For centuries, when it has come to the falcon, this particular bird has always had a close bond with humans. Used for both hunting and as regular pets dating back to the Mesopotamian era. In The Falconeer from Tomas Sala (developer) and Wired Productions (publisher), the falcon rises again for not only hunting this time. But to be transportation, warbirds, messengers as the land of Ursee is in a time of war from multiple factions. However, while this war goes on by these smaller islands. Something much more sinister is unraveling at the bottom of all this open body of water within The Falconeer.
GraphicsGraphically, The Falconeer is beautiful and stunning. The open-world aesthetics and scenery are impressive. During my playthrough I found myself flying around for a while just caught into looking at the gorgeousness of the world I was in. Also what topped it off was not only is this game filled with vibrant visuals and stunning for what they give you. But, the additional smoothness of having the option of 60 to 120 FPS (As optimized for Series X) was the cherry on top. My experience was smooth with nary a hiccup in a world that looks great. However, While I enjoyed the awesome visuals from The Falconeer, The world itself is empty. A lot of the time you’re flying around in an empty landscape from a small island to another small island. Maybe you’ll see another falconeer or mercenary around. But, you’re basically on your own quite a bit. It’s pretty boring sometimes from how evident this can be. The graphics get a 7.
GameplayWhen it comes to the gameplay of The Falconeer, It combines classic gameplay elements from titles such as Panzer Dragoon with more of a Dogfighting emphasis in combat. There are also RPG elements where you have to build up your warbird to be better and also where you have to upgrade yourself for the better also. You can also give your falcon “mutagens” which are perks that’ll build them up in health, speed, damage, flight, etc etc. The Falconeer has a major emphasis on your bonding with your bird and growing together. As a result of all this though. What muddies up a lot of the focus on that is truly how the game is structured. The Falconeer has a repeated focus on doing the same menial tasks until you get somewhere or have enough “splinters” (in-game currency) to level up or buy new gear. But in order to get new gear, you have to do side missions. Which results in the constant repetition of protection, delivery, patrolling, bounties. Not to mention the game forces you to do this as a massive difficulty spike arrives out of nowhere. This truly ruins what could be of The Falconeer as it has massive potential within its gameplay but dropping the ball. The gameplay gets a 6.5
AudioThe audio of The Falconeer is where the game is truly a double-edged sword. On one hand, I loved every moment that we were getting deep expositions and amazing dialogue that went deep into being waxed poetic at times throughout the game. Whether you got it from the loremaster who knew about the warring factions and islands and could give you insight about them. To the Falconeer shaman that gave you history on previous falconeers was a great touch also. Not to mention the somber melodies that play throughout the campaign adds the cherry on top. I enjoyed each moment of this as I played, as it gives more world-building and insight into the world. However, In spite of these things starting off good. It got old quick. The Shaman and the loremaster would repeat tons of lines. The magic of what that wore off quickly. She repeated a lot or said things that didn’t fit. The loremaster didn’t update or give you insight on a few of the other islands that existed. What could’ve been built into this fell extremely flat. At least the music was good. The audio gets a 7.
StoryI think when it comes to the story of The Falconeer, It’s honestly the most disappointing part of the game. Right out the gate, It introduces you to a Game of Thrones styled war going on where sabotage, espionage, raids, and multiple things are going on between these small islands. It has your interest off that alone right? Not to mention we’re using these falcons to get around and that the entire land is submerged in water. Also, there’s this looming underground threat to where a rebel faction has grown to tame beetles and manta-rays, and also managed to build a massive crab tank and eel-based gunships. All of this is making you scratch your chin and anticipate that something is going to be explained, or something is going to pop from all this build-up. Sadly, it doesn’t. The Falconeer lays great ideas on the table. But doesn’t execute or follow through with the seemingly great ideas it has. As mentioned prior in the gameplay section. It’s rinse and repeat and muddied by side missions and the open world does it no favors when it could be more exploration included within the project. I wanted more to come from this, I was waiting for the big pay off. But I sat underwhelmed. Waiting for much more to come. The story gets a 5.
VerdictThe Falconeer is a game that has some great potential in the ideas it wants to execute. It oozes creativity within the universe it’s set in, the usage of falcons and other creatures being used for flying, the silent wars between these small islands, and the other additional things that are playing out has the coolest potential. But it doesn’t get handled right. Or if it attempts to, it goes halfway and doesn’t complete exactly what it’s trying to do. I enjoyed my time and a few things within The Falconeer such as the dogfighting and the vibrant visuals with the smooth framerates. I enjoyed the rich dialogue and music also. But, despite all of that. While I enjoyed those very few things. I couldn’t enjoy the full packaging of the title as I was left wanting more. Wanting a deeper dive into the world The Falconeer wanted to become. But, Don’t let my own opinion of The Falconeer sway you away. If you’re looking for an open world based dogfighting title that has some creativity to again amongst the more recent flying titles that have released. Also looking for something that utilizes the power of the Xbox Series X, Then The Falconeer is right up your alley. Give it a try.
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