Heading into Greedfall: Gold Edition on PS5 had me surprisingly anxious. While I scored it a 7 when I reviewed the Xbox One version in 2019, a lot of the game’s elements just didn’t click with me. On paper, they should have. Pirates, monsters, a complex narrative, a sprawling world, and deep RPG systems should have had me jumping up and down. But while I enjoyed my time spent with Greedfall, I didn’t fall in love. Tedious backtracking and some clunky presentation bothered me a lot, and I just couldn’t get excited.
Greedfall: Gold Edition – The best version of Spiders’ best game
Within an hour of starting the PS5 version I had to look back on my review to find out why I’d only scored it a 7. The much improved load times and smoother framerate of the new performance mode make a massive difference. Because loading is faster, transitions between areas and fast travel are way less irritating. And the wonderful framerate makes combat much less janky and jumpy. Those other faults I’d seen such as some of the dialogue droning on became more forgiveavle because I hadn’t waited thirty seconds to fast travel back to a quest-giver. This version, unsurprisingly, is just better.
For those who are maybe coming to Greedfall for the first time on PS5, it follows the exploits of your character, de Sardet. You are the son or daughter of an aristocratic family who govern one of the islands in a small cluster somewhat similar to the 17th century Caribbean. Only with magic and monsters. With a terrible disease spreading like wildfire, you must set off to the mythical island of Teer Fradee and find a cure. But you’re soon embroiled in a faction war and ancient conspiracy as various tribes clash with the island’s new settlers.
As a hybrid RPG, Greedfall has you assembling a party as in, say, Dragon Age, before venturing forth. You can indulge in alchemy, crafting, and survivalism, while fighting with a mix of melee, ranged and magical abilities. There’s a tactical pause for tough fights, and the ability to form friendships with your crew. There’s nothing in Greedfall that hasn’t been done before. Yet Spiders attack the material with such heart that it makes up for the lack of originality.
It also features some surprisingly good writing. There’s a good deal of political intrigue throughout, as you manoeuvre between the ambassadors and emissaries of Teer Fradee. Moral choices abound and, cleverly, you won’t always know the ramifications until much later.
As with many hybrid RPGs, the loot system can be very hit and miss. More than half of the gear you’ll collect is vendor trash. Also, once you’ve built a party you’re happy with from the five followers, you won’t want to change it. If you don’t you’ll miss out though, as each character has their own story to play through. There’s still an issue here and there where some of it feels a little overwritten, and the constantly growing list of side quests threatens to overwhelm, but with the PS5 upgrade it’s more manageable.
It’s a shame then that the expansion content bundled with Greedfall: Gold Edition isn’t all that exciting. The De Vespe Conspiracy is a short slice of extra gameplay that introduces a new character in Aurelia de Vespe, new enemies, and a new area. Aurelia is a well-written character and her quest line is interesting enough, but it’s over very quickly. Within two hours I’d tied up her conundrum. And where I expected a boss fight at the end I simply got a rather neat narrative ending – and that was that.
I wasn’t expecting anything huge, but playing through again because my save was on Xbox and not PS5, I didn’t even really notice that what I was playing was anything special or intended to stand out. Its more of the same, with a cool-looking new enemy, and a few new pieces of loot to scavenge up. It’s more of a mission pack than an expansion, but as a standalone it’s available for less than a tenner so maybe that’s on me for expecting more.
Either way you play this, either as a new player or an upgrader, it’s worth a look. The technical issues that harassed the original release are mostly gone, although the character animations are still not great. We’re spoiled by AAAs mo-capping everything, and so games like Greedfall look unfairly inferior right off the bat. That’s a minor complaint though. Fans of the genre will still enjoy the broad narrative, exciting combat and deep RPG mechanics. Those returning just for the DLC might be disappointed, but newcomers will have a good time with Greedfall Gold Edition.
Combat is great fun
The DLC is super short
Sidequests can be a little dull