Monday, December 10, 2012

Saving the world (or not)

It's been a little while.

You might be thinking "Oh, sure. He hasn't had time to ramble because he's playing Halo 4, that snooty bastard."

You would be incorrect...well, mostly. Yes, I am still playing with the Halo 4z but I have also been deeply enthralled in my quest to save the Earth from an alien invasion in Xcom: Enemy Unknown. That's right...your lives all depend on me and my mad management and turn-based strategy skills!!!

That being said, I just failed my first game so you all died horribly. Sorry about that. I'll make it up to you next time, I guarantee. (not a guarantee)

So, Xcom: Enemy Unknown is a reboot of the old Xcom: UFO Defense game from the 90s. Let's all take a moment to reflect on what a great game that was.

...

Okay, moment over. Yep, it was a great game. Xcom: Enemy Unknown is all that and more. Take Xcom: UFO defense, update the AI, UI, slap a new coat of paint on it and you have the new hawtness. It is the same game, but it's not the same game if that makes any sense. And, if it doesn't, I don't care. Go play your Halo 4 (hit me up for some multiplayer, though!).

Aliens are invading and you are tasked with coming up with a way to beat them. You have member countries you must help out along the way and, if you fail, they whine, cry and, eventually, pull their support--and their funding--from the project. Lose too many supporters and, bam, you're out of a job. Oh, and all of the world dies. But--UNEMPLOYMENT!!! Also, death and destruction. no unemployment check for you!

The AI is updated as are the alien types. No more "alien shuffle" where the creature walks back and forth in front of you with no real purpose. No more attempts for an alien to throw a grenade out a window, only to have it hit the wall and land at the creature's feet. This is serious business now!!! Though, I have to admit, that grenade thing was classic laughs. Seriously. It never failed to amuse.

If you have played, and enjoyed, the original Xcom: UFO Defense, then Enemy Unknown is right up your alley. I have a few minor issues with it. For instance, when a soldier is injured, it would be nice if his or her equipment went back into the pool. I don't believe it does (but I could be wrong). Also, it can sometimes be easy to click incorrectly and have your soldier go somewhere entirely different than you intended (such as inadvertently going down a level of terrain).

Also, I did a bit of experimentation to see how the % chance of success mechanics work. For example, if my soldier has a 90% chance to hit an enemy and misses, what happens if I reload the game and try again? Same thing...over and over as far as I can tell. So, from my experience, if your soldier misses or hits, he/she is destined for that course of action. This was in no way a scientific experiment but of the few times I tried it, the outcome was the same each time. I guess this keeps the player from trying to game the system but also seems a bit questionable, maybe?

Xcom: Enemy Unknown is definitely one of my favorite games this year. I can see myself playing it for quite a while. It's one of those games that you can load up, play for 30 minutes to an hour, then quit. That being said, I've noticed that I have been sucked in for quite a bit longer than I intended at times.