It is quite possible that you have never heard of a developer known as W!Games. In fact, seeing as the only title that has previously been developed by this studio was a game called My Horse & Me, it would be quite surprising if you did. Greed Corp, the second game to be developed by this studio, was recently released for Playstation Network and the Xbox Live Arcade, with a PC release to follow in April later this year. The game is the first installment in a series of four games that will be set in the Mistbound universe. After your first visit to this new world, you’ll probably want to come back for more.
The world of Mistbound used to be one of fertile lands, and its inhabitants enjoyed a long period of prosperity. Unfortunately though (as we have seen in many other games and movies), such happiness can never last as long as there are corporations that mine the land for more riches. As a result, the world of Mistbound has begun to crumble. The hexagon pylons on which the world was built have slowly been mined away and eventually collapsed. In the midst of a war for the last remaining land, players take control of one of four different factions, known as the Empire, the Cartel, the Freemen or Pirates. While their appearances are diverse, each faction is exactly similar in terms of units, buildings and abilities and therefore provides no particular advantage or disadvantage.
Greed Corp can perhaps best be described as a strategic-boardgame-gone-virtual. Where many of such games are often associated with the slow and tedious process of building up an economy or a large army, Greed Corp takes a different path and focuses on delivering a dynamic and high-paced experience. Like regular board games, players take turns in moving their pieces across a playingfield and building small structures or units. However, players can choose to boost their economy by building Harvesters, which will not only provide the player that controls it with additional funds, but will also slowly erode the playing field.
It is this twist of a slowly but surely eroding playing field that makes Greed Corp an extremely dynamic and fun game. The speed at which the playing field can change also makes it difficult to plan more than a few moves ahead, and players will often have to adapt their tactics based on their opponents’ moves. The learning curve is steep, especially when trying to wielding the power of the harvesters effectively. More than once, you’ll find that you are doomed not because of a strategic move by your opponents, but rather by your own past actions in harvesting your space for resources.
Even on the lowest difficulty setting, the AI is extremely competent. Personally, I didn’t manage to beat the very first level until my third try, despite completing the tutorial mission. The competent AI, combined with the steep learning curve can make the game somewhat frustrating to get into, and while such things are excusable for ‘regular’ board games, this videogame could surely have benefited from a more extensive tutorial.
According to the developer, the game contains an expansive single player campaign that spans 24 levels, which will take you more than 10 hours to complete. These are not just empty words, and I genuinely expect it will take you at least ten hours to complete all levels (assuming you don’t win all matches on your first attempt). However, I also doubt you will find any reason to actually complete all missions, as they are actually just multiplayer skirmishes played against pre-set AI opponents. The overall lack of mission variety quickly turns the single-player aspect of Greed Corp into a somewhat stale and repetitive experience.What doesn’t help either is the fact these missions are strung together by a somewhat flimsy story of how the various factions are all just trying to find their own place in this world…
Fortunately, the multiplayer aspect of the game is much more enjoyable. Up to four players can play locally or online on a variety of maps unlocked in the single-player mode. Taking turns can be lengthy process, as each player is allowed to take up to 60 seconds to complete his or her moves. This downtime is actually beneficial though, as it provides you with more time to plan your moves when compared to playing against the AI, who usually finishes its turn in just a couple of seconds. Playing against a human opponent is much more fun than playing against the AI, and quite frankly this game provides one of the most enjoyable turn-based multiplayer experiences I have ever played. Greed Corp proves itself to be a worthy step forward from classic board games, preserving the fun you can have with together friends while taking advantage of the fact that games can be much more advanced when played on a console.
It is therefore a shame that it is difficult to find players who are willing to play a match through the online matchmaking system. At the time of writing, less than 200 players have made it onto the leaderboards by completing at least a single match, despite the fact that the game was released more than a week ago. Personally, it took me approximately 10 minutes to find two other players willing to play online (approximately around 7:30 PM EST). And more than once, players who thought they no longer had the ability to win, left the game. As a result, those who wish to play multiple multiplayer matches, would do best to invite some friends and playing games locally, rather than online.
With Greed Corp, W!Games has delivered a game that is somewhat hard to judge, as the amount of enjoyment you can have with this game is highly contingent on whether or not you can find some friends to play this game with. The repetitive single player campaign and online multiplayer options do little to justify a purchase on their own. Local multiplayer has the potential to be a lot of fun for weeks, if not months. In this regard, Greed Corp truly is the next evolution of board games.
At a price of $10.00 on Playstation Network and an equivalent 800 Microsoft points on the Xbox Live Arcade, Greed Corp provides a large amount of “bang” for a relatively small amount of bucks. As such, I can wholeheartedly recommend this game to everybody who can find a couple of friends to play it with. Getting this game for either the Playstation 3 or Xbox 360 is preferable over getting it for the PC though, as these platforms are infinitely better at facilitating local multiplayer.