XCOM: Enemy Unknown

The Spoony One | Oct 16 2012 | more notation(s) | 

The new XCOM has invaded the world, but is it the betrayal we feared, or did Firaxis redeem the franchise?

EDIT: A number of people have pointed out that the FPS version of XCOM is under development by 2K Marin, a separate developer from Firaxis, and that the shooter was not been scrapped in favor of the strategy game. While it’s true that the FPS XCOM has not officially been scrapped, it’s changed hands between developers several times and appears to be stuck in limbo with no definite release date. I remember now the Firaxis devs mentioned their work was a separate entity, so I was in error there.

Even so, I found Firaxis to be very receptive to fan input. As with the Civilization series, they mentioned listening closely to fan input on how the games could be improved and balanced. It’s clear they wanted to deliver a gaming experience true to the series roots. They stayed true to the spirit of the original games, unlike the shooter, which nobody asked for.

  • Stephen Korinis


  • http://www.facebook.com/spawnofspike Sean Mullen

    Screw that bomb disposal mission…and the random number generator sticking on saves, that is large quantities of balls!

    • http://twitter.com/quantastarfire Ted Kehoe

      True on bomb disposal. As for RNG, stop trying to cheat and accept your soldier’s fates, or try a different approach.

  • http://twitter.com/Das_Bass Das_Bass

    Watching you play it on Twitch makes me want to buy it, but that class system really urks me

  • C418

    I’m not sure if I get the number right, but I’m pretty sure Firaxis worked on this game for 3-5 years. Adding to that, this game was created independently from the other Xcom, which is still supposed to be in development. So no, this was not a game made because fans made an outcry. Firaxis just managed to get their hands on it and just made this game.

  • http://twitter.com/xthegunshow Count Trapula

    This was in development years before they even announced the FPS XCOM. Also the FPS XCOM is coming 2014 and is now apparently a third person shooter.

  • http://twitter.com/Greenboy2004 Anthony Harper

    excellent review Spoony firm but fair. I like these minimalistic style videosit’s nice to see good honest opinions on these games. Keep up the good work.

  • Pinup Ghoul

    That’s a shame about the XBox version. That’s the platform I’m most likely to play it on because I currently have no room to set up my desktop, and there’s no way my laptop could run this with any semblance of ‘efficiency’. Any of you reading this: have you had any luck with the XBox version? Would you recommend it?

    And I agree about customization: our generation is really the first to have access to truly immersive and customizable gaming. There’s no reason that a character customization option should be so limited, especially since it’s been a staple for a few years now. Soul Calibur 4 came out several years ago and even that had a significantly more comprehensive character creation feature.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/John-McMahon/592583778 John McMahon

      My copy of the game only froze once, though did start to lag once i was scrolling through like 60+ soldiers, graphics appear to be slightly inferior and it’s play-style is modified so as to be less like the original due to the xbox itself, but the good news is that that’s it.

    • Erin Ackerman

      runs fine for me. But Firaxis had joined the long list of devs that produce buggy games. Though at this point I feel more devs run buggy products then devs that don’t

      • banned_guy

        PC version is’nt bug free either,
        ATTENTION PC gamers: – before installing the game – update your GPU drivers, if you got AMD FX series CPU – update Bios (BSOD – possibility at startup), and DirectX update is also good idea – as there were cases that DX installer that came with the game had corrupted files – (reinstalling DX is a pain) – you have been warned!

  • http://www.facebook.com/breakstarblood Benjamin Hodges

    I’d like to see more reviews like this one. I love your cinematic reviews, but this and your streams made me want to buy XCOM.

    • Pinup Ghoul

      Ditto. I really liked the original when I was younger, and this one looks like an awesome update.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sahjorth Søren Aske Hjorth

    Well, all things considered, the XCOM-brand now got some much-needed gas to go on.
    I’m guessing they got some sort financial success with the game, so we might seen the studio get some extra funding, and make a game with the suggestions that most of the fanbase crave.
    I mean, it couldn’t be easy to be Firaxis to tell their corporate 2k overlords that they wanted to pursue a remake of a positively ancient game.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kyle-Dennis/1731271692 Kyle Dennis

    Even with all your complaints Spoony, everyone should go out and buy this game. This game was a risk for the developers from the beginning and for us to finally see this product is practically mind blowing. Unfortunately, the game probably had a limited budget because of the risk, so the stuff you listed got cut.

    A sequel will have the bigger budget necessary to truly make the next game something truly amazing the next time around.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1122452606 Danny Keary

      i agree if we don;t support that games that try to take a risk the all we will end up with is the same old plethora of first person shooters.

      • Athrein

        I never played the old XCOM games and the last turn based strategy game i played was Jagged Alliance 2. But watching the videos from Angry Joe got me interrested. I downloaded the demo on steam and the second it was over i preordered it. I have to say it’s sooo addicting. I’m not really a strategy guy, not anymore but this game made me remember why i loved them when i was younger.

    • CheshireBat

      “All your complaints.” He stopped just short of glorifying the game. He did repeatedly say that even though he had issues with it, it was a good game.

      I do support buying it, though. It’s a lot of fun (if dumbed down — actions and equipment especially), and I’d love to see DLC or a sequel as well.

      • magnusk_98

        The problem I see is that he spent very little time explaining why he liked the game and very much griping about what he didn’t like, so it came off a bit uneven. Having the elegy from Joe on his website helps a bit with that, but it would have been better if the review would have been five minutes longer and more evenhanded in its approach.

        As an opinion piece it was absolutely fine, though.

      • http://www.facebook.com/njmartinelli Nicholas Joseph Martinelli

        A DLC is freaking MANDATORY at this point to iron out the bugs. I’m pretty sure

        I do wonder though, perhaps XCOM:EU and/or it’s successors might be better off with adapting to smartphones and dedicated mobile devices like the DS and PSVita.

        Hear me out on this.

        For one thing, porting this to consoles was a move MADE OF STUPID. If you play on a console and enjoy RTS games, you almost certainly play them on a PC for a variety of reasons, not the least of which being the target audiences of the console market and, let’s face it, the (intentional) limits of the hardware.

        However, while an average smartphone may just barely eek out past consoles in hardware power (which is GENEROUS of me, given how outmoded current-gen consoles are), it has the advantages of portability, ease of use, and (oddly enough) greater flexibility of input, and that’s not couting the possibilities of dual-screen (DS) or dual-touch (PSVita) units.

        The save-state system (excluding Ironman) is perfect for sporadic or limited play for gamers on the go.

        I could almost assure you that the cross-over between mobile gamers and PC gamers who enjoy RTSes is magnitudes greater than console/PC.

        • Erin Ackerman

          were it not on the console, I’d not play it. A 200 dollar console and a 400 dollar computer are much more reachable then a 1000 dollar computer. I can’t afford the hardware to run this game PC wise.

          • http://twitter.com/SwedishBallsack Jonathan Andersson

            Same here.

            My computer is passing the requirements, but it has this nasty habit of randomly crashing, forcing me to reboot the whole thing. And that was just the demo, so I bought it on Xbox instead.

            I’m enjoying it so far, minus the alien cheap shots and satellites that seem to only be able to cover one guy’s backyard instead of entire countries.

            Haven’t run into that game breaking bug either and I’ve played for hours.

