When I first heard of Grom it was presented as a mixture of Metal Gear Solid, Commandos, Zelda and Diablo. A light-RPG with a lot of adventure-elements. Originality is something that isn’t used too often in the gaming industry, a new type game like Grom could change that attitude. On the other hand, the number of successful hybrids is rather small, mostly because none of the combined genres are well worked out. Let’s take a look to see if Grom has the same problem.
The game is set during World War 2, but except for that, the storyline is rather unpredictable. You are a Polish colonel named Grom (didn’t guess that, did you?) who escaped from a prisoner-camp and spends his days in Tibet with a friend as a travelling merchant. During one of his journeys he witnesses a German Blimp and this is where the story begins. The Germans are looking for an ancient super weapon that is hidden somewhere in Tibet. Your mission is to stop those Nazi’s.
The engine used for Grom is partially 2D, partially 3D. The models of the figures are 3D en are rendered on a two dimensional background. The game has a cartoon-like display, the heads are way too big and the characters are almost caricatures. The locations are pretty ambient but you can’t call them hyper realistic.
The interface looks unnecessary complicated to me and the gameplay pretty unbalanced, I’ve never experienced the feeling that I was in control, the characters never seemed to follow my commands.
Although the screenshots might give you another impression, the combat system didn’t feel like the system used in the commandos serie. You’ve got an inventory and some weapons but the realtime combat is rather comparable to the hack-‘n-slash genre. It’s possible to control up to 5 characters depending on the storyline. All characters have their own skills and are specialised in their most beloved weapons. The more you use a weapon, the better you can handle it.
Something that’s bugging me in the game is the fact that you’ll have to kill all enemies in a map to leave the map. It happened more than once, I silently sneaked past a couple of guards and I had to return because some enemies were still living. So long the Metal Gear Solid influence.
The influences of the adventure genre is the only thing that’s worked out rather well. Especially at the beginning it’s mostly talking to people instead of killing them. This adventure-genre part is the best part of the game, the dialogues are full of humour (although some of it is lost because of bad translations) and well written.
Grom is filled with mini-games – sometimes they’re fun – which can help you to gain some extra money.
The story is completely linear, you always get one assignment which you’ll have to do to go on in the game. When you leave a level you can choose on a map of Tibet your next destination. You can go back to places where you’ve been before but sooner or later (mostly sooner) you’ll have to go to the destination they told you to go.
The AI of Grom is typical for the game, simply unfinished. Some enemies hear your footsteps from a distance of 5 km while other enemies don’t even hear you when you shoot their friends a meter next to them. But since you can’t control all your characters all the time, the AI is pretty frustrating when you want to attack someone. Sometimes they’re a second Rambo but when they’re being attacked they’re not always reacting. That’s why the combats are pretty chaotic and you’ll lose control although you’ve got an pause-function where you can correct some things.
The sound of Grom is rather bizar, you can hear many dialogs but not all of them. The choice of which dialog is spoken and which not isn’t clear. It seems to be randomly chosen but when it’s spoken, it’s rather well done to my opinion. The background sounds are ambient but I’d call it average.
In conclusion: Grom is a game with a big potential, it has a great, funny story and I often had the feeling that it could have been really great. But there are too many errors and things that could have been done better. The graphics are ok but haven’t got a lot of shocking special effects. The combats are often unbalanced and unnecessary complicated while the story is too linear and the AI rather bad.
I’m afraid Rebelmind wanted to combine too many genres and didn’t integrate any of them well. The game has lots of gameplay elements but they’re almost all too unbalanced to make Grom a great game.