Game Review: XCOM Enemy Unknown

22 Oct , 2012,
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2012 has been a great year for retro games. Not have we seen the return of Jagged Alliance, XCOM also made a return on both the PC and on consoles. This is after years of games with flashy graphics failed to impress veteran gamers who still hold onto gameplay as their holy grail. XCOM: EU seem like the right game and not only will it re-interest DOS era gamers, it will also wow the new generation of gamers.

XCOM: EU is developed by Firaxis Games who are also the developers for the Civilization series. The team is no newbie when it comes to streamlining games while adding more depth. XCOM: EU is of no exception.

While the concept behind new and old XCOM has not changed, the gameplay had a total overhaul. Gone were the days where you have to do mundane stocktaking. Checking whether you have enough weapons, ammunition and medkits to go round. Instead the genius behind the remake was to remove the accounting but still keep the urgency to get the right equipment at the right time.

Players have to make decisions on how they want their soldiers to progress. Unlike the old game where the soldiers adapt to the player’s play style, player get to dictate the strengths and weakness of each trooper on the roster and play them to their advantage on the battlefield. Players also get to change the outlook of each trooper. From the colour of their armour to the hairstyles and facial hair of each and everyone of them. Thus, giving the players a personal relation with each and every trooper. It can be a heartbreaker to see a personal favorite getting gunned down during an intense firefight. A death is permanent death in this game. So make your next move really really wisely.

The special abilities is what makes the game. No longer do players need to deploy mass numbers against the alien invaders. Since the Action Point system got cleaned up as well, the presence of special abilities is needed to make up for the difference. It also makes each and every trooper look cool. Surely, if this is an FPS, the aliens will be complaining that the humans are broken. The abilities goes all the way to mind control. I kid you not.

XCOM: EU is probability the game which defines 2012. It charms and attracts the player to partake in the secret activities of XCOM: EU as they struggle to save the world from the alien threat. It absorbs the player into the world and there is always appetite for “one more fight”. Finally, a remake that do justice to an old classic.

Only expectations of it being a clone of the 1994 game is going to ruin the feel of XCOM: EU.


Updates: Always want to test your alien busting skills against a human opponent? Now is the chance. 2K Games Asia and Alienware Arena Cybercafe at Dhoby Ghaut MRT (formally known as JCube Cybercafe) will be hosting a mini tourney. Limited edition XCOM EU T-shirts and S$20 shopping vouchers to be won. The event will be held from 3pm till 7pm. Check out their Facebook page for more info.