According to Wikipedia, Grey Goo is:
“A hypothetical end-of-the-world scenario involving molecular nanotechnology in which out-of-control self-replicating robots consume all matter on Earth while building more of themselves”
Which is pretty descriptive for Grey Goo, a real time strategy game from Petroglyph, a studio that was largely formed from the remnants of Westwood studios, the creators of the classic real time strategy series Command & Conquer, and Dune 2. These guys know how to make a good real time strategy game.
Grey Goo is set on the catchily titled planet Ecosystem 9, where we are introduced to the games three races gradually over the 15 single player missions, 5 missions per race. This doesn’t sound a lot, but each of the missions took me around an hour minimum to finish (main missions that is, the tutorial/introduction missions were about 20 minutes in length).
The first goal in each mission, no matter the race you’re playing will always be the same, to focus on building a base and to then start production of your army. Resources are gathered from numerous catalyst sites, each refinery (Beta and Humans) placed will spawn a resource collector to harvest the resource nodes, the further away the node the more harvesters are created. This enables you to have a steady stream of income coming in.
The 3 races have subtle differences and play styles.
The Beta, a group of refugees trying to rebuild their lives after almost being wiped out by “The Silent Ones”. Their aim is harvesting the catalyst needed to take them back to the stars. They are more of a jack of all trades race, good on the attack and also good with defence.
The Humans, who after exploring the galaxy and not finding anything, realised that war was pointless and so the golden age of peace and harmony began. After a probe detected the resource rich Ecosystem 9 they set out to collect the resources. They have the better defensive structures, and some nice looking tanks.
The Goo started life as an Earth made probe whose job was to discover the galaxy, and has eventually evolved into an unstoppable force, absorbing all that it comes across to replicate itself and spread further throughout the galaxy. The Goo are slightly different as they have no “base” construction units… their headquarters are living units known as the Mother Goo’s. They also have no factories. The Mother Goo’s create large and small Proteans which can be transformed into a variety of units. This makes them interesting to play for as long as there is a Mother Goo on the map you are still in the game. It also means that unlike the Humans or Betas the Goo bases are not locked to one position on the map, and can constantly move.
Each race has access to an Elite super unit. The Beta have the Hand of Ruk, a mobile floating factory capable of having 6 units garrisoned in its turrets to defend, and a small nuclear warhead launcher for attack.
Humans have the Alpha, a giant human shaped mech… think a 1000ft tall Iron Man (chest laser included)
The Goo can transform a Mother Goo into a Purger, a writhing mass of tentacles, to me this one seems the most powerful of the three… I’m quite fond of this one.
Story wise, it is a pretty standard sci-fi story. The Betas fall under attack from an unknown enemy -thought to be the silent ones. The Humans come under attack from an alien race discovered to be of Earth origin, but end up accidentally caught in a fight between both alien species on the planet Eco9. The Goo just wants to absorb everything for the greater good.
As well as the single player game, there is also the traditional real time strategy stalwart “Skirmish Mode”, which allows you to setup custom games against AI Commanders and the Multiplayer takes you online to fight against other players. Or in my case show how truly woeful you actually are. Grey Goo comes with 8 maps to play Skirmish and Multiplayer with, while this isn’t a massive choice Petroglyph have included a very comprehensive map editor combined with the steam workshop (there was no maps uploaded at the time of the review), you should not have any problems finding new and exciting maps to play.
Grey Goo looks very good, Petroglyph went to WETA Workshop to help create the visuals, in between missions some very gorgeous CGI cutscenes explain the story away from the battlefield. The script does have some groan worthy lines such as “I want every last drop of Goo destroyed!!!” delivered by the Human Commander Lucy with the straightest face possible , but I found those added to its appeal
Some missions seem impossible on your first few attempts, Mission 5 was a good example of this, within 2 minutes there was a sea of Goo crashing against my walls eventually dissolving them and everything in the base, but this leads to you rethinking your choices, what did I do wrong? Should I try a different combination of units? Maybe build this over here, put this unit there?….
And then when you realise the solution and blast through the section that has kept you raging for the last 40 minutes, and all is right in the world. Until you realise you can’t find the last Mother Goo and it starts over again…
It’s safe to say I enjoyed my time in the single player campaign.