero embarks on a journey to the newly discovered land of Teer Fradee in hoping of finding a cure.

...But that won't happen before doing some light questing, which serves as the game's depressingly long tutorial, as well as a taste of things to come. This introduces the player to the basic gameplay structure, which, fighting put aside, mostly revolves around playing the diplomat, and, even more importantly, the detective, with missions letting you act the way you prefer. Do you need to enter that storage area over there to grab an important key item? You can lockpick the backdoor, convince the guard to leave his post, inject his ale with something... relaxing, or beat the leaving crap out of him, ruining your reputation to the faction he belongs to in the process.

Screenshot for GreedFall on PC

GreedFall is all about choice and consequence, with each choice affecting your play-through in one way or another - that is, mostly in the first couple of hours. Sadly, what starts as a surprisingly ambitious RPG, lowers the bar after a while, in favour of a more restricting experience that basically has you following the yellow marker in your compass, which in turn makes you feel less like an explorer, and more like a mailman; a mailman that rarely tries anything different while doing his work, and who, due to the monotonous nature of his job, doesn't pay attention to the many breathtaking vistas around him. Which is a shame, as this can be quite stunning visually.

This is like a budget Assassin's Creed. That isn't to say that it can't get boring… just like an actual Assassin's Creed. Spiders didn't risk giving its creation a more unique design. Influenced by real life countries, but less flamboyant and grandiose than them, the main factions are a mix of Early Modern period Spain, the Vatican, and Arabia during the Islamic Golden Age. Teer Fradee is much better; a fantasy version of 17th-century America, this uncharted land is as beautiful as it is "raw," with ancient-looking forests, enormous beasts which are like steroid-pumped versions of bears, wolves, crocodiles, etc, and indigenous people that are a mix of Native Americans and Celtic Shamans.

Generally, there's a feeling of not going the distance in every facet of the game. Take the themes of colonialism touched here. This is a tale that sees a "civilised," technologically advanced group of people raping the land they've discovered, and making life difficult for its inhabitants - but it just scratches the surface of it all, doesn't dare to go any deeper, and quickly resorts to the lazy "noble savage" trope, unlike, say Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire; an RPG that also explores colonialism, but avoids "taking sides" or painting any faction in a wholly good or bad light.

Screenshot for GreedFall on PC

Is the story terrible? No. In fact, it can often be downright exciting and immersive at times. At times. In the 30 to 40 hours required to reach the end, the writing and overall presentation never becomes bad, but it rarely escapes mediocrity either, despite a few moments of greatness. For instance: there's a terrible sickness at hand? You'll forget that it even exists. That NPC did something terrible that angered you? Expect an unmoving, forgettable payoff. You started a romantic relationship with one of your companions? After a short cut-scene of smooching, you'll be hard pressed to remember his/her name afterwards. You've ruined an alliance with a party or two? Meh…

What about the combat, though? Well, in theory, this plays a lot like a fast-paced soulslike game. More methodical than hack 'n' slashy, the battlefield forces one to pay attention to enemy behaviour, looking for an opening to land a hit, and being careful when to parry or dodge. It's also great that De Sardet can multiclass, mixing abilities from the warrior, technician (rogue), and magic skill trees. The actual process of fighting is quite enjoyable too, with each hit carrying a certain weight - just note that the challenge decreases with every passing hour, especially in the 'Normal' difficulty setting, which feels more like 'Easy-ish.' Even newbies are advised to go with 'Hard' with this.

Screenshot for GreedFall on PC

Unfortunately, besides slowly becoming a walk in the park, fighting soon loses its flare by wasting its potential. That's partly because it really isn't as tactical as it may initially feel like, but mostly because of how tedious everything soon becomes, as you'll have to clash with the same few boring enemies again and again. This critic even tried the jack-of-all-trades approach, putting points in pretty much every skill tree, and the result was a character that could swing a sword, shoot with a rifle, place a trap, and even use a magic trick or two - but the skill tree is almost entirely comprised of perks that just add "+10 damage" to your hits, and not much else besides that, increasing the tedium.

Now, pay heed to the following, because it's this flaw that eventually ruins everything: despite being an aristocrat, as well as an ambassador, in reality De Sardet is the biggest errand boy that has ever existed. You'll walk. A lot. Quests usually have you running like a lunatic, rudely opening doors while going from A to B, from B to A, and then from A to B again… before being send to A one more time… so that you can find something that a person in B wants you to get for him, soon losing touch of what happens, and whether you should care at all. The amount of back-and-forth running players will have to endure is meme-worthy, and a clear evidence of bad game design.

In the end, and maybe typical of Spiders, GreedFall bit more than it could chew, and it's a shame, because it's evident that the developer worked really hard on this. It's definitely rough around the edges, but, as a whole, it's actually a pretty fine-tuned product that puts a couple of major league "masterpieces" to shame. As it was said in the intro of this article, most will find plenty of things to love in here. Sadly, although rife with promise, all those "things to love" weren't used in the best of ways. Again, GreedFall is by no means terrible, but it's 15 hours of content (and even less so) stretched over 30. While there's fun to be had here, approach with caution.

Screenshot for GreedFall on PC

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

Disappointing is the best word to describe GreedFall. The 17th-century-esque fantasy tale of imperialism-versus-nature told here is ripe with potential, but the world/character-building, and story-telling soon runs out of "fuel;" the role-playing element starts great, giving you the chance to choose amongst many a path, only to become way too simplistic and limiting; the combat is fun, but it gets monotonous before hitting the 10-hour mark; and, finally, doing quests quickly gets rid of its "do it your way" mind-set, for an endless marathon that has the player running back and forth between quest markers. Disappointing…

Developer

Spiders

Publisher

Focus Home Interactive

Genre

Real Time RPG

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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