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Sunday, July 14, 2013

Exploring X-Com: Enemy Unknown

Yesterday I felt a little run down, so a gift from Sean came just in time: a copy of X-Com: Enemy Unknown in my Steam mailbox. Too weak to do much more than use my mouse and keyboard, I lost myself for a couple of hours in an interactive tale of alien invasion.

Enemy Unknown is a sequel/reinvention of a series of very popular turn-based tactical squad shooters from the 90s. Heavily inspired by the early 1970s Gerry Anderson television series UFO, X-Com asks players to oversee the construction of an underground armory/hangar/research base and send out squads of soldiers against any aliens who make it past interceptor defences.

It's a great game. Managing your budget, expanding your base and researching new technology is just as fun as sending your soldiers out to fight the aliens. I find myself regretting every soldier's death, in part because they're reasonably fleshed out: they have names, home countries, different skills, and you can even customize their look. It's kind of heartbreaking when a soldier who's made it through seven missions perishes on the eighth. It's even worse when civilians are killed; yesterday the aliens invaded Ottawa and killed nine innocent people before I managed to complete the mission. I saved only two, and lost one of my own men...a dark day for the X-Com team.

In terms of time invested, I have a feeling this game might rival Fallout: New Vegas and Civilization V. It's that good.

1 comment:

"Jeffthics" said...

I very much enjoy the copy of Seven Great Steps you gifted me a while back. It's not as visually thrilling as X-COM, but it is a game that fuels the imagination.

I also like X-COM a lot. Replayability is limited, and you might encounter a game killing bug or two, but it is an excellent game nonetheless. I was hoping to gift it to you in return, but Sean beat me to it.