In the magical world of Mistbound, four groups struggle for control over what remains of their planet's resources, primarily through the method of sending those resources tumbling away into oblivion. In Greed Corp, you take control of the Empire, the Cartel, the Pirates, or the Freemen and engage in strategic battle against one to three opponents consisting of either AIs, whoever you're able to drag over to your couch by means of passing the controller to them, or other players on XBLA. Essentially, Greed Corp is a board game, with hexagonal tiles representing the breakaway land you're fighting over and simple rules for play.
The first issue with the game, however, is that the game doesn't help you to understand those rules in any meaningful way. There's a tutorial at the beginning of campaign mode, but it instructs you merely by telling you which moves to make to win the battle set before you while relaying the function of the given unit to you in a sidebar, rather than telling you why the moves they force you to make are strategically sound or which game mechanics they utilize. In addition, the controls are different for different units or structures. You press A to move your walkers, X to fire your cannons, Y to build units, and B to back out of the option chosen. It can take some time to get used to, and can easily frustrate some gamers, since you'll accidentally spend all your cash buying a unit that destroys the ground it's on more than a few times.
This brings us to the other downside of the game, the computer's AI. Even set at the beginner level, the computer opponents are relentless, never giving you any breathing room or allowing you even the slightest opening. Very rarely they'll slip up and kill themselves off, but this is an extremely unsatisfying way to win.
Graphics are rather good for this type of game. In the entire time I played, there were no graphical errors, though the text was a little small on my 36-inch TV. You have two different views to choose from, an overhead view which is probably what this game would look like as an actual board game and a more dynamic angled view that lets you better gauge the stage of decay of each piece of land. At times, the dynamic view can shove some of the pieces of land uncomfortably close to your view, but rarely is this, a problem.
Greed Corp’s biggest graphical issue in the game is that there appears to be no zoom controls, meaning you will have a difficult time gauging distances and surveying the entire battlefield to get needed perspective on all fronts in a skirmish. The four factions, which in the game differ only in their visual presentation, have lovely visual design with distinctive elements for each group. Sadly, because of the distance away from objects, you will never get to see how good they look outside of the game's opening cinematic or the concept art. The campaign mode's story is told through text before each mission, and the game would have been better served with some sort of video briefing or at least some sort of visuals to engage the player into caring why they were chewing up all the honeycombed pillars of land around them.
In addition to having different models, each faction's units have different sound effects, and while they have enough variety to tell them apart, some of the choices, like a bottle rocket screech and a rather splash like noise, are confusing and seem to have been added purely for the sake of variety rather than reproducing the sound that the units should actually make. Speaking of sound, the game's soundtrack consists of old-style music made to sound like it fits in with the industrial revolution theme of the game, with record scratching and all. The novelty of it wears pretty thin, though, as it lacks variety and repeats endlessly and doesn't change when the conditions of the game change, making the experience feel more monotonous than it should.
Replay value for Greed Corp is decent, but only if you're able to play the game long enough to actually learn to enjoy it. I was tempted more than a few times to put down the controller, if not fling it at the television in anger at the enemy putting up a harvester to wreck my land yet again. Once you start playing on XBLA, you'll actually have a reasonable chance at winning, since you'll be paired up with one or more human opponents, most of whom aren't as freakishly able to anticipate and counter every move as the computer.
Unfortunately, you'll have to play through campaign mode to unlock many of the maps. While each session in campaign mode, like multiplayer mode, tends to cap out at 20-30 minutes, you're not very likely to beat it the first time through, and you can spend hours attempting to clear a single stage.
This game really tears me up inside, because behind the nigh-impossible AI I see the potential of a really great board game shining through. If I were looking for something to play with a group of friends and saw this as a board game, I would snatch it up for triple or more its price on XBLA. Unfortunately, as Greed Corp. is now, it lacks that special something that would make it worth the download. If you're a board game fanatic without any friends nearby, I'd give it a look over; otherwise you'd do best to shy away from this game.