by Sergio Brinkhuis
reviewed on PC
Hack or Slash?
It seems that there is always room for one more hack&slash RPG. Ever since the release of Diablo, publishers have sought to replicate its simple gameplay mechanics hoping for similar success. I don't need to tell you that most have failed miserably. GREED: Black Border comes from the small Austrian development studio Clockstone and is yet another game vying for a place in the genreís annals.
GREED: Black Border drops the player into a dark, futuristic sci-fi setting filled with trouble that needs to be set straight. Over the last few decades, mankind has discovered how to efficiently travel through space and has established a number of colonies. This colonization brought both hardship and riches as these things often do. A new energy source called Ikarium was first seen as a godsend, solving many of mankindís biggest problems. Soon, however, it became clear that Ikarium was also very rare. Those without access to Ikarium watched those who did with great envy. Inescapably, manís greed took over, ultimately resulting in an all out war between the colonies.
You, the player, are responding to a distress signal from a ship that is aimlessly floating in space. All contact with the ship's crew has been lost and you have no idea what to expect when you board the ship in search of survivors. It does not take long before you learn that the ship has been infested by zombie-like creatures, most likely the former members of the crew. Both the zombies and the ship's defenses turn against you and are hell-bent on removing you from the ship. A killing spree ensues as you make your way to the bridge in an attempt to find out what happened.
Staying in character
Before entering the game, the player is asked to select one out of three pre-determined characters. There is no way to customize your character other than giving it a name. Each character represents a different class. The female Scientist functions as a long range sniper, the Commander fulfills the role of a soldier and the Cleaner runs around with a warm and cozy flamethrower. Unfortunately this also means that your choice of character also determines your choice of weapon. While you will find improved versions of your weapon throughout the game and can upgrade some with modules found in the field, they will always essentially be the same weapon.
Once you have made your choice, you enter the cargo area of the derelict ship. From here you start puzzling your way through the game, or perhaps start being puzzled - by - the game. While one expects simple mechanics from a hack&slash game, GREED's gameplay takes you back to the days when gaming was only just becoming popular. The game consists of almost entirely of the same three phases. The first is 'open door', the second is the ever predictable 'shoot everything in sight' and you close the all too familiar sequence with 'gather loot before proceeding'. Sure, you will need to find the occasional key for a specific door or solve a puzzle here and there, but none of these are particularly challenging or interesting for that matter.
Lives up to its low price point.