Friday, 26 February 2010

Greed Corp Review

Beginning with what seems like a fairly cluttered tutorial display and a smattering of unfamiliar units, Greed Corp can seem daunting to even the most hardened strategist. Love it or hate it, this is something of a theme with the game - seeking to challenge you and keep you working hard at every available opportunity. This will put many off at first, but a little patience reveals it's apparent difficulty to also be one of it's strongest features; refusing to spoon-feed you and allowing you to progressively learn through failure.

The well considered and detailed art design effectively deceived me into thinking this game would be a simple affair. The steampunk-esque character and mechanical design is noteworthy for it's ability to flesh-out the wider narrative as well as being wonderfully reminiscent of both Hayao Miyazaki's Nausicaa and the classic Advance Wars titles. These design sensibilities tie Greed Corp to the Mistbound universe - the setting for a whole series a of planned titles from W! Games that will span genres whilst retaining the common settings, factions and characters. It is precisely this element that makes Greed Corp such a fascinating game, as it's key mechanics provide insight into the universe-at-large, providing the perfect starting point from which Mistbound can be built.

After only a few minutes of play it becomes clear that your success within Greed Corp relies upon your ability to maintain balance between protecting your own resources and destroying those belonging to your enemies. As you harvest the land, so it eventually falls away and disappears into the mist, taking any units or structures along with it. The board - handily divided into hexagonal portions- must be tenuously controlled at all times, being careful not to mine so much that you dig yourself into oblivion. Finding and maintaining this balance makes for a far more considered, yet dynamic strategy game than, say, the equally charming, but altogether simpler, Commanders: Attack of The Genos.

The mechanics hide a subtle, yet poignant commentary on the futility of war - as factions constantly duke it out only to find they have expelled untold amounts of lives and resources in the process and the victor is left with little more than a crumbling, empty tile to deem as their turf. The game's potential and poignancy opens up even further when participating in multi-faction wars and simply surviving starts to become a viable tactic. It's not a sure win - you never can predict when the AI, or your friends for that matter, will form a coalition to try and wipe your army-cum-hippie commune off the planet- but focusing on self preservation can greatly assist a victory and you get to watch on, grinning as your foolish enemies starve themselves in a race to the top.

At it's heart, Greed Corp is a considered and thoughtful strategy game that has a pacing and structure that sits it comfortably next to tabletop style affairs such as Carcassonne and Catan as opposed to the balls-out real time titles such as Command and Conquer. The game is characterised by a focus on careful placement and considered execution and reminds me of just why it is that I love turn-based strategy. Intensely difficult, but massively rewarding, Greed Corp has me suitably hooked on the Mistbound universe. If you too are intrigued, check out the Mistbound Website and stay tuned for the next installment - a top-down shooter that will hopefully be more Porco Rosso than Ikaruga.

Greed Corp is available now on both PSN and XBOX Live Arcade and will available on Steam in around 6 to 8 weeks.


cr0nt said...

Demo downloading now then. However, whether I will find the time to put into it with having Darwinia+ (which is awesome btw) to complete in single player and then move on to multiwinia, bioshock 2, FREE Mass Effect 2 DLC, PB Winterbottom, that Mirror's Edge DLC I've just got around to getting, BlazBlue. May well have to wait 6 months. Which will probably mean noone will be playing online any more. Just a bad time for release for me.

The Faux Bot said...

People will still be playing it for sure. It's going to build up a solid following, not only because of how in-depth the gameplay can get but because of the whole mistbound universe.

cr0nt said...

Then in six months I will be there, although by which time I will be scrote deep in Super. Figuring out JUST how amazing Gen's maximum spider (this is a marvel vs capcom reference) move is and then hitting you with it till the cows come home.

Also congrats for being the first to beat my Gen in a long time.