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66 of 70 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 15 October 2012
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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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 19 February 2013
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 2 April 2013
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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40 of 45 people found the following review helpful
on 15 October 2012
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 3 September 2013
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 16 July 2013
I played the original Xcom and dearly wanted to play this on release, but wasn`t going to give anyone who uses `forced-Steam` £30. So I waited until I saw it going for about £5. I`ve said it before and I`ll say it again, don`t force this draconian `DRMS` on us and I`ll pay more than £30 for a good game on release.

Anyway, started the game off. I chose the Tutorial mode for anything different from the original. It starts you off with a nice cinematic of the Alien first attack then has a noob team, unsure of what to expect, meet their first Aliens... with rough results.

First things I noticed once the game actually gave me control was how I couldn`t run and grab a weapon off a fallen comrade, a tactic I was well used to doing. I can`t even grab a Medi pack from what I can tell. Then I discovered there was no rotation control of my troops so I can face them the right way... Not so bad since the soldier tends to face the right way, but still... Oh and they never run out of ammo, but bazookas are bizarrely restricted to 1 missile shot. Gone are the days when I used to pack 3 shells in a bazooka man`s backpack for use.

Back at base, again, I found myself limited with my troops. I can`t really control what they become. One will automatically be a bazooka guy or a sniper and then they`re basically stuck with that weapon. Forget using them with other weapons in emergencies. Even if they may not have the skills some weapons should be usable by all. It`s all quite limited, unrealistically so. Others have already mentioned how a sniper scope takes up a whole pack slot instead of just being placed on your rifle.
Also, smoke bombs are confusing; I thought they would obscure the view of the Aliens, but the Aliens just shoot through it and kill everyone anyway.

The way stats upgrade are VERY basic. Childishly so. I`m never quite sure wht they`re real stats are... Maybe I`m missing something. They unlock (how I have come to dislike this term) and some of them don`t feel very natural. Some feel like they should already be available while others just feel a little stupid, like now she can use a medipack 3 times instead of restricted to once - she needs an unlock to use a Medipack more than once??? Why?

I don`t like needless gamey-ness when realism would actually be more enjoyable. Just give her a pack and let her use as many medi-packs as she has space and time to use. simple.


They have managed to capture the old Xcom atmosphere still. This is because the Devs smartly kept in crucial aspects...
1. The game is actually still very tactical and strategic.

Even on Normal you need to plan what missions to take to quell the Alien menace and exactly how you`re going to fight the tactical battles. The Aliens soon become very unforgiving of errors. Stand your troops in the middle of nowhere and they will likely die. You must use cover, use 2 X 2 cover system and try to send NO ONE out alone. It doesn`t take much for troops to panic sometimes. I had one girl panic at the sight of her squadm8 being killed, turn around and shoot her own other soldier! In another instance one panicked and ran out into the midst of Aliens to meet an Alieny death.

Countries who are a part of the Xcom project will soon cease funding if you do too badly or ignore them as panic envelopes them.

You find yourself in a race to develope more weaponry, more research and more facilities because the Aliens soon start to ramp up the pressure further. Being slow on this I sent my improving troops on another mission to meet new killer Aliens that wiped out my crew- On Iron man rules (No reloading) it can be deflating to watch your perfect trained Squad, customised and named all bite the dust.

But this is why it captures the whole Xcom atnmosphere. You become attached to your crews and feel bad for them when even one die; just like the old game. We don`t like them dying, but that possibility must be there and the Devs have understood this. Good stuff.

2. Very atmospheric cutscenes.

I`m not really a fan of cutscenes and flashiness, but the Xcom cutscenes do a good job of bringing Xcom to life. You see your assault plane takeoff and land with the soldiers running out. They`re quick so they don`t get in the way of successful kills. It also keeps that dark, evil broodiness when searching for Aliens.
Back at base you get a lot of waffle of your Superintendent telling you what`s happening (in a nice 1st person way) with the shadowy Xcom Nations Leader appraising your progress each month. Even when he is happy with you he sounds angry!

But I`m disappointed with the Jet to UFO take downs, it`s just a very plain screen. I`m sure more could`ve been done to add more atmosphere.

3. The game does escalate the situation bit by bit.
Take too long, be too slow and you`ll soon know about it. The Aliens don`t wait for you. They make abduction attacks, forays for some unknown reason into countrysides, then terror attacks, etc. I like the terror attacks because you have to rescue civilians- but it isn`t easy.

Graphics are good. Sounds are pretty decent and troops waffle on the situation. Customisation is not bad (I installed the addon pack), but voice options are week, for example, there are 5 voices... choose American, hard American, soft American, stern American or angry American! For a game that`s supposed to be international it seemed to forget all the other possible voice options. A German, Indian and \or Japanese accent voices would`ve been nice.

