By: Ted Chow
For an amply relatable acronym—GG—Grey Goo is a new RTS game in a market that has somewhat dwindled, with only larger titles such as Starcraft 2 encapsulating most of the RTS population and E-Sports scene. While one might scoff at the name, Grey Goo is actually a high production game with plenty of similarities (and also differences) to new and old entrants in the genre. If you’re looking for a new RTS to play with a solid campaign and production values, then look no further as you take your opponents by storm and have them cry GG.
If you have any experience with an RTS game, you’ll most likely feel very comfortable with the control scheme as it follows the formula rather than reinvent the wheel. Panning across the map is smooth, hot keys and key binds are readily accessible, and zooming in/out is easy to grasp.
Unit pacing is also smooth and selecting a group of units is as easy as marquee selecting the entire area. Command inputs are also read fluidly with little jittering or units colliding next to each other improperly. This is of utmost importance as positioning your units in an online match is pretty crucial and shouldn’t be fumbled due to programming errors.
Booting the game for the first time I was really impressed with the cut scenes and overall production quality of the graphical presentation. The CG and the FX were some top-notch stuff and the in-game particle effects were visually stunning to boot. Alien facial animations were well portrayed as alien humanoids, and the voice acting gave more believability and connection to these characters.
However, the most important thing was how fluid the FPS was and that is the most important factor in any RTS with many units on screen. With a great deal of other graphical options and resolution selections, you can play the game to your optimal specifications for a fluid experience.
If you have ever played Starcraft, you’ll probably be able to match the races in Grey Goo to their respective Starcraft counterparts. The design mechanic of the GG races do play similar as well with the Humans being the defensive race, the Beta as the technologically advanced aliens and the Goo rushing your enemies with sheer numbers.
There is, of course, varying degrees of unique play with these races, but the fundamentals are there, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. My favorite would have to be the Goo as they are bacterial organisms that evolve into organic creatures as part of a caste system to assimilate and consume; makes me feel better that I have a degree in Biology.
The gameplay is similar to other RTS games in which your primary objective is to collect resources, build and destroy the enemy through various win conditions. Resources work similar to games such as Total Annihilation or Supreme Commander as building units and such pull from your collective resource gathering potential and the reserve that you have built up.
Structures are built on designated hubs and certain units are only unlocked if a combination of specific structures are built upon that hub. This requires a bit of planning if you wish to build specific unit roles, army compositions or your epic units for combat. The population cap is set to the magical 200 number and various units use up different population points.
Units in the game are your bread and butter for map and resource domination. Each race offers different takes on the roles you may have become accustomed to such as tanks, infantry and air. All units play a viable role countering either different units or specific unit classes. Certain units also have unique abilities/upgrades that are unlocked via the tech tree to improve their overall combat potential. Epic units are also available for each race and require specific building conditions in order to be constructed. But when they are, their sheer epicness is completely worth the trouble.
Grey Goo comes with both online multiplayer and a single-player campaign. Multiplayer is your standard random matchmaking or tag team with another friend. You need to play a certain amount of games to be ranked on the leaderboard and from there you can climb the ladder. Unranked play is available along with LAN matches if you just want to play with your buddies.
The single-player campaign stretches across multiple scenarios and races and is quite enriching towards the greater lore of the game and why you should care for these races in the first place. The campaign also acts a great tutorial for multiplayer down the road and helps increase your overall time within the game.
Grey Goo is a solid addition to the RTS genre and provides some interesting race mechanics to help set it apart from other games of its ilk. With solid design mechanics and visual oomph, Grey Goo is a great contender to take away hours of your life. Overall, this satiates my hunger for the inevitable conclusion to Starcraft 2’s trilogy, but this game isn’t without its own merits. If you enjoy RTS games, pick this game up and give it a try.