Customer Review

130 of 142 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's a fun game, but often frustrating, October 17, 2012
This review is from: XCOM: Enemy Unknown [Online Game Code] (Software Download)
I pre-ordered this game on the strength of its demo, and I have not played the first game. So I'm approaching it from scratch. As a fan of strategy games, I like the idea a lot, and it's a fairly elegant combination of base management and tactical turn-based combat. Here's some pros and cons from my point of view:

Pro's:

- Customization: Of course lots of games have character creators these days to let you customize, but it's nice to scale that up to allow customization to every one of your soldiers. You can name your soldiers after your friends, celebrities, historical figures... whatever you want. Then you can do your best to make them look the part, probably not something everyone does, but I find I'm more attached to soldiers I've customized and thus more careful with them. (Though I still don't get why character creators have about 30 facial hair options without a single handle-bar mustache option, what gives?)

- Balance: Squad balance becomes very important as the game goes on. I generally end up with a sniper, a medic, a heavy and three assault troops. But playing with other configurations can be fun. My all sniper missions generally met with less success than my all drone missions, but there was fun to be had.

- Panic!!: This is the main strategic factor that helps you determine where to put your satellites, and which missions to do when there's a choice. I like this a lot, and really it's the only thing that gives the game replay value. The way panic situation plays out will determine which countries fund you as the game goes on, this determines how large a welfare check you get at the start of the month (You are given money once per month, based on which countries are actively funding you), how many scientists and engineers you have, etc. I also like that the choices aren't always easy. Say you've got very high panic level in South Africa, then they give you a mission where you get to choose to help France, China or Nigeria. France and China may be higher panic than Nigeria, and none of these choices are going to help South Africa directly, but if you don't pick Nigeria then panic goes up in EVERY African country... which may push South Africa over the edge.

Cons:

- Bugs: I hate docking for bugs because there's every possibility that these will be fixed by the time you're considering buying the game, but for now there are some bugs. I'm not talking about RNG-rage where you sit there and say "oh that is BS!" as one of your soldiers dies (though that definitely does happen). As other reviewers have noted, cover is sometimes bugged at this time. A perfect example is a situation where you have a soldier in cover, and across from you there is an enemy in cover, with no-man's-land between. The helpful icon on the screen shows a solid red alien face icon, which means you can shoot at an alien but they are in cover (reducing your chance to hit and crit). So, to make your attack more effective, you charge the alien, get behind his cover and wait to see that alien icon turn yellow (indicating you can shoot an alien who is not behind cover from your angle of attack) Well sometimes that just doesn't happen, there's nothing covering the alien, but he still gets the defensive bonus, your attack maybe hits him but he lives, next turn he shoots your now exposed soldier, crits and you're writing a letter home to explain to Mrs. Dash that aunt Jemima was killed in combat (Sometimes i named soldiers while hungry)... it's frustrating. There are other bugs that don't let you click on mission devices to use them. I've only had one crash, not a huge deal as it autosaves each turn.

- Repetition: In terms of mission type, we've only got 5: 1)Kill all aliens, 2)Extract VIP, 3)Defuse bomb, 4)Rescue Civilians, 5)Clear UFO/Base (Which is really a glorified 'kill all aliens' but 5 sounds a lot better than 4. Nothing really wrong with that, and arguably there's just not a way to make more creative mission type. First playthrough, I ended up doing about 60 missions, that got pretty tedious.

- Inventory System: I know, anytime someone starts griping about inventory it just seems whiny, but there are legitimate issues here, especially late game. By the end of the game you will probably have a lot of soldiers you use. By this point you will have ranked up a lot of soldiers and you may rotate some in/out of the squad based on the mission and their individual specialties. But high end equipment gets expensive, so you'll want to share armor and such. You may find yourself in a situation where you have to play a game called find-the-titan-armor. This is where you have to clear a soldier from your squad, add another soldier in his or her place, and see if they're wearing your very expensive late game armor (so you can have them take it off and put it instead on whoever you wanted to bring along). It shouldn't work like this, it should just be that all of your equipment across all of your soldiers is selectable when equipping a squad. Captain Crunch isn't coming on the mission, so I don't need him wandering around the base with my plasma rifle that could be used by Colonel Sanders on this mission.

