Corruption 2029 Review: The Thin Red Line Between Tactical and Tedious

Corruption 2029 is a competent tactical game that leaves you wishing it had spent just a little more time in development.

There's no talking about Corruption 2029 without talking about its unavoidable comparisons to two games. The first and most obvious comparison is to The Bearded Ladies prior release, Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden. There's not much need for an in-depth comparison between the two as, on a mechanical level, the two are so similar you can likely determine the chances you'll enjoy Corruption 2029 by how much you liked MYZ.

Where the comparisons become dicier is when it comes to comparing Corruption to the genre gold-standard, XCOM. While the game's mechanics align more with Mutant Year Zero, the theme and feel harken back to XCOM, with cyborg-shell soldiers that seem to be coming straight off an Advent dropship.

While Corruption 2029 is an enjoyable enough game, the latter provides a comparison that is not flattering.

Corruption 2029 Review: The Thin Red Line Between Tactical and Tedious

Combat in Corruption 2029 is a mixed bag. As with Mutant Year Zero, the game does not adhere to an all turn-based approach, instead utilizing a mix of free movement and combat turns, allowing you to move about in stealth cover and set up tactical ambushes for opposing forces before initiating combat.

This is a fun addition in the genre, and when it goes off well, it can be really enjoyable. Moving through a map and carefully picking off all the one-shot-ready enemies with your sniper before beginning your proper assault is great fun, and the game allows for clearing out stragglers without alerting other troops when handled efficiently.

Unfortunately, things don't always go perfectly, and even when they do, as you progress through levels the ability to effectively one-round each encounter is not always there. Once you find yourself locked down in a firefight, the game begins to drag.

Enemies in Corruption 2029 are good at using cover and moving in it without exposing themselves to too much risk. While this makes the tactical challenge greater, it comes with drawbacks.

AI enemies will commonly adopt an approach common among human players. They will move behind cover with one action then throw on overwatch to spray bullets at anyone who tries to flank them. While this is no-doubt a tactically sound approach, often, it does not make for enthralling gameplay.

Weapons in Corruption 2029 feel weak, requiring multiple critical hits to take out even common enemies in later stages, and with minimal range, this often combines with the AI tactics to result in long, drawn-out potshot battles where the first one to move into a more-effective attacking position loses. 

The Problem With Cyborgs: No Meat on the Bones

The biggest frustration I came away with playing Corruption 2029 is how promising of a start the game could be, were it the first look at project still in development. The mix of stealth and tactical gameplay is fun and well-executed, and the slightly-open world approach that allows players to choose their current mission objective and drop in wherever they see fit, should they wish to scavenge from a prior map section, is a nice touch.

Unfortunately, there just isn't enough variety to sustain the game as you move forward. As you find yourself carrying out multi-map missions that see you taking on the same map as a previous encounter with only barely-tweaked enemy layouts, it all begins to run into itself.

Similarly, your characters and their load-outs are also borderline static. While new tools are earned for victories and silenced versions of weapon types can be found, there's not enough variety to sustain extended play. With only three in your squad, your ability to set up complex attack formations is also severely hindered.

Were the campaign to be built out, with more maps and more variety, the game would offer a far more compelling case. 

Corruption 2029 Review — The Bottom Line

Pros

  • Leveled sniper makes for the most satisfying tactical sniper role I've played
  • Competent, if unspectacular, execution still results in fun

Cons

  • Streamlined approach to content leaves the game feeling incomplete
  • Doesn't standout from the myriad other genre titles

I found my time with Corruption 2029 to be a mixed bag as a fan of the genre. While there's nothing glaringly off about the game to make playing unenjoyable, it also lacks the little special touches that make other games great.

While the decision to make your three units interchangeable, distinguished only by the upgrades you give them, may make sense within the theme, it also lessens the effectiveness of the story element.

I'm somebody who plays XCOM with characters named after real friends and family to give them added import on the battlefield, so controlling a trio of nondescript cyborgs lessened the impact of decisions.

With a reasonable price point of $19.99, Corruption 2029 isn't asking much of you, which is good, because justifying any more would be difficult. As it is, for players who aren't desperately itching for some new tactical fun, you're probably better off waiting for any news of an expansion, or for a sale price in the future.

Our Rating
6
Corruption 2029 is a competent tactical game that leaves you wishing it had spent just a little more time in development.
Reviewed On: PC

Contributor

Published Feb. 26th 2020

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