Tuesday, March 26, 2013

XCOM: Enemy Unknown (aka XCOM: Plot Unknown)

XCOM: Enemy Unknown (released in October of 2012) is a re-imaging of a 1994 game called UFO: Enemy Unknown.  I would describe the game as a turn based tactical game with some RPG elements.
This post will contain some minor spoilers, you have been warned!
The setting is in the near future.  Many of the world's nations have banded together (called the Council of Nations collectively) to create an organization called XCOM: the best of their military, engineering, and scientific research.  The player takes on the roll of the Commander of XCOM.  At one point, aliens begin to land UFOs and abduct humans.  XCOM is activated to fend off the threat.
Plot wise, the game starts out incredibly awesome.  The people don't know what's going on.  The enemy has way more powerful weaponry.  The lead scientist is continually fascinated by the alien's behavior and technology.  At one point, the game starts to put in a plot that supposedly explains what is driving the aliens to attack and kidnap humans.  Sadly, the voice that explains most of it is so garbled, I probably missed most of the plot.  Also, the plot felt a bit 'thrown together'.  The last scene did make me cry.
Difficulty: Even on the 'regular' or Normal difficulty, the game was dangerous.  The tutorial mission starts out by not pulling any punches.  I had several squad mates that died over the course of the game (I did a lot of 'save scumming' to avoid losing key people).  Part of the difficulty was training up the soldiers.  In a true RPG sense, they had to score a kill to get XP (I'm not entirely certain on that point).  I found it frustrating because some soldiers would do other useful things like weaken the enemy or heal their comrades.  Shouldn't they get XP for that too?  The other is balancing resources like money and alien technology.  I tended to run out of money very rapidly.  However, at the end of the game, I had more money than I knew what to do with, and not enough of the alien technology.  I felt like at one point, the difficulty tended to drop off.  Sure, there were super powerful opponents that could still obliterate my squad if I wasn't careful, but most of the other enemies would die rather quickly from awesome shots by my snipers.
Customizability: The soldiers names and features can be customized.  I gave one of my soldiers the last name of 'Panic' after she panicked on her first mission (I don't blame her, the soldier next to her died in one hit).  Turns out, she became my best sniper, got the code name of 'Echo', and was with me till the very end.
I was rather sad that the customization was limited.  All of the soldier's bodies looked exactly the same.  I wondered if how XCOM got more soldiers was to activate some kind of bizarre copier that could create people.
Replayability: Honestly, I don't think I would replay this game.  I could replay it on a higher difficulty, or add a number of 'options' that make the game more difficult.  I felt like the game was way too short.  I got the highest level of technology and kept waiting for another 'tier' to use.  It never came.  I was disappointed.
Overall: XCOM was a very well made game.  I was satisfied with the visuals, the sound, and the music. The voice acting was cool, and at times quite eerie.  However, the game was so short, I don't think it was worth the price tag that I paid for it.  I probably would have paid about $20 to $30 for the game.
If you're into tactical turn based games that are light on the RPG elements, then I would recommend this game.

No comments:

Post a Comment