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64 of 68 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Absorbing, but unforgiving
I was a big fan of the original Microprose XCom release, and keen to see what the 2012 update would bring to the table. As with a lot of games, this is a mixed bag. The tactical RTS side of XCom has been massively face-lifted, and remains a difficult and absorbing sub-game in its own right. Most of the tactical skills from the original are transferable, but there's...
Published 22 months ago by Christopher Burns

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37 of 42 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Xcom for the 21st Century
As with many reviewers here, I grew up with the original XCom, playing it on my Amiga back then. It was amazing and I have been hooked ever since. As no real update for the original ever arrived until now I salved my need to play it by playing games like UFO: Aftermath and its two follow ups. They were pretty good, and very close to Xcom's legacy.

Now we have...
Published 22 months ago by G. Richardson


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64 of 68 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Absorbing, but unforgiving, 15 Oct 2012
By 
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: XCOM Enemy Unknown (PC DVD) (DVD-ROM)
I was a big fan of the original Microprose XCom release, and keen to see what the 2012 update would bring to the table. As with a lot of games, this is a mixed bag. The tactical RTS side of XCom has been massively face-lifted, and remains a difficult and absorbing sub-game in its own right. Most of the tactical skills from the original are transferable, but there's also been some notable changes. As noted, a lot of the "micro-management" has been removed, and it's not all for the better - e.g. if I wanted, I could load up a trooper with any combination of weapons they could carry. 12 grenades ? If you want. Throwaway 1-shot rocket launcher ? Sure. This is all gone in favour of pre-selected loadouts with only moderate customisation. For example, only "heavy" soldier classes can carry heavy weapons, and nothing else. Support classes carry assault rifles & pistols, and nothing else, and so on. If I want to load-up on grenades, well, you basically just can't, and only the support-class can carry more than 1, and then, only with the "deep pockets" perk after several promotions. If you want to pack a med-kit or a stun-gun, you can't carry grenades anymore - and so on.

Base management is also very different. You no longer have total control over the base's inventory (largely because this is no longer needed with the aforementioned pre-selected weapon loadouts). If you want more engineers, you simultaneously need to build workshop space for them and they come bundled with the facility, and, if necessary, build power generators beforehand to power the workshop, or you can't build the workshop at all and- it can all get rather needlessly complex. Further, early in the game, it's very easy to find yourself chronically short of cash, which has knock-on effects later. The tutorial also doesn't help much here, largely forcing you down a particular path to potential financial ruin early on (i.e. it doesn't emphasise that you earn cash by building & deploying satellites over supporting nations, and instead forcing you to build an alien containment/interrogation facility which is kinda useless early on - you don't have weapons or armour to safely try capturing bad guys.).

With that said, the tactical combat is difficult (as a veteran, I started on the "classic" difficulty level) which makes winning all the more satisfying. There are also some new twists to the combat. Weapons are tied to their alien owners, so if you kill an alien, whatever weaponry they were carrying self-destructs, leaving you only with fragments to research more slowly over time. Getting an intact weapon requires you to stun and capture it's wielder, and that's stupidly dangerous early on in the game. On the plus side, while weapons still need to be reloaded, troops now have infinite ammunition (except grenades & rockets) and you don't need to worry about supplying it in the loadout. Another huge change is that your squad is limited to at most 6 troops on any mission, whereas in the original game, you could have as many as would fit inside your Skyranger and you could be bothered handling.

In all, thinking about it makes you consider it to be a mixed bag, but, I started playing at the weekend, blinked, and a couple of hours had gone past in what felt like minutes. I'm enjoying it, anyway.

EDIT : Finished this, playing on and off since the original review was posted. I'd be surprised if I've put less than 20 hours into a single campaign, but I did feel it was all becoming a bit of a chore towards the end, so replayability will probably be limited. In all, I can see how some people feel it's been dumbed-down, while I think that to some degree it's been streamlined in some ways. I encountered a few bugs over the whole playthrough, only one of which was semi-fatal. The game needs some rough edges filed down - there needs to be an "overwatch all" button, and the graphics go annoyingly mental on the multi-level UFOs, changing your vantage point and sometimes, where you think you're pointing. The semi-fatal bug occurred on the end-game level, where I couldn't progress until I found & killed the last bad guys, which was tedious. The end-game itself as a whole is pretty disappointing too. Terror From The Deep, anyone ?
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tactical adventure, 19 Feb 2013
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This review is from: XCOM Enemy Unknown (PC DVD) (DVD-ROM)
It took me 33 hours to play through, and it is a game i will return to.

