Despite some flaws, I was pleasantly surprised by the choice-heavy narrative and more action-heavy gameplay of GreedFall when the RPG came out in 2019. Now, players have the chance to take on once more the role of a colonist from a plague-riddled old world and return to the often bewitching and dangerous Teer Fradee in the expansion The De Vespe Conspiracy. The question is whether or not this new conspiracy makes it worth dipping your toes into GreedFall again, and the answer depends more on your fondness for the base game since the DLC doesn’t stray from the formula. The expansion naturally fits into the lore of GreedFall and offers more insight into the Congregation of Merchants, but it isn’t essential to help you understand or enjoy the base game either. I was happy with the opportunity it afforded me to return to Teer Fradee myself, but your mileage may vary.
In the expansion, players continue in the role of De Sardet, the intrepid Legate of the Congregation of Merchants’ New Serene settlement. De Sardet and their companions receive some troubling news during the height of their search for De Sardet’s cousin, Constantin d’Orsay: a rival, infamous noble family within the Congregation have traveled to Teer Fradee, establishing a camp on an as-of-yet unexplored area of the island. De Sardet sets out to meet with their leader, princess Aurelia De Vespe, only to discover that she has come to the island to marry De Sardet’s cousin. Such a union could hopefully ease tensions between the two familial factions, but things are definitely not as they seem when it comes to the nefarious De Vespe family. De Sardet and their allies soon find themselves embroiled in a game of intrigue and deceit that could very well endanger both the old and new world.
The De Vespe Conspiracy is a true add-on to GreedFall in every sense of the word, and it fits into the game’s already established narrative as if it were a missing puzzle piece you just found hidden under a couch cushion. Everything I said in my review of the base game in terms of gameplay and story presentation remains unchanged here. Combat is still a more streamlined, action-oriented affair with helpful button shortcuts. You can still craft valuable items and upgrade equipment, and there is a wide range of innate skills and talents at your disposal that you can use to tailor your gameplay experience more to your taste, just like in the base game. You’ll also make use of the game’s convenient fast travel mechanic often, as the expansion has you maneuver throughout many different locales. Those who liked the base game will most likely find more to enjoy throughout its short duration, but those who didn’t enjoy GreedFall more than likely won’t change their opinions with this expansion. If you purchase or upgrade to the next-gen Gold Edition, the expansion is already included, but those who aren’t fortunate enough to access this and who already have the base game can still buy and play the DLC if they want to.
There are two ways to access the DLC once it is acquired. You can start up a new game and play until you reach a particular quest in the story, or for those like me who have already finished the game, you can load your last save, and a new prompt to initiate the quest becomes available at camp. I have to give the developers credit for this clever way that ensures even those who have already played through the title can jump into the expansion without having to start over from scratch, though you do face the possibility of being over-leveled for the DLC this way. By going back after beating the game, the plotline involving the De Vespe family doesn’t seamlessly flow into the narrative juncture given the urgency established regarding Constantin’s actions, but you can readily return to the final phase of the game once you’ve finished things up with the expansion, so you don’t miss too much.
The DLC offers a new area to explore, complete with a handful of new enemies, the most distinguished of which are large, bipedal feline creatures. It seems as if Spiders took remarks about GreedFall‘s lack of enemy variety to heart. However, I would still say there aren’t many different enemy types in The De Vespe Conspiracy. Your new human foes, for example, fight mostly the same as any other human combatant despite differing gear. The new area happens to be sacred ground for the indigenous peoples of Teer Fradee, and as the De Vespe family have made camp there, political tensions run high. As you must travel to the different settlements on missions and thoroughly explore the new region to complete the expansion, you encounter all of the various factions on the island, and I was impressed with how they were all involved in the story. The new characters are interesting, with Aurelia being a standout antagonist. Likewise, I enjoyed the narrative prominence of New Serene residents Lady Laurine of Morange and Sir De Courcillon throughout the DLC. I also immensely appreciated that party members seem to have a lot more to say and comment on during the expansion.
Throughout The De Vespe Conspiracy, you must complete numerous quests. Some rely on continued diplomacy, others on tracking people, combat, or even stealth. The variety of missions and objectives meant that none of the quests felt like a mere copy of the other which helped the playthrough not feel stagnant. The ending to the DLC is also satisfactory, and I enjoyed seeing the mentions of what happened with it being added to the summary scenes of the game’s finale, even if they didn’t have a dramatic impact overall.
Given that The De Vespe Conspiracy is essentially a return to form, I don’t really have too many flaws to note. At roughly four to six hours long, I managed to complete it and see the ending of the game again on the same day I downloaded it, so the expansion could be seen as too short, depending on your preference. Also, while the story offers quite a bit of insight into some of the characters and the lore, certain cast members who are mentioned quite prominently throughout the DLC remain conspicuously absent, Constantin being the most prominent. And like in the base game, there are some noticeable moments where the subtitles don’t always quite match what is being spoken, though I found it easy to get past and correct it in my head. But that’s about it when it comes to the negatives. Even playing the expansion on my base PS4, the DLC ran smoothly and without any noticeable glitches.
Since I enjoyed GreedFall, I ended up rather liking this chance to return to Teer Fradee, even if it was only for a short excursion. Whether or not that’ll be the same for others depends on their overall fondness for the base game. If you’re new to GreedFall and playing through Gold Edition, I’d recommend playing through The De Vespe Conspiracy when the initial quest opens up, as it really does just expand upon the story. Those who are picking up the base game for the first time on last-gen consoles might want to wait until they’ve progressed a bit to see how they feel about GreedFall in general, given that the DLC on those platforms is around an additional seven dollars. Still, The De Vespe Conspiracy is a solid addition to GreedFall for those eager for a return trip and more of the same.