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Moonshine Fox

Firaxis Games' XCOM: Enemy Unknown announced!

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I've only played the first few missions, but I can't say I like it. All in all, I find the game shallow and lacking in depth.

- Why can't my troops take proper cover? You should be able to hide behind a car without parts sticking out.

- Why can't I set my troops view direction? It's not clear to me if the troops have a 360 degree view cone, or only view the in the direction they happen to view in ...

- Why can't I set the walk path?

- Why can't I choose between an aimed shot, burts fire, etc? Now troopers fire half a magazine at every alien. Huge waste of ammo.

- Why can't I ever move after a shot? This (almost) always leaves your troops in vulnerable positions.

- It looks like aliens automatically see me once my troops see them ...

- Why is there so little variation in equipment? I can choose a grenade and medkit, but not 2 grenades and 1 medkit OR 3 grenades. I also *have* to take a pistol as a sidearm. I don't need no stinkin' pistol, I want extra grenades!

- Do my troops really have infinite ammo?

- Why can't I just choose weapons freely? Why is there only one type of rifle?

- Why do aliens spawn out of thin air when it's plot-conventient?

- Why are the controls so inhumanly annoying?

- Why does everyone speak to me as if I'm a 8 year old child?

etc. etc...

The reviews have been so overwhelmingly positive that I almost thought there are two games out there...

Only upshot so far: I've ended up here :-)

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Same reason for me that I can't fully enjoy it, small issues constantly that just nag at me, generally if it's just a few things I might forget about it after a while but when you keep getting reminded about it over and over again it's hard to let it go :/

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<snipped various valid XCOM complaints>

- Why does everyone speak to me as if I'm a 8 year old child?

THIS is a major complaint of mine for the vast majority of games these days. It's especially bad on consoles. When I finally picked up a PS2 I tried a couple of RPGs and the puerility of the dialogue banished me from that particular gamer realm despite the fact that some of the game mechanics were fun. Sadly, so many games (such as XCOM) these days have to be made for or at least friendly to the console market.

I've tried games that were specifically described as for adults, but, as far as I can tell, that means only that some combination of profanity, nudity, drug use, and gore has been tossed into an otherwise childish game. In XCOM's case, it seems to have been gore. IMO it's a blessing that the other three weren't included, but it's still sad situation. If only the "mature" label on a game box bore some vague relation to "maturity" nowadays...

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In an unsurprising turn of events, Firaxis have announced the first serving of DLC for XCOM: Enemy Unknown. It's apparently heavy on narrative. Looky here.

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I've only played the first few missions, but I can't say I like it. All in all, I find the game shallow and lacking in depth.

- Why can't my troops take proper cover? You should be able to hide behind a car without parts sticking out.

- Why can't I set my troops view direction? It's not clear to me if the troops have a 360 degree view cone, or only view the in the direction they happen to view in ...

- Why can't I set the walk path?

- Why can't I choose between an aimed shot, burts fire, etc? Now troopers fire half a magazine at every alien. Huge waste of ammo.

- Why can't I ever move after a shot? This (almost) always leaves your troops in vulnerable positions.

- It looks like aliens automatically see me once my troops see them ...

- Why is there so little variation in equipment? I can choose a grenade and medkit, but not 2 grenades and 1 medkit OR 3 grenades. I also *have* to take a pistol as a sidearm. I don't need no stinkin' pistol, I want extra grenades!

- Do my troops really have infinite ammo?

- Why can't I just choose weapons freely? Why is there only one type of rifle?

- Why do aliens spawn out of thin air when it's plot-conventient?

- Why are the controls so inhumanly annoying?

- Why does everyone speak to me as if I'm a 8 year old child?

etc. etc...

The reviews have been so overwhelmingly positive that I almost thought there are two games out there...

Only upshot so far: I've ended up here :-)

Yeah, I managed to play a few rounds of the new Xcom on my friend's Xbox and have similar issues to you and Raidsoft with the gameplay. I'm glad I did not buy this game and instead spent it xenonauts. imho,ymmv

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I personally find it interesting that DLC apparently provides you early access to blaster launchers, I guess thats how they decided to fix issue where people whine about it not being in the game because they never did battleship mission as at the point in the game where you can beat battleships you can prevent them from appearing at all :P

@Carpetsmoker: Aren't those points mostly about it being different from original game?...

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@Carpetsmoker: Aren't those points mostly about it being different from original game?...

No, not really. In fact, some of these points can be applied to the original game as well. But that was 1993. This is 20 years later.

By the way, I'm not a "hardcore X-COM fan" or anything of the like. Being born in 1985 I'm a bit too young for that.

I did play the game quite a bit back in about 2002/2003, but never even finished it.

I really don't like this game on its own merit :-) But to be fair it didn't outright suck like the Jagged Alliance 2 remake (holy trousers on fire that was a bad game).

Edited by Carpetsmoker

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No, not really. In fact, some of these points can be applied to the original game as well. But that was 1993. This is 20 years later.

