Review in Progress: Greedfall


This game has Spiders making it

You know, I’ve never played a Spiders game. I’ve been interested in a couple, like Technomancer, but never got around to actually buying or playing them. They’ve mostly received lukewarm reviews with plenty of uses of the word “jank.”

Greedfallseemed particularly interesting to me, though it’s hard to pinpoint why. I guess I’ve just been hankering for a solid RPG to come by and satisfy a hole left by Divinity Original Sin 2.

While perhaps not up to that same level, Greedfallhas made a pretty great impression on me so far.

Greedfall(PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Windows [reviewed])Developer: SpidersPublisher: Focus Home InteractiveReleased: September 9, 2019MSRP: $49.99

Greedfall‘s first area, which is essentially a tutorial, does a great job of introducing the player to the various approaches to playing the game. There is combat, opportunities for deception, charisma checks, lockpicking, and essentially all the basics that will surely permeate the rest of the game. It also gives the player time to get used to the chonky controls, at least on PC using a mouse and keyboard.

This game is definitely designed for use with a controller, and I’ll probably switch over from now on. While I enjoy having a huge hotbar available to me, as of now it’s useless (there are not many things I can do in combat) and isn’t worth the trade-off of funky character movement. If you’ve ever played a third-person action game on a mouse and keyboard, you know what I’m talking about.

In terms of plot, your character is sent on a variety of quests before setting sail to an island where it seems like everyone is ready to explore and get a new start. These little quests introduce the player to some of the factions at play, as well as the main characters. Honestly, in the first handful of hours there isn’t much plot to write home about.

The combat, on normal difficulty, is also braindead easy at this point. It’s early, so I’ll reserve judgement, but every battle thus far has been a cakewalk. The player can spend skill points in a variety of areas that affect how they approach combat like melee, firearms, traps, and magic. I’ve been dumping points into firearms and just shooting the crap out of everything — it seems to work pretty well! Who knows though, perhaps enemies will start dodging soon or be more resistant to particular types of attacks.

It would be nice if enemies were marked on the compass with a red dot or something. Plenty of times I’ve been walking in an area, and the entire party draws their weapons with no enemies in plain sight, leaving me very confused. Then I’ll pan the camera around and see a bear slowly meandering my way from super far away. It’s not always obvious who you’re fighting, in other words. It’s also not obvious as to whyyou’re fighting at times. I was walking around the starting town once and then just found myself killing some dudes. Alrighty then, they’re dead…moving on? I still have no idea why they wanted to fight me.

All that being said, I am constantly enticed to play more. The skill points are so completely boring (more damage! better chance at succeeding a charisma check!) but there are at least some additional abilities that can be unlocked. The main characters are interesting enough to keep me chugging along with the plot, even if it means that I have to watch more of the horrendous facial animations.

Is Greedfalljanky? Yes. Does it detract from the overall enjoyment of the game? Not yet! The framerate also chugs more than I think it should, but I haven’t played around with the options too much yet to find out the perfect selection of options. For now, I will continue to max out my charisma as much as possible and (hopefully) talk my way out of just about every encounter I come across.

[This review in progress is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]