GreedFall 2: The Dying World Preview – Old world, new perspectives

Greedfall 2 artwork header

It’s very often worth looking at things from both sides, whether it’s a simple misunderstanding between yourself and another, or a deep analysis of historical events. The original Greedfall presented a fantasy world with clear-as-day allegories to the European settlement of the Americas, and, as it heads into Early Access later this year, Greedfall 2: The Dying World will give a fresh view of this clash of cultures from the perspective of the natives.

Set 100 years before the original, there’s a much more tentative balance between the native tribes of Teer Fradee and the colonists that have come to the island. The exploitative tendencies of those from the Old Continent have yet to be fully understood by the clans, but the impact is already being felt and this is explored through the game’s opening.

As a native of this island, you will eventually be ripped away and taken back to Gacane, but the game’s opening hours first show you Teer Fradee and let you explore how it’s being changed. You’re in the final stages of becoming a Doneigada – a sage that helps to safeguard the Yecht Fradí and lands alike – tasked with exploring the surroundings to the small village in an attempt to discover what’s behind a mysterious sickness, unusual injuries afflicting hunters and animals alike, and generally why the once abundant life and nature around them is being corrupted.

Greedfall 2 dialogue

It doesn’t take long to see the issues. The colonisers that struck bargains with the natives for things like hunting rights and mining rights are exploiting these privileges for all they’re worth, and massively impacting the native populace in the process. The trapper camp, for example, has covered the surrounding area with big bear traps that the unaware are haplessly getting caught and injuring or even killing them.

Naturally, there’s a multitude of ways that you can try to resolve this, but the trappers seem immediately standoffish and resistant to any kind of moral reason. So, the question is, do you try to fight them? Or can you try to force them to move elsewhere by other means? Thankfully not all of the Old Worlders are quite so unreasonable and are willing to learn and become that little bit more enlightened.

Of course, given how obnoxious the trappers were, I would have been very tempted to give them a good seeing to. One of the biggest and most controversial changes from the original is a shift from an action-heavy hack and slash combat system to a more considered real-time with pause (RTWP) RPG combat style. This is a very big shift for those who liked the first game to contemplate, and it completely upends the pacing and style of the adventure outside of the main storytelling elements, but it’s also Spiders seeing an area where they can add more depth and nuance to their game, while also following a relatively recent trend.

Greedfall 2 exploring Teer Fradee

Simply put, the traditional CRPG is well and truly back, and it has been for a good few years. Even if it’s Baldur’s Gate 3 that has stolen the spotlight in recent years, there’s been fantastic examples of it sprinkled through the last decade or so, some fully embracing turn-based combat and others leaning on real-time with pause.

What it means for Greedfall is that you’ll feel a lot more hands-off in combat, dishing out orders instead of having direct control over any of the characters. Different characters will naturally have contrasting and complimentary abilities, so one party member was a bruising frontline fighter, while another was intended for the backlines (and somewhat inevitably ended up taking a lot of damage in more chaotic fights).

At this very early stage in the game, I felt I could just wait for my party of characters to rinse and repeat their standard attack animations until the bad guys keeled over, but get even a smidgeon deeper and, as a Doneigada, you’ll be able to tap into and draw up powers from nature to attack your enemies. It won’t be long before you’ll be pulling on special abilities and attacks in quick succession, making use of the RTWP more and more extensively to cue your party’s actions.

There’s some great touches alongside this. I enjoyed the camera’s flexibility to zoom from almost over-the-shoulder to a more birds-eye view – a trick that Baldur’s Gate 3 also pulls very well – which does a surprising amount to shift how the game feels to play, there’s the fully voiced fictional language of the Yecht Fradí once again, and more.

Greedfall 2 Donegada

Our hands on time was purely set within Teer Fradee, as opposed to visiting Gacane, but there’s plenty of time for that to be unveiled and built upon as Spiders take Greedfall 2 into Steam Early Access. It’s a strange move financially for a game with a publisher like Nacon attached to do this, but from the perspective of making the best possible game, it gives the team a chance to really battle test their ideas and get feedback from the community – and it worked very well for Baldurs Gate 3. There’s been an upward trend to the studio’s output over the past decade, and this gives the best chance for that to continue.

There’s a real opportunity for Greedfall 2: The Dying World to be a special game, taking the distinctive elements from the original, exploring them from another direction and building a stronger game within that world.

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