This is a lot for me to take in, on the developments of X-2 at this point of time. Rather overwhelming and intimidating when you have so many topic/ideas ..everywhere. Forgive me if I touched on a subject which belonged to another thread/have already been discussed before. I had the opportunity to test out X-2 version 0.5.1 and here are my feedback(s) in it's current state:
1) User Interface
The UI is from X-1, which I have no complaints about. I am happy to use it again as it is clean, organized & simple.
It's rather odd that units can still move/use up all the TU despite having certain weapon set to burst/snap. The TU doesn't seem to be behaving correctly or perhaps it's still WIP* ?
I understand that there is an on-going discussion regarding pistol/secondary weapon so there was no chance to test out secondary/grenades/medi-kits ..or the whole inventory system. yet.
Actually, moving forward - on certain features/early ideas: would it help if concept art(s)/mock-up screens were provided instead of a in-game presentation/whole section of text - so that the public can see and provide their thoughts early on? Just my suggestion in hopes you would be able to save up time and effort on early ideas that are not finalized yet.
2) Visuals/Visuals Art
It was a glaring change/upgrade on the units. I was a surprise when I saw a SECTOID? This time around, it looks like the units appearance have more details on their clothing/weapons as compared to X-1.
My initial "feel" was that I couldn't distinguish my units on the spot. The minor visual difference was not obvious enough and I find myself cycling through the entire group looking at the weapons instead.
Those tiny weapon icons just above the main UI could have been presented better. Instead of showing "guns" what about new icons base on class or unit's face? Anything that looks more distinct is a welcome change.
I did see the Alien ship which was squarish in shaped, a retro design from the original xcom series. While it may be a design decision to honor the original xcom, I honestly feel x-1 ship design was more interesting and had more appeal in terms of how unique they looked. Visually, x-1 UFO's did not have any issues & I would personally prefer them than the "square-themed" UFO's.
Like I mentioned in the above, a few concept art/mock up screen would be great to gather the public thoughts on the UFO designs/Alien designs. If applicable.
There were issues when playing the demo and I decided to group them under this category because at the end of the day these are the issues/bugs that will "hamper" your gameplay experience.
3.1) Cover system \ Shooting mechanics \ Damage \ HP system \ Units
There's a lot of work that needs to be done with the new cover system. I have no idea what's going and why certain units behind rocks/cover can get shoot and worst case, insta killed.
Human Unit behind small rock. killed. Check.
Human Unit behind Big rock. killed. Check.
Aliens shooting from behind trees and rocks. No accuracy penalty? Human units die. insta killed. Check.
Something doesn't seem right there.
It's rather strange and confuse now that there is a small aoe-like radius that shows the cover a unit gets around them? Was this intentional? I really hope this does not end up as the end product.
The sniper unit could barely hit anything, when it does hit, it does a miserable amount of damage. This feels so different than in X-1 where snipers were the long range-specialist. They could hit/take down units miles away. In fact in both my playthroughs, the sniper unit was insta killed behind cover.
Once again, the aliens prove superior with their range outside the human's FOV. The aliens could shoot my units far away and in cover and my sniper couldn't. (Gotta dismiss this sniper)
The unit with LMG seems to a very efficient as it can tear away rocks/obsolesces and hit any units behind these cover. In both my play through, the LMG was the top alien killer. A stationary turret play style.
The unit with Rifle seems ..on one hand, they seem to be good at hitting the aliens effectively in mid range. Burst fire seems to get the job done better instead of a single fire. While on the other hand, these rifles units seem to be a confuse bunch/sacrificial pawns in combat. With the superior fire power and range for the aliens, the rifle units were getting insta killed as it tries to close in the distance.
The shotgun units were awesome in both my play through. They were the most reliable shooters and at close range, if their shot doesn't kill the aliens, they were doing considerable amount of damage.
From both my play through, it feels like the gun damage from the humans were so little and so is their HP. Half of my crew died from insta-killed. With the alien's being superior with their stats, weapons, able to shoot you outside of your FOV and they have abilities. We are going to end up miserably dead. Yes, without grenades for cover and medi kit, this battle is a real handicap match.
I did try to flank the aliens, the plan worked but there were casualties. It really annoys me that the Alien AI would bunker in and they can insta-kill your units. All of this doesn't seem\feel like a fair balance.
Could you please check the numbers on the gun damage and hp for both Aliens and Humans? Getting insta kill is really frustrating - unless this is part of the design and there is a way to avoid getting insta killed as the troop progress on, then I may still be able to accept this else this is gonna get major negative point. It's xcom not dark souls with laser guns.
3.2 ) Overwatch
Aside from the cover system, we seem to have an "overwatch" system now. Is reaction shot concept being replaced with Overwatch? Seems like X-2 is adopting Firaxis's xcom mechanics. I am not sure if this should be the case because I like X-1 as it is. It's different from Firaxi's Xcom which is good and it has its strengths. If the devs believe that having an overwatch system is going to benefit the players game play experience, I wont object. But this is another system which you need to re-work on especially with the aliens being able to shoot at us humans outside of our FOV - overwatch ability is going to mess for us players. and this will also tie in with the weapon usage/weapon machanic. I hope theres not going to be an RPG overwatch.
3.3) The Presentation? Camera?
In Firaxis' Xcom, they had the "camera@cinematic view" whenever something happened. In X-2 we don't get that, and there are times I have no idea what just happened but my units just got killed. It would be good if you could somehow pause - and center on an event / when a unit shoots - so that we can see what is going on. The presentation on the ground battle needs a little tweak.
The demo in it current state really leaves a lot to be desired. I can understand where the dev's want to take this product to...its a good direction and very promising. You are visually invested too but let me just express my view on Xenonauts. I bought x-1 on steam because it was different than firaxi's xcom AND people were recommending it base on their gameplay experience - meaning to say the game mechanics should be working without bugs. It doesn't need to feel/sound like Firaxis Xcom at all. It doesn't need to be 3D. As long as you can keep the essence of troop/base micro-management with a solid shooting/cover mechanic and a fresh story, that's all I am looking forward to x-2. I don't need another product that tries to be Firaxis Xcom. I want something fresh.
I was hoping for the devs to build on top of the existing system or expand on them; air fights/more base mgt options. I never expected for the devs to overhaul some of the core mechanics..It's a very bold decision. very ambitious.
*WIP = work in progress