Well it was both the staff’s and the community’s strategy game of 2012, and now it’s time for us to take a more detailed look at just why XCOM performed so well. What was it about battling an alien invasion on a global scale that held such appeal for everyone?
Well maybe it was the game’s AI, something that Peter selected for praise in his review of the game. He noted that “The enemy AI has the fantastic knack of knowing which of your units to outflank and gang up on,” and essentially praised the way that it makes you think and manage your troops. If you fail in that task then you’ll end up with panicked troops, and that in turn leads to missed shoots and spreading terror that can take out an entire squad if you’re unlucky.[drop2]He also enjoyed the game’s pop-culture references, with enemies “seemingly lifted directly from a 1950s B-movie”. That kind of thing is likely to endear enemies to you even if they are trying to slaughter you, a tricky task in a strategy title.
Then there’s the global nature of the game, with your success in an individual mission reflected in the level of panic of that region of the world. Of course improving one region doesn’t effect the globe as a whole and managing those various regions forms a nice meta-game, creating a bridge between missions and adding a sense of connectivity to the game as a whole. There’s also intelligence gathering and research tying the whole thing together, a nice touch that pushes the importance of a mission beyond the mission itself.
Peter really did find a lot to like in the game, rating it at 9/10 and wrapping up the review by saying:
This is a great game, packed with finely tuned systems in all areas of the gameplay. The music is really excellent, with a main theme that will linger with you and perfectly fitting sound design for weaponry and incidental noises. Some of the dialogue delivery is a bit dry and stilted but the writing is solid enough. Imagine a kind of mix of Fringe and Stargate and you’ll be in the right ballpark. It’s difficult to find an area of XCOM that’s flawed enough to warrant major complaint and while there are a few very minor niggles, it’s nothing you couldn’t (or shouldn’t) overlook.
As per usual it’s time to throw open the doors to your opinions on the game. Peter may have absolutely loved it, and its strategy game of 2012 status seems to back up that love, but the question is really whether or not you appreciated it and the same way? Did you enjoy fighting back the alien menace, or did the game not manage to sink its claws into you?
If you feel like sharing your opinions on the game then all you need to do is drop a comment below, remembering to add your verdict on the game. You can select your verdict from one of four categories: Buy It, Bargain Bin It, Rent It or Avoid It. Just add one of those to your comment and it’ll be added to the tally in Monday’s verdict article, as long as you have your comment written by Sunday afternoon.