Greedfall - Stripped
Updated: Mar 27, 2020
Greedfall is the colonial RPG developed by Spiders that was released in September of 2019. The main premise of the game revolves around solving the problems that have arisen between the colonial nations and the natives of the island they are trying to colonize. The player plays as the character De Sardet, a diplomat from the nation The Congregation of Merchants. Your goals are essentially to ensure everything is running smoothly with the colonization and foreign relations, and to look into a cure for the Malichor, a deadly disease inflicting a plethora of people on the home continent.
Greedfall is touted as an “RPG to its core.” The developers have attempted to give the player an incredible amount of agency in regards to building the character, and the choices he makes. I’ve explored the game, and many of the choices given to you for over 60 hours of gameplay. Let’s dive in.
Warning. This section will have story spoilers. If you are reading this to decide on buying the game, skip this section.
Greedfall’s story comes at you through a main quest line, and several side quests given by all the different factions. The order in which you do the quests affects dialogue and options available to you in other quests. I sincerely appreciated being able to reference previous actions when completing quests. It felt like the quests and errands that I completed actually mattered and were remembered.
The main story revolves around finding a cure to the Malichor, the mysterious disease that is ravaging humans from the continent. The main quest has a strong progression that keeps you invested all the way to the end. The biggest problem with that is it’s sense of urgency. Constantin suffers and appears to be dying rapidly, pushing you to find your cure for the malichor immediately. The problem occurs with all the side quests. So many things come up in the meantime that have almost no relevance in the search for the cure, it can feel like you stop giving a shit about your cousin completely.
Most of the quests are fairly interesting and their resolutions in general are emotionally rewarding. Unfortunately, most quests are not rewarding in the material sense. Most of the time you’ll get a bit of gold or an item that would have been good 10 levels ago.
Your companions have a good bit of dialogue, and if you take the affiliated companions with you they will weigh in and can complete dialogue challenges that affect the outcomes. Your relationships you’ve built with your companions and their respective nations will affect the outcome of the main story, and several side quests. It’s a huge incentive to ensure you are playing like a completionist.
There are no radiant, or generic quests in the game. Everything is a unique story, with unique dialogue. For quest hungry players who want to delve into the heart of Teer Fradee all the quests are worth doing for a unique story.
There are five companions you can choose from that link to different factions on the island. Kurt (Coin Guard), Vasco (Nauts), Aphra (Bridge Alliance), Petrus (Theleme), and Siora (Natives). Depending on your mission, the applicable companions will weigh in on what's going on, and even jump in on conversations.
The biggest problems with companions is that you will almost always want Siora with you on just about every mission. Because it’s all about what you’re doing on an island full of natives, you will no doubt come into contact with them in just about every mission. Siora was almost a permanent member of the party. This leaves you with only one party spot for the others. It makes it harder to decide which companions you actually like, and which you want to bring with you on missions.
In combat, most of them are fairly capable. The two that stood out to me was Petrus, who has an incredible amount of innate armor and health, and Siora, the only companion who can heal. In Greedfall you come across all kinds of situations where there is a master cluster of enemies who will stagger you, having Petrus to tank them, and Siora to heal you was the most successful comp I was able to muster.
The World in Greedfall, looks great. Lots of flora and fauna, bright colors and detail hiding all over. The setting never felt boring, and different parts of the island felt like different biomes. The natives villages have their own aesthetic, the colonial cities all have their own look although they do have many similarities like the exact same layout and textures for all three palaces. All the factions feel cohesive, like they are all from different nations and their quests and outlook on the world differentiate themselves.
The game has a fantastic way to make you love and hate the respective nations, for me specifically Theleme. After the intro scene at San Matthaeus, I hated Theleme. But after several quests, and my interactions with Petrus and the Mother cardinal I came around and began to see them as complex people rather than a theological meat grinder.
The opposite happened to me with the Bridge Alliance, I enjoyed them in the early game, but after doing repeated quests and several main story interactions with them I began to hate them and wish I could just wipe them off the island.