- Panic!!!: I'm not talking about the country panic level described above, I'm talking about panic within the tactical-turn-based part of the game. Sometimes, when fighting horrible alien things that shake your faith in everything you've been raised to believe, you get a little scared... this is understandable. But I just think this mechanic is poorly executed, basically, when things go wrong in the game, sometimes your soldiers will panic. When panicked, they will perform a random action and be useless for a turn. That random action may be a harmless 'hunker down', it may be a friendly-fire incident that crits and kills your sniper named Wesley Snipes, or it may even be a random lucky shot that kills the alien that made your soldier panic in the first place. I just think the idea of a super-elite-multi-national-fighting-squad is inconsistent with someone panicking at the first appearance of zerglings... I mean, really? I know it's terrifying... but we all played starcraft, time to man up

Thus we have my review. I do enjoy the game, and I've put 70ish hours into it already, but the flaws are enough to make it a frustrating experience sometimes.
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Comments

Tracked by 2 customers

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Showing 1-7 of 7 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 19, 2012 9:02:48 AM PDT
I agree with your gripe about the inventory system. I hate the lack of it in this game. I loved managing loadouts and sharing items in the old game. I could take some fast weapons into combat (pistols, lasers), grenades, explosives, heavy firepower, whatever, then switch out my weapon to fit the tactical situation because of their different fire rates. This game, you can't. You take your main gun and a pistol and you're stuck with it. Having 2 or 3 aux slot makes things less fun, not more.

Panic, however, I'll disagree with. This was a part of the original. It was annoying, but that's how it worked before. I've had squaddies panic for several turns, either being frozen in fear, shooting at aliens, shooting at squadmates, dropping weapons, or just running away randomly.

Posted on Oct 24, 2012 1:18:57 PM PDT
a2k says:
Step out of the deployment screen, go to the Barracks and view your soldiers. You can stay on the loadout screen and cycle through your soldiers to quickly unequip what you need for other soldiers. I agree this should be in the deployments screen, but it's something.

Posted on Oct 25, 2012 6:59:40 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 25, 2012 7:02:06 AM PDT
Dan Lastoria says:
"and you're writing a letter home to explain to Mrs. Dash that aunt Jemima was killed in combat (Sometimes i named soldiers while hungry)"....

I LOL'd

Great post, and I agree. The game is great, but the bugs do make it frustrating. One of the biggest bugs for me is soldiers showing as "On Mission" when they are not. This is a known bug, and I expect they will fix it soon, but it essentially makes a number of your soldiers permanently unavailable for use.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 25, 2012 11:44:22 AM PDT
I think on normal difficulty, the panic situation is fine. Yes, it happened in the original game, but only when things started going really bad. In this game, I've lost my entire squad because a single soldier got poisoned (no other damage had been taken by the squad prior to this), panicked and shot another soldier, which caused another soldier to panic and shoot another soldier, etc. OK, so it only happened once exactly like this, and I admit enjoying when my guy takes out said enemy who caused him to panic, but I think the panic penalties are way too severe, especially in classic mode. I've never been in combat but I just can't imagine elite soldiers (as the game claims) shooting all their own friends when the first thing goes bad.

Probably the real problem from my perspective is that there really needs to be a difficulty in between normal and classic. I've beaten the game on normal and subsequent games on normal I find to be fun, but a little too easy and slightly boring. However, the next step up to me just seems completely brutal. A challenge is fine, but I need to feel like it's possible to beat and I'm currently not seeing that.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 23, 2012 8:42:26 AM PST
[Deleted by the author on Nov 23, 2012 10:53:45 AM PST]

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 25, 2013 9:12:01 PM PDT
KINGbillsy says:
In the original game your character would randomy fire his gun off. It made more sense than it does in this game. This game forces you to target something. That means it's not him panicking and shooting. It's a soldier panicking, taking aim, and firing a shot. I don't find it believable that my sniper would freak out, randomly scope out my other soldier five blocks away and kill him. That's not realistic and it's even more bull than the original games panic was.

The original game is one of my favorites of all time. I know it had it's flaws but I don't think the panic system was one of them.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 25, 2013 9:12:01 PM PDT
KINGbillsy says:
In the original game your character would randomy fire his gun off. It made more sense than it does in this game. This game forces you to target something. That means it's not him panicking and shooting. It's a soldier panicking, taking aim, and firing a shot. I don't find it believable that my sniper would freak out, randomly scope out my other soldier five blocks away and kill him. That's not realistic and it's even more bull than the original games panic was.

The original game is one of my favorites of all time. I know it had it's flaws but I don't think the panic system was one of them.
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