          • http://twitter.com/Codexx Cody Curry

            Oh, BS.You can build a low-end gaming PC for $400 and it’ll blow a $400 Dell web browsing machine out of the water. Take the $600 you spent on the console and your crappy prefabricated PC and buy the parts to build a computer, For that price, you can build a good gaming PC that can run any game you throw at it on medium to high settings. No promises you can get games to run in Ultra High settings or with HD texture packs. But you don’t need to blow $1,000 on a new PC to play games.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Williams/506191785 Mike Williams

            My xbox is 5 years old now. My computer is 3 years old. My xbox will run skyrim on decent settings with barely any slowdown, my computer needs it to be on low settings and still sufferes framerate issues.

            A computer when its built will outstrip a console by miles, but consoles keep their integrity for longer than a PC for gaming. You can always be assured that if your xbox hasn’t red ringed, it’ll play any xbox game.

            I use both, because I’m both a nerd and skint- my xbox for games I don’t think my computer would run very well.

            That said, Xcom really isn’t very straining on systems.

        • Neckbear

          You do know that XCOM isn’t an RTS, correct? And you also know games in the same vein to XCOM, AKA turn-based strategy games, are actually bigger on consoles than they are on PC, right? Because last I checked Tactics Ogre, FFT, Disgaea, Valkyria Chronicles and countless others were pretty popular.

          • Merost

            All of these are anime-shit for the uber-nerds.

          • http://www.facebook.com/njmartinelli Nicholas Joseph Martinelli

            I meant to say Turn-based strategy. OH MY GAWD IM SUCH A TERRIBAD PERRSON.

            For what it’s worth, I’ve been playing the original XCOM (with Seb76’s UFOEnhancer, for bugs), and I’ve had a blast. Oddly enough, my best campaign so far has the USA falling to alien influence off the bat (it was either waste my time with two Large UFOs landing simontaneously, or keep my guys and their research.)

            I just chalk it up to Bush being elected, so it all makes sense really.

      • CaptainDingaling

        Clearly there must be 2 video reviews because the one I just watched had Spoony b*tching about the game for 10 minutes and then saying the game “Coulda been” beautiful. He barely said anything postive about this game this was just him b*tching and nagging for 10 minutes. I’m not trying to be a jerk I’m just saying it for what it is. Spoony is really terrible about reviewing games (and I mean just informational reviews like this). He doesn’t know how to point out the strong points of a game and the things that make it fun to play and worth buying. I have never once brought a game because spoony made it seem interesting. If anything he makes me NOT want to buy games. If you listen to his review and someone elses, you’d think this game was the worst thing on earth when it’s actually probably a lot of fun. SPoony just has an extremely bad happit of not knowing when to shut up about nit picking and just review the game itself. Same thing for his Nintendo E3 rant. It wasn’t necessary. You don’t go off on ranting tirades when you’re doing informational reviews. I’m not trying to bash spoony but really he shouldn’t be doing these types of game reviews. The other comedy type of reviews yeah cool and funny but trying to learn about a new game you might want to buy NO! He complains to much and doesn’t get to what’s important. 10minutes of this and I still don’t even know how the game works,how it’s played, how the game map works, what do you do and why. All I know is that blah blah graphics, blah blah blah consoles suck blah blah blah I can’t customize my characters, blah blah blah this isn’t like the old one. blah blah blah. How does that help any one find out more information about the game? How does his complaining make you want to atleast buy it and try it for yourself? This is just what I’m trying to point at, and I hope that spoony does see this. If you’re going to review games please just tell us about it free of personal opinion FIRST and then bring up how you personally feel.

        • CheshireBat

          It’s a review for people that are already familiar with X-Com, that’s true. It’s rather necessary to keep that game in mind as a baseline, and notice what’s pointed out as superior or inferior. Certainly, new players won’t find the review as useful. Beyond that, I don’t really see the big problem.

          The differences from the original are important. Very much so. Do you for a moment believe that the game would have sold as well if it were named Shootmeister: Electric Boogaloo? It banks on that nostalgia. Heavily.

          I will grant you that soldier customization might not be very important, although it would have been nice. Yet, item limitations, game mechanics (actions vs time units), forced specialization, lack of base defense, etc. certainly are important. As for the graphics, there is some disagreement about that, but popular opinion seems to be that graphics and stylistic choices remain a big part of a game.

          As for the “could have been beautiful” comment, you forget that he had just said it was a good game. While I could be wrong, I believe he meant: “This is a good game, but it could have been the classic we would fondly remember for the next 20 years and beyond.” If they put out a new Master of Orion game, it would almost be sufficient to merely say, “it almost lives up to its legacy, except for X, Y, and Z.”

          A full review would, and should, have been different, of course. I nevertheless think that Spoony knows his audience pretty well, judging by the majority of the comments, and that was why he chose a quick review/opinion piece. As I said earlier, that naturally isn’t for everyone.

          • CaptainDingaling

            Some people might have played Xcom but I never have which is why I depend on these type of reviews. I’m looking at the review unbiasedly I just wanted to learn about the game and didn’t find his nagging very helpful. He hardly said anything good about it or pointed out anything good about it to make it seem like it’s worth buying at all. You don’t end your last comment as “it coulda been beautiful” then try to say it’s a good game when you spent a majority of your review basically bashing it.
            This review was just highly negative to be a “but I liked it and it’s good so buy it”. This game is 60bucks and the chances of me dropping 60 on a game that “coulda been beautiful” is highly unlikely if I went by this review.

          • CheshireBat

            “Could have been beautiful” remains a perfectly valid verdict. The original X-Com came out 21 years ago, and people still use it as the gold standard for these games. Alpha Centauri, MoO, Star Control, Master of Magic, System Shock. These are games where just about any comparison is a compliment.
            Take Bioshock. The overall opinion seems to be that it’s inferior to System Shock 2, if not necessarily by much. It’s still a great game.

            Imagine if they remade Citizen Kane, because that’s how older gamers feel about these games. Spoony certainly seemed to have similar feelings, considering the whole BETRAYAL debacle.
            Were Citizen Kane 2.0 stated to be very good, but ultimately inferior to the original in certain respects, with the final closing statement that it “could have been beautiful.” That is, living fully up to the original, well… holy crap. That would have been amazing. Even in failure, it would remain a triumph, because the bar was set truly high.
            At the same time, those comparisons would be unavoidable, even if it would seem like slamming the remake.

            Anyhow, review types will differ depending on anticipated audience. If my grandmother asks about a computer, I’m not going to go into much detail. If one of my friends asked about the same computer, I would be more at liberty to bring up those details and any shortcomings that might actually apply to them.
            I think that’s fine. The internet in particular gives us a lot of choice in this regard. Regardless of what type of customer you are, there is bound to be decent options for you. Regardless of whether you’re a casual gamer, hardcore, genre specialized, newer gamer, or — as in this case — veteran (read that as “neckbeard” if you like).

          • CaptainDingaling

            It’s all cool, I found another amateur review online that went over the game in detail. Seems like an interesting strategy game. I might pick it up when it’s much cheaper though. I like stategy games.

