Platforms: PS3, Xbox 360, PC
Developers: Firaxis Games
Multiplayer: Yes and its online
While playing XCOM I couldn’t help but wonder why aliens would want to invade Earth or in the case of Mass Effect 3 try and destroy it because let’s be honest let’s not exactly the healthiest of planets but still people keep making games based around the premise.
XCOM: Enemy Known follows this exact premise so in order to combat the invasion, all the countries in the world decide to put all there hope into the XCOM project along with only a small amount of funding despite the fact that it’s the planets only hope. Anyway you’re the Commander, the leader of XCOM and must make all the decisions from what to research to which countries to leave to the aliens because apparently the rest of the world’s armies are useless and XCOM could only afford one passenger plane.
Get used to seeing this the first few times you play
XCOM doesn’t really have a plot to it which is a shame because on the last mission the aliens basically narrate why very enemy you fought are fighting for them and why they invaded and it was actually pretty cool and it’s a shame that they couldn’t have had that for more of the game.
XCOM’s gameplay is split into two different game types. The first is base management. The base is laid out like you looking at an ant farm and it’s easy to navigate around. Here you can customise you team load out or renaming them and there nicknames or if you bought the game new change the colour of their armour. Um why can you only do this if you bought the game new or will buy the eventual DLC? Also despite the fact that your team members come from all over the world they all have American accents for some reason.
Again why the hell did they remove the ability to customize your character for those who buy new or future DLC?
Along with customising your team you can also research alien technology so you can make them yourself and also make your base larger by building labs and workshops for example but you’ll also need to build generators to power them all up and have to build elevators to reach lower levels. Unlike most games however XCOM takes into account that research and building certain things like satellites takes time so after you select what you want done you’ll have to wait a couple of days before you can get it and you’ll be told beforehand how long it will take. This is a great idea because it makes you consider if it’s worth doing something now or waiting till later when it can be done quicker even though by then it may not be as useful.
The second game type is combat. You’re only aloud to bring up to six soldiers with you on a mission although to be allowed to do this you first have to purchase the ability to do so in the officer training school. The combat itself is turn based with you always going first and is cover based and you’ll always now if you’re in full or half cover. It is a bit annoying however that the combat is also based on percentages so there will be times when you’ll miss every shot even if some of them were over 80% but then again there will also be times when you’ll hit every single shot although you can use explosives but doing so destroys the weapons the aliens were using. Also if you’re feeling brave you can also capture some aliens so you can interrogate them or torture them by the looks of things although to do this you have to get close and there’s a chance you can screw this up. Doing this allows you to keep the weapons they were using them and lets you use them after you researched who to make them.
Your soldiers can also get promoted into one of four classes and as they get more promotions you can choose between two perks for each level except the first. Only a short few of these are obvious like the snapshot for your sniper or allowing your medic to carry three medikits. The problem however is that which class you get is completely random so chances are sometimes you’ll end up with more soldiers of the same type then are needed.
When your soliders miss 90% shots, you can’t help but wonder if XCOM are hiring drunks
Now would probably be a good time to mention XCOM’s difficulty. You see in XCOM there is a big difficultly gap between normal and classic because in normal you get higher hit chances, less enemies to fight and at the start you have more facilities already built so I’d recommend doing the tutorial when you start playing either classic or impossible mode so you’ll get and a little breathing room. There’s also an Ironman mode if you want to make things even harder on yourself. Here the game saves after every turn and thing you do into only one save file so you can’t reload the game if you screw up you can’t just reload to fix whatever just happened.
Finally there is the online multiplayer. How it works is that before the match both players are given the same number of points to spend on buy soldiers and aliens for their teams so yes there is a way to play as the alien’s in-game. For the humans you’ll need to buy them weapons, items and classes which do make them expensive but you can do more with them. The aliens are cheaper and more fun to play as with only one alien type not being available which sounds disappointing until you learn which one they removed, then your grateful. Multiplayer itself then plays the same as in the campaign as both players take turns moving and attacking although there is a time limit to hurry you up. Multiplayer is fun and it adds to the games already impressive longevity but it also feels a little tacked-on with only five maps.
Half of the fun of multiplay is trying to make the best team you can with only a limited number of points
That was XCOM enemy unknown and it’s definitely worth buying if you want a game that will fight back and if you’re willing to continue playing even after the game wipes out your squad again and again.