Conclusion: I could go on about the virtues of Enemy Within, about how good it was to play through the whole campaign again, but ultimately it’ll come down to two factors: The fact that the ending hasn’t changed a bit, and the fact that, ultimately, you’re still playing the same game. The former is perhaps the most disappointing, and as for the latter, it’s easier for something like Civilization to get away with, as XCOM is more narrative focused.
Excerpt: For almost a year now, XCOM: Enemy Unknown has been putting the boot to extraterrestrial threats. This challenging, turn based action-strategy game takes you to an organization rattled up by invasion into an in efficiently assimilated squad of alien killers. But wait, that’s not enough. Come November, XCOM: Enemy Within is being released. On PC, this will an expansion. For Xbox 360 and PS3 users, Enemy Within will be a standalone title.
Excerpt: The best stories about XCOM always end in failure. The wipeout of a veteran squad member, the panic, destruction and downward spiral towards failure. In an age of broadened gaming audiences, lowered difficulty barriers and constant hand holding XCOM manages to stand out by being one of the few mainstream games that allows you to fail permanently.
Excerpt: In a world where aliens have come to Earth armed with a dastardly plot to abduct humans in an attempt to take over the universe, nations must unite to form a task force of unmatched strength. XCOM: Enemy Unknown is the tale of such a unified project. In this epic sequel, a type of Wizard’s chess meets the 3-D Star Trek chess of the future.
Summary: Do you remember the part of my review where I talked about negative things? What was that, two sentences? That should be your first indication on the quality of the XCOM experience. A robust single player campaign with dozens upon dozens of hours of rewarding and engaging gameplay is the tip of the iceberg in terms of quality.
Excerpt: Is it just me or does it seem like if we were to take games and movies to heart that we have absolutely nothing to worry about if we were to actually face an alien invasion? There's always some over the top gun wielding soldier who somehow knows every weakness of this previously unknown enemy.
Conclusion: XCOM: Enemy Unknown is bound to be contested when compared to the original from the ‘90’s, but Firaxis has managed to create a thoroughly modern game based on the core ideas of the classic. The tactics-based action is enhancing, well balanced, pleasing and frustrating at the same time and manages to make hours pass by incredibly quickly.
Conclusion: So how does XCOM Enemy Unknown measure up to the original? I think it’s important to look at the new game not as a remake but a new title influenced by the old, and judge it on its own merits. The spirit of the original is certainly there but in a slightly slimmed-down format. Missions are smaller but more varied, which I personally enjoy better.