2010 has got off to a great start. With all these big games to play, it easy to miss the small “indie” games.
This is where Greed: Black Borders comes in, developed by ClockStone Software and available on the PC. It’s a top down RPG akin to the likes of Diablo and Torchlight, but does it hold its own with such fierce competition?
Greed is set in the future, where a resource known as Ikarium has allowed the humans to reach for the stars. Sadly however, like all things that go up, they must come down. Humans have colonised five new worlds but, due to a shortage of Ikarium, they have fallen out with one another. You play as a character from Camulos, and have become so fed up with your home world that you go down the free agent route and now hunt down Ikarium on your own.
The story itself plays a very small role in the game. When the game starts you are boarding a deserted mining vessel that takes you to a desert planet upon which you to discover an Alien race. Sadly the five planets, other than in the intro, are barely mentioned and you could be just about any one in the universe.
Greed is an Action RPG and the game is played from a top down view-point. The camera system is good and it follows you well, rarely getting in the way, even in the tight space ship level. I did find some objects, such as breakable doors, get a bit lost in translation at times but it’s not a game killer. The bigger problem is the enemies. variety is one down side as there are only four of them (includingÂ Aliens and Zombies) and the environments are a little bland. The game, surprisingly for its genre, lacks a lot of loot. This does not sit well with me being a massive Diablo fan. The game also features a skill tree where you will gain a point per level to put towards special abilities that can help take down some of the harder foes, but its nothing to write home about.
The combat in Greed is a mixed bag. You take control of one of three classes, the pyro (short-range fire attacks), marine (medium-range machine gun attacks), and plasma-engineers (long-range plasma attacks). Attacking is the standard format for the Action RPG, Left click is for your primary fire and moving, with right-click assigned to your special attacks. This is a well used control set up for this genre, but Greed seems to not handle it so well. On my play through I was a marine and found myself on many occasions missing an enemy by an inch and moving next to them, getting myself in all sorts of problems (a problem the pyro does not have). This may be due to unit hit boxes being too small or this genre being harder to pull off with a “shooter” but needless to say it does cause moments of frustration .
This is where greed does well. The game looks great. The lighting is good in places and does a good job of highlighting enemies. I found this is at its best on the mining ship where the main light source is also a high explosive which, if used correctly, can be a big help to taking down the groups of enemies. The overall style does a good job of leading you towards objectives with good lighting and visual affects. This comes into play when enemies spawn aswell, with the walls opening to let you know you have a new wave of enemies to fight.
The game wont require the latest PC to play it either, the minimum settings are mid range these days, but to play on the higher settings you will need something a bit faster.
So, in conclusion, Greed: Black Border is a mixed bag. It’s a game with a story that you won’t remember or care much for, that is really only there out of necessity more than reason. It features a good, if slightly flawed, gameplay experience, with a standard fare of click and kill action. But it is missing some action RPG hallmarks, such as loot and quests. The game looks decent and sounds good.Â Greed: Black Border is a budget title currently available for around Â£15 or $20. If you are still unsure, I recommend trying a demo before hand.
This review was written by David Hollingsworth, editor of GeekMandem
This game was provided for review by GamersGate