I have to admit that before a few weeks ago I didn’t know much about the GreedFall project . an ambitious RPG developed by Spiders , a small independent team now on the market for over 10 years, and distributed by Focus Home Interactive .
In defense of my “ignorance” I would like to point out that this September is chock full of very interesting releases and it is perhaps for this reason that GreedFall did not immediately catch my attention and after having tried it I can say that it would have been a shame not to play with it.
NOBILITY AND INTRIGHTS
In GreedFall we take on the role of De Sardet, a nobleman (but also a noblewoman if you want to create) and an emissary of the Congrega dei Mercanti , an association that seeks to develop its economic dominance in the city of Serene and the neighboring territories. Just the city of Serene is the protagonist of the first hours of the game that shows a world very similar to that of the years of the colonial period, but with a strong fantasy component given by the presence of magic and monsters. To complete the “historical” picture of GreedFall could not miss a great disease, the malicore, which is slowly wiping out the population.
The first is the more strictly political-economic one because as emissary of the Congregation we will be assigned to accompany our little responsible cousin Costantine De Sarde t , who was appointed by the father governor of New Serene, colonial outpost on the island of Teer Fradee . The island of Teer Fradee is a sort of El Dorado of the world of GreedFall : a territory that is still uncontaminated, with many resources, human and material, to be exploited.
The second one is more personal: finding a cure for malice on Teer Fradee , since the island’s natives do not seem to be affected. This disease, which is slowly taking our mother away too (the protagonist of a rather harrowing scene at the beginning of the game) is perhaps the real “villain” of the game.
Once on the island we discover that in addition to our Congregation there are 5 other factions with which we will have to do: the Native of the island, organized in 8 different tribes, each with its own uses and customs; the nation of Theleme, accompanied by their most dangerous and fervent Inquisition; the Alliance of the Bridge , an organization that includes a team of naturalists and scientists; the Guardia del Conio , a classic group of mercenaries who for the right price works for anyone and finally the Nauti , expert sailors with a rather dubious moral code, as you will discover in Serene’s sidequests at the beginning of the game.
As we said, one of our tasks is to establish relations with the other factions and with the tribes of the Natives and to contribute to the growth of the New Serene settlement, moving in the delicate political, religious and economic mechanisms of Teer Fradee.
To accompany us in our adventure we will have 6 companions (which we can carry only 2 at a time with us), one for each faction in the game. Each of them will have his specific abilities with which they will help us in the fighting, but above all they will react to our choices during the adventure, in particular Siora, representative of the Native, faction that perhaps more than the others has had particular attention both as regards the quest that for the development of the plot.
Two more words I would like to spend on the Natives of Teer Fradee: it is clear that there are clear parallels with the history of the North American Natives, victims at the time of the European colonial movement. On the other hand the immunity to the malice of the Natives of Teer Fradee brings to mind how the colonists brought to the Americas at that time unknown diseases like measles or smallpox. History repeats itself, even if this time in a videogame context.
I find it necessary to praise the work of the Spiders team in the care with which the different factions have been developed. Although with some of us we have first meetings not really “friendly” (as in the case of the Inquisition of Theleme), none of these factions assumes the role of “bad” or “good” in history. The relationships we will have with them derive exclusively from the choices we will make during our runs (and at least 4 different endings are foreseen) so if, for example, we will wink at the Natives we could find Theleme against and so on.
GAMEPLAY WELL DONE BUT LITTLE INNOVATIVE
At the level of gameplay GreedFall does not appear to be particularly innovative in any field, but the whole works perfectly and is enough to be able to enjoy the strength of the title which is the complexity of the political, economic and religious intertwining of the factions. by Teer Fradee.
The combat in GreedFall is in real time with the possibility of interrupting the action at any time and carefully choosing an object or a spell to use, even if it is possible to select up to 12 shortcuts on the pad for the objects most frequently used.
Kurt, a member of the Guardia del Conio, is the first companion to join us in our adventure.
