Released at the perfect time for the launch of the new Xbox, The Falconeer has taken flight for the Xbox Series X, the Xbox One and the PC. Flying on the back of a giant falcon, you’ll be taking on missions for money in order to upgrade your birds and your gears in order to fly into even greater dangers in an open world known as The Great Ursee.
Starting off with a brief tutorial to give you the basics of flight and combat, you’ll soon be able to go ahead and select the chapter you want to play and then simply go for it. The formula is actually pretty simple. You can either fly around the world at your own pace, accept missions for money to buy mutagens to upgrade your bird, or buy new weapons. Finally, you can also accept story missions if you’re at all interested in the storyline and not just being the baddest Falconeer around.
While not having taken flight recently in combat scenarios but having taken flight nonetheless, I was really happy with the control scheme that was laid out before me. While enormous, these birds could turn on a dime, slow or speed up, take the skies or dive straight down and even into the water if needed to avoid incoming fire. If I wanted to do something, I did it and that aspect felt great as I really felt like I was in control and not fighting to get something done. Add in that you gave long ranged weapons to fire at your enemies or the ability to dive down and grab mines to drop in front of ships in the water or on top of ships in the air? The skies are literally yours to conquer.
It’s outside of these combat scenarios however that I found things to be a tad empty and even bland. Graphically, The Falconeer is gorgeous to look at as you can literally fly from dusk till dawn and see all of the colors between. That said, there’s nothing much to do while you do this. If you just want to fly to explore you can let your bird decide for itself how to fly and it’ll gently glide left and right basically taking the long route. If you want to go fast you can climb and even “boost” but you’ll need to dive back down to regain parts or all of your boost meter.
Otherwise it’s mostly just water that you’ll be seeing and friendly NPCs flying or sailing by. Pirates for the most part I was only ever encountering while taking on a mission, and more often than not, they were being a pain in my wings and my wallet as they would shoot my cargo out from under me costing me five actual minutes of flying which was now for nothing making me very reluctant to pick those missions up. Instead, what I would do is take on salvage or hunting missions which are basically seeking & destroying allowing me to casually fly back and report the outcome. If I survived of course.
More often than not you’ll be outnumbered and often outgunned making it very important to judge your rate of success in order to buy new weapons and mutagens that will increase various aspects of your bird’s performance. Defense, flight speed, and health regeneration can be affected as the actual attack power is based off of the weapons that you buy. It’s not an overly complicated system, but it is expensive so if you do find yourself unable to pull off some of these missions you may want to go and actually do a story based mission as often you’ll have at least some assistance making it more than a 1vX and instead a 2v or 3v whatever the event is going to throw at you.
And other than the vast empty space that you can fly through, which while I get as this is an open world, my bigger issues lay with the fact that you could lose money to the pirates that take you down making it a bit hard to get into the groove of things in the beginning. Before getting a few mutagens equipped, before getting a more powerful long ranged weapon, and before upgrading the ammunition tanks to do more than just the basics, it’s just hard to get anything done as you really can’t take a hit or even give one making it a bit tougher to do the side missions in order to be better equipped for the story. It’s a good thing that the story does offer allies as I did have to use them in the beginning before being able to take the glory for myself!