Greedfall Review

Article Index

Eschalon: Book II

Publisher:Focus Home Interactive
Developer:SPIDERS
Release Date:2019-09-10
Buy this Game: Amazon ebay

 

Luckily, despite the black and white morals, the quests are interesting. There aren't any "fetch" quests where an NPC asks you to find the ring they lost in the forest, and then when you return it, that's the end; you get your reward and you move on. Instead, quests almost always have multiple stages, which give them time to breathe and tell their story, and they do a nice job of world-building, so you always understand the places and characters involved (including your companions). The quests and storylines also reveal the motivations of the characters, so you don't have any bad guys doing bad things just because that's what the plot demands. Everybody has their reasons for what they do.

 

Another nice thing about the quests is that you're frequently given options for how to solve them. Combat, diplomacy, bribery, and stealth are all tools in your arsenal. As an example, during multiple quests you're required to search a Naut warehouse. But if you just blunder inside, then you might have to fight the guards, which would lower your standing with the Nauts. So you can sneak into the warehouse if you're careful (and drink a stealth potion), or you can wear a Naut disguise (which, sadly, is just a sailor shirt) so they don't realize that you're not supposed to be there. Of course, Greedfall includes a lot of action, and so sometimes combat is a requirement, even if you're playing a rogue or a diplomat. There isn't any way to talk your way past an angry boss creature.

The writing, on the other hand, is not great. Conversations often turn into information dumps, and they're about as exciting to listen to as dry history lessons. The writers also try to throw some twists and turns at you, but they telegraph them from so far away that they're hardly a surprise when they're finally revealed. As an example, a good dozen times during the campaign, somebody comments that your character looks just like one of the natives. So guess who has a surprise lineage. On the other hand, the writers did a nice job developing a language for the natives, so when you talk to them it actually feels like you're actually talking to a native rather than a random voice actor.

When you're not talking to people, Greedfall is an action RPG, where a plethora of random island creatures and bandits need to be killed. Sadly, almost all of these battles are trash fights and give trash loot. There are only about five creatures on the island, and you have to fight them over and over again, which gets boring -- especially when they start respawning. Fights against humans are also surprisingly similar.

Worse, the island itself is kind of boring. Every so often, you find a skill shrine (another nod to The Witcher 3) or a boss creature or a useful chest, but the vast majority of the wilderness is empty of content -- or, if you find something, it's involved in a quest, and you can't do anything there until you trigger the quest. The colonies have issues, too. All of the residences are cut-and-paste copies of each other, and even the governor palaces are identical. Ho hum. Greedfall could really use another layer of content, more personality, and more variety.

Conclusion

There are more topics I could discuss -- like how the equipment is generally boring but the cut scenes are excellent, or how there's way too much running back and forth during quests but the save and load times are fantastically short -- but they just continue the trend. Greedfall was pretty well balanced for me. It had about as many things that I liked as it had things that I didn't, and so I find it tough to be overly enthusiastic about the game.

It took me about 60 hours to complete the Greedfall campaign. Some parts I found to be entertaining, but other parts were downright dull. I didn't hate the time that I spent with the game, but I was happy when it finally ended, and I had no desire to try it again or hunt for achievements. So I wouldn't recommend Greedfall at its current price, but it's something you might want to check out when it goes on sale, or if some DLCs are added to spice things up.