I am not unfamiliar with RTS games. So when Grey Goo came to me I thought “oh nice, I’ll have a nice casual campaign to play through followed by some intense multiplayer”. You know, the standard fare found in most RTS games. The campaign or story mode acts as the tutorial to prep you for the much more competitive multiplayer. So it is safe to say I underestimated Grey Goo when I selected Normal and fired up mission one.
Five minutes later I’m staring at a “Failed Mission” screen, mouth agape and completely baffled. Yet at the same time I didn’t feel cheated, simply beaten. The strategies used by the AI were better than mine, and I lost. So I fired it up again, this time fifteen minutes later I’m staring at that screen. Grey Goo and I were at war and I was loving it! Each mission required multiple goes as I slowly taught myself the different strategies available to me as I got to play each of the three forces throughout the story. Even now after playing through, I know I still have plenty to learn.
Basic gameplay isn’t that much different than what would be found in any other RTS. You collect resources, build and then command units, research upgrades, assemble your army, all with the end goal of eliminating your opponents. What is unique is a fantastic hotkey system for constructing all of your buildings and units. It’s really convenient and easy to learn, using Q, W, E, and R to open different menus and using the same keys activate assigned buildings/units. Each faction has a unique basic structure to the way they operate. I found this to be really refreshing. This made the differences between them more than simply an aesthetic change all trying to be the fastest at the same strategy. More than simply some featured units or abilities, the core mechanic that makes each click is vastly different.
The Beta (Call themselves Mora) are the humanoid inhabitants of the planet Falkannan (referred to as Ecosystem Nine by the humans). They’re mobile and versatile, and able to set up quick bases. Smaller units can mount bigger units to add to the overall firepower of a single tank unit, making it harder to take down. The biggest of these is able to act as a factory, spitting out units as it travels along.
Humans focus on strong adaptable bases with the potential to unleash a wide variety of strategies. Each piece of the base is connected and sprawls out from the center providing a network that must be destroyed as it is invaded. Wherever there is network buildings can be added. The big gun for the humans is teleport technology, allowing them to send a regiment of units anywhere instantly.
The goo has the most direct plan of attack. Units break off or form together, self-replicating, and able to roam anywhere on the map, unhindered by obstacles. The Goo acts as its own base and factories, traveling to resource wells and absorbing directly rather than building mines. It’s ability to split off can make it difficult to track all the pieces, making for some very interesting tactics versus the standard stationary bases.
Grey Goo is one of the most visually striking games I’ve played. Petroglyph did a wonderful job creating the feel of an alien planet. It’s teeming with detail that helps immerse you into each mission. Each unit is easy to see, essential for when you are selecting large groups.
Accompanying the gameplay graphics are some absolutely stellar cutscenes that tell the story of the Beta and their encounters with the Goo, how the Humans get involved, and the origin of the Goo itself. It’s a fascinating story of how these different groups handle encountering one another.
Grey Goo is a new spin on classic RTS. Without taking anything essential away they added in new ways to play, and new strategies to manage. It’s challenging campaign will have you eyeing that Easy difficulty setting. At the same time that challenge can hinder learning the game. Phenomenal visuals will not disappoint, nor will the story found in the campaign. With the recent release of some free DLC expanding on the campaign you have even more to look forward to!
If you are looking for something fresh in the RTS genre, Grey Goo is definitely the place to go.