Sunday, August 22, 2021

The Falconeer: Warrior Edition (NSW) Review

There's a bit of a backlog of reviews to be done before the month of August ends, so let's get right to it. Starting off is The Falconeer's Nintendo Switch port. It runs wonderfully, plays well enough, so why didn't it keep my attention for too terribly long? Let's discover the answer with the SPC review.

Soaring but sometimes boring

Have you ever played one of those games where you thought the game was perfectly acceptable for most people, but for some weird reason it didn't appeal to you? That's my situation with The Falconeer, or at least that's how it is with having reviewed the Nintendo Switch port of the game, The Falconeer: Warrior Edition/ Yes, the game finds itself flying onto the Nintendo Switch, and while it is mechanically sound, I failed to find too much entertainment from the title. Dare I say, there were plenty of times where I found myself utterly bored with it, quitting from the frustration developed by the tedium I experienced with the game.

The Falconeer is an open-world game featuring flight-based combat for the majority of its missions. The story sees you taking on the mantle of siding with various factions within the game. Depending on what faction you are a part of, different missions and adversaries are available to you. It's a clever mechanic, and it works well. 

Having trouble keeping a foe in view? Use the lock-on camera to always keep 'em in your sights.
What The Falconeer does right and exceptionally well is its flight-based combat. Considering that's what the majority of story and side quests is made up of, that's certainly a relief. Battles are fast, frenetic, and demand strategic planning in order to overcome the odds. If you start a battle at sea level, you'll find yourself at a disadvantage, as trying to raise up your falcon into the air will result in it getting its stamina depleted quite quickly. Thus, you'll be a sitting duck--er, falcon in this case, as you wait for your stamina to recover as enemies slowly but steadily pick you off. 

Alternately, if you opt to start a battle high in the sky, you get more options available to you. You can shoot at enemies from above, swoop down quickly to take care of foes directly, and then fly back into the sky without consuming as much stamina. 

This is how flight works in general in The Falconeer as well. Trying to rise into the air depletes stamina, while diving regenerates it. You can also boost through the air by holding down the L button as long as you have enough stamina. This specific maneuver is paramount for surviving the aforementioned battles, as not only does it allow you to move fast through the air, but it also allows you to perform barrel rolls in midair, deflecting and deftly dodging enemy attacks.

Customize your warbird to your liking with a multitude of available options.
The Falconeer sports multiple chapters that can be played through in any order. Your level and stats carry over from each chapter, and each chapter provides you with one main story arc and quest line to follow. Meanwhile, myriad side quests can be taken at various outposts and towns sprinkled along the Ursee, the pirate-like fantasy world of the game. Taking on side quests is recommended not just for the good gains you get money-wise, but also the points you earn experience-wise. Leveling your Falconeer and falcon up is important as to not enter combat scenarios that you can't win. 

There's no question that The Falconeer: Warrior Edition is a stellar port on the Switch. That much is certain. Running at a super steady 60 frames per second with never a drop to be found, whether docked or in handheld form, the game is terrific technically. What's even better is that outside of the opening, between missions, quests, fast traveling, and transitions between screens, there's hardly any loading to be speak of, which is insanely impressive. I especially liked how I could skip the traveling between the quest-giver and the actual objective sight and back again via an awesome "fast flight" option.

Well, that's something you don't see every day--lots of water!
(Were you expecting me to call attention to the giant turtle?)
It says something about The Falconeer: Warrior Edition that despite having the game for a month now, I struggled to find the motivation to play it (of course, a new job didn't really help with that either). While certainly not every aspect of the game is boring or tedious - far from it - there are aspects like the gameplay loop, the repetitive mission design, and the rather unappealing story (at least to me) that made me bored with the game. I can definitely admit that The Falconeer is a well-crafted game otherwise; it's just one that did not soar to amazing heights for me, personally.

[SPC Says: C]

A code was received by SPC from the publisher for the purpose of writing this review.

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