Greedfall review: Experiencing the darkest facets of colonialism

The new RPG Greedfall lets you look behind the curtain on beliefs, politics, country relations and the dark consequences of colonialism.

Title: Greedfall
Developer: Spiders
Publishers: Focus Home Interactive
Platforms: PlayStation 4 (reviewed), Xbox One, Microsoft Windows
Release Date: September 10, 2019

Growing up, I had a pretty specific idea of what an RPG was. In my eyes, it was either a game like Legends of Legaia or games like Champions of Norrath: Return to Arms or Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance II. I was so sheltered and didn’t know how expansive the world of RPGs could actually be. I didn’t even play a Final Fantasy game until I was old enough to drive. I can’t tell you the shame of that fact. As I’ve gotten older, I have learn just how big the world of RPGs actually is and how varied they can be. A great example of that is in the new game Greedfall where we get to experience magic, monsters and the darkness of colonialism.

Greedfall follows your character, De Sardet who has traveled to the newly inhabited island of Teer Fradee to act as Legate to the governor of New Serene. New Serene is the capital city of the settlements the inhabitants of Serene created as they began to colonize Teer Fradee. The new governor also happens to be your cousin, Prince Constantin d’Orsay. Your job is to navigate the communication of your people with the native population of the island and the other countries that are seeking to establish colonies on Teer Fradee as well as seeking out a possible cure for a mysterious disease that is ravaging your homeland with no known cure called the malachor. You must pick your factions that you side with as a royal representative while trying to unravel the mysteries of the island and your possible connection to it.

Greedfall is HUGE. This game is big and time consuming, especially if you like to take care of side quests and plan your journey carefully. While the story is linear, the world is open and the directions you can deviate to are varied and you can choose how the game ends for the most part. This game makes you feel VERY uncomfortable at times and let me tell you why. Colonialism is “the policy or practice of acquiring full or partial political control over another country, occupying it with settlers, and exploiting it economically.” While it is a practice that has been repeated several times throughout history all over the world, it is a dark practice and Greedfall makes you look it right in the eye.

As you make your way around Teer Fradee, you come face to face on the effect your presence has on the natives of the island. You can choose to try and play neutral or pick sides but you can’t help but feel uncomfortable as a native populations of the island come to you for help because they don’t understand the rules of the new inhabitants and are being punished for it. Or maybe they are being kidnapped and killed because they aren’t the “right” religion. Not only do your decisions affect the relationship that you and your people have with the island’s natives but it affects their relationship with each other. You can change the face of an entire nation single handed.

From the very start  of the game, I knew where I stood and throughout the Greedfall I assisted the natives of the island as the outsider, trying to assist in conflicts between them and trying to not overstep their boundaries because I was the outsider. You can play like that, you can appease both sides and agree with everyone (included the horrible Inquisitors that make you throw up in your mouth) or you can play completely as a conqueror of the island, claiming it with every step you take and condemning those that dare disagree.

Aside from the narrative side of the game, there is a lot to the gameplay mechanics. In true Western RPG style, you are unable to jump, you can roll and you can fight. As you begin the game, you choose your gender and you have three classes to choose from: Warrior, Technical and Magic. Warrior focuses on strength and hand-to-hand combat with the ability to wield one and two-handed weapons and crafting. The Technical class (where I started) focuses on strategy and firearms with abilities in trap-making and lockpicking. The Magic class focuses on abilities in magic and stasis with science and moderate use of one-handed weapons.

I enjoy the melee combat in Greedfall quite a bit. It’s pretty fast-paced fighting and the added bonus of a firearm in a pinch can help tip the balance of a battle. Even though you may start with a particular class, you can gain abilities from the others as you level up if you choose. I never could get the hang of the magic aspect of the game and instead chose a more hands-on approach of dispatching my various enemies. Healing is done via potions but if you have certain members of your party, they will heal the entire party if HP starts to drain, which is extremely nice.

During the game, you have your choice of two sidekicks that follow you everywhere and fight alongside you. They carry with them their own quests, so sometimes it is nice to change it up but I found that I had two favorites early one. Each one has their own stats and abilities, so you need to pick the side buds with the stats and abilities that fit your style of gameplay. I preferred to have one native inhabitant of the island and a Naut but a member is offered from many factions of the island that you can use.

You will face many hard choices in this game and there will be a lot of instances when you will make a choice and suddenly lose a reputation point with a faction or group that you have been working with to improve relations. Your relationship with the parts of the island will affect the game’s end, so be careful of your choices and be deliberate of where you stand in Teer Fradee. All of this is going on as you continue to peer behind the cultural beliefs and superstitions of the locals and what that might have to do with the disease that is killing your people.

Greedfall

Spiders

The environmental graphics in this game create beautiful landscapes but the character graphics can get a bit odd. The mouths don’t always match and many times hair or armor will pass through parts of the body but the story is so in-depth that you just try and avert your eyes while they talk to keep the shivers at bay. Also, the birthmark on de Sardet’s face, at least when you have a female character, looks like you have wicked mutton chops on one side of your face.

The mapping system isn’t great and the fast travel could definitely be improved. Out of everything, those were my biggest complaints. I just wish travel was more smooth and comprehensive. Given the choice, I would also add the ability to craft in my inventory menu as opposed to needing a workbench, but that is just personal preference.

Greedfall is an RPG like I haven’t encountered before. From the time period, in the 17th century, to the story to just how much of an impact even your dialogue choices have on how the story will end. It has its issues and it moves slowly, but once you get yourself wrapped up in the story of the colonization of Teer Fradee and the supernatural forces that inhabit and protect the people of the island, the speed of the gameplay doesn’t seem to matter at much. You can play Greedfall now on PS4, Xbox One and PC

Greedfall

Spiders

8

If you like strategic and highly narrative RPGs, then you will enjoy Greedfall. It has something for everyone: creatures, politics, magic, the supernatural and combat. But if you need a game that moves quickly, Greedfall may not be your cup of tea.

A copy of this game was provided to App Trigger for the purpose of this review. All scores are ranked out of 10, with .5 increments. Click here to learn more about our Review Policy.

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