          • http://twitter.com/Tony7wsfk Tony

            “Some people might have played Xcom but I never have which is why I depend on these type of reviews”

            Then why are you even watching this review? This obviously isn’t for you. It’s for previous fans of Xcom, and will be executed accordingly. I’ve never played Xcom, so most of these gripes wouldn’t affect me if I did play this game, but it’s completely understandable why they’re included and discussed. I would agree that there’s not many positive things mentioned in this review, although sometimes there simply isn’t as many positive things for a person to genuinely say about something. If you want a review without comparisons, go watch one from someone who has no ties to the first or isn’t making many or any comparisons.

            Occasionally reviewing things myself, I know first hand that it’s very difficult to not compare to previous entries. When I played and reviewed Uncharted 3, it was impossible for me to not compare to previous entries because I’ve played them before and was holding the game up to those previously made standards. But when I played and reviewed Civilization V, I had no comparisons to make other than to Civilization Revolution because I never played another PC Civ game before then. As such, my review was entirely about the game, and had no comparisons in it. But like with Spoony’s review, I always made it obvious it was a comparison, which would imply it’s pretty much irrelevant unless you’re a previous fan of whatever it is being reviewed.

          • CaptainDingaling

            “Then why are you even watching this review?”
            I’m sorry but maybe I missed something in that long whining post of yours I didn’t read.
            I’m watching the review to see what the game is about before I decided to buy it. You know like every other consumer on the face of the earth does.

          • http://twitter.com/Tony7wsfk Tony

            Yeah. You missed something.

          • CaptainDingaling

            Yeah, I missed the hole in your ass. Thank you for replying to this old thread anyone with a life has long forgotten about.

          • http://twitter.com/Tony7wsfk Tony


          • CaptainDingaling

            Is this guy honestly still talking?

            Thanks for the downvotes btw it shows that you care.
            Although you won’t see me return the favor because I don’t.

        • http://www.facebook.com/jack.wellington.1238 Jack Wellington

          Yeah. I agree. The new XCOM is a game with a lot of redeeming qualities and Spoony skipped over those in favor of nitpicking. There’s a lot of positive things that this game did better than its predecessors, and I feel like that was forgotten. It reminds me of a lot of the debate over Starcraft 2 and Diablo 3. Whenever there’s a sequel to a great game, you always get people crapping over it simply because it has a lot of hype to live up to.

          The new XCOM is a very good game. It’s a game that deserves to be supported and it deserved a better review than what Spoony gave it. Yeah, it has some flaws and some missed opportunities, but so did the original games. When you take off the nostalgia goggles, you’ll realize that the new XCOM is indeed a great game worthy of the XCOM logo.

        • zenithl

          > I have never once brought a game because spoony made it seem interesting. If anything he makes me NOT want to buy games.

          I don’t know. He was the reason I bought Phantasmagoria 2 on GOG.

          • CaptainDingaling

            cool beans

  • Nicholas Spezio

    While its good to hear that you enjoyed the new game. I’m still on the fence personally about picking it up.

    HOWEVER keep in mind XCOM didn’t become XCOM:Enemy Unknown. XCOM the first person shooter is still being developed though its been delayed at several points. Probably due to 2k allocating funds to Firaxis to create Enemy Unknown to calm the fans down.

  • Sevyne

    Definitely nailed it with this review Spoony. To stay positive though I’ll just say this; It’s a good start at bringing back XCOM. I can guarantee we’ll see more down the road and I’m sure Firaxis can only improve it from here. Think positive!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Derek-Castro/100001183522218 Derek Castro

    i love the original xcom and i cant wait to play this one….. but im going to get it on xbox :p

  • http://twitter.com/PJoannisse Patrick Joannisse

    This was my first X-COM and knowing that on the classic one you had more soldiers, more customization and base defense I must say I wish they would have done that. But I still love the game since I didn’t had any expectation. I could see base defense DLC and I can predict DLC for customizing your squad even more.

  • Henrik Olsson

    so what you are saying is some patching and 2 expantions and then fan patches will make this the game you wished it to be?

    • Lairdom

      I really hope that patches are soon coming as this is the buggiest game I have played in ages. Even buggier than Skyrim (and that is a feat).

  • http://www.facebook.com/renan.perine Renan Perine

    I agree very much with this review even tough I played veeery little of the original X-Coms. Specially about the difficulty, I’m playing on Normal with my guys fairly well equipped (I think) and sometimes there’s not much I can do other than hope the odds are very much on my side when I get rushed by 4 Chrysalids from the side with a couple mutons in front of my team.

    A thing I’d like to note tough, I believe one of the guys that appeared on the interview with you and Joe mentioned at Giant Bomb that the game was being produced even before the FPS X-Com began production. So, word is that the FPS-Com is somewhere still being created. (I actually would love to see it to be honest.)

    In any case, good review, I really liked the format of this one, simple, direct and you explained pretty well every one of your points.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kaknyght Khrystyan Alan Knyght

    I’d never played the series originally but I recall you bringing it up in reviews before and ended up buying them on Direct2Drive for $5 before GameFly bought them out, still need to play them.

    Ended up playing this at a friends house on Sunday for like 6 hours, god damned fun game, even if it is hard as balls. Played on the 360, didn’t run into any issues there, but even if it did seem like you were having some mouse look focus issues during your live feed I’d probably want to pick it on PC, since it looks like there might be a mod community springing up for it that could help iron out issues or expand things like the equipment limits or the inability to choose classes or nationalities for soldiers.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=40308084 Greg Hayward

    I hate to be that guy, but the FPS game wasn’t remade into this game. I believe they even said so when you interviewed them. This game was in the works at the same time as the FPS and that one was just announced first. It’s still in production, though at this point it may be production hell because it looks like they overhauled it several times.

    I’ve been waiting to see your review of this game to see if I would get it as I feel your opinion of the franchise most closely mirrors my own, but unfortunately you haven’t made this any easier. The limited options really bugged me in the PAX demo, but it doesn’t sound like it gets a lot better. Maybe I should just get this to support the franchise and show that I want more, but it’s still a hard buy.

    • Rothide

      Yeah, and the sad thing is, I think it was the backlash that put the game into Development Hell. Instead oh letting the people try and make a “What If” Prequel, the fans just ranted and raved until either the developers or the company backing the game went like the Council and pulled funding. I personally was looking forward to that game, it wasn’t supposed to be like the original XCOM, that was the point, it was a prequel that was in the 1950’s and probably had no connection to the actual XCOM universe. The aliens were what the 1950’s black and white movies portrayed them to be, either gelatinous slime monsters, or mind breaking geometric beings. But since we didn’t have the Sectoids, the Snakemen, or the Mutons (aliens that would wipe the floor with people in the 1950’s) it was called a “Betrayal”.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Joe-Ottoson/100000693361189 Joe Ottoson

        Fan backlash is one thing, but the apathetic response to other attempts to randomly rebrand old games into FPS games like Shadowrun and Syndicate probably scared the publisher more.

      • DukeCrimson

        If it wasn’t supposed to be connected to Xcom it shouldn’t have been called Xcom.They should have expected some rage after years of no Xcom and then when they finally hear news about it they get a game called Xcom that actually isn’t Xcom.

        • http://www.facebook.com/holman.richard Richard Holman

          I always laugh at people who consider themselves Xcom fans and aren’t even aware of the numerous and varied sequels in the franchise.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chris-Horobin/100000917734895 Chris Horobin

            Numerous and varied, eh
            There is X-com Enemy unknown (the first one)
            Terror from the deep (Just add cthulhu, yes it’s not just that but I’m being brief)
            Apocalypse (X-com Simcity edition)
            Interceptor (A space flight simulator)
            And finally Enforcer (One of the least thought provoking Third person shooters I have ever played)

            Numerous would be the final fantasy series, hell that series is downright prolific, but I will agreed with the varied comment.

          • Rothide

            So, what I get from this is that XCOM already tried to have a shooter that had the Original Aliens and all the stuff people were complaining about the newer one not having, and it failed… why were people loosing their mind that they weren’t exactly like Xcom aliens again.

          • Emperor_Z

            More like they were making a game that had nothing in common with XCOM aside from alien invasion, and then they decided to just slap the franchise name on it, even though it didn’t take place in the same universe or have similar gameplay. It was XCOM in name only.

          • http://electricsistahood.com KL

            I wonder if that other X-Com will ever come out. The latest news is that they’re retooling it, but I wonder if it’ll just cause confusion, because we already have an X-com game, and if it takes place in the past, it muddies the narrative of this game.

          • Rothide

            actually they have come out and said that the XCOM FPS is an Alternate History now, and in know way is associated with the XCOM Enemy Unknown. Let me say again I LOVE Enemy Unknown, its awesome, but I was kinda geeking out at the idea of 1950’s trying to use Alien Tech without the technology we have now, its like… Steampunk without the Steam… Deisel Punk?

          • http://electricsistahood.com KL

            I’m still interested in playing it.Since Enemy Unknown came out, people will be a lot more calm about the 50s X-Com game. Guess they’ll need to give it a subtitle.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chris-Horobin/100000917734895 Chris Horobin

            No, X-com as a game francise really failed with Interceptor, which sold poorly, and was critcised for preforming a radical tonal shift, from serious, terror based action (If anyone say that X-com is not a horror game, they are flat out lying, these games scare the shit out of me when I’m running about, not able to see a goddamned thing in a ship I know to filled with Snakemen and Crysallids) to campy tone filled with pop culture references.
            Enforcer was an ‘attempt’ to bring people back to X-com that didn’t live up to the intelligent stratedgy based gameplay of the first three, it didn’t bomb, but it failed to bring X-com back so, to the producers, X-com stopped being being able to make money, and it was just left on a shelf to gather dust.

          • Crippen

            You… always laugh at them? For liking something that you like?

      • Jayden Reynolds

        The other comments have the right idea.

        If you’re gonna put something into a pre-existing series, make sure it lines up with that pre-existing series’ canon! Otherwise, why bother? It only makes sense to have a spinoff if the spinoff is clearly different in branding and marketing, and you DEFINITELY don’t reboot a classic strategy game as a shooter.

        There are series with spinoff or parallel lines. Command & Conquer is the example I always think of – three universes, all basically independent (though there’s allegedly a time split that ties two of them together). The Tiberium series, which was the first one, the Red Alert series, which was started by the *second game*, and the Generals series.

        The thing about C&C though was that the first Red Alert still had a similar feel and theme as the original C&C, even reusing some units and a lot of sprites. The only difference was that it was an alternate 1950s where the Cold War gets hot and there was no Hitler instead of an alternate 1990s with an alien substance xenoforming the planet. Nonetheless, it was still a strategy game and it was released a mere year after the original.

        XCOM the shooter was announced first, long before XCOM: EU, and didn’t seem to have anything to do with the original games at all. Not the same story, villains, not the same gameplay… why bother? Call it something new if you’re gonna change everything!

  • Lone Wolf

    Why week customization? One acronym: DLC.

    • MFlorian

      The kicker is, the customization that’s in there IS DLC. First run copies get it.

  • RaftermanJones

    I feel you with the 4 sniper think I had 5 heavy’s, but I think that everyone who calls themselves a pc gamer should get this game. You have a lot of solid points about it. I just remember that when it was first announced it was going to be like this well priced little thing come to find out that the shooter is getting the downplay treatment…. so if like I said before, if everyone gets it. Who knows we may get great dlc and even a perfect sequel out of this.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1122452606 Danny Keary

    That’s right FUCK THE CONSOLE GAMERS! =D. PC games shouldn’t have to be dumbed down, decreased dx9 graphics, and horrid menus on the PC.

    • Erin Ackerman

      yeah not like people who play on consoles are worthy of even walking on the same streets as glorious PC gamers. We should stuff em in concentration camps. Then kill em. Yeah

      • DukeCrimson

        That isn’t necessary. Having to live with console games is a bad enough punishment for them.

        • detis

          Still think it’s relatively pointless to have that mindset. I was a console gamer throughout all my childhood. Sure now I mainly play PC today but I still have the consoles for their exclusive titles and yeah, it is nice to play on a tv with a simple controller once in a while :P

          • Shawdawg

            I’d just like to say FUCK CONSOLE and COMPUTER Elitists! I play both, so there.

    • MFlorian

      Would the Glorious PC Gaming Master Race like a cookie?

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chris-Horobin/100000917734895 Chris Horobin

        YES PLEASE

      • Jared Fullyfisted

        How do you guys get through doors with so many chips on your shoulders?

        • MFlorian

          Wider doors.

  • Lairdom

    It seems that Spoony is confusing this game with XCOM FPS (now a 3rd person shooter) that he raged about. Someone should probably break it to him (gently) that the game is still coming.

  • Aiddon

    I actually played it on the 360 and only encountered one bug that forced me to reload. I do feel they should have optimized it a bit better because sometimes things could get wonky whenever I moved my units, but it made the transition well. I also didn’t find the difficulty too bad, but I was playing on normal while I assume you were playing on hard. By the time you get Colonel rank with plasma weaponry or Psi-ops you’re just decimating dudes left and right. One of my Snipers could basically one-shot guys forever and keep getting extra rounds because of his In The Zone perk.

    Anyway, a lot of complaints you make are sound, such as customization needing some expansion and maybe the art style needing some flair. More classes and the ability to have more in your loadouts would be nice, but you’d also need to keep it from becoming tedious busywork and micromanagement. Anyway, I recommend regardless of what platform you’re on to check this game out. Hopefully we get a new one with more stuff or some great DLC.

  • LeeEnfield

    Everybody’s already pointing out that this game was in development, and it’s not like they threw that idea out in favor of this one. I just want to point out that the 1950s one is still in development, apparently. And looking like Mass Effect instead of Bioshock… I worry that any potential it might have had will be destroyed as they desperately bend over backwards to please a fanbase who hate the idea on a fundamental level, when a different title could’ve removed the baggage from the rest of the series.
    Given the shortcomings of the game (And I do enjoy it, but yes, it does have problems. The PS3 version is buggy as hell as well, and I’m surprised there was no mention of how downgraded the interceptions are!), I wonder if it was originally meant to be a smaller game, maybe download-only to be released complimentary to the 1950s one, and got a much bigger budget when the backlash started.

    • damian

      oh dear lord the interceptions, you are completly right, they suck now (they even change the awesome music from the first one), as for nobody bringing them up, i think its because they are really rare (i had around 7 when i won the game) while in the original they were quite common

  • http://twitter.com/GamesSaveLives silbmaerto

    I’ve gotta agree with everything you said. The constant thought in my head while I was playing this game was “This is awesome, but it could be so much more awesome!” This is a game that could really benefit from a well-made expansion pack a year or so from now.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Randolph-Sparks/1158049612 Randolph Sparks

    I’d love to see more game reviews like this! I appreciate the movie vlogs but I and a lot of other people really value your opinions and insight on games. This was a damn good review.

  • http://www.facebook.com/rolland.therrien Rolland Therrien

    I’m with Kyle on this. Buy the game. It’s still good, even with the complaints, and buying this game means they can make an even BETTER sequel.

  • Stebsis

    Spoony, the FPS XCOM game wasn’t swept under the rug and remade into this, it’s still coming. This is made by Firaxis Games, the FPS is made by Irrational Games though both are publised by 2K. I personally am looking forward for the FPS XCOM, it looks neat and I actually have never played original XCOM so I don’t have really any feelings towards it. I picked this new one up though, and I love it, it’s just so much fun but the FPS version can be fun too, change of perspective can bring new possibilities for a game if they just keep XCOM spirit up, but that’s left to be seen.

  • Doleth

    There a XCOM Nexus website, so we should get some pretty cool mods down the road(and a ton of creepy sexy/nude mods, but lets not talk about that). When I checked Sunday, there already had three mods, maybe you’ll be able to get what you want from them?

    Like many other said, the other XCOM game is still in the work, but massively revamped into a squad-based third person shooter, though from what I heard it still randomly take place in the 50s and I’m not sure if they use the familiar aliens or the new one from the old trailer. It may be actually decent, or it may be a cheap Gears of War knock-off instead of a cheap Bioshock one. It does give me an idea for a game. Get this, a prequel to Doom that take place in France during the French Revolution with angels instead of demon, and it’s a datin sims! who’s in?

  • http://www.facebook.com/christofor.barrett Christofor Barrett

    I think this review was much better than Joe’s. I love his reviews but i think he praised it a little bit too much while this review felt less biased.

    As a fan of tactical games I don’t know if I can get into the new xcom..

    It seems very dumbed down and i hate to say it… boring.

    I also highly doubt there will ever be a sequel to this game even it does well, and the older FPS xcom game is still being developed

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Roman-Monaghan/100000507912679 Roman Monaghan

      I dunno dude, it’s been in the top five best selling on steam since it launched, and crawled it’s way to the top a month before that thanks to pre orders. I don’t think we have official charts yet, but this game definitely made a profit, and that would probably be enough to get 2K to pay attention to demands for a sequel.

      Also you should get it. It rocks my socks.

      • http://www.facebook.com/christofor.barrett Christofor Barrett

        Idk.. i think i would rather just go play FFtactics again..(the Playstation one) or the older xcom

        I’m not saying it doesn’t look like a good game, because i am sure it is. It just doesn’t appeal to me; spoony does a good job at listing the reasons why i wouldn’t play it.

        If there was base defense, more squad members, and the ability to assign classes to characters i might give it a try

        hopefully if there is a sequel we can see those type of improvements

  • Guest

    Do you think the art and graphic design suffered since they had to start from scratch since the Avatar called betrayal on the “living technology shooter”?

    I don’t know a lot about this game or its development, but it’s just a question

    • http://twitter.com/quantastarfire Ted Kehoe

      No, because this game was a separate project being made by Firaxis; the shooter was being made by 2K Marin, which is a different studio with a different development team. If the lead developer is to be believed, it’s been in development since 2008.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=762492719 Anthony Kei Muscaro

    So far I feel lucky as I have had no game stopping glitches with my Xbox version of the game. I do like your fair review on this as this series is definitely my favorite so I find it hard to really find much I can’t overlook. Things like customizing weren’t really there in the beginning so even a little bit to me is better than nothing. I do wish they had base defense, but eh. I’ll support the heck out of this game and hopefully the developers will get some success from this and maybe get to build those extra parts in.

    I know I bring this up a lot, but I even played the original X-COM after I bought the Playstation 1 version for 1 dollar at the gaming store and it was glitched to no end. I still loved to play it and later picked up the PC version. I guess I was lucky as switching between console and PC doesn’t affect me at all when I see people say it’s all about PC gaming.

    Oh and I think it’s understood everyone about the other company with the FPS. It’s been mentioned like 50 times so far.

  • http://www.facebook.com/oh.god.its.a.mason Mason Luxenberg

    Surely they can patch in more customization, as well as a lot of the other stuff you mentioned. Yeah, bigger squads and base defense probably not, but the other stuff probably so.

    I was utterly meh about this game, as I never played the originals, but watching a bunch of streams and whatnot has really changed my mind, so I’m gonna pick this up next chance I get.

  • http://twitter.com/NevixAstari Herman Cillo

    The best thing about XCOM: Enemy Unknown is that it leaves the door open for DLC, expansion packs and sequels. The gameplay can also be refined as it goes on.

    Even with the flaws, I had a LOT of fun and I want to see more. I enjoyed it from start to finish, I enjoyed the times I got shots to go through walls and such, and I’m going to play it again soon.

    I hope this reignites the franchise and gives us a good bit of DLC and a sequel or two, because this game is FUN. Even with the cheap enemies on certain missions, it was still manageable.

    And yeah, we need better customization and the ability to choose the class of our soldiers.

    I really do want to see a sequel, because this franchise deserves more.

  • David Leong

    I do believe that the voice actor for the Scientist is an actual German, and of course the Engineer is voiced by François Chau. Keep fighting the good fight, Vagabond…

  • Dan Schuett

    Just tried the demo on the XBox and it felt a little clunky, though it didn’t freeze on me. I gotta say I agree with spoony they really should have said to hell with the consoles and gone PC exclusive. Having seen streams of it and just playing the demo this is definitely a game I’d upgrade my PC for. Wouldn’t do it for Starcraft 2 or Diablo 3, but I’d do it for X COM.

    • ORCACommander

      I played the PC version of the demo and for a demo it is not good demo. needed to have maybe another mission and not be so railroaded and an offline skirmish feature. but with the game itself only issue i had was the stickiness of the camera to the mouse. i hate it any game that happens

  • searanox

    Rambling about soldier customization? Really Spoony, really? This is what strategy games have become? Playing dress-up?

    • http://twitter.com/Das_Bass Das_Bass

      It’s not dress up you fool. He justified why he liked it in the first XCOM. They broke it down down too. This dude is a medic, these 4 are snipers and that guy is heavy. No you can’t pick what class your own team of men you control do. Why would you want full control? And come on man, one frag? I get the game is trying to be hard, but really.

      • Erin Ackerman

        ummm… there was no customization in the first game beyond names.

        • http://twitter.com/Das_Bass Das_Bass

          you could pick what to give your guy. As he said in the Steam. He liked making a guy that only had frags on him as a “demoman” then would have an rocket guy too only carry an rpg and 4-5 rockets. That’s what I meant.

      • searanox

        The first X-COM did not let you customize soldiers much and they all basically looked identical. So the new one is actually a step up (as Erin pointed out). So yeah, nice try.

        • CheshireBat

          You couldn’t choose what they looked like, but you sure as hell could choose their roles and how to improve your soldiers.

        • http://twitter.com/Das_Bass Das_Bass

          Read what I just said.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Roman-Monaghan/100000507912679 Roman Monaghan

      In an era where games like Mass Effect, Elder Scrolls, and even god-damn-fucking Soul Caliber have amazing customization options for your character, having a sub par example of it in a game where growing connected to your expendable squad members is one of its selling points is inexcusable.

