Friday, August 26, 2011

XCOM 20 Minute Demonstration

The E3 2011 demonstration of XCOM has been released to the world. It shows off twenty minutes of gameplay, with commentary from a developer. XCOM is based after the old beloved X-Com games, like Terror From the Deep and UFO: Enemy Unknown. There has been many attempts to remake a game similar to the original X-Com's, but most have stopped too short or merely cloned the games. They are still classic games and widely loved, but they are aged and not very appealing to newer generations of gaming. The new game is being developed by 2k Marin and they are taking a vastly different approach to the series. it is also being made for PS3, Xbox 360 and PC. I had never seen the game much in action, but I had heard about it quite a bit andI didn't like the how it was shaping up. The original X-Com games were tactical turn based strategy games. You had a world map, you built a base ,you hunted down aliens by land & air and you commanded a large array of soldiers. The new XCOM is a first person shooter, it is just based in America, you don't actually build a base, but you do have a living breath base full of people and upgrades. Also isn't turn based, nor very strategic, but it does have tactical elements. ALSO, it doesn't have a grand scale, it doesn't have the ufo combat, it doesn't involve commanding large squads of soldiers, it has partially destructible environments (instead of entirely destructible environments like the original) and it doesn't have permadeath for your soldiers. Yeah I know that's a lot of doesn't and it sure sounds like I hate the new XCOM, but the only thing I really hate about it is that it has the name XCOM, if it didn't have that name it would be far easier to like.
The new XCOM is a FPS with squad tactical management, similar to the newer Rainbow Six Games or the Mass Effect series. You play a active role and lead two other agents into battle against alien forces. You can choose various upgrades, weapons and abilities to equip your soldiers with and your tactical options in battle are based upon what you choose for your agents. You have a home base that has a lot to explore, a lot of people to talk to and a lot of upgrading/researching options, but you don't seem to actually build anything in it. Each time you choose a mission you get a map of America that shows where the aliens have been invading. It is nice that you get multiple missions options and some are optional. Doing optional missions doesn't seem to have any negative impact, thankfully, they just give you access to more research options and opportunities. If you like how Mass Effect handles its tactical options with squad mates, then you will most likely enjoy how they are doing squad command in XCOM, it's very similar. You start out the game with simple human weapons, like machine guns and rifles, but overtime you can reverse engineer alien weapons and use their own weapons against them. From what they've shown, the aliens seem to mostly take humanoid forms to fight, but there are large mechanical aliens. The gameplay looks pretty enjoyable, but it could become boring since most of the mechanics look pretty standard to any gamer familiar with FPS games.
XCOM may turn out to be a fun game, especailly with all of the opportunities to steal alien technology during combat and all of the missions options, but the fact that they are trying to use the XCOM name is becoming more a detriment than a popularity boost. Take a look at the video from E3 2011, below, to see what I mean. People generally seem to hate this game, but if you can look past the XCOM part then you might be able to see all the promising elements that might make this into a really fun and addicting FPS. Thanks for reading and enjoy the 20 minute video, it goes through an entire mission plus a little bit of the home base stuff. *for some reason this video is explicit, so you have to have a youtube/google account*

XCOM E3 2011 Playthrough

-Written by Sean Cargle


  1. Wow thats refreshing, a FPS!!! and its called XCOM so it must be great. (remember to insert sarcastic smiley)

  2. Yeah depressing huh? I hold out hope for Xenonauts.