Falcon Age is an immediately interesting title. Before you even chose to download the game to your PS4, it respects your time and personal preferences as a player. How does it do that? Well, it offers the option of playing with or without PSVR. I absolutely love VR and it’s fantastic to break the headset out and really get immersed in a world; it’s an absolute nightmare in terms of reviewing though. Having to blindly type notes into my phone, speak out loud and hope that dictation picks up my Scottish dialect, or simply pull the headset off and scribble everything I think is important are all additional hassles I could simply do without. With this first simple offering of choice, Falcon Age already feels like a welcoming and refreshing prospect.
This is Outerloop Games first creation; their debut on the video game stage and, from the off, I have to say they’ve made a strong first impression. The very first thing the team has nailed is creating a charming world that you actually want to experience.
From the moment I pulled my headset on and was introduced to the titular falcon, I was all in.
The game begins with the player character, Ara, locked in a jail cell by the game’s primary enemies: robots. The story then begins to unfold around you and one of your cellmates; a baby falcon. The entire game is based on the growth and development of this bond.
In a VR game being able to connect with the world and characters is immensely important. From beginning to end, the connection between you and your new birdie-bestie will offer huge motivation to play. If you have a pet in real life you’ll immediately be drawn in; if not, it won’t take long for you to fall into the game’s talons. Every time she lands on your arm or you send her off on a task, you’ll get an immense sense of pride. You are a team and every success will be shared. The game’s actual story is interesting enough to pull you from objective to objective.
Before talking about moment to moment gameplay, it’s important to note another fantastic accessibility option the game offers: Imprint mode. By using this, enemies will not notice your presence (and you can still earn the platinum). It’s brilliant for people who just want an intriguing VR experience. Teamwork is the absolute name of the game. Ara‘s baton/whip will often be used to begin most combat situations, opening up enemies or environments in order for your falcon to swoop in and unleash devastation. Combat is always a big problem in VR, the medium just doesn’t work well when there’s a lot of intense action at one time. Falcon Age will normally not require you to take on more than a few enemies at one time but when you do, it becomes a bit of a mess. There’s a lot to like here though in gameplay terms.
You’ll be able to utilize stealth to ensure that you aren’t dragged into difficult combat situations. It really helps to make you feel in control of most situations even when the task ahead is imposing. There’s a lot of content here as well. There’s side missions as well as the story and the map is open-ended to encourage exploration with some light Metroidvania elements. The crafting system is the main reason to backtrack and search for items. There are some cool customization options here that help to bring your bond with your companion alive.
All in all Falcon Age is a pretty fantastic investment. The price tag is deceiving, there’s a lot of top quality content here. There are a few issues, of course, the VR controls aren’t always responsive. Nothing is game-breaking or even distracting though.