Review – Falcon Age

When Falcon Age was first revealed, it looked to simply be a very cute and immersive pet simulator. Only instead of raising a Tamagotchi or a Furby (#datingmyself), you raise your companion from a hatchling to full-fledged falcon. Truth be told, at its core, Falcon Age is exactly this. But this isn’t something that Outerloop Games bothers to hide. Instead, it embraces this. Even giving you the option to avoid any combat and play the game this very way.

Falcon Age_20190413141815

Ain’t no party like an imprint party…

For those that want a little something extra, Falcon Age does try to make the game more than its core. However, as much as I appreciate the attempt, I can’t help but feel that it may also be less of an experience for it. Rather than embracing one mechanic, it instead tries to make sure there is a little bit of each play type. Honestly, it is fair to say that Outerloop Games did a good job of it too, but it is also equally fair to say that it feels you get a watered-down version of all its ingredients. This very well could be due to the youth of the Seattle based developer, with Falcon Age being their very first development project. So, in goes designing a world, in goes combat, in go characters, and a dystopian corporate run story to fit what Falcon Age has grown to be.

You play as Ara, a child imprisoned for some minor infraction and now forced to pay off that debt to the robotic-run mega-corporation that has all but taken over your lands. It’s here that you learn the simple mechanics of interacting with characters, choosing from your dialog tree, using tools, and mining for minerals. It is also here that you come across your falcon: your companion and main playing mechanic.

Falcon Age_20190413145048

Ahhhhh!

Once you escape from the oddly empty prison camp, you come across your Aunt and begin the actual game. Normally, a game will treat a character as having as much information as the player has. It is refreshing that Falcon Age assumes that your character already has the gist of what has been happening here. It works because the who and how isn’t important. Equally refreshing are the people of the world. Not everyone wants to concern themselves with the hostile takeover of their lands, while others choose to fight for their freedom.

The best part of Falcon Age is just how intuitive it is to control your pet falcon. It truly plays like a co-op game where you direct both characters. It is both fluid and natural. The game offers tutorials through its gameplay, but I was doing many things before Falcon Age felt it should give me any helping hand. For the most part, using your falcon to grab objects, attack enemies, and scout for food was very much like using a secondary weapon more than raising or training a pet.

Falcon Age_20190413145806

Sandstorm’s a comin’!

Combat was satisfying, as you would use your bird in different ways to combat against different robotic types. There were some frustrating moments where I just wanted him to stay out of harm’s way, yet he continued to fly directly into danger. That said, I am not entirely certain that my falcon ever died. It just simply became wounded enough to have to pull back.

Graphically, Falcon Age is good enough. There is a definite stylized look to the entire game which I appreciate, but it never wows you visually. Identical enemy types make it easier to know which tactics to use, but at the cost of being artistically impressive. Like the rest of the game, it plays it safe. However, dressing up your falcon and being cute with the costumes does offer more enjoyment than I thought it would.

The map does offer some exploration, but only in the loosest sense of the term. For the most part, Falcon Age keeps you moving from one objective to the next. You may need to double back but exploring tends to only reveal a dead end with some items to collect.

Falcon Age_20190419060554

They got me.

Falcon Age is a very accessible game in every sense of the word, including its hardware. Allowing you to play it both flat and inside PSVR. Allowing you to play it both with a DualShock 4 and with Move controllers. Albeit, the preferred way to play is inside of PSVR along with the Move controllers. In addition to the immersion, your dialog wheel and whip are very much at home with the Move controllers, while they lose a bit in interpretation when using DualShocks.

Outerloop Games did a fantastic job with Falcon Age, their launch title, but there is room for improvement. I absolutely had fun in the game and handling your falcon companion is a bright spot. The characters and world are also very enjoyable. I do, however, wish that there was just a little bit more meat to a little bit of everything in it.

 

Graphics: 7.0

A definite stylized look that ends there. Like the rest of the game, it keeps it simple. And that works, but never stands out.

Gameplay: 8.0

Intuitive and simple gameplay really helps your experience. Characters and world are well done if not fleshed out.

Sound: 7.0

Falcon Age is a fairly silent game. Dialog is written and there aren’t many noticeable effects.

Fun Factor: 7.5

Movement, combat, and using your falcon is all very easy to master, which allows you to enjoy everything immediately. But lack of exploration may limit replay ability.

Final Verdict: 7.5

Falcon Age is available now on PS4, PS VR, and PC.

Reviewed on PS4 and PS VR.

A copy of Falcon Age was provided by the publisher.

 

Advertisements