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GreedFall 2: The Dying World is going full-on Dragon Age: Origins

An NPC looms tall in Greedfall 2: The Dying World.
Summer Gaming Marathon Feature Image
This story is part of our Summer Gaming Marathon series.

While I never played the original GreedFall, I’d had it described to me enough that I thought I knew its deal. Friends described it to me as an action RPG in line with The Witcher. I had a pretty clear picture of it in my head, but I second-guessed myself the moment I sat down to play two hours of GreedFall 2: The Dying World. It was nothing like I was expecting. Had I been lied to?

My mind wasn’t playing tricks on me. The upcoming sequel is a surprising departure from its predecessor both in terms of story and, more crucially, combat. It’s a total reinvention that takes its notes from Dragon Age: Origins more than anything. While the build I played still felt very early, that direction couldn’t be bettered timed. With a new Dragon Age game around the corner, I imagine that RPG fans might be hungry for something like it while they wait for its release date. With an early access release planned for this summer, GreedFall 2 could become a tasty first course.

Native perspective

The most immediate change in GreedFall 2 is that players no longer take on the role of a colonizer coming to a foreign land. Instead, they inhabit the role of a native inhabitant. That makes a major tonal difference right out of the gate. The opening prologue I played put me in a small village where I was asked to help solve some local troubles. After a quick combat tutorial (more on that in a moment), I was given two mysteries to solve: find out why some villagers are getting sick and figure out who is killing local wildlife.

From there, I got a quick feel for GreedFall 2‘s RPG systems. I’d explore every corner of a colorful forest as I followed leads, looked for clues, and spoke to nearby factions to get to the bottom of it all. What immediately stands out is the player agency I had even in those early missions. As I followed a trail of dead animals and traps, I eventually found a hunter camp. I confronted them about their needless violence, and used my negotiation skills to diffuse some anger. From there, I had a choice. I could pay them off, offer a trade, or attack. I chose to bargain and would agree to bring them 50 animal skins for them to leave. That might make for a tough winter for my tribe, but it would save some bloodshed.

A character stands in a village in Greedfall 2.

My second objective was more of a sprawling mystery with multiple parts. First, I’d investigate a riverbed to discover some poisoned fish. Then I’d trace that clue to a nearby mine. I’d gain entrance into the camp with the blessing of a local miner, help the boss inside solve a robbery by finding clues, and eventually get a “job” working in the mine. After a long sidetrack that had me sneaking into a restricted area, stealing explosives, and freeing some trapped native workers, I’d piece the mystery of the illness together and choose to accept medicine from a colonizer. A developer on hand jokes that my screen looked entirely different from the person next to me, who I assume may have gone a more violent route. That RPG agency already feels promising even in some tutorial missions.

The swap to an indigenous perspective is especially welcome here. It feels like I’m inhabiting a character that has a preestablished understanding of the world and respect for the land rather than a fish-out-of-water foreigner. That change partially came from fan feedback, as the first game’s colonizer perspective sparked some debate about how well Spiders was tackling complex subject matters. This shift doesn’t just make the sequel (or parallel story, to be more accurate) feel fresh, but makes its own thematic stance a little clearer and less up to the player’s actions.

Full-on Dragon Age

The more surprising change comes when I enter into combat for the first time. I expected to do some basic hacking and slashing while AI-controlled companions helped out independently. That’s no longer the case. Instead, Spiders has implemented a more tactical combat style that takes heavy inspiration from Dragon Age: Origins. It’s almost unrecognizable from the first GreedFall game.

The change is that all companions can now be controlled and given orders. Each character has a set of skills that sit on the bottom of the screen. If left alone, they’ll perform a basic auto-attack. Click on their character portrait, though, and players can directly control them and queue up their skills. Special abilities use action points, which are recharged by letting off attacks. Players can also press the spacebar at any point to pause the action entirely and line up commands that way. It’s much more about controlling the flow of battle than getting up close and personal with enemies.

It’s not just a shake-up for the sake of change. A developer on hand explained that the decision came from fan feedback. GreedFall fans loved the first game’s companions, but some wanted more control over them in combat. Spiders agreed with that feedback and looked to make a sequel that would better emphasize teamwork, rather than making companions feel like braindead AI pawns. Considering that GreedFall‘s fanbase held a general appreciation of Bioware games like Dragon Age, Spiders felt like the combat change would be a natural fit.

A party stands on the ground in Greedfall 2.

The system is promising so far. I’d roll with two hammer wielders who could knock enemies down with heavy hits, as well as an archer who could pepper poison shots from the backline and heal allies. The ability to pause battles made it easier for me to actually execute combat strategies, letting me reposition my archer to the backline while lining up my hammer smashes to hit as many enemies at once as I could. It’s much more like a PC RPG, which feels like a better fit with its branching dialogue and skill checks.

All that said, it’s a bit too early to say where GreedFall 2 is at. The version I played felt extremely early, with no music in place, missing voice lines, and tons of bugs. That’s entirely expected considering that it’s only coming up on an early access launch, not a full release. It does make it hard to judge though, as the build I played is more foundational. Spiders says that it’s only launching about 30% of the full game into early access and will be doing regular updates that’ll likely have players eager to start again with more tools. The broad strokes are there, but fan feedback will be crucial to filling in the details.

It’s a smart move for Spiders, which is embarking on an early access plan for the first time here. The studio seemed to recognize obvious improvements it could have made to the first GreedFall once fans raised them, but it was too late by then. A more flexible development cycle should allow the team to make an RPG that better suits its players’ needs. If all goes well, GreedFall 2 could become the studio’s true breakout game.

GreedFall 2: The Dying World will launch in early access this summer on PC. A console release is planned after that.

Giovanni Colantonio
Giovanni is a writer and video producer focusing on happenings in the video game industry. He has contributed stories to…
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