About the Product
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From the award-winning creators of Civilization comes an action-strategy game about humanity’s last stand. Threatened by an unknown enemy, the Earth’s governments unite to form an elite paramilitary organization, known as XCOM, to combat this extraterrestrial attack. As the commander of XCOM, you control the global defense team in a battle against a terrifying alien invasion by creating a fully operational base, researching alien technologies, planning combat missions, and controlling soldier movement in battle.
- Worldwide Threat: Combat spans the globe as the XCOM team engages in over 70 unique missions, interacting and negotiating with governments around the world.
- Strategic Base of Operations: Recruit, customize and evolve unique soldiers to take into battle, and then intercept and research alien technology to expand your weapons and capabilities.
- Tactical Combat: Plan combat missions, direct the actions of your soldiers in incredible turn-based ground battles, and deploy air like the Interceptor and Skyranger units to stop the alien threat.
Steam account required for game activation and installation.
Firaxis Q&A Session for XCOM: Enemy Unknown
1. What kind of games modes can we expect for the MP?
Multiplayer is a point-based deathmatch. Each player gets a fixed number of points, and they can use these points to buy any soldier, equipment item, or alien from the game. You build a custom squad that can be a mix of humans and aliens, and you face off against an opponent’s squad. Powerful units are more expensive than weaker ones, and you’ll need to think strategically in constructing your squad. To keep the game moving along, there is a time limit for your turn, so you’ll need to think quickly and carefully.
2. All game modes will be 1Vs1?
Yes, all multiplayer modes are 1 on 1.
3. Is there any other SP game mode besides Campaign? (Like a skirmish/scenario mode)
No, the campaign is the single player game.
4. Any chance of Randomized levels?
The order in which you encounter most maps (with some exceptions) is random because the campaign is procedurally generated, and there are enough maps that you won’t encounter the same map twice in your playthroughs. But the maps themselves are hand-made, which we found gave us a better variety of locations and maps that allowed for a variety of tactical choices. Even if you encounter a map on a subsequent playthrough, the aliens and their spawn points and patrol routes may have changed, or your starting location may be different, so it’ll feel like an all new experience.
5. What are the aspects of the original XCOM that you really wanted to capture, and what did you want to improve upon?
There are some things that we felt just were just a fundamental part of XCOM. It had to have a strategy game where you’re planning and preparing for the tactical game, where you’re guiding your troops on the field. It had to have serious consequences, like losing soldiers permanently, and the possibility of losing the campaign. And you had to feel some attachment for your soldiers and be able to customize them. So when you achieve success in the game, it makes you feel like you’ve overcome real odds and earned your victory. Once we knew what kind of experience we wanted to create, we spent years playing around with different mechanics in order to bring out more of what we wanted – which was for the player to create their own story of how they saved the world as head of the XCOM organization.
6. When playing the original XCOM I always had this uneasy feeling of dread and never felt safe because I knew all it took was one mistake to screw things up royally. Did you feel like you had to compromise that aspect of the original in order to make the game more newcomer-friendly?
Absolutely not! We go through great pains to explain to players that this experience isn’t like anything else out there. We’ve tried to make it clear to them that there are real consequences to their decisions – both their actions and what they choose not to act on – and that these will affect the result of their game.
When will we see the PC version, especially the PC UI?
We’ve recently shown the PC UI. Our first public reveal was at PAX Prime this year. We’re putting out more information about that the PC version in general in the coming days.
On a personal note, I love playing with the PC UI. There are times where I get goosebumps for how much it feels like you’re playing the original game – down to the “phone booth” indicator that helps you select your movement location.
Can we get a breakdown of what the different soldier classes can do?
Assault soldiers are masters of close combat. They specialize in using shotguns, which are very accurate and powerful at close range. Assault soldiers can learn abilities that specialize them for survival or for dishing out tremendous amounts of damage. Their signature ability, Run and Gun, allows them to make a double move and still attack during a turn, which is great for flanking and cutting down aliens. Just be careful not to leave Assault soldiers exposed and vulnerable to counterattacks.
