Summary: I was pretty blown away by Firaxis Games' re-imagining of the X-COM universe last year in XCOM: Enemy Unknown . So blown away in fact that it was my second choice for Game of the Year -- and this is coming from a fan of the '90s series. I loved the emotional thrill of deciding the fate of the world, and living with the sorrow of war, defeat, and death -- it comes naturally in Enemy Unknown , and is all the better for it.
Summary: It's no surprise that XCOM: Enemy Unknown features sound strategy mechanics. But the fact that the game establishes player choice in the face of overwhelming tension is a remarkable accomplishment
Pros: Tension-filled campaign, Perfect mix of base operations and actual battles, Meaningful player progression
Excerpt: Firaxis’ reboot of XCOM, Enemy Unknown, is one of the most logically sound alien invasion games you’ll ever play. It accepts that if extraterrestrials were to invade the earth, it wouldn’t be a single soldier in a suit of armor that fights them off by blasting his way through their defenses.
Pros: Satisfying, difficult tactical battles, The lengthy campaign and robust multiplayer, Incredibly deep customization
Cons: Camera and control problems, Random difficulty spikes, Watching your loved ones die to incredibly bad luck
Summary: Tension runs high in the excellent XCOM: Enemy Unknown.
Pros: Tension-filled turn-based matches Great sense of progression makes you feel increasingly powerful Complex interconnected economy makes each decision important Soldier perma-death gets you invested in the fate of your veterans
Cons: Map repetition Camera foibles, frame rate jitters, and other visual glitches
Excerpt: The original X-COM: UFO Defense is one of my favorite games of all time. For a game released back in 1994, it had more depth than any title I experienced before. It had the resource management and productivity of Civilization combined with the turn based tactical combat of Jagged Alliance. Add to that a level of customization that allowed players to make up their own stories, and it was the markings of a winner.
Conclusion: XCOM Enemy Unknown is a very enjoyable strategy game, and is a definite buy for any major strategy fan. Graphically, the game is beautifully stylized and has some great kill-shot moments. The game offers enough variety to the maps and missions that the player shouldn’t get bored easily. The only notable issue is that movement on the maps can sometimes be difficult, and often requires rotating the camera to get a better view.
Excerpt: Real Time Strategy games have become somewhat of a rarity these days, seemingly put aside in favour of more action focused experiences. Take XCOM itself for instance, which was set to get a run and gun FPS re-imagining until an outpouring of complaints from fans resulted in the developer attempting to make a squad based shooter that is more of a cerebral and authentic XCOM game instead.
Conclusion: Majorly annoying, heartbreaking, game stopper of a bug aside, XCOM was worth the money I spent to pick it up. I can easily see myself playing through this multiple times, growing as attached to each group of awesome, yet often spectacularly inept soldiers, as I did to the first. There a fair amount of replay with different starting countries, different base layouts, and procedurally generated combat.