November 28, 2010 § 5 Comments
I was originally going to fill this column with my impressions of some games I’d been playing other than Greed Corp – Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit, Alpha Protocol and Dead Rising 2.
Truth is, though, Need for Speed doesn’t need any additional press from me; it’s an excellent racing game, and I don’t think twice about recommending it to racing enthusiasts or people like me who find cars, in and of themselves, boring.
Alpha Protocol I haven’t played enough of, but from the amount of bugs I’ve experienced so far, only a couple of missions in, I’m unsure whether I’ll bother playing it any further. It shouldn’t have been released in this state.
Dead Rising 2? It’s okay, but it’s also just like the original, and a part of that essence is the way it goes out of its way to be really unforgiving, and I can’t be bothered with that type of game at the moment. Also, the “psychopaths” in the game, its version of mini-bosses, are lazily designed and not fun in any way, shape or form to fight against.
So, instead of me talking about those games, let me bring your attention to this excellent little strategy gem from W!Games, Greed Corp.
Greed Corp is a hex-tastic, turn-based strategy game; fairly simple to learn, while it has enough depth for it to be interesting. The central conceit is that in order to attain victory against your foes, you must mine for resources in the tiles compromising the play area, but by doing this you eventually end up destroying the space around you. This is A Pretty Bad Thing seeing as these tiles are suspended in air, and if any of your units or buildings happen to be on one of these tiles as they’re collapsing, you can wave them bye-bye. The resources gained from these tiles are used mainly to purchase units and buildings, though they’re also needed for other abilities. The goal of the game is to destroy all your opponent’s remaining tiles or units, before they do the same to you.
There are at least a couple of reasons I like Greed Corp (three, if you count the fact that when I bought it, it was at 160 MS Points, which is almost nothing).
First thing, the game’s got personality and character – and wise man once said, personality goes a long way.
The second thing is how pure and streamlined the game experience is. The interface works fantastically well, and is quick and easy to navigate through. Although I think the lack of a ‘cancel’ button for some actions is regrettable, it’s no mortal sin, either. Similar to chess, and other turn-based strategy, the path to victory is through careful, intelligent planning, thereby rewarding thoughtful play. Going back to its simplicity, I like the way the game is boiled down to one unit type, one type of production facility, one type of mining facility, and one type of stationary artillery. Instead of it being about rock-paper-scissor-style arrangements, the key here is very much focused on a risk–reward formula, which in my opinion is at the heart of what makes a good strategy/puzzle game. Try to mine every tile recklessly, and you’ll likely end up digging your own grave. At the same time, this is an arms race as to who can grab the superior territory first and in the greatest numbers; hence, behind every war machine is required a large and hefty bank account. Balancing yourself between aggressive and conservative play forms, learning from previous mistakes and adapting to new strategies, is what keeps you playing; and the AI, while sometimes patently stupid, is challenging enough whilst not being too difficult, resulting in a pleasant, gradual learning curve.
In terms of content, there is a substantial single player campaign, as well as skirmish and multiplayer modes. Disappointing, like most XBLA games, there seems to be no one playing it online. Overall, I think, Greed Corp is one of the best turn-based strategy games on the 360 – better than some full retail games, like Civilization Revolution, even. I’m not sure it’s worth 800 MS Points, but anything lower than that and I think it enters into the “It’s a deal, it’s a steal” banding.
June 5, 2009 § Leave a comment
So, E3 is over, but, more importantly, who won?
June 4, 2009 § 1 Comment
With all the major conferences now over, most of the reporting from E3 now revolves around hands-on impressions of individual games, interviews, gameplay videos, podcasts and smaller announcements. Since I can’t give you my hands-on impressions of what’s on offer, I can at least point you in the direction of what, I think, are the more interesting articles and features coming out from the gaming press.
June 3, 2009 § Leave a comment
Unfortunately, there were technical issues at the venue so no live video feeds were available this time. Going back to basics, here: live blogger feeds via Kotaku and G4. In the general scheme of things, the press conference seemed pretty low key. Apart from the couple of Metal Gear titles we already knew about – MGS: Rising and Peace Walker – there were a further two announcements made for Metal Gear Solid Arcade and Castlevania: Lords of Shadow. It’s hard to get excited about MGS: Arcade, since there’s practically zero chance it will ever see the light of day in little ‘ol Blighty. The Castlevania title is apparently a reboot of the series, due for release both on Xbox 360 and PS3; it will be an open-world action game and, apparently, looks very impressive so far.
June 2, 2009 § 2 Comments
Great conference from Sony, all-in-all. Despite Microsoft’s surprise unveiling of Natal – and, along with it, those incredible promises from Peter Molyneux – Sony put up a great fight. There were some, frankly, amazing looking games on display, sequels from franchises most gamers know and love, as well as Sony’s Johnny-come-lately entry into motion control.
June 2, 2009 § Leave a comment
I was stifling yawns while watching the Nintendo keynote. The Ubisoft conference was bad, but it was like watching car-crash television – you just couldn’t look away for risk of not seeing what was going to happen next. To me, someone who’s into more traditional games, there was very little to hold my attention at the Nintendo conference. And I imagine that sentiment probably applies to a lot of the folks sat in the audience, as well.
June 2, 2009 § Leave a comment
The best/worst conference of the event so far…
Plagued with technical difficulties, miscommunications, awkward pauses, impenetrably thick French accents, flat jokes, a twenty-five-minute-long stretch of James Cameron telling me the entire plot to his latest film, Avatar (he says it’s good, by the way); non-stop sales talk, contrived banter, an infomercial for their latest fitness product, guys in rabbit suits running about pushing a trolley cart and a man yelling “COWABOONGA!” at the top of his voice, the Ubisoft press conference was so bad even Pele (who came on stage at one point) couldn’t save it. It lasted two goddamn hours – twice as long as both the Microsoft and EA conferences individually and with half the content.
In short, the “presentation” was all kinds of terrible.
The games, funnily enough, didn’t look too bad, though.