XCOM: Enemy Unknown (PS3) – Firaxis

XCOM: Enemy Unknown

The following message was intercepted from a downed UFO and totally NOT plagiarised from a Polish gaming site and put through Google translate.

What is game? XCOM is game.

This game makes fun of alien invasion of Earth, which has serious portent if true.  Not Will Smith being seen however.  Instead become Bill Pullman: commanding soldiers to fight aliens (but not an air pilot).

In giving name and hair to your soldiers, bondage grows thick and playtime ensues with added personal feeling.  Also humorous is to send electronic messages to the reality friends who are the namesakes, announcing to them their death.

Mission maps hold tactical intrigue.  Battlement with adversaries occurs at shopping mall, petrol station or other place.  Cover is important but mostly out of reach.  Best action results from teamwork; the lone ranger rarely emerges victorious.

Choices are relatively few but vital: take difficult aim, dash further for improved shot or stay back and be reactive?  Tactical decisions are boiled essentials, with detritus scraped away.  Controlling is a gale, retaining focus on tactics not twitching.

Similar to benevolent sporting duel, luck also participates.  Do not mourn a misfire from 90% success chance, for such is true mathematics in operation.

Many will die, friend and foe.  When friend perishes, do not reload!  Vicissitudes of war must be borne with dignity.  Memorial with haunting bladderpipes preserves memory of fallen comrades.

After mission, return to base.  Scientists reside to research better kit and engineers abide to build facilities and tasty guns.  Valorous soldiers find promotion and special abilities to use in mission, making increase of team value.

Addiction grows from virtuous circle: mission success yields spoils to imbue base and personnel with belongings.  Once there is the new item, you are tickled to have next mission for item use and need to recoup spoils for next items. Virtuous circle closes.

Firaxis makes a game here like Civilization — player can stop at any juncture but is still compelled to play until dawn from pure mechanic flow.  True joy springs from emergent individual feats, recounted later around fluid dispenser.

Foreshadowed replay is inevitable.

Behold!  A new master for consoles arises in the strategy desert.  Some say Valkyria Chronicles arrived previously, but XCOM omits teen angst to be best of kind.

Category Rating
Game mechanics: 9
Atmosphere: 8
Addictiveness: 10


– Felix


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