Released (on Steam): 10 Nov, 2020
Genres: Action, Indie, RPG
Developer: Tomas Sala
Publisher: Wired Productions
Steam Price: £24.99
Completion: Completed once.
Playtime at Review: 1.8 hours
Playtime at Update: 13.1 hours
Total Playtime: 13.1 hours
Achievements at Review: 4/29 (14%)
Achievements at Update: 23/29 (79%)
My rating: 7.0/10
There's a variety of locations to be found, as well as races (time trials) to beat.
The world is vast and beautiful!
The story is pretty great once you get into it.
The developer is very responsive to the players.
Required a lot of adjustments to controls and settings for it to feel natural enough to play.
Forts appear to be much easier to beat than regular enemies.
Flying is tame and slow at the start, unless you buy the speed and agility mutagens at the start of Chapter 1 (not covered in the tutorial).
After my original review, which you can see below, I received a decent response from the developer with a few pointers and suggestions for playing The Falconeer. Out of respect and appreciation for the effort made to reply to me, and as I have seen, many others, I felt I should give the game another chance, taking into account what had been said. It turned out to be worth it too!
I spent quite a bit of time initially tweaking and fine-tuning the settings and controls. This time I stuck to what I know. I ignored the recommendation for a controller and went with the mouse and keyboard. There were more built-in control options than I had realised, including a few different options for mouse and keyboard. After taking the suggestion from the dev’s reply, I set the controls to “mouse control and aim”. I also altered a several of the key-binds, played around the sensitivity and changed the difficulty to easy. With there being such varied choices, it would probably be useful to force players to choose their preference upon starting the game/prologue. While I still wasn’t particularly comfortable with the controls, they were much better than what I had experienced previously, and after a couple more hours of playing, it began to feel more natural.
I also took the advice of buying speed and agility mutagens at the start of chapter 1, instead the better weapon that I previously went for. There was a definite improvement when it came to flying, both in and out of combat! The initial battles and missions were still more difficult than taking over a fort, so I think it could still benefit from some adjustments to balance that out, but the game was certainly more enjoyable this time around. As the game progressed, I levelled up, and bought better mutagens and birds, there was a huge difference, and battles became much more active and fun, although they started to become too easy on the easy difficulty compared to the initial battles, but I chalk that up to me having gotten used to the controls and enemy movements by that point.
Again, I went with the advice given and mainly focussed on the story missions. This generally goes against my nature as I like to explore and experience side missions from the start, but I went back to those later in the game instead. The story turned out to be pretty great and worthwhile! I explored and discovered all locations, including completing the races. The races were both fun and infuriating, mainly through my own mistakes.
While my experience was greatly improved by heeding the advice of the developer, that’s not something that should be required. The game would benefit from making players more aware of certain aspects, perhaps by forcing them to choose their preferred difficulty and controls upon starting the game/prologue and including the upgrade system in the tutorial. I was ready to put The Falconeer back on the shelf due to how painfully slow it was, and from what I’ve seen, it’s been an issue for others too, so addressing it would likely help retain some players and allow them to experience the rest of the game, where it actually blossoms into something pretty great.
With these points in mind, and having enjoyed this playthrough after heeding the advice of the developer, I’ve altered my rating/recommendation. I really enjoyed the game once I got into it, and I truly hope changes are made to make certain aspects clearer and the start of the first chapter more bearable for users. I almost missed out on, what turned out to be, a decent game because of that, and I’d hate to think others are too! So for anybody reading this, play around with the controls/settings until you find the right balance, upgrade your speed and agility at the start of chapter 1, and mainly focus on the story missions (at least to start with).
Posted on 23-11-2020
The Falconeer looks like a beautiful, interesting and fun game from videos and images on Steam. The world looked open and rather stunning, the flying looked graceful both in and out of battle, and the battles looked like great aerial combat fun! Unfortunately, once I had played a little, I realised this is one of those games that looks better than it actually is.
First of all, it says on Steam that a “Microsoft Xbox Controller for Windows® (or equivalent) is recommended”. This is echoed in a brief message when opening the game. What that actually means is you need a controller. I found The Falconeer unplayable with a mouse and keyboard. That was fine though. I would have changed to a controller anyway simply because it’s what the developers recommend for the best experience.
I played through the prologue/tutorial first, to learn the basics. I wouldn’t say the controls or instructions were hugely intuitive, but they weren’t terrible either. After some practice, I felt I was getting the hang of things. Unfortunately, I had to repeat various parts of the tutorial over and over because if you do something wrong and fail, you start from the very beginning, rather than before the stage you failed on. This became pretty boring, but at least it meant I started the rest of the game feeling more capable. Not that the feeling lasted very long.
You get to select between characters to play as, although I don’t really know if it has much impact on anything. The selection menus didn’t provide a great deal of information. Once in the game, the options aren’t much clearer either. Not a big deal though. I’m a little tired of hand-holding in games anyway and I quite enjoy finding things out for myself. I soon found the shop in the starting location and did a couple of side-quests/missions before going with what I imagine was the main quest.
The world is really beautiful, I can’t deny that. It’s a shame the flight speed, at least to begin with, is painfully slow. Most of my time was spent flying over the ocean with little to do. I found myself bored and zoning out, not realising the wind had blown me off course, leaving me flying in the wrong direction and resulting in more boring flight time to get back on course. There are occasional storms, wind pockets and wind streams that help make things a little more interesting, but not enough to make it fun or appealing. Even with the missions, there’s just too much time spent flying over an empty world.
I did a fair amount of exploring and a few side-quests, dying multiple times on even the most basic of tasks. I would generally put this down to me being a terrible gamer, but then I went and took over a base for the Imperium with ease, and I don’t imagine taking over a base should be easier than taking down one pirate. It makes me feel like there’s a lot of balancing to be done for the game to feel and flow better than it currently does. The combat feels somewhat similar to that of War Thunder’s aerial combat, but nowhere near as fun, action-packed, or balanced. Now I’ve seen both birds and planes fly, and while you can do some impressive manoeuvres in planes, I don’t think I’ve ever thought of a plane being more agile or manoeuvrable than a bird, but that’s what I see when I compare The Falconeer to War Thunder. Even if I wasn’t making a comparison, the combat in The Falconeer still seems too limited and imbalanced. Flying a warbird should be much more free and fun than it is.
I would generally play a large portion of a game, or ideally complete it, prior to reviewing it, but I can’t see me playing The Falconeer again unless there are some big changes to the game. It may be that it improves later in the game, but I couldn’t put myself through the pain and boredom to make it that far. It’s a stunning world with great potential, but as it stands, I feel it should be in early access at best and with a smaller price tag. Considering it was mainly one person who created The Falconeer (as far as I’m aware), it’s a really great piece of work, but I can’t recommend it as a game.
Posted on 19-11-2020