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The Falconeer (Xbox One/Series & PC) Game Pass -- Coming to PS4/PS5 and Switch this Summer


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As I mentioned over in the Game Pass thread, I finished The Falconeer toward the end of December and wanted to write a quick mini-review of it. However, life got in the way and I never got around to it. Seeing as it's coming to Game Pass in a couple days, now might be a good time to follow through with that.


One of the mantras in publishing is that every writer needs a good editor -- someone who can take the writer's words and help them say what they want better than they could have working alone. For me, The Falconeer is a game that could have used an editor, or whatever the equivalent may be in the world of game publishing.


For those of you who don't know, The Falconeer was created by a single developer, Tomas Sala, who is responsible for just about every aspect of it, including its programming, game design character models, and lore. The only thing he didn't do was the music and the voice acting. Because of this, The Falconeer is the rare game where everything about it -- both good and bad -- can be attributed to a single person. As a result it reveals all his eccentricities as a game designer -- what is important to him and what isn't.


For instance, Sala is obviously a guy who prioritizes performance in his games. The Falconeer runs at a perfect 60fps on all Xbox consoles with the ability to hit 120fps on the Series X and S. As a result, the game feels great to play. The falcons fly gracefully through the air, and combat always feels fast and fluid.


He's also the kind of developer who doesn't want to hold your hand too much. Sure, there's a prologue chapter that serves as a tutorial, but once that's done, it's up to the player to figure out the subtleties of combat. Instead of offering helpful hints after you die, The Falconeer simply throws you back in and asks you to try again, but figure out a different strategy for the next attempt.


Speaking of which, he's also the kind of guy who wants to challenge the player. Missions don't have any checkpoints, so when you die, you need to start over from the beginning. This can be incredibly frustrating during longer missions where its possible to die near the very end, especially if you haven't leveled up your character's falcon and arsenal enough.


He also wants the player to unravel the story by themselves, offering bits and pieces of lore throughout the game. Players are thrown in the deep end right away and it can be difficult to understand what the hell anyone is talking about at first. He clearly wants people to play multiple times to catch all the story beats, some of which won't necessarily make sense until after the entire story is told.


He's also maybe not the best menu designer. For one, he likes tiny text. Sure, he does let you increase the size a little bit, but not much. Second, the highlight around the selection can be hard to see at times. Plus, it's sometimes hard to figure out how to buy things or why one thing might be better than another.


It's all of these little quirks that knock the game down a peg for me overall. It's why I say that he needed someone else to work as his "editor." I feel like he could have made a truly great game if he had another voice pushing him to fix these shortcomings and make the game he wanted to make even better.


But here's the thing: As negative as I sound on this game, I still ended up enjoying it and playing it through to the credits. Once I broke through with the combat and figured out exactly what worked, I started completing missions fairly easily (with a few exceptions). There is a lot to like about the game. If I have any tips to give you it would be the following:


Use the lock-on function to target your enemies and get as close as you can before firing on them. If you're close enough, the game will auto-target the enemy for you. You'll know you're close enough when a four little dots appear around the lock on reticle.


Don't be afraid to grind. You get money for completing story missions, but there are other missions to complete as well that will earn you money as well. Take up a few of these and build up your financial reserves. Use it to buy better weapons and items that can give you a boost in battle.


Complete the race courses. Doing so will give you the ability to upgrade your falcon to a more powerful breed. Doing so can mean all the difference in the harder story missions.


Any way, that's all I have for now. If you any of you get the game on Game Pass, I'll be interested to hear if you have the same criticisms I have.

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  • 3 months later...
  • Romier S changed the title to The Falconeer (Xbox One/Series & PC) Game Pass -- Coming to PS4/PS5 and Switch this Summer

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