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E3 2014: Grey Goo

Posted on June 12, 2014 AT 03:30pm

Publisher Grey Box
Developer Petroglyph
Platform PC
Release Date Q4.2014
You can read the rest of our Opinionated Guide to E3 2014 or head to our E3 hub for even more coverage.

The Rundown

This RTS from Petroglyph is looking to head back to the core of the genre and build an experience that’s equal parts varied, accessible, and strong on the fundamentals. The three races have been designed by the ground up to accommodate some of the most common playstyles in the genre at the most basic level. Humans are natural turtles, able to build up a large interconnected base and exert force in powerful pushes. The Beta balance infrastructure with expansion and aggression. The Goo—in a pretty crazy twist—don’t have any buildings whatsoever. Instead, they’ve got a single mother unit that’s mobile, able to absorb resources and produce units, including other Mother Goos.

The Verdict

You should know, right off the bat, that I’m not the best person to pass judgment on an RTS. After repeated attempts to get into Command & Conquer and Starcraft, I’ve all but given up hope of ever being decent in the genre. Though I’ve never bothered to check, I’d wager my average APM numbers somewhere in the high single digits. I get flustered easily when it comes to balancing macro and micro. I fumble with the camera. I’m about as far from Jaedong as it gets.

But I’ll be damned if I didn’t have a blast playing Grey Goo. In fact, I’d say it’s the most fun I’ve ever had playing an RTS. Going with the Goo allowed me to focus on the things I was best at without feeling like the game was dumbed down in the slightest. I mean, I still sucked at most things, but it was a manageable sucking. For the first time, I could see myself sticking things out long enough to actually learn the game (and, by extension, the genre). And it wasn’t just the race design that made me feel that way. The interface is full of neat little touches that make your life easier, like being able to build a unit, select it, and send it to a battle you’re in the middle of without ever having to move the camera off of the front.

Obviously, my near-global ineptitude means I can’t rightly comment on the potential for depth and high-level play in Grey Goo, but everything I was told—and that I was able to glean about the caliber of the design—leads me to suspect it’s got that too. Plus, even if it ends up turning off the ultra-hardcore crowd, I can definitely see this game finding a market with noobs like me and mid-level players who won’t be making an appearance on Korean television anytime soon.

Josh Harmon, Associate Editor
Josh Harmon picked up a controller when he was 3 years old—and he hasn't looked back since. This has made him particularly vulnerable to attacks from behind. He joined EGM as an intern following a brief-but-storied career on a number of small gaming blogs across the Internet. Follow him on Twitter @jorshy. Meet the rest of the crew.

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