The Elder Scrolls Skyrim has definitely sunk a lot of hours in every gamer’s time out there. Mind you, this isn’t a Skyrim review, but one thing about that game was that it leaves a certain kind of void in you after it ends. When great games leave these voids in us, it’s pretty hard to fill the gap back up. Personally, I think Greedfall does a pretty good job at that. I’m not saying in any way that Greedfall is a Skyrim copy or clone. I’m just saying that it does invoke a few similar feelings of nostalgia when I played it. I’m sure it will do the same for you as well.
Greedfall follows the player character on their voyage to a new frontier by ship. From the very get go, players better be ready for some good old fashioned labor. You know the drill, side quests upon side quests upon side quests that all diverge up into a main quest then. The game starts as you prepare for your voyage, only to find your cousin, the governor, having gone missing.
Yes, while Greedfall does let you customize your character, you do have a sort of established backstory. It’s reminiscent of Fallout 3 where you had a set in stone role as the lone wanderer. In Greedfall, you’re in a faction known as the Congregation of Merchants. This is one of the three factions that have colonized the island of Teer Fradee.
Immediately off the bat you’re sent on a spree of detective work to find your lost cousin. This retrieval mission is what basically leads to the rest of the game slowly unfolding itself in front of you. The unfolding is done in terms of both the world of the game exposing itself to you and exposition of who populates it being dumped.
Now as I mentioned earlier, there’s a lot of detective work in this game. You could almost say that it’s your soft role from the get go. One of the earlier investigations also did a good job of showcasing how choices and playstyles worked in the game. After finding an overdue tab your friend left behind at a Tavern, you have multiple ways to go about fixing the issue.
You could either pay the tab yourself, fix and refurbish the tavern in compensation, or get into an all out bar brawl to get out. The choice was obviously pretty devoid of any major consequence. That changes later on when the stakes raise the further you get into the game. I enjoyed the quick little introduction to how choices worked, though.
Soon after some clues, you deduce that your governor buddy’s been kidnapped. After following the culprit to their lair, the heavier choices start to come into play. This includes options like using poison, stealth or straight up fighting the guards of the fortress to enter. The choices continue to pick themselves up but there’s a basic guideline to them. You can either do things sneakily, diplomatically, or violently.
The way the quests are designed in this game is also pretty dynamic. What I mean by this is that they aren’t just collected and frozen in time until you decide to complete them. Once you begin a quest, its events are set into motion. This means waiting too long to complete a quest involving a hostage will probably result in the hostage’s death. I did like the dynamic system of the quests in the game, however, I didn’t like how rigid some of them were. The last thing you want in an RPG is the game telling you exactly how to do things. I mean this in the sense of how some quests must absolutely be done at a very specific time of day. It sort of ruins the flow of the quest and can get pretty annoying in side quests when you’re trying to progress the main story.
The island of Teer Fradee isn’t a quick little walk in the park either. Now I’m not saying you can expect to find large holds, cities and other forms of huge land masses. The world is a bit more compressed but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If anything, it gives the developers more chances to pay attention to their craft. The random exploration you do in the game can be quite intriguing and rewarding. There are your standard RPG fetch quests. Dread it, run from it, fetch quests arrive all the same. I will admit that they were never purposeless, however. Each fetch quest sort of contributed towards a whole, if that makes any sense.
The combat of the game reminded me quite a lot of the Witcher 3 in how it functioned. Specifically regarding how the the camera would follow the player and how the management of inventory worked. Depending on your build, there were also preparations to make prior to most of the fights. Ones that can ensure your weapon has the effect you want, or your firearm has the appropriate kick behind it. Me personally, I went for a very charismatic build of a character. I love talking my way out of situations in any RPG that offers me the option. I think the only game I’ve made an exception for that rule in was the Witcher 3. It’s so fun to start shit in that game honestly.
The game had your typical RPG stats that affected your character physically. Things like how much you could endure or what you could dish out. Even minor things that end up being pretty essential, like how much equipment you can carry. There were many playstyles that you could implement and experiment with, even combine at some points. While you do get to pick a starting class, the leveling system of this game is pretty flexible, and allows you to branch out later on. My initially diplomatic sweet talker did start his evolution into a lethal rogue as I progressed the game itself.
The game also had a companion system. One that came with its own storyline that covered topics like backstory, character building and even romances. My only gripe with the companions is that they were crafted solely to represent which faction they were from. Their entire existence was to serve exposition for how their people were. I kind of wished they were more of their own characters.
Following up on that topic, the writing of the game wasn’t too bad. I did like how it covered a rather controversial topic in a subtle way. You and your faction are essentially colonizers. That’s why even the timeline is set in those late Victorian times. While you’re not as ruthless to the natives as colonizers historically have been, you were sort of in the same boat. Being rather manipulative to get what you want out of the land. I did like the amount of input you as a player had on how relations with the natives were. Other than that, some of the voice acting needed a bit of work. Still cool overall.
I think Greedfall is worth a shot. While it might not completely suck you in, it can definitely keep you occupied. Not in the regretful way either. The game is pretty well optimized too, so go give it a shot.