It was nice to see in Germany that Police cars actually were German colours, though.

Control-wise, it was ok with the mouse, but I didn`t like how I always have to `double-ok` a command. I hit `Fire` then the game wants me to also confirm with `ok` again as if I`m stupid. I`d like Fire to just Fire, like in the old X-com.

Anyway, the game does suck you in and despite my whines, it`s actually very enjoyable. I just wish they had not gone so far in dumbing the game down for the kiddies; a little more realistic depth would not have hurt it at all.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 22 June 2013
The title of this review is what I kept saying last night. Until, eventually at 2am, I decided I had reached an appropriate stopping point. That being, the point where my eyes were beginning to close and opening them again was tantamount to a Herculean task.

Things this game does well:
Makes you plan your every mission. Impatience will get you punished or make you feel you were extremely lucky you weren't punished (which is correct. You were lucky. Don't risk your soldiers lives like that again commander.)

Gives you choices which cannot just be mindless. You need to balance the panic of nations. You can't keep them all, so who do you let go? Do you need the mission reward bonus more than you need to reduce panic?

Puts you in the hot seat: You are in control. In the immediate sense, the lives of your soldiers are in your hands (soldiers who you can rename after real life friends and family for that added association. I can tell you, I was pissed when my Uncle Toby got sniped across the map by a thin man). In the bigger picture, you start thinking about the fate of the Earth.

Bad things:
The AI can sometimes pull out a giant extra terrestrial dildo gun and critical hit you up the ass with it. See my mention above of dear Uncle Toby. R.I.P. 21/06/2013 - 21/06/2013. You will be missed.

Movement isn't allowed when people you are saving are talking. It's annoying because the scientists go on and on. And you need to keep them alive to succeed in your mission.

This game is at its absolute best in Ironman mode and on Normal or Classic difficulty. I would definitely suggest going straight for Normal Ironman, doing to tutorials and getting stuck in. Playing in Easy mode where you can reload after a soldier dies doesn't give you the same feeling of 'Every action counts towards saving or condemning the Earth'. You can fail the odd mission without losing the entire game. So risk it. Risk it for the freedom biscuit.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 23 February 2013
Fairly certain that, outside of Chess, this is the only turn-based tactics game I have played, although I have been playing Civilization (a Firaxis property for several years now) since I was about 12. I agree with a lot of what many other reviews have said - the combat side and the base management side complement each other fantastically, with neither feeling tacked on to the other. The gameplay all works very well, and is great fun - even though there are only so many maps in the campaign, the dynamic placement of enemy units means no two battles are the same.

The only two gripes I can think of are the occasional incredible arbitrariness of the shots - the percentage system usually makes a great deal of sense, and getting a lucky hit on a 35% shot is immensely satisfying, but conversely, there is nothing more infuriating than somebody being in an adjacent grid square to a target and missing a 96% shot. During the firing animation, the barrel of the rifle is literally pressed to an alien's temple, and yet somehow the shot goes wide. As Pratchett said, 'million to one chances crop up nine times out of ten'. It always seems that the assault is the only class which gets a 100% chance to hit from an adjacent square. I guess everyone else is nervous being up close and personal to bizarre creatures from another planet.

EDIT: SECOND COMPLAINT REMOVED (Firaxis did indeed patch the teleport bug out of the game).

So overall, an excellent game that I would thoroughly recommend to people who enjoy games with a bit more 'stop and think' big picture stuff. The small RPG-esque elements are also good - naming and customizing your troops turns them into individuals rather than the mass of identical units you get in other strategy / tactics games, so there's more attachment and distress if they eventually buy the farm. Just don't mention dismissing troops based on nationality so you can build a squad based on your friends - some internet warrior will undoubtedly accuse you of racism and xenophobia, which is kinda funny in the context of a game about an alien invasion.

TL;DR: great game, but I'd advise either waiting to buy or not playing with Ironman (all moves are canonical as the game autosaves and cannot be reloaded) active until the teleportation bug is sorted out.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 20 October 2012
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.???? 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 4 September 2013
I love this game, it fits nicely into the type of mechanics I enjoy in games. This level of strategy really allows you to dive into the game and think about your decisions, because trust me, one wrong move, one over zealous charge at an alien, and you can find yourself in a whole load of trouble. I like how they have mixed base building with the RTS aspects of the missions, allowing for quite a diverse experience. The game is also very unforgiving, it is by no means simple, even on normal I find difficult situations regularly. Half way through the game one bad mission could result in the failure of that save file (less likely if your not doing Ironman), and I like feeling that I'm in a good position, but could still lose. It adds an extra level to the challenge.

I would strongly recommend this game to anyone who likes RTS games, anyone who enjoys Sci-Fi and aliens, and anyone with an open gaming mind. Try something new, you may just enjoy it :)
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