This post has taken so long to get to your desk because I’ve been playing to much XCOM. It is so hard to pull myself from it and even type anything at all. I want to be playing RIGHT NOW
My favorite game as a kid had to be Mega Man III.
But right behind that is XCOM: UFO Defense. It was a smart, fun, insane game of sci-fi aliens and decision making. I would go over to a friends house to “help” him play the game after school and it was glorious: Well worth the walk in the woods, in the dark, on the way home in the evening.
So, imagine my glee when I learned that XCOM was being remade, and then subsequently released late 2012. When I finally got my grubby mitts on the game, I was not disappointed. There were significant changes, but I liked almost all of them. XCOM: Enemy Unknown evoked UFO Defense in all the right ways. The few problems I had with the game were simply ascetic. I even managed to play through the game twice, which is something I almost never do. Classic difficulty held to the standard I had envisioned, and Ironman mode was a concept I had tried on the original XCOM to no success. This time, though: Victory was achieved and the world was saved. Taking down the Temple ship was a little bit of a let down as I was really looking forward to Cydonia, but hopefully sometime in one of the expansions we’ll get back to Mars
Two DLC’s came out for the original: The Armor DLC and slingshot. The armor customization was a great addition for only a few bucks, and allows a who host of new colors and looks for every trooper. The greater opinion on slingshot was poor because it was a small DLC. That says something, though, when people are disappointed not at the product itself, but because there was not enough of it. I thoroughly enjoyed it because it was a unique set of missions, in unique locations, with unique goals. there was only 3, but it was excellent.
Recently XCOM: Enemy Within was released, and though I had to rush through the last bit of HOMMVI to get to it, Its been well worth it. I’ve spent hours crushing aliens beneath my boot so far already!
Now, onto my playthrough!
I figure that I’ll start with my style of play, and an Introduction to the game.
The game is played on two maps. The first is greater strategic base setup, where you research alien science, build new weapons and armor, higher soldiers, Buy aircraft to fight alien spaceships, decide which countries to save or let fall, build facilities in the base, research psionic powers and train their devotees, and buy and sell alien artifacts. Whew! That’s a massive game in of itself. I dare say if they fleshed it out a bit, you could have a game in which you only direct XCOM in saving the world.
The second map is the smaller, tactical, turn based map in which you fight aliens and their sympathizers. Aliens come in all shapes in sizes, from the Brutal Mutons, to the Small, emaciated Gray man like Sectoids. Their weapons are powerful, and they outnumber you from the get go. Your Out manned, outgunned, and out technologied. What you do have, is good old human determination and the home field advantage. Your troopers level up and gain classes, which give them specific abilities, and as the game goes up, even more abilities become available to choose from.
The game also has a number of other settings that you can tweak: Advanced Options, and Second Wave Options. Advanced Options cover what type of DLC is on, Tutorials, and the famous Ironman option. Ironman is a mode in which you have one save. A single file that can’t be reloaded or reset. You’re choices have real consequences, and your soldiers die real deaths. Along with the fact that it is very easy to loose the game and need to start over on Classic and Impossible difficulties, it can be a great challenge. Second Wave options are the fun ones. They enable you to capture some of the feel of XCOM: UFO Defense.I turn Training Roulette (enabling random skills from leveling up), Not Created Equally (all rookies have random starting stats), and Hidden Potential (Skill ups are random every level, so that I can capture the essence of random troopers. I also turn on Damage Roulette (larger damage spreads) and eventually, New Economy (Countries funding is not tied to real life economy), just for fun. The final two, Save Scum and Flanking angles, I leave off, as they seem unfun. Part of the game is playing within its save game rules and trying to flank.
My greater Strategic goals are simple: Loose few countries, Figure out how to save my troops lives, and get more money. Saving my troops involves researching weapons and armor as fast as possible, with all other R&D going to the wayside as I make sure my troops can face the aliens fighting them. I rarely sell anything, as I want to be able to research what I have available at any time, so pretty much the only money I make is through corpses, broken spaceships, and funding. Managing the worlds panic levels seems to be much of the game to me, and I’ve managed to get pretty good at it. Classic makes it a little difficult with a starting panic level of 1 in every country, but I manage. In the effort of saving money on what I use, I always start the game in Aisa. Future Combat enables me to spend tons less on the projects I value most: Foundry and Officer Training School. The OTS is the facility I aim for from the very beginning. Enabling Wet Work, New Guy and both squad increases is one of the primary driving forces for how I play.
When it comes to Troop Actions, I generally lean towards offence being a good defense. While explosive weapons destroy artifacts that the aliens have and set me back some in terms of research or monetary value, it has the high reward of keeping my troopers alive, experienced, and ready to fight the alien threat. This means I’ll sometimes be behind the times when it comes to fragments, I have excellently trained troopers in multiple sets that I can send out when the time comes. I tend to lean towards a fire base of troops that can lay down a ridiculous amount of firepower. This is going to change, definitely with the new Meld resource. In the first game my go to squad was 2 Snipers with Double Tap and Squadsight, two Heavies with Bulletswarm, and either two support or a support and assault. The amount of firepower I could drop was apocalyptic.
I am going to jump right into Classic – Ironman (C/I) and see how this works out for me. Wish me luck.
I hope I can tear my self away from the game long enough to give some reports on how this is all going along.