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Platform

PC

 

Genre

Action RPG

 

Publisher

Meridian 4

 

Developer

ClockStone Studio/ HeadUp Games

 

ESRB

RP

 

Released

N/A

 

 

- Decent visuals

 

 

- Clunky controls

- Lackluster sound

- Ridiculous checkpoint system

- Atrocious character advancement scheme

- Inconsistent degree of challenge

 

 

Review: Space Siege (PC)

Review: Torchlight (PC)

Review: Dragon Age: Origins (PC)

 

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Greed: Black Border

Score: 4.0 / 10

 

greed black border          greed black border

 

A while back, I reviewed Space Siege for Armchair Empire, and it turned out to be a lackluster game in spite of its pedigree.  When the assignment for Greed: Black Border came to me, the thought occurred I might be in some weird sci-fi causality loop.  Thankfully, that is not the case, if only because  Greed somehow manages to underwhelm even more.

 

Rather than a full 3D environment with controllable camera, Greed goes with a locked isometric view a la Diablo II.  It's an interesting choice and one that has its benefits and its liabilities.  On the plus side, it gives the developers a little more

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freedom in terms of creating detailed environments.  In this respect, Greed does a good job.  The environments are detailed, which speaks to the talents of the artists.  The down side to locked isometric views is that they require transparency or clipping of the walls when the character gets too close.  The clipping for Greed is passable, but not by any means perfect.  The visual

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effects are equally passable, nothing earth shattering, but hardly the worst effects ever seen.

 

Much like the graphics, the overall sound work is solid but nothing great.  I would dearly like to point out anything that's even remotely noteworthy or special about the sound in this game, but the truth is that nothing stands out.  The voice work does nothing to make me feel any sort of affinity for the characters nor help draw me into the world.  The explosions and weapons fire doesn't get my pulse pounding.  The fact that it's cleanly recorded does nothing to recommend it.

 

If the sound is uninspiring and the visuals are decent, Greed's gameplay is definitely sub-par.  The developers seem to have completely forgotten the idea of what constitutes a passive skill and the mechanic of forcing a player to have only one passive skill operating at any given time is aggravating as hell.  The controls are simple enough, but the dodge mechanic is clumsy.  The amount of inventory space for your character is ridiculously small and without any obvious means of selling off gear, you are bound to be leaving gear behind you in a trail of obsolete crap before you even finish the first level.  The fact that your characters are essentially tied into a single type of weapon is not only frustrating but absolutely guts any sort of meaningful or interesting character development.

 

greed black border          greed black border

 

The three character archetypes presented can be boiled down not to play styles like summoner, tank, or buff/debuff, but down to poorly defined range increments of close, medium, and long.  Rather than employing a save system, Greed uses a save point/checkpoint system that would be more likely to be found in a console JRPG than a Diablo clone, though the save points in most JRPGs I've played aren't nearly this obtuse.

 

The degree of challenge is wildly inconsistent.  Some parts are a cakewalk, some are a teeth grinding slog.  The array of enemies is lackluster and uninspiring.  The storyline, much like the characters, has all the life and vigor of a wet noodle.  The end result is a game that is deadly dull.  For any dungeon crawl, it's the worst sort of sin imaginable.

 

It's always a possibility that a game can be worse than a previously established low water mark.  I've played it so you don't have to.

 

- Axel Cushing

(February 12, 2010)

 

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