The Falconeer – Review

Last updated:
Release Date
November 10, 2020
Publisher
Wired Productions
Developer
Tomas Sala
Platform
Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PC
Reviewed On
PC
Review Copy Provided By
Wired Productions

Flying an oversized bird armed with ballistic weaponry should at least pique anyone’s interest. On paper, this sounds like a really interesting idea. This is what The Falconeer revolves around as a concept. You can pilot a giant falcon around a vast ocean while entering combat with ships, blimps, and other falcon pilots. And while that sounds interesting, the game is, unfortunately, lacking in certain aspects that risks turning away potential players.

The Falconeer is an open world aerial combat game set on a planet covered in a vast ocean. With little islands there are on the setting of the game, factions are left to war with each other over the scarce resources that remain. As a falconeer, you’re thrust into the middle of this conflict as you ride your giant bird to battle for any one of the factions you can choose.

So how is The Falconeer? Is it worth buying? Read our review and see for yourself.

It is hard not to give compliments to the game. The Falconeer is noteworthy for only having been developed by a single individual. Tomas Sala is solely responsible for the narrative, visuals and gameplay of what you’re seeing right now. With that in mind, it’s far easier to forgive the game for its shortcomings. However, The Falconeer still has to be judged for what it is, single developer or not.

The first thing you’ll notice about this game is just how beautiful the setting is. There might not be much lush land to explore when you’re looking from up above to down below. But the way the ocean waves look down below can be quite relaxing to gander at. Some environments in the game can be downright mystically puzzling. A place I found noteworthy for example, was in the middle of the ocean where the water parted as if it was the Red Sea in the Book of Exodus. And many more can be found within the chapters of the game.

Flying through these environments can provide a fantastic experience that feels almost tranquil. Despite the cartoonish graphics of the game, its aesthetics is only enhanced by how bizarre some of the architecture can be. This is one of the strong points of The Falconeer, it’s set in a world that’s beautiful to look at.

Behind all the pretty visuals is a pretty ruthless world politics. There are several factions in the game and they all hate each other. What The Falconeer does right, is that it delves into the livelihood and economy of these factions that help make the world feel more alive.

From the get-go, you’ll be able to choose what faction you want to work with. That’s because the game already unlocks all the chapters for you with the exception of one at the end. Each of these chapters will introduce you to a faction within the setting as you can do missions for them.

But despite its rich lore and deep dive into the economy of its world, The Falconeer lacks any interesting characters. Every single NPC on-screen is but a generic and unmemorable mash of polygons that don’t really make the world any interesting. Without a memorable cast, The Falconeer suffers from a lack of charm that can render players uninterested in this world’s politics.

On the gameplay side, The Falconeer is best when you’re gracefully flying through the air. As mentioned, the game provides a tranquil experience that is almost meditative in nature. Its carefully crafted blend of environment, weather, and visuals serve to make The Falconeer a visually appealing product. But that’s about where it ends.

The Falconeer is an aerial combat experience. And for aerial combat being one of its main selling points, it is easily the worst aspect of the game. The combat in the game feels clunky. I could never truly appreciate or feel excited when combating enemies. It just doesn’t feel as intense as it should be and controls can sometimes feel unresponsive.

To start with, shooting enemies doesn’t feel impactful. It feels like I’m shooting a pea-shooter on a giant bird. And I could never seem to have a proper grasp of the accuracy as my attacks felt much to slow and the rate of fire often felt sluggish. Dog fights in the game are by the far the worst of the experience. Combating other fast-moving hostiles with your sluggish attacks is more often annoying than satisfying.

There’s also no sense of customization or progression. You can’t invest in skills or equipment on your bird. You got your basic shooter and that’s it. While you can pick up mines from the ocean by diving into them and dropping them on top of enemy ships, The Falconeer offers no choices when it comes to your arsenal. And this is very disappointing.

For a game developed by one man, The Falconeer is very impressive. But that doesn’t quite excuse its flaws. Since the game centers on aerial combat, having combat be the worst aspect of the game puts it at risk of being too annoying to play through.

Ultimately, The Falconeer is best when flying relaxingly around the environment. Appreciating its visuals can easily be the biggest selling point of the game. Though if you’re thinking of buying it, be aware of its flaws. The Falconeer is a visually pleasing game, but I can’t quite recommend it with its aerial combat being so lackluster.

The Falconeer – Review
Score Definition
We want to emphasize that 5 will always be the “average” number, not 7. So by far, it’s 50% great and it’s also 50% bad.
Pros
Aesthetically Pleasing
Relaxing Experience
Interesting Lore and Politics
Cons
Lackluster Combat
No Memorable Cast
5
Average