Tuesday, December 8, 2015

X-COM: Enemy Unknown - Initial Thoughts

About the Game (From the Steam Store Page)

XCOM: Enemy Unknown will place you in control of a secret paramilitary organization called XCOM. As the XCOM commander, you will defend against a terrifying global alien invasion by managing resources, advancing technologies, and overseeing combat strategies and individual unit tactics.

The original XCOM is widely regarded as one of the best games ever made and has now been re-imagined by the strategy experts at Firaxis Games. XCOM: Enemy Unknown will expand on that legacy with an entirely new invasion story, enemies and technologies to fight aliens and defend Earth.

You will control the fate of the human race through researching alien technologies, creating and managing a fully operational base, planning combat missions and controlling soldier movement in battle.

Previous Playtime

0 hours

What Was I Thinking When I Bought This

This was one of the games on my original list. I bought it during my first big Steam sale, back when I thought having more video games was an unalloyed good. Mostly, I bought it because it has a good reputation, and I couldn't resist the rush of finding a bargain.

Expectations and Prior Experience

I know two things about this game. It is very well-regarded. And it is notoriously difficult. The vague impression I have of it is that it's like a sci-fi Fire Emblem, where you have little guys you command in battle and if you make a mistake they permanently die.

The base-building elements come as a bit of a surprise. I'd never heard about that aspect of the game, and I have to say, I'm intrigued. I'm hoping there's a lot of scope for customization and different base strategies, but given that the focus still seems to be on tactical combat, I'm not going to get too excited about it yet.

My biggest worry going into this is that the difficulty will be too unforgiving and my progress will by stymied at every turn. It's probably an exaggerated concern, but every account I've ever heard of this game has been "you will die, early and often." How much of that is an accurate assessment of the game and how much of it is a cultural performance among the game's fans?

Still, even in the worst case scenario, it probably won't be too bad. I've beaten Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance on normal mode without losing a single character (albeit with more resets than I'm comfortable admitting), so I'm no stranger to punishingly difficult turn-based strategy. At the very least, I possess the tools to cope with it emotionally . . .

In theory.

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