Publisher: Valcon Games
MSRP: $10 / 800
by: Marc Allie
Greed Corp is a very unusual XBLA release. Upon first glance, it appears to be a video game adaptation of a board game, similar to Carcassonne or Settlers of Catan, in that it is a turn-based strategy game with hex tiles. But Greed Corp is a unique intellectual property of its own. Another quality that sets Greed Corp apart from the pack is the content level, including a single player campaign about 10 hours long, and extensive multiplayer replay value. Greed Corp might not appeal to all gamers, but for those who can overcome the steep difficulty, there is a very deep experience to be had.
Greed Corp is set in a marvelously detailed world where large corporations have grossly over-mined resources. So much damage has been done that the world itself is literally crumbling under the weight of the machines harvesting it. This is represented in the game by individual hexes falling lower and lower over time, until they finally topple entirely, taking down any units with them. When a hex falls, it looks stunning; it is here that the advantage of a video game over a board game becomes apparent. Into this dangerous, and yet rewarding environment, the various mega-corporations send workers and soldiers, fighting other factions while trying to stay alive themselves. While there are only a handful of unit types, including Harvesters, Walkers, and stationary Cannons, the ever changing environment itself keeps the game interesting and the interactions complex.
This high level of complexity is a two-edged sword. There is so much going on at any given time, even in a two-player game, that it can be extremely hard to keep track of it all. I found myself feeling as if all my plans could topple beneath me at any instant, which of course, ties nicely into the overall theme. The tutorial is very plain, almost inadequate, teaching you only the bare bones necessary to play the game; there is little to no insight provided into effective strategy and tactics whatsoever. This can turn casual players away very early. On the other hand, if you can wrap your head around all these complex factors, the experience can be quite rewarding. When you set up your opponent to attack a particular hex, and then use a Cannon to sink it, causing a massive chain reaction that devastates your enemy's forces... well, there's nothing quite like it, really. It is immensely satisfying, especially since it probably happened to you yourself while learning the ropes.
Greed Corp is a great value, and has far more content than the typical 800 point XBLA release. The single player campaign is quite lengthy and involved. Local and online multiplayer are both included, and add significantly to the game's staying power. It may not be for everyone, which is true of most games of the genre, but if you can get past the steep learning curve, Greed Corp may just become one of your favorite XBLA purchases.