You have to be a fan of turn-based tactical games in order to enjoy XCOM, but in that case you will not be dissapointed. You start feeling responsible for your troops, you get excited when you develope a new weapon and try it in the field for the first time. And with the Ironman setting your tactical sense is being tested. Your choices may have dire consequenses for your team. Lock and Load Commander
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37 of 42 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Xcom for the 21st Century, 15 Oct 2012
By 
G. Richardson (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
= Fun:3.0 out of 5 stars 
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This review is from: XCOM Enemy Unknown (PC DVD) (DVD-ROM)
As with many reviewers here, I grew up with the original XCom, playing it on my Amiga back then. It was amazing and I have been hooked ever since. As no real update for the original ever arrived until now I salved my need to play it by playing games like UFO: Aftermath and its two follow ups. They were pretty good, and very close to Xcom's legacy.

Now we have the updated, 21st Century vision of XCom, and its not to bad really, but far from perfect. After reading all the current reviews here I have to agree with most opinions, although I have to say Steam wasn't an issue for me and after all this time I wish people would simply rate the game play, not the Steam. Everyone knows Steam sucks, we don't need to keep hearing it, nothings going to change so get over it.

The game has been simplified, it has to be said. Whether to accomodate the new surge of young teen game system enthusiasts who can't seem to handle proper PC games with a little thinking required, I don't know. But its a shame developers seem to think they have to make games that Wii and Xbox players can manage rather than us PC gamers.

As for the game itself? The downside first. I really miss the inventory for soldiers because this games inventory is terrible. You have four spaces, armour, main gun, back up gun, and extra. The armour and weapons choices upgrade as you research new tech, so no problem there. But where are the spaces for extra ammo? Why can I only have one extra item? And why are the extras so stupidly listed? I mean you can have one grenade, a medkit, a sight for your gun, extra body armor, but they all go in the extra slot rather than upgrading existing items, so you can only have one at a time. You can't have a sight, extra body armour and a grenade. Why can't the sight go on the main gun? Why can't the extra body armour upgrade your current armour? Why only one grenade? Also, as someone else mentioned, you are now told what your soldier has upgraded to rather than having the choice. I want to be able to choose if soldier A has the skills to be a sniper and not have my game tell me thats it, no choice allowed. Also once that soldier has been pigeon holed into his class, his main weapon is immediately changed to that class and you can't change it back. So if a sniper he gets a rifle, if a heavy he gets a light machine gun, etc, etc.

Also you only get one base. You can send satellites to watch over other countries, and even a couple of interceptors to be stationed there as the ones at home base won't reach most other countries, but thats it. You'll get alerts occasionally that always list three emergencies, but you can only ever respond to one! So the other two countries suffer and their opinion of you drops accordingly. I was hoping this kind of thing would be handled a lot better for this game. Why not be allowed to have more than one team? You could respond to a number of emergencies then as long as you had the money and resources to accomodate all those soldiers and aircraft. Also the storyline is very rigid. Things seem to happen at set times no matter what you do which gets a little boring as you don't feel in control.

Lastly on the negatives, the learning curve for difficulty seems higher on this game, even on easy. I might be looking back with rose tinted glasses at the original XCom, but I don't recall massive alien invasions so soon into the game. I remember many enjoyable hours of shooting down UFO's, stopping abductions, doing enough research to actually stand a good chance at fighting off the oncoming hordes. Not so here. About an hour in, after completing a few pretty easy site recovery op's and 'stop the abductions' op's, I get notified that a major alien incursion is occuring and I have to immediately go stop it ... with my five soldiers. So I get to the scene and immediately am set upon by about ten aliens, of different types. I hardly have time to do my first few moves before my guys start dieing around me. I don't know if there were more aliens past those ten, I guess so, but as I died so fast I don't know. Also I should quickly point out, I'm no newbie to strategy games, I know how to move soldiers around a board.

On the good side, however, the tactical battles are still as gripping as the original XCom to my mind. I love the two stage movement, the way cover is handled, the little mini movies thrown in occasionally when a soldier moves. The graphics aren't incredible, not when you consider whats possible these days, but they easily handle the job at hand. Being able to climb a drainpipe to send your sniper to the rooftop for maximum overwatch is great to see. The story is just as captivating to, researching all the cool alien tech, cutting them open to see how they tick, its all there from the original game.

