Among the various titles that accompanied the launch of the new home consoles Microsoft products and Sony, there are productions significantly different from each other and designed to get a little closer to everyone's tastes. Between shooter, JRPG, open-world, platform and so on and so forth, there is only the embarrassment of choice, a good quality line-up - albeit deficient on the Xbox Series X side due to the absence of any exclusives sufficiently strong - among whose titles you can also come across the interesting The falconeer. The independent production created by Tomas Sala (who worked alone in the realization of the entire project) was in fact published both on the PC and on the new Microsoft gaming machines, thus carrying on his shoulders a very heavy burden, to entertain users. hungry for news and expecting only the best from Next-Gen just landed in our homes ... but will the title have lived up to expectations? To find out, all you have to do is keep reading.
On the edge of the precipice
In a world almost entirely dominated by the ocean, where various peoples live in those few lands that have not been swallowed up by the sea, entire empires have developed over the centuries, creating fortresses designed to exploit every smallest space available. With the passage of time, however, the political situation of the entire globe has gone irremediably worsening due to dry spaces to build ever smaller, and the open confrontation that now seems inevitable. It will be in this burdensome context that the story of our protagonist (indeed, ours) will begin, a falconer, lord of the sky who together with his trusted companion - a giant hawk, in fact - takes care of plowing the skies and making sure that order reigns supreme among the various peoples. That of falconers is to all intents and purposes a prestigious career to which only the most disciplined and capable fighters can aspire, with tasks ranging from simple carrying messages to a real open fight against pirates and more or less dangerous creatures.
What is evident from the first seconds in-game is the strong desire on the part of Tomas Sala to expose with great clarity and abundance of details all the socio-political context that characterizes Great Ursee (this is the name of the planet we are going to explore), even to the detriment of the protagonist himself. Each chapter of the adventure will in fact lead us to move from one falconer to another, a choice that, while on the one hand helps to give us a clear vision of the various and intriguing facets of kingdoms and peoples involved in the crisis, on the other hand it makes it difficult for the 'user become attached to the protagonists, who take up too little space on the screen to be able to express themselves with sufficient conviction. What is thus presented is a particularly interesting and engaging narrative context, albeit accompanied by a cast of characters not particularly in-depth, a very specific choice and taken with full awareness that will be able to delight many ... while dissatisfying many others.
An eagle as a friend
From a more distinctly playful point of view, The Falconeer is configured as a real shooter in the skies, where you will have to juggle fierce battles to get the better of the many dangers that will come before you. Among monstrous creatures, imposing battleships and other falconers ready to make your skin, you will be spoiled for choice, all supported by an undoubtedly successful control system that mixes the right mix of arcade and simulation, so as to offer the right amount of fun between one pirouette and the next but embellishing everything with a palpable request for control, with the end user still having to work hard to bring home the victory. The effect is undoubtedly unsettling at first, but when you become familiar with the controls it becomes possible to indulge in particularly spectacular aerial acrobatics; swoop into an opponent and finish him off by collecting some debris from the stormy ocean to use as a real missile, only to then get up in the air and end up in the heart of a storm to gain speed and sow the dangerous enemy that is at our side calcagna is a very rewarding experience.
That said, it is therefore a shame to see how the experience is plagued by a general basic monotony which is strongly felt from the very first levels. The change of character between one mission and another does not in fact lead to any real difference in practical terms, except for some upgrades that can be purchased that can offer useful bonuses: a wasted opportunity that helps to make the various fights that can be faced all too similar. between them. As if that weren't enough, the variety of situations is reduced to the bone, with the player who for almost all of the time will have to move from one point to the other on the map facing any unfortunate person who should parargli before. This lack of variety will be felt with extreme force especially in the final stages of the experience, where there is a strong lack of courage in favor of a revival of situations already seen over and over again throughout the adventure.
As regards the technical sector, on the other hand, The Falconeer makes extensive use of particularly good low-poly graphics and which helps to hide the flaws of a project supported by a budget that is anything but high. Of course, on some occasions it still happens to see some too bare environment, but the work placed in the animation sector of all the creatures present and in the play of light and shadows that characterize atmospheric events - or, again, the alternation day / night - which will present themselves in real time, contribute to offering particularly evocative glimpses, also for a particularly successful artistic direction. Finally, a convincing audio work ends it all, either for a good quality English dubbing, or for a thick effects and a soundtrack that worthily follows our events.