I’ve spent under 2 hours with Greedfall. That’s not long considering this is an open-world RPG running around 30 to 40 hours. However, it is long enough to make an impression on me, for me to understand the basics of the game and what’s to come. Greedfall starts slow, limiting you to one area. The initial quests are staples of the genre. Talk to this NPC, get this item, fight some folks and there’s a lot of running around. It reminds me of Final Fantasy XV in that regard, more so than other action RPGs, but I put that down to the scale of the city, Serene. At first, I liked Greedfall, then swung the other way before settling somewhere in the middle.
Straight away we start with character creation. It leaves a little to be desired, but not much. This isn’t a tool full of sliders changing body type and the size of features but rather a limited set of variables – hair, eyebrows, colour and others – are paired with a few preset face shapes. It can seem somewhat limiting but the preset faces come in a broad range and the variables just add flavour. What’s clever about the sequence though is its presentation. It is shown as a portrait artist painting you and runs straight into the game when you’re done refining your look. Clever, and nice to limit the load screens. This is also where you pick your starting character build; I opted for a mix of fighting and charm. The options here are good and it seems like the game can be played a variety of different ways.
Once into the world, it eases you into the type of tasks all RPGs run with. This is a little tired for the genre but I’ve noticed Greedfall relies more on charm, diplomacy and in my experience puts fighting secondary. This is great. If I wanted the pinnacle of action RPGs this generation I’d play the Witcher 3 for the third time. Greedfall is offering me something different. You’re a character in a position of power, an ambassador for the Congregation of Merchants, and you flaunt this when trying to get your way with others. It’s an interesting position to be in. Having an upper hand from the off, the weight of the law behind you. I’ve yet to see any repercussions but I’m still in De Sardet’s home city where his name means something. One point I didn’t think the game would address are his feelings about a chosen path, De Sardet has shown remorse in some instances. Again though I’m not sure if there will be any repercussions or if these decisions will weigh on the character through the story. Advertising and trailers do discuss the companions and how they feel after certain actions so hopefully, this extends to De Sardet.
One element I haven’t had much time with is combat. So far it’s felt fluid, possibly again to allow a range of play styles. Yet, I find myself dodging constantly. I’m not sure if my strength build does a whole lot currently. I may not be quite down with the dance yet, tentatively poking my sword into people or bashing armour with a hammer but I hope that practice and an ever-increasing build will help. Whilst it’s fluid it isn’t quite comparable to Bloodbourne or even Geralt’s rough start, pre-patch, in The Witcher 3. I did enjoy the final encounter in Serene before departing on the boat to Teer Fradee. A large tree-like beast burst out of a ship and it was a one on one encounter. The slow hulking monster could wipe me out in two hits and, after one death, I got into the pattern needed to dispatch it. It was a little easy, I’m guessing it’s just a taster of what’s to come.
I do have some early issues with Greedfall that I don’t think will iron out over the course of the game. Everything feels a little thin. From stealth to the tactical pause menus options. A lot of systems are in place yet they don’t feel fleshed out. I can’t tell my companions who to attack for instance, which is an annoyance. I want more control than I’m being given. I’ll be able to swap in party members for different group dynamics throughout my playthrough, I just don’t think that will be enough for me to praise the party system. Facial animations are not good; they definitely won’t change during the game unless addressed by a significant update patch. The graphics are fine, textures and models look good, my problem is the faces specifically. Lips don’t sync with the words and emotions are hard to tell on characters. With this large expansive, ever-changing world I’ll never know if someone is having me on, happy with me or just rude. Facial animations can lead to a lot of characterisation and being able to read a situation differently, that just doesn’t happen in Greedfall.
I’ve arrived in New Serene, on the Isle of Teer Fradee and I will continue this journey. There’s a lot to like here and I hope that feeling continues on as I play.