This review of The Falconeer was conducted using a code that was provided to us by a PR agency. This is explained for the purposes of transparency and does not affect our judgement of the product.
The Falconeer is a game I played at a preview event a while back. I was impressed by its interesting gameplay mechanics and very catching art style. But as is the way with previews, the experience was a short one. So when the chance came to review the game I was very excited to do so. I wanted to experience more of the gameplay, but unfortunately to me, the overall experience fell slightly flat. Now I do have to add, for full transparency, that I have not played a flying game before. I did not know what to expect, and the views I express in this review may be different for those who are fans of this genre of game.
The Falconeer is set in a land known as The Great Ursee. This land is experiencing great turmoil, and a power struggle has engulfed the land. The game gives the player the chance to see this struggle from many different sides, by playing as characters associated with different factions. Each chapter presents a new faction to learn about and to gain a deeper understanding of. Even within that, you can choose to play as a different allegiance to said faction.
In flying around the world, you will encounter these factions, and depending on the faction you’re playing as you may see a different response to your presence. The lore of The Falconeer is very rich and deep and plays out very well. The lore is interesting, and seeing how each mission feeds into the overarching story was very exciting to see.
The gameplay of The Falconeer is rather broad in terms of its mechanics, as it combines many mechanics into the theme of aerial dogfighting. Targeting in the game is simple, and done via simply pressing X. This will lock you onto the enemy, however, the targeting system does not instantly track the enemy.
Tracking the enemy can be done by holding B. While holding B the enemy will be tracked, and the camera will follow it. Letting go of B will stop this. I personally preferred this system. Given the nature of the aerial combat, it could very well have been disorientating if you forever tracked the enemy. Targeting larger enemies allows for switching of sub-targets. By pressing A you can make it so your falcon targets a different part of that larger enemy, such as a gun. This is something that can be very useful, but I personally didn’t really find myself using all that much. In addition to this, it’s possible to grab mines from the sea and drop them on the enemy; something that is always fun.
After combat, it is possible to recharge your weapons using thunderstorms in the world. The weapons on your falcon will attract lightning, and refill the tanks on the back of the bird. However, it is possible to recharge them. Should this happen you can cool yourself off by diving into the water. While this sounds very daunting, it is that is easy to monitor. The tanks begin to glow red as they start to overcharge, and so it is easy to avoid.
The problems, in my opinion, start to surface when you look at the actual missions of the game. Many of the missions follow the same recipe. You travel to an objective, maybe there are some enemies to defeat. Then you may meet someone who needs escorting. You escort them, which is basically just travelling to another objective. Along the way, there may be some enemies for you to fight. But most of the missions follow the recipe of; travel to objective, travel to a different objective, and maybe a third objective with a sprinkling of enemies here and there.
For me personally, this was extremely repetitive. And I personally found myself becoming extremely bored playing The Falconeer. While the game is absolutely gorgeous to look at, visuals can only go so far. If the core gameplay falls flat, then it doesn’t matter how good the game looks. While it is possible to fly around the world and explore between missions, and this does allow you to trade with other outposts, it doesn’t add anything to the game. You can explore the world, and again it is gorgeous, but for me personally, that just wasn’t enough.
Visuals & Audio
As you may have guessed from what I have already said, The Falconeer is an absolutely gorgeous game. It’s art-style is stunning, and the way that the world itself looks is something else. When the sun goes down in the game, it is honestly jawdropping. In terms of audio, the game delivers an experience that I have to come to expect from video games. It does not deliver anything I would consider as above-average.
Overall, I personally would not recommend The Falconeer. To me, the game does not deliver enough outside of being a gorgeous looking game, with some deep lore. This may be something that others can overlook, but personally, I can’t. The actual mechanics of the game, and its actual gameplay, become extremely repetitive. And that is something that no amount of gorgeous visuals can fix.