Fantasy aerial combat game The Falconeer is free this week on Epic

Panzer Dragoon is a game that should’ve had more of an influence than it did. If you were around when it was released you couldn’t escape it. It was everywhere and now, a couple of decades later, it’s largely forgotten. Not everyone has forgotten, however. Some games keep the torch lit, like brilliant fantasy aerial dogfight game The Falconeer which definitely pays homage to it. If that sounds like it’s something you’d be interested in, then you’re in luck – it’ll be free to keep later this week.

Now that I’ve drawn a parallel to Panzer Dragoon, let me undo it a bit. While The Falconeer does include lashings of aerial combat – at times it’s much like a plane game but with a giant bird – there’s plenty of downtime too. This is an open-world adventure, where you soar between settlements across beautiful ocean vistas to help out the people of this badly broken world. You’ll be soaking up the atmosphere more than you’ll be fighting and with a setting this beautiful – you’ll be glad to.

The world you inhabit has been torn asunder by stupid human decisions, repeatedly, through wars and far worse. As such you take to the air as a warrior of the skies, defending those who can’t defend themselves, and trying to make a difference on this largely oceanic planet. What elevates The Falconeer above many games is how it expertly weaves together setting and story. Each chapter presents you with new missions to follow and uncover, with sidequests and characters to meet, befriend, and help.

While you’re doing this, you’re constantly absorbing the mythology of the world, peering with awe at giant monuments cresting out of the sea and wondering at the scars left by those who’ve gone before. It all comes together to stir the imagination magnificently, peppered with brief combative interruptions to keep the blood flowing.

There are plenty of more amazing things about The Falconeer, least of which is this is the work of one single developer which is almost too fantastical to believe. In addition, The Falconeer marks the start of a setting to be explored in other genres of game. The second title in the series is a city builder which is already out – check out what we thought in our Bulwark Falconeer Chronicles review.

If any of this sounds appealing, then you’ll be glad to know that The Falconeer will be free to keep between Thursday July 4 and Thursday July 11 on the Epic Games Store. Head over here to check it out for yourself.

You can also take a look at our guide to the best fantasy games out there in 2024 as well as our recommendations for the best open-world games you can play.

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