      And no accents in a multinational organization. Seriously. That’s dumb.

  • sketchesofpayne

    Nit picks aside, this game is a lot of fun. It captures the feel of the first game, and I would say it is more accessible to new players. Besides, the makers of the original couldn’t even produce a worthy sequel!

  • http://twitter.com/KidKarolus David Audell

    Um… People love to decry consol gamers, but they do provide the majority of revenue for a development studio, so the simple calculus was probably “where do we make the most money? develop for that platform and the port to the others”.

    I myself am a PC gamer and I agree that there are some problems with the game, but I felt it was far better balanced than the original. No longer can you bombard the enemy with a stream of rockets. Nor can you neglect squad members, each individual is an important team member, and losing one should be weighty.

    Plus, if you was a million explosions, you can spec heavies to carry 3 rockets and 2 grenades. If med-packs are your problem, the support can eventually carry 6 med-packs that heal 10 damage on each use. The character classes mean something in this game and that is an improvement.

    I will concede that customization sucks and looks silly and that is unfortunate, but all the improvements and streamlining of the game make it a better experience.

  • damian

    YAY, you didnt let me down spoony, you had the same issues i had with the game, its a good game( hell if it wasnt call xcom, it would have been a great game), but its not on par with the first one.

    also im surprise you didnt metion the repeating maps

  • http://twitter.com/ArcWhiteFlame Arc Robertson

    Agreed get the pc version of XCOM because XCOM has to be on pc plus Nexus has made a XCOM mod site so the fans can fix any problems they find and add new things like guns,character creation improvements and other stuff, and I have already seen a balancing mod that fixes some of the problems

  • http://twitter.com/orzene orzene

    Honestly, this review isn’t like your normal face-to-face stuff you’re usually driving for, even when you don’t always jump in front of the camera. It does mix things up though, and I can appreciate that. It was still a great review, and I enjoyed hearing you talk about games again.

    I have a friend, who also does reviews, and he said the same thing, though he was also rather disappointed that you couldn’t do your own base layouts, and could only control one base. A mechanic that would probably be nice to have seeing as one base isn’t enough to mount any global defensive, but I understand why they went this route, as well.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Filipe-Isabelinho/100000173498272 Filipe Isabelinho

    Still haven’t played the game. Though I get what you’re saying here spoony. I was a bit disappointed at some of the decisions they’ve made with this game. Like a lot of the micro management, ammo and stuff like that. Maybe it was pointless in the end, but I enjoyed it anyways, because it’s one of those things that CAN be done wrong and bit you in the ass later on.

    I also never really had that many squad members in the original X-com, don’t know why, I just didn’t like managing a big squad, always preferred a smaller, more controlled squad. But I do think they should have more squad members at least top it off at 10 like Joe mentioned on one of his reviews. Or in the least, make a drop pod technology so you could bring reinforcements from the base, that would be cool.

    I just hope they make more X-com games =) . Even if they just repeat the same premise over and over again, just keep adding more content, innovate it, until they get it right. Until that point that they start making the same game over and over again like COD and then I’d stop buying them XD. But until it was THAT awesome, I wouldn’t mind having new X-COM games as long as they were better!

    There’s so much that can be done in this game, seriously. Here’s to hoping they improve upon it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/pete.naggi Pete Naggi

    PC gamers: the snobby, self-entitled, holier-than-thou Orange County-ites of the video game world. (No offense to people from Orange County.)

    • magnusk_98

      So I guess console gamers are then the “Will stick their head in a bag of cheetos and eat them like swine” people?

      Stereotypes, wheee!

      • http://www.youtube.com/thefaustianman Faust

        I lol’d. +1 to you sir.

  • Renaissance_nerd

    it’s a good first shot, but is it the best XCOM? not even close.

  • Willam Edmonds

    I like this game.

    I like the fact they got rid of the time units. It removed some much of the count of the game. I lost count the number of times that I though I counted that I had enough to move my soldier into cover, but then it turns out my soldier ended up standing out in the open to be shot. Time units were never that important to me and is the thing I hate the most in the older x-com.

    The problem I have with the complaints about not picking the classes is the fact that I think the classes are stats base and I would have pick those classes anyway. If a soldier have high aim and low health then I would make that soldier into a sniper anyway.

    As for the load out. I am mix on this. On one side I would like to carry more so my soldier can carry the stunner and some extra armor. On the other side, I am the commander of X-com and not their f**** mother. I should not need to stand next to the sky ranger and ask each soldier if he/she got all the ammo they need. Also the load out system made trading items so much easier. What they should have done was allow us to make kits.

  • Tristan Pendergrass

    If only we could tell Bioware to stop making shitty games and redirect all their artists etc. to making this- an actual good space game- look beautiful.

    Also, love the short and sweet review Spoony. I had already bought this game but your opinion is interesting as always.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001220344853 Jarosław Kolmaga

      You would need to break EA’s arm off of Bioware’s back too, cuz there’s your problem! Otherwise…

      Would you like to romance sectoid?
      Would you like to romance muton?
      Or do you want some gay sex in your barracks?
      EA. We are tolerable!

  • http://twitter.com/mlsterben Ben Littlejohn

    Enemy Unknown was developed by Firaxis. The shooter is being developed by 2K Marin (after changing hands twice since 2006).

  • http://twitter.com/Das_Bass Das_Bass

    He did. Look on is Twitch. He aired s good 6 hours over the last few days

  • Frozt

    Personally, I think it’s the best game so far this year. It does have issues, but feels very rewarding and interesting at all times.

    Legit complaints, though — but from what I’ve previously seen; this game lives up to each and every one of my expectations.

  • http://www.giantbomb.com/profile/cornbredx/ CornBRED-X

    I’m sorry but there’s something I have to mention here.

    You mentioned the FPS and then this as if they scrapped the FPS and then remade it and made this. Spoony, this was in development (in secret) long before the FPS. The FPS is still in development (sounds like development hell at this point, it may become vaporware, I don’t know) but I think I heard the Firaxis guys say they’ve been working on this game like 5 years or something, but since before the FPS nonetheless (they said that specifically).

    Someone also mentioned already I think but this is developed by Firaxis (you know, Sid Meier’s development team) and the FPS is 2k Marin (I still feel bad for these guys, it seems they have talented people, but are given the worst projects).

    Anyway, despite my calling you out on a discrepancy it’s good to see you doing reviews again.

  • http://www.facebook.com/thetechno.wolf TheTechno Wolf

    May you rest in peace, Benzaie. Your noble frenchiness shall be remembered.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001220344853 Jarosław Kolmaga

    Everyone agrees, that XCOM’s best advantage are possible sequels, dlcs or expansions, and everyone forget about MODS!

    XCOM was supposed to be mod friendly and kinda is… its still not obvious HOW much of the game can be modded, but its worth to visit xcom.nexusmods.com anyway, just to see how it is going. You can get some balance mods already (would be great for Spoony’s classic game – most of them remove alien’s unfair advantage and thus some wallshots, leaving numbers and AI their main weapon). I myself was playing on modded game, with hi-tech armors changing number of equip slots and even number of rockets for heavies.

