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Press: Preview on Finnish Pelit magazine

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I didn't find a press forum yet, so I'll post this here instead of Offtopic as this is Xenonauts related.

Finnish game magazine Pelit had a preview of Xenonauts. I translated it below to best of my ability.

Normally I don't follow press so much, however Xenonauts was previewed by Niko Nirvi who is a long time gamer, strategy game fan and has listed original UFO as his favourite game as well as written columns where he has positively compared game mechanics of original UFO to more modern games. Same magazine (08, 2013) also had a six page article about the history of original UFO game as well a two page review of OpenXcom (scrore: 5/5). Given this context I thought it was an interesting preview of Xenonauts.

It is unclear which version he played. Based on the preview I would guess he got the game through Stream and has not been reading these forums.

Finnish preview

Edited by Jaran
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Downing an UFO

One classic game of the past, whose recipe has been too difficult to reproduce, is UFO: Enemy Unknown. Possibly the best video game ever made.

Many have tried, most recently king of turn-based strategy, lead by Sid the Great, Firaxis. Its reboot XCOM: Enemy Unknown was okay in theory but for a reason or two compromises were made that ended up being fatal. One would happily go to bed with the new XCOM and have a fun night but in the morning it would be clear that this would not be enough for a long relationship. For myself the biggest annoyance was adding enemies to the map and the free turn for enemies that followed.

But now a new game has arrived on orbit to freshen up a classic game. Funded by Kickstarter and alpha funding, Xenonauts does not even pretend to be anything different than a loyal interpretation of the classic original UFO.

Internationally funded (with pennies) Xenonauts are fighting an UFO invasion. Shooting down UFOs, killing their crew on the ground, collecting bodies, prisoners and technology. And at the end aliens are taught that revenge is a dish best served cold.

Xenonauts has been accepted to Steam’s Early Access program, where customers can get instant access to a development version of the game, right after purchase. The alpha-like game has all its game mechanics in place but details and especially balancing is unfinished.

They are tough!

For most parts Xenonauts feels good. Music is very XCOMy ja graphics are crisp although a bit too clinical. UI works and everything feels familiar.

At start my soldiers are champions of missing their shots and old veterans are soon loved much more than in modern work life. Xenonauts are kept busy, in addition to normal fights there are also night missions (and flares), terror missions and defence missions for aliens invading player’s base. The spirit of the original UFO is very strong.

I am not sure if this is about unfinished balancing but enemies are much better than xenonauts. They have longer vision range, they shoot without negative bonuses and they can take way too much damage. Even bazooka shots are laughed at and hand grenades could be sold as fireworks for kids.

AI feels like a placeholder, that shoots at visible ‘nauts but otherwise does not move a lot. Even reapers run past soldiers following civilians.

Speaking of them, on first terror mission I almost cried. Some of the enemies were like stronger versions of Mutons. Five shots with a sniper rifle and lizard man was still charging forward.

More smarts and less difficulty, but only just a little, and everything will work much better.

Take cover!

Ball is only dropped at terrain. Like in UFO: Extra-Terrestrial and in new XCOM terrain looks like it’s made of grids and blocks, like it should be. Like in these two games, Xenonaut’s similarities with the original only come as close as looking similar.

Maps are not randomly generated so xenos and xenonauts always land on the same spot. For now it also feels like there are not enough maps. This has a crippling effect on replayability.

Second of all, terrain damage is extremely modest. A wall can be destroyed or a window broken but it is like comparing a bar fight to the Second World Wars of original UFO or Silent Storm. Beautifully ruinable terrain was at least one-third of the appeal of original UFO.

Terrain is also bland. Objects like houses, vehicles, fence, benches and other obstacles are thrown on a flat surface, but not in an interesting way that tickles my strategic mind. If you make maps by hand instead of random generation, then at least make them interesting.

3D graphics does not add anything, there is no zooming and no turning of view. What is so difficult about this? If 3D does not work then let’s go back to tile-based graphics!

My prognosis for Xenonauts is good enough but still not something that replaces the original UFO.


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Sounds like he's playing V18. I think V19 Stable and V20 Stable will address a lot of his complaints. Still, I understand he's a well-known journalist so all coverage is good. I hope he gets a chance to review the game once it is officially released too!

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3D graphics does not add anything, there is no zooming and no turning of view. What is so difficult about this? If 3D does not work then let’s go back to tile-based graphics!

Its funny that the tiles are so well done that he actually though he was playing a 3d game :rolleyes: and better go back to tile-based wich is what the game actually is.

Although the review is well made it clearly suffers from lack of info about current state of the game and its capabilitys. I believe if he reviews the final game or a version very close to it he will love it.

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Its funny that the tiles are so well done that he actually though he was playing a 3d game :rolleyes: and better go back to tile-based wich is what the game actually is.

Yes, I noticed this too which made me think he hasn't been reading these forums, at least not about how the maps are built. :D I am guessing he was just frustrated about the lack of variety on the maps.

Of course there will be an actual review later once the game is published. It is a bit unfortunate that the preview was about an older version of the game but then again having only one page and no final score on the magazine makes it clear to the readers that it was only a preview of the game. Also, considering this issue of the magazine had a larger UFO extra which they also advertised on the cover, it makes sense to have Xenonauts in there too, even if a bit unfinished.

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