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135 of 151 people found the following review helpful
Great game -- hopefully won't go the way of the original...
on October 9, 2012
The X-Com series dates back to the early 90's -- I still remember the hours I spent on X-COM: UFO Defense... In fact, the game is considered by many to be one of the greatest (if not the greatest) strategy games ever developed. With the randomly generated maps -- concept of fog of war and line of sight -- getting shot at from nowhere -- permanent death -- and that fantastically good music that so fit the mood of the game, it's no wonder many still play it, almost 20 years after it was released.
There's been many efforts to remake/redo the game, with how far computers have come since then, but no big game companies decided to take it on, until now, and I do believe I'm in good company when I say that Firaxis really have a winner on their hands...
First the box -- this is the special edition version, so you get the artwork book and a nice insignia thing. I appreciated the artwork book, especially when they showed some of the original designs and the updated ones -- it's really amazing to see how far things have come from the early 90s, in terms of the capabilities of computers. Poster was nice too - but that's all just fluff to me. If you're downloading it, be prepared to wait: there's 2 DVDs in the box, so that's around 13-14 GBs of data. Well worth it.
There's already tons of reviews and videos out there about the gameplay, so I'll stick with some lesser known ones, for some pros and cons:
- I really like the addition of new mission types -- the original only had terror, crashed UFOs, landed UFOs, and alien bases. The new ones adds VIP retrieval, bomb disarming, and I believe one other one (turns out its target extraction - there's a difference between it and VIP -- usually, in target extraction, whoever you save actually joins your team). This helps to shake things up, as the old one tended to get repetitive, especially once you researched heavy plasma. Shoot down UFO, send in soldiers, blast away those pathetic alien scum with some heavy plasma, clean up: wash, rinse, repeat. Now, things can still get tense -- even late in the game.
- The soundtrack really stands out to me. Music really has an ability to heighten moments and situations, if done correctly. The original did an amazing job of capturing the creepiness and emotion that danger really could be behind every corner -- and they did it again. Major props to whoever did the sound/music on this one.
- Multiplayer: this one your mileage may vary with. Me personally - it's nice to sometimes play as the aliens. It's also pretty interesting to see how others react in a given situation (some choose to barge, some choose to flank, some choose a decoy, some choose stealth) -- everyone reacts differently. It's also nice to know I'm not the only one who accidentally dashes instead of just moving to get a better shot.
- Medikit: thank you for allowing me to heal the soldier who carries the medkit. If anyone remembers the original, it was a PAIN to have to heal your guys. Had to be facing them -- couldn't heal yourself (had to drop it (throw it) - have someone else pick it up, then use it. Make sure you don't run out of time units. Ridiculous) It gets a whole lot simpler now. Thank you 2K.
- They took out base defense. This really annoyed me. In the original, depending on the difficulty and how well you were doing, the aliens would send ships to take out your base(s). It was a cool way to see your base from the battle mode, and it was an interesting way of keeping you on your toes. They took it out in this one, which disappoints me somewhat. Hopefully they might bring it back...
- Soldiers can't kneel (goin prone would've nice to add). This sucks. Cover is a big part of the game - don't use cover, and you're pretty much goin to die. In the original however, you could also kneel (while not in cover), which not only made it harder for you to hit, but increased your own soldier's accuracy. They got rid of that ability in this game, which really bugs me. Why can't I kneel while not in cover? Why can't I go prone -- that would've been nice to add... Maybe it's just me though.
- Stunning: this wouldn't be so bad, if it wasn't critical to the game. But it is. In the original, eventually you would research Stun Bomb/Stun Launcher, which made stunning the required aliens a whole lot easier. They took that away. The ONLY weapon to stun with is a close ranged one. You can research to increase its range - but it only goes from like 2 to 4. Plus its a hefty cost. This makes stunning a heck of a lot harder. Plus a bunch of the aliens you have to stun have to be injured before they can even GET stunned. What the heck?? Basically -- it becomes impossible. Be prepared to lose a bunch of guys just because of stunning.
Those are really the two biggest gripes I have -- pretty amazing, considering the game they remade. Guaranteed game of the year right here -- this game will certainly be responsible for me not getting sleep, and that not just becau... you hear that??
UPDATE (10/12/2012) -- finished the game, and it really is quite good. I can definitely see indicators of a sequel coming out... I edited my list above, most good, a few bad. But it really is quite an excellent game. And challenging - dang Impossible mode...