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 X-Com: Enemy Unknown [REVIEW]

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PostSubject: X-Com: Enemy Unknown [REVIEW]   Sat Oct 27, 2012 8:49 am

Many people remember playing the classic strategy game from 1994, X-Com UFO Defence, or for the euros, UFO: Enemy Unknown. While the original did have sequels, they were either the same thing but obsurdly harder, or terrible. Now in 2012, Firaxis Studios have made their own take on the famous turn based stategy, Xcom: Enemy Unknown.

For people unaware of the X-COM series, X-Com follows the Earth when an unstoppable alien invasion threatens to wipe out humanity. In a last stand move, many countries pool their resources and create a mulit-national defense organisation of the best of the best soldiers, research facilities and technology: The X-tarestrial COMbat Unit. They are set in charge of one thing: Fighting the aliens as Earth's first and last line of defense. They are outnumbered, out gunned, out matched and cannot save everyone. The game is played in two scapes, the geoscape and the battlescape.

The geoscape is base building, soldier recruiting, research and planning. In this scape, the player must choose what facilities they wish to build, what technologies they wish to research and resource management. This is crucial to your success and requires smart tactical planning. The player can build stalietes to moniter countries, and send out planes to take down UFOs.

The Battlescape is frontline combat, this is done in a turn based format, and is done in a unique cover system mechanic. Each soldier (maximum 4 upgradable to 6) gets two moves per turn. They can run behind half or full cover for one turn, or dash a further distance at the cost of losing both turns. Each soldier is randomly assigned to one of four classes. Assault, ideal for charging in for close range. Support, ideal for backup and medic roles. Heavy, a light machine gun wielding monster. Sniper, useless up close, but death when used to cover team-mates. Or a remote controlled mobile turrent called a shiv, which can be upgraded to gain flight abilities. Each class has unique abilities which they can unlock by killing enemies, and a simple inventory system consisting of primary gun, secondary gun, armour and special item slot (major rank support class or higher gets two).

Each soldier can be customized, allowing players to change the characters face, facial hair, hair. skin colour, hair colour, name and nickname. If the player pre-order the game, they get a choice between 32 armour colour types and an alternate armour style.


The cover system is a unique tactical system that is executed fairly well, and allows some great tactical decisions. Should the soldier risk dashing to a further cover, but risk being unable to fight with possible aliens?

The customization allows some great personal changes that the original game simply didn't have.

Music quality is stella, creating both a tense and actioney mood at various points in the game. The theme itself is especially awesome.

The cutscenes and story are brilliantly executed, giving a very realistic feeling of impending doom and raising the good question. If we give in to all the technologies the aliens brought (which is vital to survival) do we run a high risk of become just as heartless and cruel as the aliens themselves?

Alien variety is great, with each type being different from every other, while every one that is based off the old ones being both more creatively designed, while sharing more balanced traits of the old ones, with some new alien appearances such as the thin men.

Maps are awesomely designed for tactics, each having tactical advantages and disadvantages for different playstyles.

Mission variety is slightly increased, expanding from the originals battlescape modes. New missions include abduction sites, bomb disposal, personel recovery, cargo capture and escort.

The departure from Time Units is a huge improvement, which while having drawbacks, it does hugely increase the game pacing.


Voice acting on soldiers is pathetic. Heres my multinational team of 1 german, 2 russians, 1 Italian, 1 Scottsman and 1 Frenchwomen. So why does every single fucking voice actor for males sound not only American, but sound like the same fucking voice at different tones?

The animation is INCREDIBLY buggy, so expect bullets flying through enemies on misses, flying through 20m thick rock, shooting backwards into enemies, shooting over a short enemy at pointblank (only to have the bullets curve into the enemy).

The camera can only turn at 4 different angles, why it does not just let me turn at a full 360 degree angle is beyond me. During the short cutscenes shooting sometimes gives, it often throws the camera into walls, or on rare ocassions, through the ground and into a endless abyss.

Classic mode is too insane of a spike from Normal mode, going from moderatly hard to batshit hell (equivilent to superhuman of original). What I want to know is, if classic is that hard, why is their achievements for beating impossible mode?! Do they really expect anyone to beat it?!

Customization is HUGELY limited without the preorder DLC, the inability to customize armour colour is a major flaw if you didn't pre order.

The cap of 6 men is hugely lower then the originals starter ship cap of 14 men up to I believe 26 men. While soldiers are signicantly tougher in the new version, and it makes for better battle pacing, 6 men is still pretty low. 8 would of been perfect.

Snipers are gods once they get the squad sight upgrade if they are in the open. Yes, that should be the best soldiers for open combat, but damn, my colonal sniper has the same strength my other 5 guys have combined. Not just when those 5 are in open ground, when they arei in the close quarters areas they excel in as well!

Enemies just sit around and do nothing if you havn't spotted them yet. If you loved the terror of seeing bullets fly out of the darkness, you will not get it here.

Final Verdict:

Overall a great game and well worth a 60 purchase (or 70 dollar Australian purchase, GRRRRR) and gives well upwards of 20 hours gameplay per game, which due to the random class system, makes each war often very very different to play. While the PC version is as always a much better version, both PC and console controls work fine and both will give a fantastic experience.

Final Note: Fuck you if I didn't mention the multiplayer, no one is buying X-Com for multiplayer anyway.

I am a brony yes, but I am not about love and tolerance or any of that shit. I use the persona Rainbow not just because I like the character, but because its an ironic name to have due to how absurdly cynical I am.

I suppose this is the part where I make some line to be more badass then Dynamite. Thankfully, I don't need to make  a line to be more badass then Dynamite.
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X-Com: Enemy Unknown [REVIEW]
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