Title: Falcon Age
Developer: Outerloop Games
Publisher: Outerloop Games
Genre: Action, Adventure, VR
Audience: PEGI 12
Release Date: 09/04/19
Price: £15.99 – Rapid Reviews UK were very kindly provided with a review code for this title.
What the Developers say
Falcon Age is a first-person, single-player action adventure. As Ara, learn to hunt, gather, and fight to reclaim her cultural legacy in the lost art of falcon hunting against a force of automated colonizers. Bond with a baby falcon and go on an adventure on PlayStation®4 or immersive VR with PlayStation®VR.
Take back your life
Rebel against robot colonizers and reclaim your culture
Bond with a bird companion
Name, pet, feed, teach, and dress up your falcon.
Hunt with your falcon
Various animals roam the land and can be hunted for materials.
Craft falcon snacks
Farm, hunt, and cook snacks to feed, heal and strengthen your falcon
Accessorize your falcon
Dress up your falcon with hats, scarves, and gameplay equipment like sonar and armor.
Play the story mode with optional combat
Falcon Age is playable on both PS4 and PSVR. This Rapid Review is based on the PS4 version.
Falcon Age is a first-person adventure game developed by the small, Seattle-based studio Outerloop. Your journey begins by awaking in a prison cell on a fictitious planet, colonised by an organisation known as the Outer Ring Community (ORC). ORC has stationed robots to farm the planet for resources and uses its inhabitants for manual labour. You play as one of these inhabitants, Ara, whose days consist of monotonous material gathering under the watchful eye of the enslavers. A chance encounter with a baby falcon allows you to escape from the regime and begin your training as a falcon hunter. Fighting alongside her people, Ara plots a rebellion against ORC to reclaim the land that was once theirs.
Audio & Visual
The five hours I spent completing the story was accompanied by an almost medieval soundtrack, that proved to be one of my favourite aspects of the game. Beautiful woodwind and string melodies are accompanied by a range of percussion instruments, creating a unique score that complimented the environment exceptionally well. Most of the dialogue is delivered through text bubbles, although the occasional line is voice acted. I found this middle ground to be an odd design choice, and feel that committing to either direction would have given the game more impact. The cheeps and tweets from your cute companion never become tiring, though as your bond develops, the cries and yelps it makes when taking damage from mechanical foes can be quite distressing.
Desert shades of yellow, red and brown are forever present throughout the title and help communicate the barrenness which results from the Outer Ring Community’s supply mining. Environments aren’t very detailed, and this turned me off searching for items or resources. Unfortunately, I experienced several performance issues during my time with Falcon Age and textures would regularly pop-in as I traversed the small world. I could only assume that this would break the sense of immersion if the experience were similar on PSVR.
The falcon animations, on the other hand, are excellent. Holding square allows you to interact with your bird and I never tired of giving it high fives and engaging in fist bumps with my new best friend. One issue I did have was the sheer size of the bird. Your falcon reaches full size early in the game and takes up almost half of your field of vision when resting on your arm. Combat and exploration become clunky when the falcon is in this position, so I very much welcomed the addition of an item that transformed it back to its original baby-sized form.
Gameplay & Replayability
Falcon Age’s gameplay consists primarily of combat, farming, cooking and resource gathering. The combat never poses any sense of challenge and mostly involves using your melee weapon to whack enemies over and over again. You can also send in your trusted falcon to deliver a swoop attack that kills or distracts. Cooking allows you to create buffs for your falcon or replenish its health. However, I never felt the need to do either as the enemies are a complete pushover. You can also plant the resources you gather on your farm, allowing you to grow more for your inventory. Again, I never felt the need to use the farm, but the option is there for those interested. Selling unwanted materials gives you currency to buy items to accessorise your falcon, and this is a hoot. There is a great variety of customisation on offer, from cute scarfs to bowler hats to a personal sketch pad (yes, really). I, of course, donned the cat mask, and this remained on my falcon until the credits rolled.
Despite the fun I had with my falcon, I have a few minor gripes in relation to the gameplay. It’s been a long time since I’ve played a character that had trouble navigating stairs or platforms, but Ara ended up stuttering her way down as if she had never encountered either. I am also not keen on your playable character holding out a map when you need to get the lay of the land. Similar to Campo Santo’s critically acclaimed title ‘Firewatch’, I felt this to be incredibly cumbersome and made you frustratingly unaware of your surroundings. I understand this adds to the immersion, but it just felt awkward. Falcon Age feels like it would be a much better experience if it were played on PSVR.
There isn’t a great deal on offer here in terms of replayability. You are presented with two gameplay options from the onset, one of which eliminates the need to engage in combat. There are dialogue options when engaging with NPCs, but I never felt they made an impact on the story or how characters would interact with Ara. Outwith the main objectives, mini-games offer some light entertainment. You can play a round or two of golf using your baton to whip the ball around the course, and this was quite an enjoyable break from the main path. There is also an abundance of recipes and ingredients to gather if you feel like developing your culinary expertise.
In the end, I didn’t have a lot of fun with Falcon Age. The soundtrack that accompanied Ara was excellent and customising my loyal companion resulted in several grins and giggles. The Outer Ring has done what they set out to do, stripping this world of its resources and ridding it of things to do and see. With so many incredible games on the market, and without access to PSVR, I can’t recommend Falcon Age.
Rapid Reviews UK Rating
You can purchase Falcon Age from the PlayStation Store on the following link, https://store.playstation.com/en-gb/product/EP3889-CUSA15635_00-OLGFALCONAGE0000?smcid=pdc%3Aen-gb%3Apdc-home%3Aheader-%3Anull%3A
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