The Bond Between Human and Bird
I have a weird relationship with birds.
Growing up, I remember seeing someone who works with birds for a living visit my school to tell us all he knew about birds. I recall sitting in awe at the ginormous hawk that sat on his hand, it’s murderous eyes staring at my stupefied face. I always wondered how awesome (and terrifying) it would be to have a job like that.
Falcon Age allows me to take a peek into that world, without having to worry about a giant bird pecking my eye. Falcon Age originally released on Playstation last year, with a VR component. Now, the game has landed on PC and Nintendo Switch. I recently received a promotional code for the game (thanks, popagenda!) and have spent some time with the game. Here are my thoughts so far.
Falcon Age opens up in a rehabilitation facility (which is a fancy way of saying prison) where you take control of Ara. The game leads you into a sense of monotony as you’re tasked with completing things like mining chunks of ore, answering questions, going to bed only to wake up the next day and repeat the same tasks. One day, the robot you report to begins to malfunction and tries to attack you. The falcon you saved at an earlier part of the game swoops in for the rescue and, together, you both escape the prison. From here, you encounter Ara’s aunt and some rebel faction soldiers, learning that a war is brewing between the rebels and the mega corporation, ORC. It is up to Ara and her winged friend to free her people from the grips of this insidious corporation.
While the story may not be breaking new ground, the gameplay seeks new heights. What I found so interesting about Falcon Age’s initial handful of hours was how it stacks on new gameplay elements in a drip-feed manner. You learn the basics of combat through a remedial task like mining ore. Then, when you’re attacked by robots, those instincts kick in. As you learn to direct your falcon, you begin to ask yourself, “Can it pick this up”. It’s one of those games that rewards you for trying new things; something I came to appreciate in the first few hours of my time with the game.
Whereas most games build in ways to get you attached to your partner, Falcon Age does the same but in a more subtle fashion. I’m reminded of how Borderlands did this with the stealth/sniper character, Mordecai. Mordecai had a bird you could command for attacks and gathering supplies. The more you utilized Mordecai’s bird, the more you felt a bond with it. The same rings true for Falcon Age. When the game showed me how to interact with my bird, I found myself pressing Y again and again to see what new animation the bird could do. As seen above, the dab is by far my favorite. I’m looking forward to getting to know this falcon more as I play the game.
You meet Ara’s aunt early on in the game. If I’m honest, I’m not quite sure what I think about her. She comes off as bi-polar in that she’s firm and caring one moment but then blunt and direct the next. She has a strong passion for maintaining her culture and customs; something Ara seemingly does not understand nor cares about. It will be interesting to see how her character develops as the game goes on.
Needless to say, Falcon Age has it’s talons in me. Yes, that is the umpteenth bird pun in this article.
To see Falcon Age in action, check out the first 14 minutes of gameplay on our YouTube channel: