follow us:

Latest News

Join the Thieves Guild in upcoming Elder Scrolls Online DLC
A new DLC pack for Elder Scrolls Online lets players join the iconic Thieves Guild. It's time to make the pockets across Tamriel a little lighter. ... [read more]
New trailer gives you a behind the scenes look at Unravel
With the release of Unravel, the indie 2D platformer with the adorable character made of yarn, in just a few weeks, EA unveiled a new trailer with more info about the gameplay. ... [read more]
Far Cry Primal story revealed in new trailer
A new video for FarCry Primal is available and shows what lies ahead for our hero, Takkar. Massive hunting grounds showcase the new wildlife and enemies that inhabit the ecosystem of Oros. It is up to you to defend your people from the enemy tribes and find your place in thi... [read more]

Latest Articles

Your safe space doesn't belong in my competitive game
Whether it’s trash talking or teabagging, some people are looking for a nicer online experience. Guess what? We’re not in elementary school anymore. This is digital dodgeball and players like me are aiming for your head. ... [read more]
Smite Preview: Hey look at me, I'm playing a MOBA on my console
There's no doubt that the top two MOBA games are DotA 2 and League of Legends, and with the control layout for those games, it's unlikely we'll see those games make the jump to the consoles. However, Smite, the third-person perspective MOBA game and arguably the third most p... [read more]
It doesn't matter how you get your Gjallarhorn
Destiny has seen its share of ups and downs. From the amazingly unbalanced Vex Mythoclast Fusion Rifle to its poor story, players have had plenty of reasons to trash the game. And now, the ultimate storm of garbage has landed. The Destiny community lost its mind when the Gja... [read more]

Latest Reviews

Undertale Review: An 8-bit RPG with a twist
Toby Fox first made himself known to the public with his ROM hack, “Press the B Button, Stupid!” for an Earthbound Halloween Pack back in 2008. With the help of artist Temmie Chang, he created a game that will take you back in time with its 8-bit look, music and turn-bas... [read more]
Batman: Arkham Knight Review: A fitting end for the Dark Knight
Rocksteady Studios did the unthinkable in 2009 by making a game based on a comic an actual GOTY contender. The follow-up, Arkham City, continued the pattern of quality and faithfulness to the comic making for another great game. To finish off the series, Rocksteady is back w... [read more]
Heroes of the Storm Review: The WoW of MOBAs is here
MOBAs are becoming more and more common as the competitive arena of choice. League of Legends and DotA changed the face of eSports by putting the new genre in the spotlight. Blizzard has entered the fray with their answer in the form of Heroes of the Storm.... [read more]

Latest Videos

Top 10 Hardest NES Games of All-Time
The NES was a console that had a huge library that had some of the most notoriously difficult games of all time. 8-Bit Eric counts down the Top 10 Hardest NES Games of All-Time. ... [read more]
8-Bit Eric Review: Yoshi's Woolly World
8-Bit Eric reviews the woolly adventure of Yoshi in Yoshi's Woolly World. ... [read more]
8-Bit Eric Review: Citizens of Earth Review (Wii U)
Remember Earthbound? Well, Citizens of Earth is like Earthbound, but not really. 8-Bit Eric explains why. ... [read more]
XCOM: Enemy Unknown Review
Posted on January 31, 2013 by Drew Bergmark

XCOM: Enemy Unknown, a reboot of the strategy franchise of the same name back on the 90s, is probably one of the most difficult games to understand, not only as a turn-based strategy fan, but also as a game reviewer. Coming out on the PC, Xbox 360 and Playstation 3, this game is accessible for anyone to pick up and play along with taking a long time to master. If you plan on picking up XCOM and you like strategy games, you won’t have to worry about not getting enough time out of the game as I’ve spent the last month trying to completely understand it.

Developed by Firaxis as the studio’s first departure from a game created by Sid Meier, these guys are known for some of the deepest strategy experiences available in video games. Known for the Civilization series, they take their experience from their years of work on Civilization to work on a rebirth of the XCOM franchise. Can this wealth of experience bring new life to the series on the current consoles?

MARS ATTACKS!