By the way, I'm not a "hardcore X-COM fan" or anything of the like. Being born in 1985 I'm a bit too young for that.

I did play the game quite a bit back in about 2002/2003, but never even finished it.

I really don't like this game on its own merit :-) But to be fair it didn't outright suck like the Jagged Alliance 2 remake (holy trousers on fire that was a bad game).

Give me any one remake (besides Deux Ex: Human Revolution which got a passing grade at least) that hasn't completely sucked these last few years. Syndicate, Jagged Alliance and now X-Com being the most notorious ones. I'm pretty sure there were a couple more but I've already forgotten which.

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Saying that XCOM "completely sucks" is... just weird. Sure, it will suck if you go into looking for a 100% mechanical reproduction of the original and want every single bit to be just like the ~original~ was, but we've known that it isn't pretty much since day 1.

I've clocked some 70 hours in it, and it's a great game with some issues which probably get addressed (camera controls within UFOs, camera requiring spinning around to select a specific tile you want to move on, and the other bugs (some LoS issues, teleporting aliens and whatnot)). And yeah, the talking heads are irritating, mostly because they take control away, yeah yeah that's an UFO that withstood the force of a crash I've heard it 3 times already shut up and let me move my duders.

Overall very pleased with the money I paid for it, and I'm looking up for gettin' some DLC.. albeit the first one they announced sounds really shady by adding more scripted missions. I'd be happy with just more maps, especially non-pine forest ufo crashes in Egypt.

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I don't understand why I always get such low hit chances when shooting at Muton Elites and Sectopods. I mean Sectopods are massive and can't get into cover, so what's the deal?

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I don't understand why I always get such low hit chances when shooting at Muton Elites and Sectopods. I mean Sectopods are massive and can't get into cover, so what's the deal?

Worth looking at this anotherdevil http://xcom.nexusmods.com/mods/18/, specifically:

Smaller enemies are a bit harder to hit and large enemies a bit easier. This is balanced by accuracy and/or movement speed advantages/disadvantages.

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Guess who the only psionic on my team is?

A guy I named CHUCK "Almighty" NORRIS.

The game is messing with me. I mean what are the odds? Seriously.

What are the odds of him never dying (he never even got seriously hurt IIRC), having the highest kill-count and being the only psionic?

This is either the biggest concidence ever, or the power of Norris at work.

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Wait, how did you do this?

SOLDIERS & ALIENS:

- Will only get injured if the extra HP provided by armor goes away.

Can't download without registering it seems, but if it's just a ruleset (exe patcher) tweak, rather than upk scripts, won't bother.

Warspace is pretty much Easymod imho. Starting weapons beat anything, there's no reason to bother with anything else till maybe very late on, so you can spend your whole early game building sats.

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Actually you do need better armor. And with increased base costs you do have less money to go around.

Regarding the HP thing, the game apparently differentiates between soldier HP and armor HP bonus.

When a solder has 10HP and 4 armor bonus and gets hit for 8 damage...he's wounded.

BUT...

When a soldier has 4 HP and 10 armor bonus and gets hit for 8 damage.....you see the difference.

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So, were psychic powers and blaster launchers any less OP than they were in the original version?

They cut the absolute range and the damage caused by a blaster launcher down. It was dependant on crafting gear you could only get from a battleship and then only in limited amounts, so it was an "almost over" weapon rather than a "late game" weapon. Finally, only heavys could use it, so it could only be used if the heavy stood still, and unless you had upgraded troops with shredder and rocketeer, you only got one shot off per heavy. To be honest, the pendulum probably swung the other way a little too far with this weapon.

Dear old mind control. It may initally be line-of-sight, but seeing as how by the time you got a trooper to mind control it would have a will in the high 80s (more with psi-armour) mind controlling even muton elites was a snap. With aliens usually working in teams of three, taking one out with mind control meant the other two usually shot at the mind-controlled first, leaving my team ample time to sweep and clear. And the limited lifespan worked in my favour. Once I had dealt with all the bad guys all I had to do was plonk Mr Dribbles just in front of my overwatched squad and wait. The AI inevitably tried to run away, and that would be all she wrote. So, given how the game played out, Mind Control was as OP as ever.

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I don't think Mind Control or Blaster Launcher had much over the Ghost armor when it comes to "things that are OP". Equipping your entire team with that pretty much broke the game.

Didn't really like the PSI abilities. Mind Fray was okay, reliable 5 damage.

Panic, on the other hand. Any time I used it, the panic'd alien shot the soldier that panic'd it.

Mind Control needs some tweaks mechanically. If the aliens kill the MC'd alien, your rookies will panic. If you MC the last alien, the mission won't be over until the MC runs out and that alien is killed. You can't shoot the MC'd alien yourself, and once the MC breaks, and the alien gets a free shot at your guys, so you'd have to run it as far away as you can on the last turn.

Edited by Kaguya

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Firaxis Xcom Review

I looked forward to this game with great anticipation, considering the talent they had assembled for this project and the look of the early screenshots.