So, to close this rather long review, yes, its XCom, but its also suffered the curse of the console playing community. Gone is the cool and indepth micro-management, in is the streamlined, compact gameplay that significantly reduces the length of the game, and to my mind, the replayability. Its a shame that XCom's rebirth seems to have been handled in the glib manner most of our golden oldie games that have resurfaced recently have been. For my money? Glad I bought it, fun to play, but I think I'll go back to UFO: Aftermath for a proper XCom fix.
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53 of 62 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars More Dumbing Down from Firaxis..., 15 Oct 2012
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: XCOM Enemy Unknown (PC DVD) (DVD-ROM)
I cant deny that XCOM: Enemey Unknown is fun to play. But like Firaxis last release of Civilization V, this game has been heavily "streamlined". This is a term I am begining to become very wary of, as all too often it is a double edged sword.

With XCOM the game has been radically simplified in both the tactical and strategic gameplay. Whilst this speeds up game play and removes some of the frustratingly slow bits of the old game, I am left feeling like I have less control over events and the result is perhaps more exciting action, but a less overall satisfying experience.

The fixed character classes, limited inventory (you can only carry one bit of extra kit), inability to swap equipment with characters in the field, unlimited ammo all seems to remove an element of the game I actually liked - ie micromanaging things! Great moments when characters ran out of ammo, and someone throws them cartridge; or characters pick up their dead or incapacitated comrades equipment are gone...
The base management is stripped back now your no longer managing several bases, tessellating rooms into a limited floor plan, or designing bases against outside attack - you're limited to placing rooms next to each other for bonuses. Equipment is made instantaneously, but research still has lead times which is weird. The "ant farm" representation looks great but adds nothing to gameplay.

Dispite people claiming this game proves PC gamers have not been forgotten, I actually think it shows the opposite. XCOM: Enemy Unknown is a fun fast moving game, but the gameplay feels like a made for console casual tactical action game, fun and fast moving, but lacking the depth of control which I for one like in my strategy games. This may appeal to a wider audience but is not what I was hoping from the new XCOM game.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Different but still XCOM, 3 Sep 2013
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This review is from: XCOM Enemy Unknown (PC DVD) (DVD-ROM)
This game is a lot more simplified as opposed to Apocalypse, but it's still a good XCOM game. You shoot down UFO, kill aliens and research their technology while trying to stop the aliens from taking over the world.

What I miss in this game is the ability to shoot at walls to create new entrances into buildings, the ability to pick up weapons and ammo (there's no ammo at all, just infinite reloads) on the battlefields. I also miss being able to send out multiple interceptors in case one gets too damaged, or being able to send out multiple skyrangers to take on multiple abduction sites at once. I really like these features in XCOM Apocalypse.

What I do like is the impact of flanking and elevation and the levelling of your recruits to get different roles with unique skills (suppression, lightning reflexes, double tap, etc). All in all I spent many hours in this game, having good fun.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars An Opportunity Squandered, 2 April 2013
By 
R. Wigginton (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
= Fun:2.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: XCOM Enemy Unknown (PC DVD) (DVD-ROM)
I only have vague recollection of the original X-COM, but more recently I had a great time with UFO Aftermath and UFO Afterlight which, as I understand, are very similar. I was looking forward to this game, hoping it would be more of the same but revamped. The reason the Porsche 911 is so successful is because they continue to make minor tweaks and adjustments to what's already great design. This is what I don't understand. The X-COM and UFO games already had a great design, not to mention a loyal fan base. Why go and change everything almost beyond recognition? More to the point, why change everything so it works worse than it did previously?

It could have been so great. Unfortunately, initial impressions made by the graphics and the new `hive' base layout, don't last long and what you find is very much a dumbed-down less intelligent version of what's gone before. It's a bit like comparing Skyrim's simplified role-playing system to the much deeper, well established systems found in Boulder's Gate or Neverwinter Nights.

In X-COM Enemy Unknown you have less control over everything from soldier equipment loadouts and levelling up, to strategy and base building. In the early stages of the game you're steered along a very linear path with set cut scenes and very little to manage or decide yourself.

You can no longer queue items in research. Instead, you must visit the lab and tell the woman to get on with something every time she finishes a project.

In the tactical game, everything looks pretty, but the action is turn based as opposed to real time and the user-interface is overly fussy and clunky. The camera is jumpy, particularly when you want to aim a grenade or rocket and camera rotation is restricted to 90 degree increments rather than being free look. Since all the objects and items are rendered in 3D, why not let us rotate the camera freely? Often I found I couldn't get the view I wanted. Didn't they see this during the design process?

