Relatively unknown developer OuterLoop Games is bringing us Falcon Age this week, which is a PS4 exclusive with optional support for Playstation VR as well. We couldn’t resist playing it in its headset-enabled mode.
Falcon Age looks endearing on the outside and has a touching story, but what looked like “fun times with a bird pet” in the trailer footage I had seen turns out to be much deeper gameplay experience than I had been expecting – and a very pleasant surprise for Playstation VR after a few weeks of relative drought.
You play as a young women called Ara, in a land that’s been overrun by AI/robot forces who trapped you in the process. After befriending a young falcon, you manage to escape and your training begins as your aunt shows you the ropes. Since you’re from a long line of falcon-loving folk, interacting with your feathered friend plays a large role here.
Once you “graduate”, you set off on your adventure as you join the resistance against the robot invaders. This is where Falcon Age reveals itself to be a far grander experience than the trailer material (or budget-friendly price tag) suggests, since you’re doing far more than just interacting with your bird. You can do battle, explore, manipulate objects in the environment and engage with other characters.
While you can do all this in Falcon Age using a DualShock controller, I definitely recommend using a pair of Move controllers with the game. Most of the in-game actions work just fine with a gamepad, having your bird friend on your arm just works a million times better when you’re using a Move controller which tracks your arm’s movements in real time. One of my favorite things to do is to ignore the story for a bit and just play around with the bird on my arm for a minute. You can move him back and forth and up and down, but his gaze will remain fixed on you – which is incredibly cute to see and just makes you want to start talking to him.
There are also a number of surprising ways to interact with your falcon. You can join forces in combat, but there are plenty of trivial moments as well, like how the bird has the ability to draw pictures for you and the various ways you can engage with one another – sometimes to heal the bird’s injuries. You can also adorn the bird in various costumes/masks, where some of the items have an impact on the gameplay as well.
Something else that impacts gameplay are a few technical bugs, some of which can cause you to momentarily get stuck. I didn’t run into any game-breaking moments this way, but the immersion does get briefly broken in a VR environment that’s as well-designed as the one in Falcon Age. The visuals are excellent, and the animation (especially when it comes to the bird) is great as well.
Falcon Age is a wonderful debut title for OuterLoop Games and a great addition to the Playstation VR library. After a couple of games that first debuted on other platforms, it’s lovely to see another quality exclusive again. A few issues hold it back, but this is a title well worth picking up.