XCOM Enemy Unknown was released in 2012. It is a remake of the popular 1994 game. XCOM is a turn based strategy game in which you try to halt an alien invasion. You choose what you want to research and what you want your engineers to build, as well as managing your troops and relations with all of the countries in the XCOM project until a mission comes up. Once you accept the mission you get a taste of the real gameplay.
You will drop 4-6 soldiers into an area where they will have one of several objectives, though you will always have to fight aliens, which will develop and you will end up fighting stronger enemies the farther into the game you progress. Each turn your soldiers get two actions. One is to move, and then you can move again or fire your weapon, reload, etc. You will need to move your troops into cover, hopefully flanking the enemy’s position in order to get bonuses to aim and critical hit chance.
This is a difficult game. A lot of aliens, especially in the early game, can kill your soldiers in one shot. They can also do plenty of other bad things as you progress in the game. When a soldier dies, they are gone forever. That’s right, permanent death. Meaning that if you lose a high level soldier, it could be very hard to promote another one. If you lose too many of your good troops then you could be stuck with a bunch of rookies and be unable to take on the tougher enemies, which could end in a loss for you.
Each time you up the difficulty level, your soldiers will have less health, the enemies will have more, and you will be less accurate, and they will be more accurate. This leads to serious frustrations when you miss when your guy flanks an enemy and has a straight shot, and then an alien returns fire from a long distance through three walls and kills your best soldier. Playing on Ironman mode compounds this because the game saves automatically, meaning that if anything happens, that’s it. There is no way to go back and change it.
XCOM Enemy Unknown is a great game. I literally played it for 21 hours straight when I got it. It’s a very rewarding strategic experience with a varied set of enemies that provide a lot of challenge. It is a fairly long game for having so much replay value. When you finally stop the aliens, after all of the hardship you went through, it is incredibly satisfying.
Another fun thing about the game is that you can customize your soldiers. Want a medic named Captain Morgan or a sniper named after one of your friends? Done. This can make you care more about your soldiers, further investing you in the game. I would definitely recommend naming your soldiers after your friends.
No game is perfect though. XCOM is pretty buggy, with plenty of glitches. Sometimes troops try to throw open doors or break windows to shoot when they aren’t there. I’ve seen the sniper class with a pistol equipped still holding a sniper rifle, then shoot the rifle like a pistol. There are a lot of contact issues, with guns and bullets going through walls without affecting aim. Destroying the wall would be one thing, but just going straight through for a kill is ridiculous.
I think XCOM Enemy Unknown is a great game. It is a shining example of what turn based strategy games can be. Though, of course, it is not without faults. If these small issues were to be fixed, I would consider the game perfect. Even with them, I highly recommend checking it out.
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