Monday, March 26, 2012

Greed: Black Border

Next on my list is Greed: Black Border. Just going alphabetically here. This one is an action RPG, right? Hack and slash? I do like hack and slash.

There's a multiplayer, but I don't have a second player, so single player it is. Jumping right in, I get to choose a character: short-range Pyro, mid-range Space Marine, or long-range Plasma. Pyro it is!

Right off the bat there's a problem. I don't know how to move. The WASD keys just make me leap around and...oh. Oh, I see. You move by clicking. So how do you shoot? Oh, you mean I click to shoot, too? Okay, so I hold the mouse button in a direction to move in that direction, or click on a location to move to that location. And to fire, I can either click on the enemy or shift-click in the direction I want to shoot. So...uh...that's a really crappy control scheme. It's the sort of controls you see on an iPad game because it has a touchscreen and no keyboard or mouse. But this is a computer game, and I have a keyboard and mouse, and I would like to use the keyboard to move and the mouse to shoot please, if that's okay. Can I at least change the settings?

No? Really? I can't customize the controls for moving? Seriously? Sigh...well, I'll try to settle into this control scheme, but it's really clunky.

Like, I got to this part where there's these enemies who shoot at you, right? And the dodge is too slow to actually avoid their shots, because if you dodge too soon they just fire at where you end up, and if you wait until after they fire, your dodge is too slow to actually dodge their plasma bolt. So what you want to do is run around them in circles and shoot them with the flamethrower. But you can't move and fire simultaneously. This is totally awkward.

See, look, I died because I couldn't get used to the controls. That's me, dead. Ow. This game feels like it was designed to be played on a tablet. Well, I'm not playing it on a tablet, so it's really awkward.

Now how do I get through this door?

Oh, aha! I can sneak through an air vent. At least I think it's an air vent.

Okay. That makes sense. Sneaking around the abandoned facility, fighting killer robots and zombies? There are zombies for some reason. Well, Everything's Deader with Zombies, right? Sure.

Somewhere around this point I gained a level! Excellent. Let's unlock this activated attack that makes a flame wave thingy:

...Actually, I have no idea how to activate this attack. I tried button-mashing and it didn't work. A little confused here.

Oh well.

I do like the way this level-up tree looks. Each of these abilities has multiple tiers, so you can sink lots of points into just one, or branch out and dabble in several. And as you can see from the tree image, there's a tech tree thing where you have to unlock some abilities before others. It seems like a good leveling system. You also get stat points that you manually distribute towards HP, energy, and shields.

By the way, they said it was hack and slash, but you don't actually hack or slash. It's really just a top-down third-person shooter, which is significantly less cool.

Well, I kept going some more and gained another level, so I unlocked regeneration.

It lets me automatically restore HP when I'm idle outside of combat. So, hey, this seems a little overpowered. This is one of those games where the enemies don't respawn and you're exploring the map. So there's all these lulls in between combats. Basically this is getting me up to full health after every encounter. That's a pretty big difference from scrounging for health stations like I was before. Maybe it gets tougher later on?

Anyway, I ran up against this area where there are these laser...heat ray spotlight thingies? I don't know what they are, but if I touch them, I blow up. And I'm pretty sure I have to run past them to get to the other side. So I tried and...I blew up.

See, look, I'm dead. So I tried again and died again. Tried again, died again. This is hard. There's so many of them and they pretty much kill me instantly. Am I supposed to find a switch to disable them?

Well, I don't know, because it's been an hour and I'm calling it a night for this game. The controls are very clunky and that annoys me. This is a shame because the gameplay is otherwise pretty decent...the leveling system is nice and the exploration stuff isn't bad (at least, not yet--it might get boring later, who knows) and if you overlook the clunky controls the combat's fine too. So it's not the worst. Maybe I'll try it again some other time. Maybe not. I'll sleep on it and see how I feel later. Hopefully I'm just being dumb and I overlooked an obvious option that lets me change the controls.

By the way, I know that the title is talking about like a border as in a frontier between two territories, but I can't read "Black Border" without thinking of Magic: The Gathering cards. I'm not the only one, am I?

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