I’ve always been a sucker for top-down shooters, such as the aforementioned Crusader series and Killzone: Liberation. Likewise, I’ve also been a sucker for all things low and mid-budget, whether it be games, movies, or music. Combine a mid-budget top-down shooter with a loot fest like Diablo II along with a sprinkling of RPG elements, and what you get is Greed: Black Border.
The storyline is mildly interesting, but I found it hard to care about what was really going on; most of my enjoyment with Black Border came strictly from the gameplay. There are three different classes you can play, each one centered around close range, mid range, and far range combat. The number of different builds you can put together is immense…however, once you find a strategy with a particular class that you like, you will find yourself dumping all your points into only two or three skills. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as each point you put in a skill raises its effectiveness between 5% and 15%. If you stick with only a few skills, you can very quickly build up your character to become a walking tank. Black Border isn’t necessarily an easy game, but if you play smart you can get pretty far before your first death.
While Black Border’s textures won’t wow you, the lighting and shadow effects are top notch. The environment slowly feels like it’s closing in on you, and despite many wide-open spaces and large rooms, feeling claustrophobic is not an uncommon emotion. Sound design is also very well done; I played the entire game with my Audio Technica ATH-AD700s, and the extra-wide sound stage made the game go from “creepy” to “intense”. The distant scraping of robots, the muffled shuffling of zombies, and the explosion of sound as gunfights erupt in hallways all sound fantastic. The script and the voice acting are both fairly cheesy, yet just like a B-movie, they are still entertaining.
Black Border definitely has some faults, and there are a few things here and there I would love to tweak, but this is still a really fun game that is worth your time and money. I personally have just been playing it in between other gaming sessions, and that’s been working out well (we’re currently playing Deathspank and Super Mario Galaxy 2, while I’m playing through inFamous.) Recommended!