XCOM Enemy Unknown – Bringin’ It Back

Slated for an October 9th release, the XCOM franchise is being brought back by Firaxis games, this time for PC, Xbox 360 and PS3. A third-person, squad/turn-based strategy series from the 90’s, X-Com games featured rampant destruction , tons of customization options, and a persistent feeling of dread when the military was outgunned and only the proud members of XCOM stood a chance at stopping the alien threat.

Once again the Earth is a backdrop for an invasion by otherworldy species, and it is up to the player to take control of the last line of defense, XCOM, to battle the sectoids and other alien scum familiar to veteran players of the series. Players will be able to name their troops, customize their base between missions, decide on equipment options and research, and respond to whatever threats they wish.

However, as in earlier titles in the series, if you decide to help one region of the world, you will be neglecting another region. Research a fancy new armor upgrade or science lab for your base, and you won’t be getting a new weapon upgrade or better long range detectors for your home base, or “ant farm”.

As in the prior titles prioritizing is key, and your choices can really make a difference, or seal your soldier’s fates as permadeath returns. Rookie soldiers deaths might not hurt as much, but when a player loses a veteran squad member, it can hurt a lot depending on what upgrades and training had been invested in that soldier to that point in the game. Missions will once again be played on level maps, and the players will be allowed to only do so much in a turn with each sqad member, so watch the high and low areas, darkened areas, and make sure to remember to set someone on overwatch! From some of the videos the developers have showcased so far, the aliens have always set someone on overwatch, which guarantees them a free shot on the players squad members who come into view.

Inbetween missions the player returns to the “ant farm” and gets a chance to research new technologies that might have been brought back off the last mission, set injured soldiers to recuperate/train, and build new base areas and improvements as the player sees fit.

This iteration of the game is looking to bring it all back from the 90’s games, customization, the dreaded sense of loss from losing your star squaddies, destructible environments, base building, and turn-based strategy Xcommers have grown to know and love.

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