Posts tagged ‘strategy’

10/21/2012

In the immortal words of Paul Phoenix…

by wfgodbold

Bring it on, ya aliens! (also, be careful; the embiggened screenshots may have mid-game thpoilerth)

I’m about ready to wrap up my first* playthrough of XCOM: Enemy Unknown, and you’ll be happy to know that Earth has been saved from the alien menace.

This time.

Firaxis’s update makes XCOM play a lot like Valkyria Chronicles;** your soldiers can move and then shoot/defend/item/grenade/etc. Different classes (assault, heavy, sniper, medic) use different weapons and have different special abilities. This makes it a lot easier to keep track of who does what – in X-COM, I had to change the characters’ names to indicate what they were best at, which led to soldiers like Col. Wolfgang Krauser 70TU 80AIM.***

The red armor is three times faster than the usual armor.

The strategic layer is more streamlined, too. I would have preferred being able to have multiple available teams (if you build multiple Skyrangers) so that you don’t have to choose between missions. More UFO attacks wouldn’t hurt, either. As the game progresses, it seems like you do a lot of waiting at the geoscape for something to happen (whether it’s an abduction, a terror mission, a council mission, or a UFO). In the original X-COM, the longer the game went on, the more frequent the UFO attacks became, until you ended up getting overwhelmed.

I know 1994 was a different gaming era, but I think that really added to the tension.

Taken as a whole, the updates are generally good. The game is still hard, the aliens are still unforgiving, and your soldiers still die heroic (and sometimes, unheroic) deaths. I’ll probably play Classic next, and then I might even give Impossible a try.

I let a third of the civilians die and it rates my performance as “Good.” Yeah, this is X-COM.

You know, when I have copious free time (which means I can pencil it in for December, I guess).

*For certain values of “first.” I restarted my Classic difficulty Ironman game several times while trying and failing to get a grip on the changed systems, before finally caving in and dropping the difficulty back to Normal (though still Ironman).

**Which played a lot like Sakura Taisen, which in turn played a lot like X-COM: UFO Defense. The circle is now complete!

***Yes, I know Wolfgang Krauser is an SNK character. It seemed like most of the random soldiers I got ended up being German with random German names, and this was all I could think of.

10/11/2012

In lieu of the post I am too incredulous/furious to write…

by wfgodbold

Here’s a video of Jake Solomon, the lead designer for XCOM: Enemy Unknown, trying to convince people in a game store they should buy his game:

I’ll post my review of Taken 2, and the post that would have been here but for my hunch that I’d say something I might regret, this weekend.

03/06/2012

This fall can’t get here soon enough

by wfgodbold

That’s when XCOM: Enemy Unknown is slated for release (according to wikipedia, anyway). The more I find out about this remake, the better it looks.

The exploding gas stations and destructible environments bring back memories of terror missions gone horribly wrong (hopefully the remake captures the horror vibe the original pulled off so well). My only real worry after this new information is that the “glam shots” where it zooms in and slows down on your soldiers when they get the kill shot will be permanent. If they’re going to do that, it’s going to get old pretty quick; ideally they’ll put in the option to toggle them off.

Other than that, though, I don’t have any gripes. Firaxis’s remake of X-COM looks amazing.

02/03/2012

Okay, I’m sold on XCOM: Enemy Unknown

by wfgodbold

Look at it (part 2 here)!

It looks a lot like Valkyria Chronicles, to be honest (gameplay wise; space marines vs. aliens is about as far from anime WWII as you can get).

Characters have different classes (sniper, assault, heavy weapons), and have different strengths and weaknesses. I was cautiously optimistic before, but now I’m convinced.

Firaxis’ X-COM remake looks like it’s the real deal.

Update: Rock, Paper, Shotgun has a three-part interview with one of the developers; he addresses a lot of the concerns with updating an 18 year old game for today’s market. It’s an interesting look into how Firaxis is updating the series and how they’re changing some of the mechanics.

01/09/2012

Firaxis is my master now

by wfgodbold

The big news out of Game Informer the last week has been that Firaxis (Sid Meier‘s company) is making a true updated version of X-COM, titled X-COM: Enemy Unknown. The guy in charge is making sure they stay true to the original game, too.

I’ve mentioned X-COM before. Thanks to this decision, I’ll never have to speak of the X-COM FPS abomination again.

These new screens give me hope. (Taken from Kotaku, Siliconera, and Game Informer.) The base cross-section looks like an updated version of the base screen from the original.

And the mission itself?

It’s hex-based now, and uses polygons instead of sprites, but it’s full of soldiers taking cover and heading towards the aliens.

I don’t really play PC games that much anymore, but if this isn’t out on consoles (and maybe even if it is), I’ll have to pick it up. If I don’t defend the earth from the alien menace, who will?

 

08/13/2011

Bullet Striker

by wfgodbold

Namco Bandai is fortunate; when they make the various Super Robot Wars games (through their subsidiary, Banpresto), they don’t have to license most of the material. Sunrise (famed super robot anime studio (for certain definitions of famed, I guess)) is also one of their subsidiaries, and that drastically cuts down on what they have to license.

Super Robot Wars W was the first game in the franchise to be released on the Nintendo DS; it’s also the first game in the series in which all of the robots featured are from shows licensed (at least in part) in the US.

Bullet Striker is the main character’s theme; like all main characters in SRW games, he’s original and not from an existing property (enough games have been made for Banpresto to release so-called Original Generation games, which feature exclusively characters and super robots created for SRW games).

07/14/2011

Geoscape 1

by wfgodbold

Given yesterday’s news about 2K Games’s ex post facto molestation of my childhood, I thought I would make up for it by picking a track from the original X-COM: UFO Defense game (even if it’s not “contemporary”).

Aliens are attacking, and the governments of Earth formed the X-COM program to defend against their assaults; each month you are paid, and that money has to hire soldiers, pay for ammo, weapons, tanks, transport planes, interceptors, and whatever else you need to form an elite squad of anti-UFO badasses.

In between missions, you can manage your organization; once you pick up a UFO on the radar, though, you have to go after it (if you let too many UFOs go by without stopping them, your funding gets cut); you can either shoot it down, or wait for it to land.

If you shoot down the UFO, usually you have to deal with fewer aliens, but more of the ship is destroyed and you can’t salvage as much technology to research and sell. If you let the ship land, you get more tech and alien hardware, but you have a tougher fight ahead of you.

While on the mission, the game switches gears to a squad-based tactical design; you control each of the squaddies, and have to take care to position them behind cover so that the aliens don’t take them out when it’s the computer’s turn.

X-COM: UFO Defense is available at Steam, either as part of the entire series value pack for $15 or standalone for $5 (Open X-COM lets you play the game on more than just Windows (though it’s still a work in progress)).

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