GreedFall is pretty. It’s incredibly detailed … until it’s not. GreedFall is both fun to play and tedious at the same time. Those are the main takeaways I got with my time playing Spiders’ newest RPG.
There is a lot to this game, far too much to describe in one review. The developers should be applauded for what they tried to do, though they seem to have bitten off more than they could chew.
The story opens with you playing as De Sardet, a character who is tasked with traveling to a newly discovered island known as Teer Fradee. Once there, you will have to choose whether to side with the island natives or any number of recent arrivals trying to take over the land.
Deciding which side you are going to take is a theme throughout the game. The good news is the decisions you make do affect what comes next. That tends to be a question in games like this.
Somehow there still isn’t a ton of weight to the decisions. That’s the bad news. GreedFall claims to punish your notoriety depending on a decision, but that punishment doesn’t seem to weigh the character down. I made a decision early in the story that seemed pretty heartless but no one appeared to care all that much.
This lack of weight to your decisions plays out in what was supposed to be a key feature to GreedFall. Picking up companions and keeping them happy was something Spiders pointed to as something that would require quite a bit of time and attention.
Instead, when asked to do a quest for one of my closest allies, a “sure but later ok?” response seemed to make them plenty happy. Maybe I’m just such a good friend I wasn’t able to be as mean as you have to be in order to get your companions to cast you aside.
It’s also possible I had loaded up my character with so much charisma they couldn’t help but love me. Both are possible, but neither were explained or illustrated. When that’s an aspect of GreedFall celebrated in the marketing leading up to release, it should have more focus.
Likewise, having to figure out who is going to be in your “party” doesn’t seem to have much weight. De Sardet can travel with any two companions at any one time. I never came into a situation where leaving behind someone hurt me. I also never encountered a situation where choosing the right companion brought something extra to the situation.
Exploring the World
The lack of effort you need to put into forging relationships can be forgiven, considering how much time and attention was loaded into building the world at large. There is a lot to see and do.
GreedFall feels like a combination of Skyrim and The Witcher 3 so fans of either will be thrilled to get some new content in that vein. The opening map is relatively small, as you’re just supposed to get an idea of the mechanics. Still, it took me three hours of game time before I even set sail for Teer Fradee.
Those who want to head off the mystical island right away can certainly do so as well. In that regard, players really do have a ton of options laid out. This is really where the game feels like a rezzed up Skyrim.
Landing on the island, you’ll have plenty of places to go. You can fulfill all the quests laid out, or ignore most and the ending of the game promises to be a bit different depending on those decisions. However, once again, it’s not clear if there are ever real roadblocks laid down to relationships you are “forging” as the story progresses.
Even if a character or rival faction is angry for a time, diffusing the situation takes far too little effort. Traveling could be a bit better as well. Going outside the main city will present a screen telling you how long the trip took, but takes seconds in real-time.
I found myself wanting to journey through a dark and scary forest, not knowing what was coming next, rather than being told how long it took to get through. In that regard, Skyrim wins the day.
Verdict: GreedFall wants to accomplish a ton and it makes a valiant effort. It’s a very pretty game but doesn’t feel as fleshed out as it could. The game was billed as being one that was all about diplomacy and forging friendships but fell a bit short of showing how weighty any of the decisions made were. It’s a good game that loses steam the longer its played and more chinks in the armor pop up.
- Gorgeous scenery throughout
- Combat is quite fun
- A true RPG that allows you to play how you want.
- Tons to see and do
- Decisions don't have as much weight as they should
- "Diplomacy" usually boils down to 30-second dialogues
- Glitches throughout including NPCs facing the wrong direction during conversations.