Prime Bioware delivered some of my favourite ever games, Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic, Mass Effect and to a lesser extent Jade Empire and Baldur’s Gate. They had a number of hits and became the benchmark for many modern ARPG’s to be judged against. Then things took a nosedive. A very sharp and serious nosedive, but we don’t want to talk about that.
Just over 2 years after the disappointment of Andromeda, Spiders are (at least for me) filling that Bioware sized whole with their latest fantasy offering GreedFall.
Set on the fantasy island of Teer Fradee GreedFall is an adventure of war, politics, relationships, exploration and discovery.
From the early moments of the game I started to get those same feelings I did when first stepping in to Commander Sheppard’s shoes, building a party of diverse characters, each with their own rich and full back story. Stories that you’re able to explore with those characters in loyalty style missions through the game. As a result your reactions to the world around can have an impact on how your party will feel about you. As a result certain paths can end up leaving some of your party feeling estranged.
The combat also seems to take inspiration from the Mass Effect style with real time combat being the focus, but you have the ability to pause and make tactical decisions on the fly. It allows you to play the game in different ways. Should you wish to just fight instinctively then you can. In contrast you can approach in a slower more measured way by making more use of the tactical pause option.
At times it’s easy to forget that what Spiders have created isn’t from a huge Triple A team as you immerse yourself in the lush world full of life and interesting places to explore. But this team of around 40 people strong have created something that rivals the quality games with hundreds of developers working on it.
Of World of Riches
GreedFall is a game of politics, of war, colonization and racism and you are thrust in to the middle of it and the fantastic island that has magic running through its roots. The various factions that have settled on the island are vying for the potential riches and will do what they can to get a foot hold on things.
Teer Fradee is a world that’s full of places to explore and things to discover. There are people of various races, creatures of all shapes and sizes to stumble upon and land that is packed of details and secrets. Not only that the cities and towns of the world have a wonderful Victorian style to them that really suits the overall feel of the game.
Yes, there are some shortcomings here and there; a few building layouts are used numerous times and similar characters models are dotted about. But when the main elements like the story and depth of characters, the world and the combat excel more than a lot of triple a games I can overlook the parts that lack a bit more polish.
The character customisation is also another area that feels a little limited, although there is still a decent amount of variety to choose from. However, what’s important is that there are numerous skill trees, perks, and ability paths to follow allowing for a lot of customisation in the way in which your character plays. These skills will also follow you in to conversations too; should you choose certain bonuses you will open up new conversation paths to help you coerce information out of NPC’s during quests.
In spite of that GreedFall has been a really impressive introduction to a new world one that I’ve found easy to get immersed in with its Victorian inspiration in the cities architecture to the high fantasy creatures roaming the wilderness. It’s an adventure that I’m looking forward to diving deeper in to.
There is a lot to like about GreedFall and if you feel like you’re missing Bioware of old then I’d recommend taking a good look at Spiders creation as it should tick a lot of those boxes and is just a really good game on its own merits.