GREEDFALL Review: Dauntingly Ambitious Yet Effectively Realized

Review Copy Provided by Spiders

Image Courtesy of Spiders

For an independent developer, there hasn’t been a title quite as ambitious as the RPG GreedFall, developed by esteemed studio Spiders. Enamored by the creators as the ultimate love letter to the American RPG experience, GreedFall strives to make mighty bounds and leaps to create just that, and in most regards, it succeeds handily. From a stellar narrative of countless interlocking subplots and characters to near triple-A production values, the 17th Century European setting is beautifully realized despite an unescapable myriad of problems. Quite like the narrative itself, GreedFall can’t escape its own shadow, a shadow of their own making. However, if players can get over some distracting lip synching and a rather meager progression system, there’s more than enough to salvage here. There’s something charming about GreedFall’s strong-armed dedication to creating a faithful recreation of now disgraced studios Bioware’s and Bethesda’s early RPGs, warts and all. Indeed, Spiders never reaches out past the comfortable shell of the genre, never elevating itself to a higher pedestal. Despite being so latched to the past, GreedFall is still a fabulously realized RPG experience, reveling in its delicious and abundant gameplay mechanics and excelling in places one may not expect.

Set in a 17th century Europe, GreedFall features a unique and warm art style that utilizes the many flavors of Baroque art. From the rolling grassy hills to the dark and understated cave environments, there’s just so much to see and do on the remote and fantastical island. Yes, the game is truly a work of fiction despite being grounded in such excellently worked historical backgrounds. Beneath the lush foliage and show-stopping vistas is an environment of sheer magic, of creatures and beings that will cause you to ache for just another bit of information about the impressive lore. Unfortunately, this same yearning for discovery and exploration can’t quite be replicated when it comes to GreedFall’s massive roster of NPCs and characters. Some are written poorly, others just dull and bland to begin with, but either way the interactive setting that ties the many environments together is lacking in meaningful substance.

Image Courtesy of Spiders

What every interactive experience lives or dies on is its gameplay loop, a statement that holds true for RPGs and especially for GreedFall. Thankfully, Spiders excels competently, taking inspiration for its multi-faceted combat system from countless of styles such as The Witcher III and The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim just to name a few. There are so many inspirations and combat styles being crammed into this one mechanic that it can be rather daunting to experiment and try new styles and tactics in combat especially when Spiders never makes the push to drive the player to switch things up. At the very least however, each perspective I took of the combat system sums it up as a competent feature and a system that most players shouldn’t get bored of within the first ten hours.