Heavies are the master blasters. They carry light machineguns and rocket launchers, and specialize around either explosives or their LMG. Their signature skill is Fire Rocket, which isn’t just a handy way to kill aliens, but also a great way to remove cover, blow new holes in walls, and generally terrify the enemy. Of all the classes, though, they’re the ones who will spend the most time reloading, so keep your ammo use in mind, or you’ll find your gun empty on the turn when you need it the most.
Snipers specialize in precision damage at distance. Their signature ability is Headshot, which has a much bigger critical hit chance than a conventional shot. While you can specialize your sniper as the kind of soldier who finds the high ground and then commands the battlefield, don’t ignore the possibility of building him out as a hard-to-hit, scoot-and-shoot marksman who specializes in worming his way into position for the perfect shot before sneaking off into the bush. The sniper generally needs time to get into position to do maximal damage, so don’t forget your pistol and use the rest of your squad to give him time to get in position for the perfect killshot.
Support soldiers are the difference between success and a wipe – the class you’ll come to rely on to get you out of tough spots. Their signature skill is Smoke Grenade, which grants cover (and later on can provide extra bonuses) to units in its radius, which is a great way to bring the odds back in your favor if something goes wrong later on. Support soldiers are ideal combat medics, able to get the most use out of the Medkit to save their squadmates. They can also learn valuable abilities that supplement the rest of the team, which can be the wild card that wins the day. Need someone who can suppress enemies with the Heavy on one turn, rush across a map to stabilize that dying Assault soldier on the next, and bail out a flanked Sniper on the third turn? Bring a Support soldier – your troops will thank you.
Can a soldier in Overwatch shoot multiple times? (As in three Sectoids cross the road, does he get to shoot them all or just the first?)
Overwatch usually works against the first enemy that moves across the unit’s line of sight. The trick is that this is also true for aliens, so you can use a soldier who’s farther back and unlikely to be hit to burn an alien’s Overwatch before moving up a soldier who’s closer, and thus would’ve been more likely to be hit. There are abilities your soldiers can earn which allow them to take additional shots on Overwatch.
When you send out an Interceptor or Skyranger, will you get to follow it on the globe until it reaches its target?
Yes! There’s nothing like the tension of watching your Interceptor close on a new target, or your troops on their way into the field.
Is it a Steamworks game like Civilization V?
Yes, XCOM: Enemy Unknown is a Steamworks game.
Can you use the console UI and play with a gamepad, if you want to?
Yes! If you plug in a gamepad into your PC, the game will give you the option to use gamepad controls.
When we send troops out, do we see them assemble and run to the Skyranger in the antfarm view of the base? Do you see them return?
You’ll get a look at your squad as they muster for the mission, and you’ll watch the Skyranger depart and return.
When you customize your soldiers, can you change nationality and gender?
You can’t change nationality and gender, but everything else is open to adjustment.
Hardware requirements. Especially the minimum specs to play the game without too many compromises.
- 2 GHz Dual-Core processor
- 2GB RAM
- 20GB Hard Drive
- 256MB Video
- Geforce 8600GT/ATI Radeon HD2600 XT
- 2.4 GHz Dual-Core processor
- 4GB RAM
- 20 GB Hard Drive
- 512 MB Video
- Geforce 9000/ ATI Radeon 3000 or better
Additional Info: Initial installation requires one-time internet connection for Steam authentication; software installations required (included with the game) include Steam Client, Visual C++ 2008 Redistributable, DirectX and Microsoft .NET 4.
How has the involvement with the Civilization series impacted the development of XCOM Enemy Unknown?
XCOM: Enemy Unknown is a different kind of game from Civilization, but we’ve learned a lot of valuable lessons from making Civ games over the years. A lot of these lessons are simple things about how we make games here at Firaxis – we make a prototype early and we iterate on the design often. The designer listens to feedback from the players throughout the process. How do you get that “just one more turn…” feeling in the game? And when things get tough, it’s great to have Sid Meier as a resource to help.
Is there local multiplayer or is it limited to online?
XCOM multiplayer includes LAN play but not hotseat mode – there’d be too much cheating if you could see what your opponent was doing before he came out of the fog of war.
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Top Customer Reviews
- 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.
- 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.
This is a game I have been following very closely for months after I learned of its development. I have very fond memories of the original game which I had until now still pulled out and played every couple of years for old times sake.
So how is this newest iteration? In short, it's pretty good and a lot of fun. Easily the best turn-based game of the year.