The character class system is terrible. You can no longer allocate any weapon to any soldier? So only a Heavy class soldier has the ability to use a rocket launcher. If your character carries a grenade, he's unable to wear the nano-fibre vest. You must choose one or the other because the grenade takes up the same inventory slot as the vest. It's like the developers just decided to abandon all logical thinking when they made this game. More frustrating is characters can no longer pick up equipment of downed team mates. Let say you allocate a team medic and give him the med kit. He gets killed and you have another team mate bleeding out. No-one is able to go over and pick-up and use his med kit.

The cut scenes of your drop ship taking off and returning to base are fine the first time you see them but become tedious after five or six viewings. They can be skipped, but there's no option to turn them off.

There are several other minor annoyances. `The council' who evaluate your progress is a mysterious man with a bright interrogation light behind him, so you can't see his face. Why? Just because I can't see his face, doesn't make me think he's awesome. Every so often he'll make a stupid comment in voice that sounds like he's on the toilet "Remember... we are watching" or, "We will be in touch, commander".

Your X-COM team is international and it was a nice touch to see their country flags displayed proudly on the back of their armour. However you quickly discover that Kasumi from Japan speaks like she lived in the good `ol USA all her life. You can actually customise your soldiers and there are several voices to choose from, but don't get excited because they're all American. Could they really only find Americans to do the voice acting!? Even in UFO Afterlight, they had accents.

Your X-COM team are, I presume, selected from the finest military outfits on Earth. I'm thinking the cream of SBS, Delta Force, GSG-9, Spetznatz etc. So why is it when they take a hit, they often panic and cry "I want to go home!"? Seriously, did a six year old write the script? Then they proceed to shoot at random, sometimes hitting their own team mates? In summary, it's like X-COM went corporate. Intelligent and rewarding gameplay has been sacrificed in the name of a big budget feel with flashy visuals. I quickly got bored and found myself returning to FTL.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Good, the bad & the ugly, 20 Oct 2012
= Fun:3.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: XCOM Enemy Unknown (PC DVD) (DVD-ROM)
Ok lets get one thing straight from the get-go, XCom is on of the games I was looking forwards to most this year.. I was a HUGE fan of the original (I had it on the Amiga and then on my first PC), and was virtually salivating at the potential that the New Xcom could offer.

Did it live up to my (admittedly very high) expectations?

well.... No, but its not all bad so lets break it down a little.

The Good.
I have to say that the graphics in this game are first class, as is the movement and the streamlining of the movement (being able to jump through windows and over obstacles is an often overlooked movement option in games). The tactical missions play well, with a decent variety (but not huge amount) of well detailed and designed maps, featuring destructible terrain. The updated aliens are also modelled very well, with unique "intro" movies when they are first spotted on the map. The introduction of a skill tree is also welcome, but a little limited in application.
The sound effects and voice acting are also top notch.
I have to mention the "Ant Farm"... the fact that you dig out your base and build position your labs is just cool (though how a satellite uplink works not only underground, but beneath 2 powerplants is a little baffling)

The Bad.
The new version has somehow lost some, but not all, of the sense of atmosphere and tension evident in the original, also the research options are limited, and not as well executed as in other similar titles such as the UFO series. The manufacturing of some things takes a blink of an eye, which just doesnt make sense. (whats that? you would like 5 brand new Heavy Plasma rifles that the research is so new that the ink is still wet on the blueprints.???? Buzz....click....whirr.... well there you go sir, enjoy)
The intro movies for the aliens, while good (see above) get a little tedious after you have seen them the umpteenth time.... and no option to disable them.... also the aliens always seem to appear in set numbers.

The Ugly.
1 skyranger... you can have 99 soldiers, but are only ever allowed 1 transport craft... so can only ever respond to 1 of the 3 events that randomly trigger... I realise this is a conscious decision to make you choose who you help.... but come on.... its just poor.
Movement (yes I know this was in the good too)....occasionally maps are a little difficult to navigate, due to the PC switching between levels automatically depending on the placement of your characters. Also movement is divided up into 2 sections... you can move anything between 1 and 6(ish) squares, then fire or go into overwatch or move again etc.... however you cannot move 1 square, then use the rest of your 1st move, it has to be done in 1 block and 1 block only if you want to do anything else.

