Customer Review

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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Tracked by 2 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 10 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 15 Oct 2012 12:48:24 BDT
Just Jon says:
I'm loving Xcom, but I think I agree with everything you said, above.

If it's all too console for you, have a look at 'Xenonaughts' it's an indie remake of the original Xcom - it's MUCH truer to the old-school version but with a few new shiny additions (inc suppression, etc).

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Oct 2012 15:15:21 BDT
Last edited by the author on 15 Oct 2012 15:15:44 BDT
Bunky says:
Yeah aware of Xenonauts, but thanks for the tip. Why are all my fav games kickstarters? Big developers just dont cater for my tastes any more it seems!

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Oct 2012 15:17:43 BDT
Just Jon says:
If you like that, check out FTL. It's an Indie gem! I could describe it : ) It's brilliant. Steep learning curve stuff - permadeath.

And while I'm at it, if you like squad based tactics, check out Frozen Synapse!

In reply to an earlier post on 16 Oct 2012 08:14:15 BDT
DKL says:
I've noticed I more or less subscribe to Kickstarter these days. With that said, I enjoyed Xcom a lot and the "streamlined" isn't as bad as some make it out to be, but I do long for the old days of the early 90s.

In reply to an earlier post on 16 Oct 2012 13:20:55 BDT
Seafireliv says:
Thanks for the review. Unlimited ammo??? It`s elements like that which made fighting nail biting. Why o why? they think we`re all too stupid these days. Terrible. damn streamlining.

Posted on 17 Oct 2012 16:40:31 BDT
Lloobee says:
Hey, if you want something closer to the original UFO, I'd suggest the UFO trilogy (aftermath, aftershock and afterlight) from Cenega. The third one was very pretty but maybe not atmospheric enough, the first one was extremely atmospheric but a little unpolished, but the second one was truly awesome.

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Oct 2012 06:43:54 BDT
Son of Sam says:
Really spot on review mate.

Some of my best moments in the old games were when things got so tight you were sharing out your kit between your guys trying to make sure you could end the map with a working gun in everyones hand. Or having to choose between going on a mission with your best guns on low ammo, or taking your less than ideal weapons that you had good supplies for.

I agree with Lloobee, the UFO trilogy is really good. I believe Afterlight is relatively recent too. Atm I think they are the games that genuinely hold the spiritual torch of the original games.

In reply to an earlier post on 22 Oct 2012 16:19:46 BDT
Last edited by the author on 22 Oct 2012 16:20:09 BDT
Same here - I am replaying TFTD at the moment and I am up against Lobstermen + Biodrones for the first time, on shore.

My (conventional) weapon fire is basically ineffective. If I hit any of them it takes about half a dozen hits to knock them over. Biodrones are able to withstand alien grenades blowing up right underneath them.

I have had to share out what grenades and ammo I have left just to retreat without further loss.

All good stuff. The trouble with reboots to games like this is that they end up correcting all the wrong stuff. What the game needed was to allow a standard loadout of the craft for each mission type (more / fewer tanks, more / fewer explosives, more / fewer stun weapons etc) according to what it was - base defence, base attack, terror raid, crash retrieval.

Interceptors might be pre-configurable to carry heavier weapons for use against larger targets and lighter ones for use against small targets. That way, you don't needlessly blow apart useful small captures with your most powerful interceptor weapons.

The same would be helpful for each trooper too: base attack means carry a blaster launcher; civvy defence means a laser rifle.

I will probably wait for the price to drop to a fiver because I don't quite see this lasting me another 20 years.

Posted on 24 Oct 2012 16:43:20 BDT
This review has really helped. Your comments regarding the missing components of the new gameplay were the must interesting and enjoyable parts of the previous version. Coincidentally the best way to save your troops who got nailed, was to drop a stun grenade and that would knock them out and stop them feeling and getting cut down. Always carry a stun!

Good observations, much appreciated.

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Jul 2013 17:58:51 BDT
Seafireliv says:
Yea, Xcom is all very flashy, but the lack of control is a real bind. I do find myself reinstalling the Alien trilogy for that ability to do what I want with my team.
Xcom`s `nice`, but gave up a lot of intelligence to look pretty and be easy.
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