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Greed Corp (Xbox 360) artwork

Greed Corp (Xbox 360) review

"Once you have mastered the basics of the game and can minimise the number of wrong button presses, Greed Corp is a solid, if unspectacular, strategy title at 800MSP."

Greed Corp is a turn-based strategy game designed in such a way that you donít have to spend hours on end to emerge victorious in each battle. For starters, you only get sixty seconds per turn. Each match also takes place on a board of hexagonal tiles, with each tile having a set height of up to six levels. You receive a lump sum of gold before each turn, but to obtain more, you have to build a harvester on a tile. After each turn, harvesters mine gold from all of its adjacent tiles as well as its own, but at a cost: mined tiles lose a level. When a tile loses all of its levels, it will collapse, leaving an empty void in its absence.

Itís these two features that ensure matches donít take long to complete. A strict time limit forces you to think quickly and not spend too much time conjuring up elaborate strategies, while gold is such an essential part of the game that the board will be harvested until the number of tiles left can be counted on one hand. And in that scenario, all you can do is push for the win.

One of the first things you may notice about Greed Corp is that itís relatively simple to understand the rules, partly because there are only a small handful of tools at your disposal. Everything is bought with gold. Harvesters are dirt cheap to build and can self-destruct on request if you donít want them to continue harming the tiles around them. Armouries are necessary to recruit Ďwalkersí (the infantry unit). Cannons can obliterate up to five walkers on a tile as well as lower the tileís level by one, but you have to pay for each shot. Finally, there is the carrier, a one-time walker transporter that can fly anywhere. Itís essential in the endgame when taking out the last few enemy units, especially since the board will more often than not turn into a bunch of small islands due to surrounding tiles constantly being destroyed.

However, harvesters, armouries, and cannons can only be built on tiles controlled by the player. Walkers claim tiles by occupying them. If enemy walkers are currently holding the tile, you need to attack with enough walkers to cancel them out. One walker takes out one enemy walker, so to steal a tile that is occupied by five walkers, at least five of your own are required. Of course, by taking over an enemy tile, you also gain control of any buildings residing on it, which you can use to your benefit. Up to four factions on one map fight it out between them. One is eliminated from the battle when they have no more units or buildings left, with victory given to the last faction standing.

Despite its simplicity (the differences between the four factions are purely cosmetic), Greed Corp is actually a balanced and pretty deep strategy title. The cannon may be an extremely lethal weapon, but the high cost for each shot makes it tough to save up for the all-important carrier. Harvesters arenít just for mining gold; they can be used more offensively by destroying enemy tiles. Even deciding how many tiles to harvest can be the difference between winning and losing--harvest too little and you will eventually be overwhelmed by walkers, but harvest too much and you wonít have many tiles to defend. In fact, the game has an intimidating learning curve. The tutorials only really scratch the surface, telling you about the mechanics and the rules, but nothing more. When you start the campaign mode, youíre left to find out by yourself what works and what doesnít, and the trial-and-error approach in the first couple of hours is off-putting.

There were even some interface features not covered in the tutorials or the in-game manual that I had to figure out by myself. It was two hours into the campaign that I discovered how to find out what an enemy cannonís range was, and I didnít realise for a while that hovering your cursor over the map tells you its height by the dots surrounding the circular pointer. The tight time limit, although it can be admired for keeping things moving at a brisk pace, is also less than helpful, especially when youíre coming to grips with the game. Sixty seconds isnít a lot of time to consider where to move your walkers next and what to do with your extra gold. You canít afford to think two steps ahead, and youíll often be rushing through your turn, which will inevitably lead to moments of frustration. Maybe youíll accidentally commit suicide by building a harvester on your last remaining island when you meant to construct an armoury. Or maybe, like I did on more than a couple of occasions, youíll waste your only carrier to transport one--and not all sixteen--of your walkers to your enemyís well-defended armoury. One wrong button can easily throw away a winning position.

Often, I wish that the camera tracked your opponentís moves on their turn instead of making me manually move it around to see whatís going on, but once you have mastered the basics of the game and can minimise the number of wrong button presses, Greed Corp is a solid, if unspectacular, strategy title at 800MSP. The comparisons of chess that Iíve been hearing have been greatly exaggerated, though. There isnít much to go back to after you've completed the ten-hour campaign other than the online multiplayer, but whether thatís worth playing or not depends on how large a community the game can muster up.


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Freelance review by Freelance Writer (March 20, 2010)

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