Gray Goo review - classic RTS in a beautiful setting

Author: Mateusz Araszkiewicz
Date: 2015-01-30 15:05:00
The review was based on the PC version.

Command & Conquer , Age of Empires , Total Annihilation - the glory days of classic ertees are long gone. If the 1990s was the Gold Age, today we live in the Bronze Age - the market is dominated by one colossal production and games like Company of Heroes set the accents differently than 20 years ago. Will Gray Goo satisfy the hunger of fans?

I mentioned the Command & Conquer series for a reason. The creators from the Petroglyph studio, responsible for Gray Goo , are largely people who have eaten their teeth in the production of real-time strategy. They dipped their fingers in the legendary saga of Tiberium, and then, under the aegis of a new studio, they created two very good titles - Star Wars: Empire at War and Universe at War . Here, at every step, you can feel that behind the project is a group of veterans who wanted to reflect the atmosphere of RTS from almost 20 years ago in a modern setting.

Gray Goo is therefore aimed at a fairly small group of hardcore fans of classic real-time strategies. We will not find StarCraft dynamics or the momentum and depth of Total War here . Nevertheless, when trying to recreate the mechanics of old games of this genre, it works very well. Most importantly, Gray Goo is fun for players who spent the night building bases, gathering resources and recruiting hundreds of units. Importantly, it does not do it feeding only on nostalgia.

Gray Goo looks like StarCraft at first glance. As in the production of Blizzard, players are offered three different races - people, star wanderers Beta and the title Goo. Even the story games are similar. Two initially hostile races have to face a third, extremely dangerous one. Sounds familiar? Fortunately, it does not bother you, because the story is conducted very smoothly. This is largely due not so much to the story itself as to the characters we deal with. Not only are these heroes of flesh and blood that the player can easily identify with, they are also well played. We follow the story through dialogues and great cutscenes after each mission. That's right - just like 20 years ago, our progress is rewarded with pampered cutscenes. This is a clear wink to fans of old strategies.

The gameplay is also standard. We build a base, collect raw materials, create an army and destroy the enemy. The difficulty is that the mission objectives in the campaign are varied, so we don't repeat the same pattern over and over again. We also get a few side objectives, which usually result in some profits. I write "usually" because sometimes it's not profitable to just do them. In Gray Goo, rapid development is key, and the separation of attention into secondary tasks can end tragically. The opponent attacks us quickly, constantly harassing us, looking for gaps in our defense. If we do not take care of the influx of raw materials from the very beginning, we will not create the right number of units needed to repel the first attacks. The game, however, does not require monkey dexterity, which is rather thoughtfulness.

Unlike StarCraft 2 , Gray Goo is much slower. Units take a relatively long time to build and are also quite sluggish. We also don't need to focus on micro-management, running several skills simultaneously, at least for the Beta race and humans. This is a great proposition for those who do not like the blistering pace of Blizzard's production.

The three factions we have to direct use different tactics. Beta can build their buildings almost anywhere and have and have the best line of defense. The construction is focused on the headquarters and generators, to which we add new production structures and laboratories. It should be remembered (similarly in the case of humans) that the recruitment of advanced units depends on appropriate constructions. For example: a heavy bomber needs a hangar as well as an air and artillery dock. On the other hand, people sit in one place and their structures must be connected by power nodes. Without electricity connected, the building stops working. To compensate for this disadvantage, structures can be teleported between nodes. This gives people the ability to create an increasingly advanced front, e.g. by teleporting defense cannons.

The last race, in the title, Goo, are self-replicating nanobots. It is also one of the most interesting factions we've encountered in real-time strategies. Goo doesn't need a base. Their mothers are both production and gathering units. This makes them very mobile and you can never be sure where they are at any given moment. Mothers "feed" on the raw material, and when they reach the appropriate level, they release their smaller replicas into the world. These in turn produce the correct units. This requires the player to take a different approach to classic gameplay. It requires learning - mostly from mistakes - but mastering an unusual breed is very rewarding.