I Win X-Com

Lovely game.

I think there were some great opportunities to flesh out the plot and story much deeper but perhaps that wasn’t core to the tactical “sim” from the outset. The production quality, gameplay, and spirit to the original was kept well in tact and exceeded my expectations. I wasn’t sure if it would live up to my high expectations – but it did. Ultimately a satisfying gaming experience.

My favorite squaddie “Pitbull” didn’t end up the sacrificial lamb at the end of story which would have been very fitting but there was no way for X-Com to know she was my favorite. Would have been a nice death to end the story and plot elements but not that big of a deal. I immediately jumped into the expansion and playing through again – will be interesting to see the improvements.

I am most excited for The Long War mod to the game – it feels like it would be the better game of the three (counting it as it’s own) but I really want to get through the expansion first that introduces new elements. It is like playing in the minor leagues. I was in AA with the original and now I’m in AAA now but gunning for the big leagues. I upped the difficulty this time around (the first was rarely a challenge) and I am excited to move up. Have a couple weeks ahead of me to get there on my current gaming schedule. It plays on my Surface Pro 2 so bonus that I can play off my main gaming rig.

My first few thoughts on suggested improvements still stand (reprinting them below for ease of reading) plus some more:

  • Squad facing – I loved this in the original game as placement and cover for your squaddies was paramount. Avoiding flanks, coverage, safety, etc.
  • Challenge – yes, I am on Normal, but it is pretty easy (so far). I’m glad it is not as punishing as the original and I can always up the difficulty on a new campaign but not really interested in restarting. This isn’t surprising of course.
  • Base placement – you pick a continent but not an exact place. I was always a fan of Northern continental bases. What other game let’s you make Canada a focus, where you can save the world and eat a lot of Maple Syrup?
  • Squad armor graphics – little too much I think. I wish they started off more like soliders and less like Mechs.
  • Squad size limit – give me 8! Why not 10?
  • Map sizes – Maybe it is just because it is early for me (15 hours in) but all the maps seem really thin. Not much to explore. Go forward in the way you are facing and you will find the bad guys. In the original I loved having to cover all sides of the ship.
  • Map flavor – need more interesting backdrops. Every UFO I have shot down lands in the woods. I want it to crash into a football stadium
  • Choice of Nations – this is nitpicky – but I want some Canadian troops! Didn’t get one. Maybe that is editable with a mod, but I kept waiting for my own, personal, Captain Canuck.

I know you are thinking “Thanks Isey! Thanks for looking at a game well over 2 years old” but thanks to our good friends at steam they are giving away this awesome series (both the original and the expansion for $16 CDN). Or they were rather, last week. (it will probably be on sale for $6 bucks in another month or so). If you haven’t played this game now is the time. Even if you never played the original this title does enough to show you what all the hubbub was all about. Tactical glory!

I’ll report back after the Long War Mod and all the difficulties and challenges that represents as that will be truer to the original X-Com experience.

2 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Just catching up on my Feed Reader.
    XCom is great, a nice option for another playthrough is to use the Second Wave options to mix up some the stats.
    Of course there is always Ironman mode too, but only if you don’t mind loose troops all over the place.

  2. I actually used second wave on the original playthrough – because I bought it bundled it had some of those options. I always treated my squaddies as “tools” – work em hard. I had quite a few die. I like the commitment part required for Ironman =)

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