Type of app: Strategy
Platform/where to buy: PC; available at Steam
Developer: Firaxis / 2K Games
XCOM: Enemy Unknown will place you in control of a secret paramilitary organization called XCOM. As the XCOM commander, you will defend against a terrifying global alien invasion by managing resources, advancing technologies, and overseeing combat strategies and individual unit tactics.
Major features: As I noted in my video review of Borderlands 2 here, sometimes the best way to get a feel for a game is to simply show it on video. So I have taken the opportunity to review the opening levels of XCOM Enemy Unknown to show off how the game works and some of the features – and just how great it looks!
XCOM is a turn-based strategy game with all of the standard features of the genre. You lead a squad of up to four soldiers, and need to accomplish missions in order to ‘save the world’ more or less. These missions are sometimes simple, other times complex, but always require planning and thought. In between missions you head to base to upgrade (promote) your soldiers, heal up, perform research to develop new technologies, gain new armor, and so on.
In the game you get to make choices about which missions to take on, which can alter the balance of power in the world and impact your support from various countries in the alliance. If you let an area get out of control you risk losing their support and resources. And resources are critical to success – you start with a simple group of soldiers and base, but pretty soon you are launching satellites and so on … and none of it is cheap!
Most of all I found XCOM to be FUN. It is hard when you lose your first soldier on a mission, but unlike in shooters that is just an expected reality. The greatness of the game comes from explore areas and working to maximize your gains and minimizing your losses.
Ease of use/Overall performance: Once you work through the tutorial you should be all set. If you have ever played a strategy game you will find the settings familiar. Technically the game is amazing – the graphics look great, especially with the amount of stuff going on at any given time.
Would use again/recommend?: Definitely! The depth of missions and strategy involved is stunning, and for any genre fan this is simultaneously a trip down memory lane and a reminder of just how great turn-based games can be!
Suggested changes/wish list for updates: Nothing!
Here is the hands-on gameplay review: