PC

  News 
  Reviews
  Previews
  Hardware
  Interviews
  All Features

Areas

  3DS
  Android
  iPad
  iPhone
  Mac
  PC
  PlayStation 3
  PlayStation 4
  Switch
  Vita
  Wii U
  Xbox 360
  Xbox One
  Media
  Archives
  Search
  Contests

 

Grey Goo

Score: 95%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Grey Box
Developer: Petroglyph
Media: Download/1
Players: 1 - 2 (Online)
Genre: Real-Time Strategy


Graphics & Sound:

At a time where MOBAs seem to dominate the RTS market, how do you update 90ís era RTS mechanics and make them relevant to a modern audience? If Grey Goo is any indication, you donít have to do much. Firmly rooted in Command & Conquer style gameplay (and developed by some Westwood vets), Grey Goo is an immensely fun throwback for any strategy player.

Grey Goo looks great. Units and maps are incredibly detailed, sometimes to the detriment of gameplay. You need a powerful machine to get the most out of Grey Goo, but my machine was still able to handle the game with only a few framerate hiccups. I especially like how the terrain isn't just around for eye candy, and can be used for strategic gain, such as hiding units in tree lines.

The Campaign features a lot of rendered cut scenes. Though the story itself isnít incredibly impressive, the animation and overall look of each story sequence is surprisingly good. The characters are a bit on the "sci-fi stock" side, but stand out visually as something unique.

Sound design goes hand-in-hand with the visuals. Although nothing really stands out as particularly memorable (other than the Betaís voices, which can get annoying), nothing seems out of place either. All in all, itís fantastic presentation all around.


Gameplay:

The first big hurdle any player will need to get over is the name, Grey Goo. Without any other information, the title is more likely to evoke images of an off-beat indie game than an RTS. The title actually refers to a doomsday scenario involving self-replicating nanotechnology run amok. In the case of Grey Goo, these machines represent one of the three races players control over both the Campaign or in Multiplayer matches.

Set sometime in the far-flung future, humans have mastered space travel, bringing them into contact with a group of insectoids, called the Beta, as well as the replicating micro-machines. As these things tend to go, the three donít hit it off and go to war. The conflict plays out over the course of 15 missions, with players controlling a different faction over small 5-mission acts. Without much room to work with, the story plays out incredibly fast, jumping from plot point to plot point with just enough room to breathe. As sci-fi tales go, Grey Goo isnít amazing, but the writing is sharp enough, and interesting enough, to keep you involved, especially since you canít jump right into multiplayer

The Campaign also doubles as a tutorial for each faction, teaching the basics of base building and combat with each race. Although the differences between the two humanoid races arenít that different, playing as the Grey Goo is completely different. Mission flow tends to follow the same basic flow: you learn about some aspect of the faction and then must couple that skill with previously learned skills to complete a mission objective. Itís standard stuff. Although you come out of each act with a firm handle on how each faction works, the structure is repetitive and gets a bit boring during long stretches of play.

Solo missions are one-shot deals taking place on one of the multiplayer maps, each giving you a different goal, such as destroying everything on the map or only specific structures. These are fun, especially for when youíre trying out new factional tactics and want to keep your win/loss record intact.


Difficulty:

Multiplayer is multiplayer Ė it all depends on the skill level of who youíre playing and a lack of dumb decisions on your part. In terms of balance, the three factions seem evenly matched. Iím sure some players are sure to find something over time, but as far as I could tell at the time of this writing, things seem okay given each factionís advantages and disadvantages. For example, the Goo is an ideal early game faction given its quick unit production. However, these advantages absolutely hurt the Goo late game given the amount of micromanagement required to keep track of numerous units and bases.

Campaign matches, on the other hand, are a massive challenge Ė sometimes to the point of frustration. Even though missions are really just extended tutorials, the A.I. doesnít treat them as such. It is incredibly aggressive and rarely gives you an opportunity to relax. Missions can quickly break down into frantic mouse swipes and keystrokes as you try to execute combat and production orders. It became fairly obvious early on I wasnít going to blast through the Campaign and would eventually need to replay some missions multiple times. Casual RTS players will want to exercise some caution, but if youíre the type of player that loves fast-paced RTS play, itís an absolute blast.


Game Mechanics:

Unlike other RTS games, Grey Goo is based around one resource, which fuels everything from base building to troop construction. Although each faction has its own units, they share enough similarities that jumping between the three isnít a drastic change. The primary differences involve base construction. Humans follow the more standard setup. Thereís a central base that collects resources, which are pumped out to other buildings, which let you construct base elements and units.

The humans specialize in defensive structures, such as powerful turrets, which is important to keeping your base intact. The supply lines streaming from the central base is key to everything, similar to a Protoss Pylon, so you need to protect them at all costs. Their defensive abilities become even more necessary in the late game when youíre forced to collect resources from far-flung sites. Humans do get the option to teleport, which is an advantage, though once your supply lines are cut, it is hard to recover.

Jumping over to the Beta, their bases arenít as tethered and follow a playstyle even more rooted in traditional RTS factions than the humans. Structures can stand on their own, but require add-ons to perform different functions. Unlike their human counterparts, the Beta are the more aggressively-focused group, though they also have some of the more powerful units in the game Ė giving them a slight edge over the other two factions.

The Goo offers a completely different, and far more micromanaged and mobile, style of play. Everything stems from the Mother Goo, which sits on your resource pool. Over time the Mother Goo replicates, spitting out smaller Goo based on how long it is allowed to rest. The longer the Mother is allowed to wait, the larger and more powerful its offspring. Itís simple, but the number of tactics it offers is amazingly satisfying Ė especially when compared to the more traditional humans and Beta. As the Goo, you have to keep on the move as you consume resources. Thereís no permanent base setup or varied structures. You are your base, so it is always under attack.

Anyone hankering for the old style games from Westwood and Blizzard needs to download Grey Goo as soon as possible. Even though the Campaign does drag a bit due to difficulty issues, Grey Goo is an outright great strategy game.


-Starscream, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ricky Tucker

Minimum System Requirements:



OS: 32-bit Windows 7; Processor: 3.5 GHz Intel Core i3 Dual Core or equivalent; Memory: 4GB; Graphics; 1024 MB DirectX 11 capable video card; DirectX: 11; Hard Drive: 15GB
 

Test System:



OS: Windows 8.1; Processor: Intel Core i7 2.2Ghz; Memory: 8GB; DirectX: 11; Hard Drive: 500 GB

Related Links:



Windows Tristoy Sony PlayStation Vita Atelier Ayesha Plus: The Alchemist of Dusk

 
Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated