X COM Enemy Unknown
First of all, I had bought X COM for one reason and one reason only, to make a squad named after my friends, prominent characters in gaming and celebrities which hopefully I will grow attached to and eventually lose in a dramatic battle against ETs, in which I will mourn them and make fictional stories surrounding their existence in this game, did that work out? Check this review to find out.
X COM enemy unknown is a remake of a 1994 classic PC strategy game, which tells the story of an alien invasion which caused the launch of an Extraterrestrial combatant project named X COM, where you are placed in the commander’s seat as you manage the project’s finances, international funding, research, engineering, and the ET fighting death squads. Honestly I didn’t pay much attention to the story, since it was not as exciting as I thought it would be, especially since the cast are plain and completely devoid of any personality whatsoever. But I think that is what X COM intends to do, you are the commander, you’ve got so much on your plate and so much riding on your shoulders that you eventually become the cold and calculating bastards that are usually telling you orders in other military shooters. This game captures the essence of war very firmly in its grasp, where you know that you just can’t save everyone, and every time you gain something, you lose something else. Where the only difference on whether to save UK or Brazil is the reward their offering. It is tense, depressing, and shows how much effort and thought that the game developers put into the game.
The gameplay is straight up turn based strategy, where everything is calculated and sometimes you just press enter and hope for a miracle even when the chances are slim, these battles are tense and terrifying, and gives you a sense of accomplishment or failure that is hard to find in today’s market. Its tactical brilliance is still there, and I say this because I’m not much of a strategist and my soldiers keep getting killed in action, well not always, it depends on which difficulty you are in, on normal everything is plain sailing if you know what you’re doing, on The highest difficulty however, you’re gonna need a lot more graves. Unfortunately the game feels very flat, take the death of a soldier for instance, you’ve been with this guy from the very beginning than BANG! Alien takes his guts out, and the only thing you see is some auto generated text and a meaningless generic bagpipe music filled memorial that doesn’t really satisfy my grief. The same can be said with the base that the X COM project uses, the entire place feels empty and lifeless, sure it seems crowded, but take a look around, you can have over a 100 engineers but the only person I see is that bald Asian guy, and I thought something like this would have a lot more detail, I was hoping for a place where I might check on my scientist dissecting aliens, visit Sgt. Connor Kenway in the hospital, and honor those who had sacrificed themselves in this war. But no, it takes the death of my finest soldier and make it a meaningless statistic. But even though the game treats your soldiers like crap, you won’t mind because eventually you do feel an emotional attachment to them, because you feel like you’ve gone through hell with these guys, and after a while, you will lose them and mourn their loss either way, but as the commander you are, you just plow on through and continue without them.
X COM enemy unknown is an excellent strategy game even from someone who never touched a strategy game before. The battles are unpredictable, tense, terrifying, and fun to say the least, while the story might not seem like much but you will unknowingly make your own, stories of the courageous men and women that fought during the war, top that off with some grade A character design and you have one heck of a fun alien invasion.