    And most importantly, yet, living and breathing mod community can give a game years and years of life, be a very loud voice that can reach developer AND give a proof to developer’s sponsor, that there is a loyal audience who would buy ten another games from the franchise.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jack.wellington.1238 Jack Wellington

    I think you’re being way too hard on this game. While in many ways it was simplified, I think the older games could use a bit of simplification. Yeah, I mean maybe the inventory system should have allowed two gadgets per soldier, but those are fairly minor points. You also left out a lot of improvements that this game made. For instance, the ability to do pop-out shots around a corner is a big improvement. I hated how in the earlier games it was a total pain to do something simple like fire around a corner. Also figuring out how far you could move in a turn in the old games was a total pain, because you generally never knew until you actually tried to get there, and if you ran out of TUs before you hit cover, well you were just screwed. Having the ability to know where your soldiers can go from turn to turn is a huge improvement over the prior games, where it was always a guessing game if you’d make it to cover or not.

    Overall the problems with the new XCOM are pretty much all minor issues that can be fairly easily fixed. A larger squad and an extra gadget slot are pretty easy fixes they could put into mods, DLC or an expansion.

    My only real complaint with the game engine itself is I miss the autocannons you could bring along with you in the original. The one thing you can’t rip apart the terrain with high explosive rounds the way you could in the originals. I used to love grabbing an autocannon and just tearing down hills, wrecking walls and pretty much tearing my way through cover and the level ahead.

  • http://twitter.com/d_kong Dan K

    Okay… I need to find a job. and buy this game. I’d like to see the return of turn based strategy games.

  • http://sbkmulletman.deviantart.com/ sbkMulletMan

    They killed Benzaie before he had a chance to dance?

    Those sons of bitches!

  • magnusk_98

    All Spoony says is correct and the game still totally rocked my socks off. It’s a bit short for an X-Com game, though, at least if you play on normal mode.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Roman-Monaghan/100000507912679 Roman Monaghan

      Short indeed D= Only one alien base invasion? I was wondering if I only got one because I captured the Sectoid commander alive, and thought if I hadn’t I’d have the chance to do it again at a different base later like in the original game, but nope! Only one alien base!

      Come on dudes, they can’t invade our base and we only get to invade one of theirs? That was such a cool part of the original, seeing all those UFOs flying around at once in one general area, landing, imagining them unloading supplies and shit to their new base, and letting them have it just long enough until you get a blip of it on your globe and invade to strip them of the best (and most amusing) technology they have to offer and drag away half of their dudes to be poked and prodded at base to learn about mars and shit.

      I mean at the very least only one piece of “alien entertainment” in the entire game is just inexcusable. That was my favorite one, and it still amuses me imagining my soldiers barging in on the sectoid/mutons tripping balls in one of the rooms with those things.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ville-Gunnarsson/100000930270763 Ville Gunnarsson

    I think it’s great that Spoony didn’t feel obliged to praise the game just because the devs were nice to him. I agree with most of his criticism, although I didn’t find the voice acting to be as bad as he made it sound to be. Surprisingly he didn’t even mention time units which for me is the biggest issue with this game. Many aspects of the game are really great, but things like enemies introducing themselves before combat, the terrible inventory system, poor customization etc could have been done far better. I blame the consoles.

    • http://www.facebook.com/michael.ens Michael Ens

      He did in that he linked the loss of the inventory system to the switch from time units because of encumbrance. Although I think they could have just lessened how far you could travel.

      I’d have preferred Time Units myself but would be fine with the current system if inventory was more sensible (and would have preferred fire-then-move as an option).

      I liked the game, but I too get a nagging feeling that there’s so much more potential. I hope there’s some kind of expansion (or sequel…not interested in some anemic DLC, but if they have unusually large DLC then maybe).

      (I didn’t actually own my own copy so I never finished the game — so my nostalgia isn’t as great).

      I do think it did a decent job of avoiding repetitiveness in the tactical missions. Most modern XCom-style games I encounter have that problem badly. Though man, I wish there was something between “hit with all bullets/lasers/etc.” and “hit with none of them”. It seems you have miss, hit, and crit, but there should be a gradient in between.

  • solidsamurai

    Spoony oughta review more games in this way and then link to whatever review provides solid positive coverage of the game. Good coverage.

    Of course, he can also save time for the hour + long funny reviews.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Dmitry-Didenko/100003822401823 Dmitry Didenko

    I really hope they will make a sequel where they will do everything right. Or at least almost everything.
    Love the original (though suck at it miserably), liked this game. Totally agree with Noah.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1443780130 Michael J. Kitchens

    Can’t agree more…fantastic review, Spoony.

  • Reaki

    Spoony there is having expectations and then having unreasonable expectations. Almost all your negative points are really petty or just plainly stupid, considering the state of the industry.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Roman-Monaghan/100000507912679 Roman Monaghan

    The worst thing you can do to an artist is tell them their work is perfect when it isn’t.

    Also a couple complaints he had about the difficulty are caused by the fact he was playing in Classic mode. If you look in the .ini files, apparently they really cheat for the aliens by giving them better “to hit” chances and critical attack rolls. I’m pretty sure that only makes it worse, but at least it’s editable =/

  • Erin Ackerman

    I do feel you look back with a bit of nostalgia goggles on the original xcom. The AI there pulled so much hilarious bullshit all the time I was pulling out my hair. Shot clipping doesn’t come close, especially since your soldiers do it just as much.

    That said, you did hit on my biggest gameplay problem, eg not choosing your customizations. That is a Pain.

  • sifer2

    I was wondering if he was going to review this. He normally doesn’t review newer stuff but I guess he was kind of obligated after the whole betrayal bit to give it a plug. I have to say I think he whined too much about graphics/customization. I think it looks pretty good though it could have looked better if it didn’t need to run on consoles. And customization is better than most games. There are MMO’s with less customization options than that. And it’s way more customization than the original X-Com offered.

    That said i’m in total agreement about them gimping the inventory for controller users sucking. You have basically no options almost with gear customization. Classes are restricted to certain weapons so no options there either. And having only 6 squad members sucks cause it completely loses that X-Com feel of knowing people would die all the time. Now if someone dies you have to reload cause it just sets you back too much. The Panic chains are also completely ridiculous, and will hopefully get fixed cause it is really dumb when squads are mowing each other down like that. In the original when soldiers Panic they didn’t intentionally shoot at each other they just started firing in random directions which was far less devastating.

    Oh, and Spoony why are you not playing on Classic like a real X-Com fan? Those 3 hp Thin Men are for babies. Oh, and my first soldier that died actually died on that same damn bus. It seems like a great vantage point to shoot from but then you realize no cover up there is a death sentence too late. lol

  • http://www.youtube.com/thefaustianman Faust

    It seems like we have two completely different versions of XCOM. My copy (for the PC) has even LESS customize options than yours. No colored uniforms, no Guile hair. However, my “panics” actually shoot at the alien or run. Never shot another team mate…yet. :

    How does one abuse save states? Like you restarting on Twitch when one of your team members die? ;) Otherwise, I would say it’s impossible to “abuse save states” on PC games. Esp, this one which crashes often. The deaths I am completely fine with, so I would advise players to have about 4-6 save states. Remember SOSF (Save Often Save Frequently).

    Bottom Line: This game is fun and messy. But if you want a beautiful (and boring game) I recommend Guild Wars 2 (which I also have).