Now, I'm going to write this review in comparison to the original game that any 'old time' gamer has likely played as it was massively popular during its prime. The biggest mistake people who have not followed the development of the game make is assuming this is just an HD remake of the original. It isn't. It's a re-imaging, which means they took the concept and made their own game around it. Same world, most of the same aliens, a lot of the same weapons, but implemented in a new way.
All of the old mission types are still in this game, with the exception of one which is base defense. In its place there are a few new mission types: Bomb Disposal, VIP Escort, and Abduction. The ending is also different, there is no Cydonia, but I won't spoil it for you.
Bomb Disposal you have 3 turns to reach the bomb and disarm it before it blows, but there are power nodes scattered on the map that each one you reach will give you an extra turn.
VIP Escort you either have to find the VIP, then bring them back to the Skyranger or you start at the VIP and must fight your way back. As the VIP moves across the field, new aliens will jump in and must be killed immediately or there is a good chance the VIP will die.
Abduction missions are a simple deathmatch (kill all aliens) but ... they come at you three at once and you can only choose one to complete. This game is all about forcing you to make hard decisions. Each mission offers a different reward (§200, 4 Engineers, 4 Scientists, or a veteran soldier). Another factor is world wide panic, completing an abduction mission will reduce panic in that country, while the other two will increase in panic (along with the continents they are on). More on panic later, and also decisions.
The 'Battlescape' is where combat takes place, you field a squad of 4-6 troops for each mission. Fans of the old game may cringe that this is half, or less than half, but they make up for it in that each troop has a class. Assault (up close and personal), Heavy (rockets and machine gun), Support (medic/buffer), and Sniper (Long Range). Every class has a skill tree so you can customize how they specialize. The trees are not all that deep, only two choices at most ranks, with Squaddie and Major only offering one choice (their signature abilities).
So does that mean your guys are super soldiers instead of easily one shot killed fodder? Nope... While they can do far more than the original game soldiers, they will still die fairly easily to mistakes. Combat in this game is heavily cover based, while the original game had no cover. No cover? None at all, it had concealment and there is a difference.
This is now referred to by the developers and the community as the ant farm, and is a cross section view of your base as the main screen, while in the original game the main screen was the globe. Here you manage your base, manage your soldiers, manage aircraft, manage research, and manage manufacturing.
While you only have one base, you do have 4 other interceptor bases that you need to station fighters in to protect your satellites. Satellites are your radar, they are needed to detect UFOs. So, in the old game you build new bases to expand radar coverage and get interceptors in range. In the new game you build satellites to expand coverage and assign interceptors to continents to protect them as the aliens can, and will, attempt to destroy your satellites. Satellites are VERY expensive and take a long time to build, protect them with your life. The loss of a satellite will instantly max out panic for that country, and increase panic for the entire continent. It is VERY bad news.
Intercepting UFOs is a little different, instead of choosing how close you want to get you instead can use one time use items to boost your aim, dodge, or time to intercept. You will not get these immediately but must research and build them. You can only send a single interceptor at a time, unlike the original game which let you send multiple ships for larger UFOs. Honestly, this part of the game feels under developed, they could have done a lot more with this.
Money is extremely tight in this game, and there is no way to 'game' the system like in the old game and build up a manufacturing powerhouse that can fund itself even if the funding nations pull out. You will need every funding country you can get! This forces you to make a choice of what to build because you will never have enough money for it all until late game. And you are so limited you pretty much only get a single choice per game month in the early stages. Choose well!
The ant farm is also where you manage panic levels. Each country has a panic meter, and if it is full at the end of a game month that country will leave the council. Loose 8 countries and it is game over, this is the only way to lose the game. There are many ways panic can rise or fall. I'll talk a little more on this in the next section on difficulty. In short though, panic will rise faster than it falls and satellites are necessary to have any sort of control.
The game comes with 4 modes: Easy, Normal, Classic, and Impossible. In addition you can enable an optional setting called "Ironman" which will not allow you to make custom save files, you only get a single auto-save. In Ironman Mode there is no undo button when you make a mistake, you must live with your choices good or bad. You can still quit the game and load up your save, you just can't hit the reload button if you get your squad killed.
