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Review: XCOM: Enemy Unknown
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XCOM: Enemy Unknown
Reviewed on: PC
 
Developer:
Firaxis Games
 
Publisher:
2K Games
 
Release Date:
Available Now
 
Genre:
Turn-based Tactical Strategy RPG
 
Available On:
PS3, Xbox 360, PC
 
Official Website
 
 

Score: 4 / 5

Firstly I have to admit I haven’t played the original XCOM (aka UFO: Enemy Unknown) which was released in 1994 by MythosGames to very positive reception. However, I did know that XCOM had maintained a cult following to this day and when the opportunity arose to review it – I jumped at the chance.

XCOM: Enemy Unknown - PC PackshotUpon looking back on the hours that I played XCOM: Enemy Unknown I wasn’t sure what genre to put it within as it combines so many different elements from the turn based and strategic moves to the sci-fi themes within it. I went to the internet and first I found that you can click for csgo gambling sites and that people are making a living from these games, makes me think for a second. Then I remembered what I was doing and found that XCOM: Enemy Unknown is defined as a turn-based tactical role-playing strategy video game. You control a multinational military organization called XCOM (Extraterrestrial Combat Unit) in order to combat the alien invasion of Earth and as you play through the game you command a number of troops in varying turn-based missions with research and development, expansion of your facilities and other management of XCOM in between them.

It’s important to understand that the whole game basically relies on two main resources, one of which is money and this can be earned and spent. The second, which is simultaneously earned and spent, and perhaps more precious than money is time. You’ll earn the large majority of your finances from various countries that you protect and watch over with satellites. The other side of that is that if you neglect countries, the ‘panic’ in that area will eventually will become too high and the nation will withdraw from the XCOM program permanently, taking their potential funds with them.

XCOM: Enemy Unknown - Screen 01

As part of keeping these panic levels down, you have to engage against alien activity around the world (Yes! Australia too!) and this forms the main gameplay element of the title. You’re dropped into a small tactical area in charge of generally 4 to 6 soldiers, beforehand you’re given the options to assemble different types of soldiers for the squad (snipers, assault etc.) and also edit their load out with some gear (Medikits, scopes, grenades etc.) which can easily win you the match if used correctly. Each of these squad members has a persistent XP level for as long as they are alive, and can be used in many different matches. If one of your soldiers is wounded, you won’t be able to engage them for a certain amount of days depending on the severity of their wounds. This is where XCOM really tests your patience as you can spend hours and hours building up a character and one wrong move can send them off-duty or even get them killed. For each squad member you’ll also be faced with choosing perks and class distinctions, these relate to a variety of things from what gear you can use on the battlefield to how far a unit can move. It’s these decisions you make while building up a character which make it just that little bit depressing when one gets killed.
Within the individual missions you’ll take on a variety of enemies from nice little grey aliens with 3HP to the Ethereals with 25HP (FFFFFFFFUUUUUUUUU).

That said, each of the different aliens requires different tactics to be used by the player and along with protecting the world by killing aliens you’ll also have to rescue civilians, and even take aliens back alive for interrogation and study. These missions can vary from 10 minutes to forever depending how many times you fail. And you will fail.

XCOM: Enemy Unknown - Screen 02

XCOM really will push your patience to its limits and progressively gets harder as the campaign progresses, with each move you make and each resource you consume affecting your game in ways that you probably won’t notice till two hours later.

In essence, XCOM: Enemy Unknown is an intricate, complex game which is full of interdependencies but manages to go down smoothly. Even though XCOM is challenging, I found myself enthralled with each mission that I progressed through and found each battle engaging to the last minute. However, I found myself not wanting to return to XCOM after about 20-25 hours of gameplay, and it felt like an endless cycle of: Attack Aliens, Resources, Wait, Repeat. With that said, XCOM is in no way a bad game – in fact it’s excellent but I feel it may appeal to a certain audience, possibly more engaged in the RTS or turn based strategy genre than myself, and one with a bit more patience!

XCOM: Enemy Unknown gets 4 out of 5 extra-terrestrial Drop Bears from me!

http://youtu.be/FlbTCVamR0EXCOM: Enemy Unknown - Screen 03XCOM: Enemy Unknown - Screen 04XCOM: Enemy Unknown - Screen 05
XCOM: Enemy Unknown - Screen 06XCOM: Enemy Unknown - Screen 07XCOM: Enemy Unknown - Screen 08
XCOM: Enemy Unknown - Screen 09XCOM: Enemy Unknown - Screen 10XCOM: Enemy Unknown - Screen 11


 
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Lucas
The Podfather/Convo Controller
Super salesman by day, Batdad and Gamersutra by night. As a self-confessed technology pacifist, he prefers to sit on the console-war fence and play games on his PC.
Matt
PlayStation Fanboy/Motormouth
Electrician by trade and yet also highly skilled at finding time to game around work and family commitments. A PlayStation fanboy with a platinum count and obvious podcast bias to prove it. Thinks DC is clearly superior to Marvel. Has been known to rant.
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