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Old 01-22-2013, 07:28 AM   #1
Join Date: Sep 2011
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My Review (Although simplified, this game respects the original and is worthy)

XCOM: Enemy Unknown is a turn-based tactical role-playing strategy game and is a reimagined remake of the 1994 cult classic strategy game UFO: Enemy Unknown (also known as X-COM: UFO Defense).

The plot centres around unknown alien forces invading Earth and through reverse engineering and battle tactics, turn the tide of the war and even drive back the alien invaders using their own weapons. While the idea behind it is grand, the execution feels a lil sloppy at times. While it does feel rather satisfying with the crowd cheering when you downed your first UFO, it never really becomes truly as epic in feel as the movie "Independence Day" The main story campaign is rather short and takes about only maybe 5 - 6 missions to complete the whole thing.

At first look, the graphics is certainly nothing to shout about and looks very 2002ish in style, with pudgy looking people and very noticeable texture pop-ins. I can't help but feel that this is probably due to the game also released for consoles and they had to dumb down the quality so consoles wouldn't explode or something. How nice it would have been had this game been a PC exclusive.

Music is by Mr Michael McCann who also scored the OST for Deus Ex Human Revolution. It definitely sounds more then a passing resemblance to that game, but that really doesn't matter as it does make me all raring up for a good fight especially when i select my soldiers and load up for the battle. This music can make going to the toilet feel like the most epic thing in the world.

The core of the game is emphasized alot on the 6 squad members where you take on missions and i must say it definitely succeeded in modernizing the style of the original game. Its really satisfying to be down to only 1 soldier and in a desperate final moment score an impossible shot complete with a zoom in "in your face" view of the kill. More then once, i fist pumped the air and squealed in delight.

Downsides, while this is a good remake and does keep to the spirit of the original, it is definitely a lighter version. While the original was truly a very in-depth strategy game where you had to manage all sorts of variables like economics and base construction to wage a successful war, this remake focus alot more on the squad combat action. There are also alot of design ideas that don't make much sense, like being able to have 99 soldiers in the base, but only ever have 6 soldiers actually fighting. What are the other 93 of them doing in the base? Playing video games? And also only allowing 1 fighter jet to sortie against even a huge alien battleship is so rediculous. Character customization is also very limited and its unforgivable to charge money for DLCs that allows people to change the colour of their armour and hair. For shame.

Despite all those flaws however, at its core, this is a game that is worthy of the XCOM name as it definitely has the spirit of the original. It is definitely a different game then the original. While the original can be described as a war simulation, this is more of a war game. And for a game that keeps making me forgo sleep and keep saying "Just 1 more battle, Just 1 more battle" is surely doing something right.

Will this game revitalize the turn-based strategy game genre and hold its own despite the market flooded with FPS games and CODs? Only time will tell, but its definitely pushing it in the right direction and the first step towards a brighter world. It is a reminder of how cool games used to be and how innovative game designers were instead of faceless corporations constantly churning out the same FPSes year after year.

Overall Rating: 9.0 / 10
If you are a fan of the original, this may disappoint you a little as it is not as indepth i feel, but it is still a worthy purchase as it definitely has the right XCOM spirit and definitely respects the franchise. If you are a fan of strategy games in general, this game will be worth your time. If you have never touched a strategy game, do give it a try as it is rather easy to pick up, yet really fun to play. Excellent effort done, and i look forward to the sequel.

Last edited by Snowmoon: 01-22-2013 at 07:59 AM.
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Old 02-23-2013, 11:05 PM   #2
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I disagree with the graphics note. They aren't CryEngine 3 status, no, but "2002" seems a bit too far. Also, a decrease in complexity doesn't always mean a decrease in depth. Rather, the game lets you focus on precise and perfect on-field strategy without the clutter of having to micromanage every last detail.

Another critique I would make is the fact that sometimes you just have to cheat the save system. For example, when I'm going good and managing to complete "very hard" missions without much of an issue, but then I go on one UFO scouting run and get completely swamped in a matter of turns, I have to reload a save. I've lost all of my good characters and the game sure as hell isn't going to wait for me to train more, not to mention the fact that with every mission the panic level increases.

Still, a fantastic turn-based strategy game. For not being real-time it sure is suspenseful - sometimes the two seconds before your sniper fires what could be a make-or-break shot for a pinned ally make your heart skip a beat.
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