Ufo's....... where are the UFO's? the original game had lots.... if you couldnt shoot them down, then you could wait for them to land then try to get them in a ground assault..... they are very rare in this game.... so much so that in the first run through of my game i think I only encountered 10-12 of them.... kinda makes the Geoscape and interceptors redundant.

Finally but most importanly, the game feels scripted. The programmers seem to have decided to stop people saving and reloading to try and change the outcome of a battle..... your sniper missed an important 95% shot? well reload, try it again and he will ALWAYS miss..... OK i understand they want your decisions to matter, but forcing this onto everyone is just wrong (there is a perfectly good option for people that want to play this way called Ironman mode)

So the final verdict is this... I do like this game, parts of it are brilliant, but some of the decisions on what they decided to keep and cut out are just mind boggling.
If you dont have a huge fondness for the original, then you may get more from the game than me.... other than that it might be worth waiting a while to see if they patch the game to smooth out some of the rougher edges.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Lives up to the Plethora of Positive Reviews, 10 Aug 2014
This review is from: XCOM Enemy Unknown (PC DVD) (DVD-ROM)
XCOM is an international organisation backed by the Earth's governments in order to combat an unknown, extraterrestrial threat. As the player, you're chosen to be the commander of XCOM, in control of the World's one and only alien defense force. As the commander, you not only control your troops in battle, but also dictate what technologies are researched, developed and even build the XCOM base.

XCOM: Enemy Unknown is a turn based strategy game and although I enjoy playing these kind of games, I rarely play them. Unlike real time strategy games which I detest (mainly due to my horrible micromanaging skills), XCOM gives you time to think, making the game much less hectic and more manageable. Not only this, the game has many other features outside of combat that add to the overall experience such as soldier class, loadout and visual customisation, research through alien autopsies, interrogations and examination of alien weaponry and the game also features a worldwide threat system where you much priorities some missions over others in order to stay in favour of world governments so that they keep funding the XCOM project.

A plus for waiting so long to play XCOM is the addition of its expansion, XCOM Enemy Within (PC DVD). Enemy Within adds a number of new features to the game such as the ability to genetically modify your soldiers to have superhuman capabilities, the development of cybernetics labs allowing your soldiers to become hulking MEC troopers and the introduction of a new enemy force known as EXALT. EXALT are a group of human radicals that sympathise with the aliens and try their best to disrupt XCOM activities by stealing their funds and the acquisition of alien technology.

Although the game's story is nothing special and somewhat dull, it is made up tenfold by the quality of gameplay it has to offer. The highly polished game has tons of tiny additions that makes it memorable and keeps you playing through things as simple as watching your team jumping out of the aircraft as they begin a mission or switching the camera to over the shoulder view every time a soldier attacks making each and every kill satisfying.

I would without a doubt recommend this game to anyone, having put more time in it than I'd like to admit this week, the pace doesn't seem to be slowing down and I'll be playing it for many more hours. Also, looking at the amount of time some of my friends have played the game for, it looks like there is a lot of replay value with some of them having even played it for several hundred hours.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Far too short, 26 Oct 2012
This review is from: XCOM Enemy Unknown (PC DVD) (DVD-ROM)
Being a massive fan of the original series of XCOM I was looking forward to this long awaited release. But the game seems to be cut down far too much, few too many variations of aliens, technologies, buildings and no use of the alien space craft parts. I 'completed' the game in around ten hours of play, hardly worth the money. Seems the makers started making a fantastic game but cut it short on far too many aspects. Pluses, great graphics, a promising start to the next release, 'hopefully ' that will be given a more expansive, interactive game.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Short but sweet, 17 Dec 2013
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This review is from: XCOM Enemy Unknown (PC DVD) (DVD-ROM)
Playing normal mode of this game, I'd just got to a sweet spot with my team, when the endgame was upon me. I thought 'Oh, well, that sucks.'

I then tried the Xcom Classic mode, which is the same except, well, a lot harder, and ultimately less fun as you spend so much time hiding from rather than assaulting the aliens.

There is also a distinct lack of content and variation, and something which seems to infest a lot of games these days: a short storyline which lengthens its playablity by offering you 4 hardness modes (though 3 really, for how many really try the easy mode option?).

So great while it lasted. Just a shame there was so little to it, ultimately.
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XCOM Enemy Unknown (PC DVD)
XCOM Enemy Unknown (PC DVD) by 2K Games (Windows 7 / Vista)
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