Easy and Normal are both frankly fairly easy. You'll be punished for mistakes in Normal, but the game scales itself back big time with a dumber AI and limiting the number of aliens you will fight at any give time. If you stumble upon too many, it will have a group fall back into the fog of war.
Classic however is a real kick in the pants. It was played up as for experts of the original game ... but even so you will get dominated most likely. The difference between Normal and Classic is massive. Not only do enemies have a little more health (you would be surprised how much a single hit point can change things), but the AI is fully unlocked, there is no limit to the number of aliens that will attack you, and they have better aim and critical chance. You may very well learn to fear the simple Thin Man alien that has insane aim and crit chance. Your troops are more likely to panic as well. The loss of a veteran squad of troops can very well mean the loss of the entire game as your rookies will be hard pressed to survive without anyone to support them. Honestly, this game is far harder than the original game.
The other challenge with Classic/Impossible is managing panic. On these upper difficulty settings panic rises faster from failed missions and abduction missions. You will likely lose some, probably a lot of them, and the best you can hope for is not losing more than 7 before you finish the game. That said, on Classic it is possible to save them all, but this partially depends on luck for where Abduction missions occur. It is speculated that on Impossible it literally is not possible to keep panic low enough to play forever, the only way to win is to finish the games objectives before too many countries bail on you. The 'strategy layer' (Geoscape/ant farm) may very well prove to be far more difficult for you than the tactical game.
For you X-COM vets out there, swallow your pride if Classic kicks your butt, and give Normal a go until you learn the new games mechanics. I know I had to.
Graphics and Sound:
The game uses the Unreal engine, so graphics are on par with that. I think they're pretty decent, but they will not blow you away. The music and sound effects are both good, you still get that creepy feeling as you hear aliens moving around in the dark wondering if they'll wander onto your guys while they're all out of ammo or if you have another turn to reload before you find them.
PC requirements for the game are fairly low so most should be able to play it if they have anything about the integrated HD graphics that comes with the intel i series (i3, i5, i7).
This may be the only sore spot for PC players, the interface isn't the best and clearly was designed around console controllers. You can change key bindings, but until you learn the interface it can be a little frustrating. The use of a gamepad is fully supported (and probably easier to play with).
I can't speak on this as I have not played it. What I know though is there is only a Deathmatch mode, no co-op or objective based multiplayer. A game is set up with a set 'point' pool and a time limit for turns. You then 'buy' units with your points. If you would rather, you can set points to be unlimited and make the best squad possible (of course your opponent will do the same). You can use both humans and aliens in a mixed squad, or go all human or all alien. For humans you can customize their gear and select a perk package. The perks are not individually selectable.
The play time for this game is fairly short for a strategy game. Around 15-20 hours of so for an Easy/Normal playthrough if you keep trucking along and don't reload your game every time something bad happens. For Classic, add 5-10 hours. You may say this is short in relation to the old game, but keep in mind that people have beat the old game in under 10 minutes. The times I give are for a fairly complete game, it's possible to finish it faster, and it is also possible to keep playing for as long as you like (provided you can keep panic under control).
The game is pretty solid. The game does have its fair share of bugs. There has been one patch so far, but it only fixed a few issues known before the game came out. I have in my 52 hours of playtime encountered one game stopping bug. I was able to recover from it, but not without some cost to my game. The bug involved my interceptors and I was forced to dismiss all of mine from one of my bases which resulted in a UFO getting missed and a satellite destroyed, ouch! You may or may not want to hold off doing Ironman (mine was) until some patches if you want to play it safe.
Be careful of a lot of false rumors out there, for example IGN was unhappy that aliens were all static and didn't patrol around. Well, I can account personally on how false that statement is. They can and do patrol! Depends a lot on the mission type you are one. Some groups are static (don't move) while others are dynamic (they patrol). The council missions are all static (VIP and Bomb), while Terror missions are all dynamic. The others are a mix of the two.
The game is highly rated, and it deserves it in my opinion. This is a game I will continue to play many times as I try to at least beat Classic Ironman, if not Impossible.
Steam is required no matter what PC version you get (digital or physical) so be aware of that. It employs a one time online activation, after which you can put steam into offline mode and continue to play. You may install it as many times as you want, on as many computers as you want. Of course, you can only play on one at a time.
Good Luck Commander!