I was a little nervous heading into Greed Corp. Being touted as a cross between Risk and Military Madness from Hudson, this game was either going to be very good or very bad.
Greed Corp for Xbox 360 is a rather unique turn based strategy game. Yes it’s your traditional hexagonal affair but let’s be honest, the majority of other strategy games can get rather boring and long winded. Greed Corp is different. Unlike the others that can take a long time to play and are full to the brim with complex features, Greed Corp keeps it’s simple from story right through to gameplay. Before we get into the details let’s cover that story a little first.
The planet you’re on has been ravaged of resources for thousands of years; the constant digging, mining and drilling has taken its toll and the once beautiful land is nearly at the end of its life. Just a small portion of the land is left and four ‘Greedy’ corporations are battling to the death to take control of what does remain. With every battle yet more of the planet is going to be destroyed; the outlook is certainly bleak to say the least. With no compromise in the offing, will any of the Greed Corp’s actually survive long enough before the whole planet is destroyed? So as one of the four factions at a time (Freemen, Empire, Pirates, or Cartel) you must enter this raging battle and defeat your foes until the land is all yours.
That’s the idea but so what’s so different about Greed Corp that makes it unique? Well to start with each round will only last between 10 and 20 minutes; something that quite puts me off with strategy games is when you are forced to play for an entire day or more (Yes I do mean you Empire Total War). Greed Corp condenses everything neatly into this small arcade package yet is just as rewarding as those longer games.
So how does an RTS actually become a compressed experience? Firstly every turn is just one minute long so you’ll need to be quick yet concise with you battle plan. You cannot spend hours planning that offensive attack; in fact spending little more than 20 seconds on just one aspect of your move could see you running out of time to cover all your bases (as it were). Ok so you only get a minute to move but that doesn’t make the game fast paced on its own, Greed Corp’s main mechanic is the limited lifespan of the land you’re on. As soon as you start mining the land for much needed materials; the ground starts to disappear from underneath your feet. Because the planet is so unstable, every time one of your harvester digs into the ground one layer of the crust disappears until it’s all gone.
As you can see the land is an important character to take note of in the game itself; it’s not there just to stand on. Another interesting aspect is that the land is not just a flat bare region. The land can range from having one layer up to five, ideally you want to place your harvesters on as higher land as possible. But even so, the maximum life it will have is just five turns, once the final crust is destroyed then it and of the surrounding five pieces of land will crumble and fall into oblivion. You really need to make sure that your Walkers (troops) are not in the line of fire when the land falls because they too will be gone.
So the race is on: You’ll need to send your troops (walkers) out to capture land and build harvesters upon it. Without this material you’ll not be able to build an Armoury which in turn lets you create not only more Walkers but also Cannons, Cannon Ammo and Air Transport.
So as you can imagine; whilst you’re dealing with this your opponents (AI or Human) are doing the same. Will you be quick to attack by building Walkers and battle your foes on foot? Will you go defensive and build cannons to take them out at medium range or will you take the hardest route of all; attacking by air. If you can manage to survive long enough and harvest enough material to afford an airship you can use it to carry up to 16 Walkers over to any other area on the game map (useful to start a new harvesting area or to defeat a weakened enemy). Another tactic to try is to send some cannon fodder into your opponents territory and build a harvester onto a piece of land with little crust; this way you will earn a small amount of material (cash) and possibly knock out your nemesis with the inevitable earthquake.
Not only can you take on up to three AI opponents but you can also invite three friends to play with you either locally or on Xbox live. RTS’s are not usually the type of game that you can in enjoy in an Xbox Live party but Greed Corp is an exception to the rule. Being able to play without dedicating hours upon hours makes this a great game to play when you fancy a quick stop game bit of gaming.
Graphically just as with most Xbox Live Arcade titles you can’t expect it to blow your eyes out but Greed Corp is a pretty looking game. The maps are nicely detailed in your typical Civilization/Settlers isometric fashion, so whilst you’ll mainly be looking at trees and grass (until you wipe it all out and build machinery) I can’t deny the scenery looks nice and reminds me slightly of another Xbox Live title; Flock. With a nice Jazzy soundtrack and minimal sound effects; Greed Corp won’t hurt your ears either.
Overall I really enjoyed Greed Corp for Xbox 360 and recommend it to those who like the RTS genre and also to those who normally wouldn’t give the genre a chance. The simple controls, unique mechanics and quick turnaround gameplay make the ten hour single player campaign and fun multiplayer mode add up to great value for just 800 Microsoft Points.
With no real negatives besides a slight lack of originality in the stereotypical hexagonal map format (and not being Modern Warfare 2) means I must award Greed Corp for the Xbox 360 a rather solid 8 out of 10.
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