XCom: Game of the Year

Whats that you say? XCom: Enemy Unknown may just be more addictive than alcohol, smoking and crack combined times infinity? I can attest to that. When you thought you couldn't possibly say "ok, just one more turn" and its 5am... for the second night in a row.. it isn't Civ 5.. it isn't Heroes of Might and Magic. Its XCom.

I had serious doubts that the newest iteration of XCom was gonna be horrible; that 2KGames was going to bomb one of my most cherished pc games of all time. A game that I didn't fully understand how to play.. and a game that can be terribly hard if you don't have a solid strategy. A game that will whoop your butt and not give you any consolation prize.. nope.. the earth has been invaded by aliens all thanks to your incompetence. Goodbye!

If you played and liked the original XCom series: Buy it.
If you like turn-based strategy games: Buy it.
If you like Aliens vs Humans games: Buy it.
If you like squad based combat: Buy it.
If you like units that you can fully customize and upgrade: Buy it.
If you like a pure challenge, even on the easiest difficulty: Buy it.
If you want an insane challenge that'll bring you to the point of tears: Buy it.

I honestly can't say enough good things about the game and how happy I am to have picked it up; it makes me wish that I bought it on release day resulting in VERY tired mornings at work.. and probably resulting in 'sick' days. Its basically the XCom for this generation, like how The Dark Knight Rises is the Batman for ours. Its not 'good' is 'OMFG SICK.'

 Lets get straight to the bad; there are only two things that I can see that is bad about the game. Maybe three. One: when in a map with multiple levels (1st floor, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and more), the camera doesn't work well. You'll be wanting to move your units, but the camera will show you the level above, causing massive tactical errors. In areas such as these, mistakes such as this results in dead veterans; Ginger and Juan are now on the memorial having sacrificed themselves for the greater good. I really hope they fix this issue with a patch; it nearly makes the game unplayable. Two: the game seems short. In my first playthough, I went right ahead and started doing the priority quests, thinking that they expired.. (they don't seem to) it seemed like the game was progressing very fast story-wise. Maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised later, but it feels very fast-paced, when I want a little less urgency and a little more skirmishes with aliens. Three: Its so incredibly addictive. Those stories above about the 5am game sessions are true. I forced myself to sleep, knowing full well the past 3 hours I kept saying to myself: "ok, after this one scan, i'll log off." And something interesting always happened and the cycle happened again and again.

Phew. With that out of the way, we can talk about the great stuff. First: Graphics. Huge overhaul to the original and thank goodness for that. Knock on wood, no graphical glitches other than the wonky camera only in multi-level maps. And only one crash. Second: Customization. Just like the original games, you can customize your soldiers, use your name, your friends names, whatever. Make them look as much or as little in resemblance to you. When they level up, you get a simplified (more so than even Mass Effect 3 if you can believe that) ability tree; but the small choices make a big impact in the game for you. Third: Pick up and go. Well besides the 5am part, whenever you fight aliens, the map is a perfect size (atleast in the early goings) that you can normally complete one in under 10 minutes if you're efficient. It makes you feel like you're accomplishing alot and builds morale and a feeling that you're unstoppable (until your whole squad dies).
I could keep going on and on and on about how great XCom is, but I don't want to raise your expectations. Its a serious buy and totally worth the money imho. I thought this year many great games came out: Diablo 3, Skyrim, Borderlands 3, Mass Effect 3 etc etc. For the longest time going, I still thought, overall, Skyrim was the Game of the Year... Now? XCom wins hands down. No. NO! Hands down. Shuddapa your mouth; nothing is better than this game. Case in point: I haven't touched the game in 2 days in fear I won't ever go to sleep again.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting – although I’d put the levelling system ABOVE Mass Effect 3. Xcom makes you choose between two equally good options, and you can never have the option you didn’t chose. ME2/3 had a points system that (when you’re at max level) lets you have everything with only minor skill adjustments.
    Two Xcom marines of the same class have a lot more variance in them than two Shepards of the same class.