Each weapon that we will have available will have its different impact on the fight: if with a foil we can keep the opponent engaged without giving him breath, with a nice hammer we can easily break his defense (and armor), while with two-handed swords we can give slow but powerful blows, able to finish the fight in a short time but that also leave us at the mercy of the opponent in case we miss the target. At our disposal also firearms, useful to interrupt actions at a distance but also able to inflict huge damages, at the cost of having enough ammunition, even if in reality it is not a big problem to find them.
Our comrades have a significant impact on combat. In fact, over and over again, with a thread of life as I tried to drink a healing potion, I was saved from the fatal blow of an enemy by the timely intervention of one of my party members who stunned or threw my assailant down.
As we continue in our adventure we will pass from simple human beings to fantastic and huge beasts to fight against. In fact I found myself often, if not really forced, to try to avoid most of the latter’s fights because the beasts have really huge pools of life and often take a long time to be defeated.
Speaking of the more strictly RPG side, the progression of the character’s skills in GreedFall is divided into three sectors: abilities, attributes and talents. Skills are those related to combat, where we can develop our skills with weapons of different types. The attributes are the physical ones that influence the damage inflicted with weapons, our magic power, the damage points and the ability to resist unbalancing and so on. Finally we have the talents, perhaps the most important skill tree in the game.
In fact, depending on our choices in this sector we will have the opportunity to face the quests that are offered to us in different ways. Each quest usually has at least two possible ways of resolving them: for example, it is possible to calm an angry crowd for a scam by giving them healing potions we can craft with science talent, using our charisma to convince the NPCs to do something for us or the Intuitive talent, which unlocks additional dialogue options during the adventure. Obviously there is always the solution of simply beating hands (brutal but effective), but for those who want to play in a more “elegant” way, there are certainly options.
And for those who realize that they have chosen the wrong talent selection (like myself), don’t worry because you can reset them using the memory crystals that you can find from time to time during the game.
As in any self-respecting RPG even GreedFall has a crafting system, quite simple but no less interesting. There are two talents that influence our ability to create objects: craftsmanship, which allows us to build weapons and armor and science, which transforms us into small alchemists, capable of creating healing potions or even explosive vials.
Note how the craftsmanship talent allows us to build new weapons or armor or improve those in our possession. Every change, as well as an improvement in the stats of a certain type, also has a graphic impact on our character, a little gem that shows however the attention to detail and details of the Spiders team.
One thing that instead deeply annoyed me (and quite bored) is the too many journeys on foot, a fast travel system within the city between locations already visited and known would have been very useful, given that even with the use of radar for the quests available to us, the road is not always linear and we find ourselves too often to consult the map to find our way through the alleys and narrow passages of the various cities. True that there are caravans that take you to different areas of Teer Fradee but to reach them you will still have to walk and not a little.
The game is dubbed in English, but at a textual level, including subtitles, it is completely translated into Italian. From a graphic point of view the yield is good, even if there are some small problems of clipping between the “modules” of the polygonal models (for example in some cutscenes I happened to see the face that crosses the collar of the dress), but nothing which compromises the final result (always remembering the modest dimensions of the game development study). On PS4 Pro the game runs perfectly, especially during the fights I didn’t encounter any kind of slowing or significant framerate drop.
But if up to now I have often found myself praising the work of Spiders, we must also point out when there are some things that turn up our noses, for example the settings, all too repetitive. I happened to notice how buildings in different cities had the same arrangement of decorations and architecture and perhaps this is the aspect that most of all shows the difficulty that a small independent team has when it has to carry out an ambitious project like GreedFall.
Thinking that GreedFall is the work of a small independent studio makes you understand when there is passion and will you can achieve excellent results. It is true that at a graphic level there are flaws and that the gameplay is not very innovative, but the game as a whole works perfectly and the system of quests and talents, in addition to different endings, leads you to want to try at least a second run, not a small thing for an RPG.