Greed Corp is a turn-based strategy game, which is both a niche and occupied genre. Board game strategy fans already have Catan and Carcassone to deal with as well as the upcoming Risk: Factions. Then you have original games like Commanders: War of the Genos and Band of Bugs as well as reboots like Military Madness: Nectaris and Panzer General: Allied Assault on the XBLA service. For a genre that doesn't exactly have a large and wide fan base, one would think that the game would need a great gimmick to get players interested. It doesn't have that gimmick. Instead, it relies on one thing that has always made classic games stand out from the pack: fun.
Greed Corp takes place in the fictional world of Mistbound, and the game is designed to be the first entry into a world with stories that will be told through other games and media forms. The world was once a thriving place until the great quakes came. Despite these warnings from the land, the major corporations kept their mining despite the destruction all around them. Now the four factions are at war with each other, fighting to preserve what is left of the land around them or fighting for the rights to continue mining.
Regardless of the chosen faction, the basic objective of each match is always the same: be the last man standing. In order to accomplish this goal, players are given five different units to play with. You have a walker unit, which is responsible for capturing neutral and enemy territories. The armory unit gives the user the ability to build more walkers and other units. The carrier unit is used to transport walkers to other tiles not directly adjacent to the player's own territory. The cannon unit provides long-distance attack capabilities. After spending a turn loading up the cannon, players can shoot at targets halfway across the map and eliminate a good number of forces on the ground. Finally, harvesters are responsible for gaining resources at the beginning of every turn but also reducing the level of the ground.
There are really two ways to win a match. The first is to simply eliminate the enemy forces in combat and take over or destroy all of their buildings. The second, and more deceptive, method is to eliminate the ground underneath the enemy. This second method adds some strategy to the game because there are only two units that can perform this technique: cannon and harvester. Furthermore, the harvester's importance to the player makes it a double-edged sword of a weapon since it can give you cash and kill you if you don't pay attention to it. More often than not, you'll be fighting to place a harvester in enemy territory just so you can blow it up on your next turn, taking that scrap of land and the surrounding area with it. With so much that can be done with so few unit types, it becomes refreshing to see a strategy title employ a considerable amount of depth without resorting to pages upon pages of units to manage.
Greed Corp features two different modes of play. The single-player story mode has you playing as all four factions throughout different spots in the story. The objectives are always the same in each mission, but the various terrain changes and starting unit numbers make for some interesting battles. The game features 20 missions overall, and while that may seem small because you'll be playing as four different armies, the missions are quite lengthy due to the difficulty of the enemy AI. Even on the easiest difficulty levels, the enemy can be a chore to handle, making each match anything but a cakewalk. People who love a challenge will appreciate this level of difficulty. The game also comes with an optional tutorial level that does a good job of explaining the most basic activities that units can perform, but it does a poor job of explaining some of the finer details. This is certainly a case where experimentation proves to be a better teacher than a tutorial.
Multiplayer is where the game becomes very enjoyable, especially since none of the factions have an immediate advantage over another. Up to four players can participate in matches, and it's every faction for itself. Like most multiplayer games, Greed Corp is best enjoyed with human opponents, and the nature of the game makes it a perfect local multiplayer title simply because there is no real tactical advantage to seeing what your opponent has or doesn't have. The game also features online multiplayer for four players, and due to the lack of lag, it feels just like a local multiplayer game. The only issue is that there aren't exactly a large number of available players at the moment. While we were lucky enough to find a few matches during the review period, it took us quite some time to find them.
Graphically, the game does well. The terrain, despite being restricted to hexagons, looks nice, and when you're traversing the overworld, the varied environments are easy on the eyes. Oddly enough, the beauty really shines through as the terrain lowers, cracks and crumbles. The sight never gets old, even if you're the one on top of the crumbling terrain. The unit designs are good, though the environment colors sometimes accidentally camouflage the units. Their animations are minimal, but they animate well when the time comes for them to move. With particle effects looking fine as well, there's little to complain about here.
The sound is good, if a bit sparse. The music mimics ragtime tunes of the 1920s, and while it plays in loops instead of continuously, it adds some lighthearted flavor to the proceedings. The voices are limited to the boos and cheers of players being forcibly removed from the game and, like the music, it makes the game feel less serious in comparison to the other turn-based strategy titles on the market. The sound effects are probably the only thing that this game has in common with its competitors, and while they don't exactly give your speakers a workout, they do sound great. The clangs of metal as new units are built come in clearly, and the sound of crumbling earth never fails to impress. Overall, the audio is excellent in this game.
Greed Corp is a very surprising and entertaining title. The lack of different units makes the management of your army pretty simple, while the terrain deformation adds a pretty unique element to the proceedings. The game looks good, sounds fine and controls well. Most importantly, the game has an addictive quality that begs for one more match to be played just as you're finishing your current one. Strategy fans will be in for a pleasant surprise upon picking up Greed Corp.
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