Like Kasparov vs. Deep Blue.
Do you have aspirations of crushing the competition and world dominance? Do you have a fear of heights? Do you dream in hexagons? Is a 1920s soundtrack constantly looping in your head? If you answered yes or no to any of these questions out loud, you’re probably losing your mind, but Greed Corp is still a great game.
[image1]Greed Corp is a small game from developer W!Games that has ties to Settlers of Catan and other strategy board games, but still does a great job of maintaining its own identity. Taking a turn on turn-based strategy games, like Advance Wars, Greed Corp sets itself apart by placing players on a board that is continually gets smaller.
The story is based on a world with four factions warring over the precious few resources left on the face of the planet. There’s a lot of propaganda before each level of the campaign, but the typical gamer is probably going to skip through this to get to the game itself.
Essentially, no matter which class you choose, every side of the battle has the same tools and abilities in their arsenal. There’s no complaining about balance in Greed Corp because the differences between sides of warfare are entirely cosmetic. You have basic units called "walkers" that can move around the board and take spaces and claim them for your side. These units are built from armories, which can be taken just like any structure from the other team if you land on the other team’s space. The same goes for harvesters, which generate funds you can spend on building walkers, planting armories, adding cannons to those armories, or buying flying ships to transport walker units.
However, something can level the playing field between you and the competition, literally. Every map takes place on the edge of a cliff. The hexagonal spaces on the board have height attributes that determine how many times harvesters can draw resources from the land. Cannon fire also depletes this unit value. After the "height" is depleted, noted by a cracked surface, one more hit will force the space to crumble completely. I can’t tell you how many units I’ve lost to the abyss.
[image2]That said, the game is about as difficult as Mega Man 3 on steroids. The first level alone took me three tries to complete, and later levels took me more than ten. Maybe it’s just that I suck at turn-based strategy games, but I have a lot of respect for anyone who still creates or plays "hard" games. The difficulty forces the player to operate in a "trial by fir"e sense. The player will learn, slowly but steadily, and hopefully learn by how the computer players kicks his or her ass, rather than complaining like the typical Xbox Live whiner.
Speaking of Xbox Live, the game has a full online multiplayer mode to compliment its campaign and "create a game" mode, but hardly anyone is playing online. Of course, Greed Corp is a small title with absolutely no advertising, so if you like the game, spread the word and get some friends online to play.
Despite Greed Corp‘s excellent hardcore strategy gameplay, there is one minor nitpick. I’m a big fan of classic soundtracks, like Fallout 3‘s soundtrack, and Greed Corp’s setting is around the same time frame. But the lack of variety in its soundtrack is unseemly and, suffice it to say, annoying. Greed Corp is yet another game that really benefits from the 360’s ability to overlay custom soundtracks over any game.
Greed Corp is probably not a title for everyone, but the value-to-cost ratio is great. For a mere 800 Microsoft points, you’ll easily get 30 to 40 hours out of the campaign mode alone, and then, of course there’s always "create a game" to set yourself up against the hardest opponents on your favorite maps.