Steam Sale Games: Part 1 – XCOM: Enemy Unknown

So the steam summer sale is over, the dust has settled and everyone has less money than before. Well, I didn’t have much to begin with, but I picked up a couple of 80% off games, the first of which is XCOM: Enemy Unknown

I’ll start by saying I have about 4 hours into the single player, which seems to be enough to get a reasonable idea of how good the game is. And it is good. Very, very good in fact. For those who don’t know, the best way to describe XCOM is as turn based grid based strategy game, a la Final Fantasy Tactics (which I have played) where aliens invade the earth. You are the commander of the XCOM project, which essentially Area 51 without Will Smith and Jeff GoldblumI will admit I have a bit of a soft spot for these kind of games, but this is only a slight bias and if XCOM had been terrible I would have dropped it like Snoop. But I’m please to say it isn’t. It has a butt ton of customisation, decent cutscenes and multiple paths, although I have yet to find out how much of a difference your choices make. I’m guessing it’s a reasonable amount, as so far my choices have led to anarchy in Japan. Guess I’m not doing so well. There are two parts that really shine for me.

1. The atmosphere. There are alien abductions happening all over the world and you can only respond to some of them. It feels like whatever you do, you can’t save everyone. Someone is getting probed. Also, with cutscenes of alien autopsies and attacks from UFOs really make it feel like the earth is under threat and it is down to you to save them. The fact that your team members can perma-die only adds to this.

2. The combat. This is where the magic happens. The grid based combat is excellent, with cover and overwatch (the ability to tell your guy to shoot at anything that moves in the aliens turn) play a big part. It is occasionally frustrating when your team of expert soldiers repeated miss a guy right in front of them, that they are supposed to have a 75%+ chance of hitting, but this is rare and there isn’t much you can do about it. As your soldiers do missions they level up and gain new abilities. This progression means you start to get attached to them, making perma-death more than just a mild annoyance. Save often if you want to keep your favourite guys alive.

 

Overall this game is excellent, one of the best games I’ve played for a while and I have yet to touch the multiplayer. I’ll make another post when I have tried it out. If it had to rate it out of ten it would be pushing 9/10. There is very little wrong with it and I can’t really argue with the cost, getting it for 80% off. Slap this on your steam wishlists and hardscope your email for a sale, this is worth the cash. It’s up there with Skyrim, Borderlands 2 and Mass Effect 3.

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