The Falconeer | PS5 Review
Updated: Nov 19
Assume the role of a stunning Falcon and take flight in The Falconeer: Warrior Edition, an aerial dog-fight style game. The Falconeer, developed by Tomas Sala and published by Wired Productions was initially released on the XBox One and PC in the second half of 2020, but is now being released to a wider audience on the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and Nintendo Switch this week. It is being re-released as The Falconeer: Warrior Edition which includes all of the previous DLC that was released during its lifetime as an XBox and PC exclusive. For the purpose of my review, I was playing the PlayStation 5 version which also comes with further enhancements to utilise the impressive features of the PlayStation 5 controller which I will discuss throughout this review.
The Falconeer is set within a fantasy pirate background around the Great Ursee, which is made up of a series of islands littered with piracy and factions at war with one another and you are caught up amongst this as you battle against the hostile pirates to deliver packages from island to island, protect an island's fleet from rival ships, or to execute a raid on an enemy stronghold. The gameplay itself felt very smooth although initially I found myself struggling to control my warbird and took some time to adjust to the gameplay. I find it important to note here that on my first attempt to get into The Falconeer, I experienced a little bit of motion sickness which isn’t normal for me but for those that typically experience these things in other games, it’s probably an important warning. However, once I got over this, I was able to truly appreciate the stunning visuals in the world created - exploring around the skies and taking in the stunning experience that’s been provided for us.
I found myself deeply immersed in the game - the voice acting and graphics alone were excellent. I didn’t play The Falconeer when it first came out so I can’t compare to the original release but I really enjoyed flying around and exploring the various islands. The feature that really enables this game to shine is the addition of the use of adaptive triggers and haptic feedback. Since the PlayStation 5 came out, this feature has been a complete game changer for me in most of the PlayStation 5 releases that I’ve played because it really intensifies the experience and makes me feel more involved in the games and I really believe the developer has done an amazing job of incorporating this feature into The Falconeer. When you are in the throes of combat you feel the controller responding to the action and you can almost feel the wind roaring through your controller. When you're shooting at an enemy you can feel the triggers kick back at you as you fire the guns. I feel like the haptic feedback and adaptive triggers are really a wonderful addition to the gaming world. It's such a simple thing to some but I truly find it incredible and it's not a feature that will suddenly stop impressing me anytime soon and when a developer uses it so effectively it truly transforms the game and brings a whole new dynamic to the table. I think for me, it truly excites me because in 20 years of gaming, it really is wonderful to see the developments in technology being used so well. I really feel like we’re at a point where features like this will begin to revolutionise the way that we engage in games and the ways in which we find our immersion in games. The use of these features by the developers so early in the PlayStation 5’s life cycle really shows just how much more we can look forward to as more developers take advantage of these features.
Having not really played a lot of aerial based games throughout my life, I found the combat a little bit tricky to get into so I wasn’t quite the majestic falcon that I hoped to be and due to my struggles with nailing down the various controls, I really struggled to manage things like my stamina. I often found myself flying around in circles and doing a barrel roll by complete accident and facing the completely opposite direction - I’m sure you're now beginning to understand where my earlier comments about motion sickness stem from.
I think what I really appreciated about The Falconeer is how it really appears like a typical aerial combat, dog-fight game but at the same time it is completely set apart from the other games in the genre by the fact that you're piloting a warbird rather than a plane. The story-line also sets this game apart from others in this genre. If you're a fan of games like Crimson Skies and Aces of the Pacific, I feel like The Falconeer will fit your criteria but will be lovely and, I like to think, welcome change from the norm.
Lj's Rating: 3.5 soaring warbirds out of 5.