The combat in Greedfall is fairly simplistic. You can wack, shoot bullets, or shoot magic. There are only several abilities available in the game so most of the time you’re just left clicking, or shooting your gun. You can parry and riposte when pressing block at the right time, but you cannot just hold block which makes combat a lot riskier to stay in close and be a melee fighter.
Several enemies have attacks that are extremely hard to telegraph and sweep a large area. Specifically the lizard enemies. Their tail sweep is very hard to recognize properly, happens very quickly, and will knock you down. I hate those enemies. Fighting human NPCs is incredibly easy, almost all of their attacks are easy to riposte, or if you use guns or a magic ring you can just dodge away from them and blast.
You’re allowed to carry two weapons, one for slashing at HP bars and another to remove armor. But realistically you don’t need that at all. Pick one weapon type, upgrade it and just stick to that. I never found a need to swap around. I used 2h Blunt weapons and they absolutely shredded everything I touched.
I did mess around with a Ranger build putting my points into Accuracy and it was just too easy. I had to swap to a melee build. The game also allows you to get memory crystals at certain main story check points. The Memory crystal resets all of your skill and talent points so you can reassign them if you ever have doubts about your current build.
The game allows you to explore quite a few areas before you need to be there. So in a sense it encourages exploration but you will only find a husk of what the area is supposed to be because you haven’t progressed to a story point where you will either be allowed in by NPCs, or they just won’t have spawned in yet.
I encourage the player to just follow the quests, and only explore the area once they have a quest for it. Otherwise you’ll be spending a large amount of time walking around areas that have nothing to discover yet. If you work on all the quests, you will explore every part of every area. Don’t feel bad about leaving parts of the map black for a while.
The voice acting in this game is great, and awful. The male main character's voice for De Sardet seems to only have a couple different inflections in his voice. You will hear him introduce himself the exact same way, to almost all the NPCs. It gets grating after a while.
Several voice actors did a great job. I have a lot of props for those who voiced the natives, as they sound unique like they were speaking a real foreign language, and who english was difficult. Siora in particular had a wide range and I always enjoyed her dialogue. Petrus was another one who had a great repertoire of dialogue.
Characters like Kurt seemed to be one dimensional, and the characters you find out in the wild vary in quality by a lot. Some interactions feel natural, others not so much.
Face and mouth movements didn’t often match up well with the voice acting. Part of me felt thrown back to the Witcher 1 due to how awful it was sometimes. It really feels like a game that came out long ago in that regard. It made me very apprehensive in the beginning of the game. Luckily after you are just playing it, you get over how bad it looks and just focus on the words they are saying rather than how their mouths are moving.
Fetch Quests - These quests are going to drive you nuts. There are a large handful of quests that have you go from one location, grab something or talk to someone, and return back to the original location. There are also quests where you will have to repeat that process several times, running through buildings that for some reason even though you have ran through them hundreds of times already, you still can’t remember where that damn NPC is at.
Building Complexity - The buildings in this game are actually more complex than other games. Plenty of rooms to go into, and it feels more like a real palace and guard barracks than others. The problem with that is that I didn’t realize how much I hate that realism. Having to run through 5 different rooms and doors to get to the guard captain drove me insane. Especially when you have to go in and out many times repetitively. It made me yearn for games where every building has all the NPCs in a single room for some reason. The lack of convenience in Greedfall can really get to you.
Overall Greedfall kept my attention. There are a lot of glaring errors, and a lot of things that needed more time. The developers did really well for being a smaller studio without a AAA budget. I applaud them and really want to see their next iteration. I’d love for them to come back with a sequel that addressed the problems I mentioned. Their ability to craft a world is there, the ability for interesting stories is there, and the ability to create characters I care about is there. The core of the game is solid, and if there was more time to polish off some of the quality of life issues it would be so much more fun to play. This is a game worth buying on a steam sale. Definitely worth it for an RPG lover.