Greedfall 2: The Dying World hands-on preview — Unlocking more potential

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Greedfall was one of my favorite games back in 2019. There were a ton of great video games that came out that year, but Spider’s new IP grabbed my attention to the point I couldn’t put it down. As soon as I heard there would be a sequel, I was all about it. The original had its flaws, but here is a chance to improve upon what they did so well in Greedfall. With early access around the corner, we had an opportunity to go on a test drive in a new land. After an hour and change, it’s clear that Greedfall 2 is heading in the right direction.

As a sequel, this is taking a different approach. Instead of jumping into the future, we’re backing up three years. Not only that, but this takes place in another area of the Greedfall world: Gacane, the home of the colonists. You begin as a native from Teer Fradee, looking to keep your traditions alive in a hostile environment. Now, to solve a few minor problems…

Everything began with a quick couple of scenes getting us acquainted with the world, mechanics, and combat. After we got things going, the world opened up, with several missions to try. Something that stuck me immediately was the upgraded traversal, with no invisible walls to new areas and no campsite hiding a loading screen. This represents a big jump from the original game, and will aid in the flow of what they’re building.

The visuals have also seen tremendous improvement from the first. Admittedly we’re talking about a game that was built for the PS4 and Xbox One, but there were still plenty of murky textures along with quite a bit of gray and brown in the original. Here, color abounds, with the villagers in your vicinity adorned with many vibrant shades of clothing and accessories. The textures are also better, with more detail to the outfits and to the surrounding foliage and land. Your trips through the forest might still look a bit plain, but it’s a step up from the original Greedfall.

This improvement stems from reworking of the original’s engine. As mentioned, Greedfall ran on the last generation of consoles, so there was only so much you could do. In The Dying World, the newer consoles and PCs have unlocked a day and night cycle through a complete overhaul of the lighting system that dynamically shines around your character. The quest system also got a rework, with less direct instruction and more discovery. It’s still clear as to what you’re doing, but there’s a lot of context to explore now.

Similarly, the combat has seen a shift in design. No longer do you run in and slash away; now a more tactical system is in place. Think Dragon Age: Origins, but with a dedicated action button for your standard attack. This stems from the developers giving you more control over your party. Pressing the space bar completely paused my current battle and allowed me to think over what I wanted to do next. In this pause screen you’re able to switch between your party members and set up their attacks before hitting space again to unpause. You can also simply jump between them with a button press, but it’s so satisfying to stop in the middle of a fight and orchestrate a flurry of attacks.

To be transparent, I’m not usually a fan of this kind of combat. When told about the change, I wasn’t sure if I’d like it, and my initial interactions had me confused. But, over the course of my game time, I began to really enjoy this change. If anything, these new ideas have brought me into the fold and might help me try other games with these stylings.

Those stylings can lead to some funny results as well. Everything is reactive in Greedfall 2, so you need to watch out before you string a few specials together. I sent my main character in to wack away at a wolf, but also told my sidekick with a big hammer to go do an AOE cone smash attack. Before I realized it, I had done this twice and knocked my character down. I thought he was dead the first time, but understood my error the second. It’s great to see these kinds of reactions, and it’ll be interesting how reactive the world continues to be.

GreedFall 2 | Doneigada Trailer

Speaking of reactivity, there are consequences to your choices. GT’s editor-in-chief and I both played this build, and in one particular mission made different choices. Hunters are culling the wildlife in the area, which is not only taking away from what these Teer Fradee natives can use for themselves, but harming nature overall. After freeing a couple of friendlies who had been caught in the bear traps, we had to figure out how to confront them.

I walked in and was immediately seen. Conversing with the hunters, I only had a few options: giving them some of the skins our clan had, paying them off, or intimidating them. I didn’t have enough money, and my intimidation level wasn’t even close to high enough. The only thing left was getting the skins, which could have severe consequences down the line given its most of what the clan had. Thankfully it all worked out and the hunters left once I gave them the skins, but with how reactive this game seems, a short-term solution could become a long-term problem.

Ron didn’t have this same issue I did. He managed to sneak in, and was rewarded with some information from eavesdropping. Turns out, the hunters have been pitting the miners and natives against each other, even going as far as to steal gold and blame it on the natives. You can use this info to blackmail the hunters, who get out of dodge right away and leave the gold with you. Of course, you have a choice as to prove the hunters right, or return the gold to the miners, who are very surprised at your honesty. These systems in play are simply fantastic, a reminder to me of why I loved the original Greedfall’s choices.

Greedfall 2: The Dying World is looking great in preview, and it’ll be even more exciting to get more hands-on time when it arrives in early access. All we could get out of the Spiders team was, “soon”, but with a summer release scheduled, here’s hoping it’s quick. You can wishlist Greedfall 2: The Dying World on Steam now in preparation for early access.

David Burdette is a gamer/writer/content creator from TN and Lead Editor for Gaming Trend. He loves Playstation, Star Wars, Marvel, and many other fandoms. He also plays way too much Call Of Duty. You can chat with him on Twitter @SplitEnd89.

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