Preparing for Galactic War:  Single player and multiplayer are pretty much the same.  Going through the campaign you are given the typical vague premise: you are a commander of a private global defense organization attempting to expel aliens from wreaking havoc on Earth by seeking and removing them at sometimes any cost. Quickly expanding the difficulty, I’d describe the core mechanics to be a roguelike while sticking to the general tabletop role-playing game that I explained before. All of this combines into a simple yet intuitive experience. As for the multiplayer, you are given a certain amount of credits to customize your futuristic warriors in a small 1v1 arena with some protection across the virtual battlefield. As its turn-based, you don’t really have to worry about lag as the gameplay being shown concurrent without having much of a need to weigh down your upload and download speeds. You really begin to understand the meaning of strategy when you go into a ranked match.

Within an hour of playing the campaign, you’ll have those moments of great excitement for achieving something that might or might not be difficult depending on your experience. Mechanically, the game functions as a tabletop role-playing game and that may scare some people off with that comparison. Honestly though, it’s intentional because those who would be opposed to tabletop gaming might not even see this as being their kind of game.  For a strategy game, XCOM definitely created the easiest controls that I’ve ever had for any turn-based game that I played on a console. When I start playing a game, usually I just jump in without looking at the controls and never once did I have to bring up the control layout. How Firaxis did this with one of the deepest strategy experiences I’ve ever had completely boggles me.

Going Deep - While games like FTL are easy to pick up and play, XCOM: Enemy Unknown is a much deeper experience that is going to take you hours and hours to just begin to understand. Whether this is a bad or good thing for you, I’d like to think of it as getting your money’s worth. With several different types of aliens, you have just as many different classes of human soldiers giving the game a large variety but usually with variety beyond the typical rock-paper-scissors strategy gives an unbalanced game.

One of the core mechanics that has been brought back for single-player is every time a soldier dies in combat and is not revived, they are gone for good and there is no way that you can get them back unless you quickly turn off the game to revert before an auto-save saves over your game that you worked on for the last four hours.  While it seems that there is some unbalanced aliens for inexperienced players going through the campaign the first few times, you realize the learning curve is just a lot steeper than most games present you with these days. So many gamers and developers complain about games being too easy these days and while they are right, there is a reason why difficult doesn’t always translate into fun.

FAILING LIKE JOHN CARTER

It’s Just Not Fun - I’ve played through XCOM at least fifty hours and even for this strategy fan, I just didn’t have fun with the game. There is nothing mechanically wrong with the game but the repetitive hardcore strategy just seems to echo as you get the same experiences over and over again. Maybe it’s just a matter of personal taste but after the first few hours of gameplay, I just felt like the game was more of work than play. As much as I tried to give XCOM multiple tries for fun replayability, I just wasn’t having a good time as I’d rather think about taking up DnD instead. You know what isn’t fun either? Watching the same animations on the same character models again and again and again.

The Same Thing Over and Over Again - From watching the interceptors attack a saucer to watching as the aliens crawl in from the corner of the map, once you’ve played about two to three hours of the game you’ve played it all and you’ve seen it all. Hearing the same dialog and seeing the same, simple cutscenes, it gets old real fast. While the graphics aren’t really anything to ogle your eyes out over. 
 




 

XCOM: Enemy Unknown is one of my favorite strategy games of the year despite not having an exuberant amount of fun with it.  Mechanically, there is so much to offer the hardcore turn-based strategy niche audience, but for those wanting to get into strategy games should definitely not pickupthis game and instead try out Firaxis’ previous title, Civilization Revolution. XCOM, aesthetically, isn’t interesting for a casual gamer either as animations are repetitive. With that said, if you are looking for the deepest strategy game of 2012, you found it.

*This review was based on the PS3 version of the game with a review copy provided by the publisher.*

Drew Bergmark - Staff Writer viggo (@) original-gamer.com | all author's articles

What's your most anticipated game for February?

Project X Zone 2
Fire Emblem Fates
XCOM 2
Dying Light: The Following
Mighty No. 9
Unravel
Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare 2
Megadimension Neptunia VII
Firewatch
Far Cry Primal
View Results - View Comments

Podcast


Catching up with Koretzky


XCOM goes back to strategy roots with XCOM: Enemy Unknown

XCOM: Enemy Unknown Review

PAX East 2014: Colonize other worlds in Sid Meier’s Civilization: Beyond Earth

Other Gaming News From The Web