8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
The magic is back!,
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This review is from: XCOM: Enemy Unknown - Xbox 360 (Video Game)
If you played the original XCOM years ago, chances are that you fell in love with the game. I first played it on the original Playstation and it really says something when a game that was basically a pretty shoddy PC port with more than a few performance issues kept pulling me back in. To this day, playing XCOM on the PS all those years ago is a period of my gaming history that I look back on very fondly, complete with stories that sound like incredibly detailed documents of actual battles and I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one that feels that way. Now XCOM makes its return to the next gen consoles bringing with it the turn based strategy genre, a genre that has seen next to no use this current generation. As a lifelong XCOM fan, I can say that this game not only does the original justice but it is easily one of the best games you can currently purchase, period.
As hostile forces from outer space land on Earth, laying waste to everything and kidnapping innocent civilians for their nefarious schemes, it falls on the XCOM force to stop them by any means necessary. Funded by every major country, XCOM acts as a task force with many weapons and gadgets at their disposal. It's your job to make sure that you keep these countries somewhat satisfied with your performance and assist them whenever alien activity in their sectors gets a little hairy. A typical distress call might have you investigate a suspected UFO landing site. Another might require you to rescue a person of high importance to the council that you report to. You take your troops out and go survey these sites, trying not to destroy any UFO tech for future research purposes and if possible, catching the enemy alive so you can better study them and find out what makes them tick.
XCOM plays just like it did with some minor changes to the core gameplay that don't take anything away from the original experience. It's been streamlined a bit and once you get the hang of it, you really start to appreciate just how simple they've made it in terms of control and strategy while managing to keep the game tru to the original. This is a tight and polished interface and it's very obvious that the developers had a very high level of respect for the original. Again, if you've played the original, I think you'll really appreciate what has been done to bring this game up to date.
Theres's a micromanaging aspect to the game which is a load of fun in itself. Your underground base can be outfitted with a number of different rooms with varying purposes just like the original. You research the alien artifacts you get off of the battlefield and then fabricate items based on that research, giving you more of an edge not just on the battlefield but in your day to day operations. Better detection equipment, better weapons, better items... and that's just the icing on the cake.
You can also customize your soldiers and rename them as you see fit. I tend to use my friends names and doing that makes the game incredibly personal because if you didn't know, XCOM isn't exacly a forgiving game. When your soldiers go out into battle, chances are that you've grown a little attached to these jarheads if they've already survived a handful of missions. When those same soldiers get dropped, it's hard to describe other than that you FEEL it. I recently lost my oldest veteran and the way he died was like something out of the most depressing war film you can think of, a sacrifice in the name of his brothers and sisters in combat. Some may feel that the game is cheap and too difficult as a result but this is what is at the core of XCOM. An unforgiving and more realistic battlefront where your soldiers will die if you're not careful.
Everything about this game is done very well, from the Unreal engine graphics and the surround sound, which utilizes some fitting, spooky UFO type music for ambience and percussion based tracks for intense battles. The cinematics and tutorial messages that are seamlessly weaved into the game make it all a much more cinematic experience than what was possible beforehand. In fact, one of my wishes with the original was that it would somehow give you a more cinematic replay of your battles. Though that's not exactly what you get here, this is the closest you will get and it's pretty awesome.
It'd be a shame if this game were to be ignored in favor of any other FPS type game that we've basically already played before we've even picked up the controller. With XCOM, you get true strategic gameplay that is a hell of a lot fun and incredibly involving. The original is rightfully considered one of THE best games of all time and this updated version is deserving of a place in the series and a very well crafted update to a timeless classic.