Indeed, the new Xcom looked poised to completely hit the nail on the head and re-capture all of the magic from the original game.

I pre-ordered the special edition and have now started playing the game finally.

What it appears they have done is create a single source game that can be played both on the pc or the game console, in much the same way as the Fallout series has done.

And much the same way as that series has done, in doing so, completely nerfed and wrecked the essence of the original pc game.

What was so enthralling about the original pc Xcom was the amount of CONTROL it gave the player.

CONTROL to decide exactly where each new base goes, for radar coverage.

CONTROL over the soldier's loadout, using standard slot based graphics. CONTROL over ammo, too.

CONTROL over promotion points.

CONTROL over interceptor loadouts.

CONTROL over base layout.

CONTROL over monthly budget.

CONTROL over even time itself, with a constant running clock that you could slow down almost to real time.

Most of the above have been wripped out of the player's hands.

The clock still runs, at a single constant speed of 1 minute / sec. The 'fast forward' button consists of hyper-jumping the clock forward 'until the next thing happens', which is essentially just the same as having a mission-based game (which I hate).

No longer can you intercept a ufo when and where YOU choose,

No longer can you time your dropship to arrive at dawn, so your guys aren't fighting aliens in the frikking DARK. No, you zoom to the crash site nearly instantaneously and you start the mission based on the pre-defined setup for that battle they have created. LAME…

In short, you now have almost ZERO control, and are led along by the nose to each mission, which even have NAMES to them, further flaunting in your face that nothing is random in this game, all is pre-ordained.

In addition, they have added some nasty new restrictions that make no sense whatsover. You need to build buildings in order to increase your squad size. You need a certain minimum number of engineers to build things (in most other versions of xcom, it would just calculate some astronomically long time to complete the project if you didn't have the guys). You no longer build radar bases, one of the enjoyable parts of the old game, you now build satellites, which again (sign) need buildings!!

Another very annoying thing is that soldiers come to you pre-ordained into certain categories. Some big bruiser shows up, and he'll never be a sniper, he is cast as a heavy from the start, and is limited in his upgrade choices.

Another very annoying thing they have done is severely restricted the loadout options. You can't even get rid of the useless pistols(!!!) at the start of the game, which was a game staple for all of the other xcome versions! You also cannot sell anything other than alien tech.

Replacing the very complex and complete original loadout options you used to have is a nearly useless graphics change ability to make your soldiers all fancy with different hairdo-s and stuff. Really, you take away nearly all my loadout choices so I can slap a nice bro-stach on my tough leader? How lame is THAT?

The interception display, which was originally very boring but cool to watch, and evolved to an actual dogfight game you can control in some games, has been dumbed back down to a very poorly done side view of the two ships shooting up each other. Again, lame as crap, very unimpressed. To think where they could have taken this particular part of the game, which was equally as fun to me as the squad level combat of the game, is just more tears in beer.

Finally, the tactical game, at first glance, appears AWESOME, until you dig a little deeper, and realize:

Troops automatically take cover if cover is available. NO CONTROL OVER IT.

Troops do not automatically use opportunity fire when they have movement points left. You have to tell them to do this EVERY SINGLE TIME.

Troops, which appear at first to have a nifty new 'shooter cam' view so you can see what they can shoot, instead tell you they can't see the target, when it's clearly obvious they can. So again, the whole thing feels staged and fake. In the original, the soldiers were free to blast away at open doors, empty windows, ect… or take impossible pot shots. This game apparently only let's the aliens do that.

The isometric view is difficult to use and way too sensitive. Try to throw a grenade and the map will suddenly be swinging around wildly and resetting to other weapons before you get the chance to throw. The rotate and zoom buttons are crippled and don't offer much help. It's far less frustrating to just click on a spot for your guy to run to and just hope it's safe and a good tactical position.

The things they have improved, which are few and expected, are:

Graphics: Obviously the new graphics rock the house and are unbelievably good.

Music: Music is on par with the original, although the combat music is a bit too heart-pounding for me, I felt like I had guzzled 3 jolt cola after 1 mission and had to leave the game alone for a bit.

Upkeep: I think they have removed the base upkeep costs from the game, which is a nice relief

---------------------------------

All in all, bargain bin worthy to any original xcom commander. They have sold their souls to the sectoids, and given us glitzy crap with zero control.

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Targe, you pretty much nailed my feelings about it. The "streamlining" decisions that were made by the devs really broke the experiance for me. I think that the dev's missed what made the OG and other titles great. Completely. Yeah, there was some tedium with buying and selling and equipping, but that's the price you pay for intense micro. You give up the intense micro, and you lose the game and it turns into an iteration where you point and click and run around hoping for a good shot %.

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Reading that made me realize that most of the small things that were nagging at me had to do with loss of control in one way or another.. I do think that streamlining was taken to the extreme and thus made the game frustrating to play, hoping modders can fix it ;)

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