  • Tentaclon

    If you want something that plays a little more closer to UFO Enemy
    Unknown. Try Xenonauts. (www.xenonauts.com) The game is in Alpha and its
    graphics aren’t as good as XCOM. The game plays very much like the
    original with a 1970’s cold war feel to it. You can manage character
    inventory and there are also alien base invasions.

    • Garmrspor

      Ah, I knew there was a 2D “XCOM” as well! When I played the demo of XCOM: Enemy Unknown the other day I was reminded of TotalBiscuit’s look on Xenonauts, but I didn’t recall it as a seperate game, and I was a tad bit confused.

      I feel sorry for the developers of Xenonauts. I hate to see games get overshadowed.

  • http://twitter.com/Mikerukun Mikeru Mikeru

    I have to slightly disagree with one point. You could not really say “you are a sniper, you are assault…” You had to be lucky and get the right Soldiers with the Right stats. But yeah that could have been handled much better. I too have the sniper flu…it is like playing a shooter, everyone wants to be the one behind the lines and be cool, which they are, but if there are too many it gets silly. I want more supports…they are awesome. I think a upgrade in the officers thingie can help with that (new recruits are by default squaddies with their class unlocked, I have this upgraded but no new soldiers yet, cause money and shit.)

    The panik stuff is also really annoying, I play on normal first so it does not happen that often but when it happens it fucks you right in the butt, I do not know why they programmed it that way. In real life they would drop the gun and ruuuuuuuuuun like there is no tomorrow…well like in the orginal x-com, it was annoying but at least they did not shot their own comrades in the head, they did it when they berserked. That happened when aliens mind controlled your guys as far as I know. It is really stupid loosing 1/2 or 3/4 or your team because of this.

    That is also why I will not play Ironman for a while, beeing screwed like this just drops the fun. They are elite soldiers god damnit, or at least I hope that they do no recruit people from the streets to fight the aliens, altough that would be funny as hell. “Hey wanna fight the alien?” “sure !” “okey here is your plasma rifle, frag grenade and high tech armor, have fun rookie”.

    I also have a complaint of my own, it is not big, but it is really annoying. When you are on a mission and find, for example, the power source, the game stops and the engineer dude is talking…and talking…I am always like “hey let me finish the aliens first, then you can explain me everything you want”

    All in all it is a good game, i do not mind the most stuff. I played the old one a lot and I really liked it but it was not my favorite game, but I see where you are coming from, I would be also very pickey when they remade Elite:Frontier.

    Nice review, I think you should do those more often with new games. It is always good to have more oppinions from real gamers. It is real help on what to spend the money on.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sami-Ryyppö/1444333656 Sami Ryyppö

    After seeing Spoony’s stream and his review, and Joe’s review of the game… I really want to buy it. I’ve never touched a strategy game like this in my entire life but I’m the kind of guy that wants to play something new every now and then. Would this (or maybe even the original) be a good way to introduce myself to the genre?

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Roman-Monaghan/100000507912679 Roman Monaghan

      As long as you accept the fact you’re going to have your dudes die. A lot. Regardless of how good you are.

      That’s XCOM, baby.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chris-Horobin/100000917734895 Chris Horobin

        Unless you play on easy, I played it on easy after suffering horrible, horrible defeats on normal, and I’ve only lost one guy.

        edit: I haven’t even had to save scum

      • Garmrspor

        Unless you keep reloading like Spoony did.

  • http://twitter.com/zodd88 Guido Palombi

    I’m a console gamer, but I really don’t understand why the developers didn’t include customizable menus for the pc version and a more complex interface to the whole game… Is it really fair to blame console gamers for this ?
    I’m not feeling ”personally attacked” though,and I don’t want to start a flame war, just saying that this criticism has to be directed to developers, not gamers…
    Anyway, these reviews, alongside the twitch video, really made me want to support this game.

    • Garmrspor

      It ultimately does fall back on the console gamer, even if in the most general sense. The developers streamline their games because the average gamer (which is a console gamer) doesn’t want to spend the first day with a new game just learning the ropes. Costumer demand.

      • detis

        That’s just lazy honestly. And really, just a few more things that could add some depth to the game (more soldiers, more options). Streamlined doesn’t have to be completely removed or dumbed down. Come on this isn’t an iphone game here, games need some kind of learning curve if they bother to buy a console.

        • Garmrspor

          Complexity aside, though, managing 20 soldiers as opposed to 6 makes the game infinitely slower, especially with a controller in your hands. I can almost understand such a design choice.

          • detis

            Sure it does, but it’s obvious 20 would be a bit much anyway. Like I said streamlined is fine. Changing the game from 20 soldiers to 6 isn’t a dumbed down thing considering how it was handled, but at the same time I think it was overdone, 10 would be easily manageable with the games current system. There’s always a good happy medium.

          • Garmrspor

            This is very correct; there is always a middle ground, a way to please both sides (though, perhaps, ultimately make no side completely satisfied). As far as I can tell, in their worry that it might become too much they overdid it (6 soldiers AND hardly any inventory is ridiculous). It’s not just streamlining; it’s some poor-ass streamlining.

          • Jayden Reynolds

            Even Joe said that the smaller squad size was actually a good thing – it made the game faster and more intense, and losing one guy is a big setback, so you have to be careful. The 26-man squad you could have in the original was just unwieldy and pointless and ended up taking so much damn time.

          • Garmrspor

            Not sure when Joe became an authority, but I both agree and disagree with his opinion. As for making it faster, that’s a glaring flaw in the right eyes. It does, however, indeed make every soldier more important, and it does ultimately make things more intense even from the get-go. But is this “improvement” actually necessary to an existing series? Do we NEED game-altering changes? Reducing squad size might have been a good choice, I agree, but they went much too far with it… 6 soldiers, for better or worse, makes a hell of a difference, reducing management — and I know I’m going out on a limb saying this — to a near non-strategy game level (which is not to say it LACKS strategy). Combined with extremely limited inventory I think this is a fair bit outrageous; should’ve been one or the other, at the very least. The following statement is backwards, all things considered, but it feels a lot like X-COM meets Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars, a game that is pretty much a turn-based Squad Based Shooter. And that trail of thought also leads me to believe it’s not as far from X-COM: Betrayal as we’d all hoped. Combat-wise, anyway; we still have the rest of the game here, which is equally important.

            I’m still not sure if this game is better or worse than the original X-COM, but it IS different in a lot of ways. I think I’ll personally enjoy it more, but there’s just so much wasted potential. It has “if only…” plastered all over it. I would have loved getting an X-COM that was simply a slicker, more polished, and ultimately a much more playable version than the original. I’m all for making tasks less of a chore, but I am totally against removing them.

          • Jayden Reynolds

            Joe… you know. Angry Joe? The other guy present for Spoony’s infamous “BETRAYAL!” outburst? Him and Spoony were sort of at the end of the fan backlash to the FPS game.

          • Garmrspor

            Yeah, I know who Joe is. My point stands; “even Joe” liking something doesn’t mean it’s “just THAT good”. His level of enjoyment is not some universal bar for quality. Not to me, anyhow, though I’m sure fans of him might think so.

      • http://twitter.com/zodd88 Guido Palombi

        Well, I personally think that if a game is interesting, challenging and rewarding i can spend some time extra to learn the basics, and I really hope I’m not the only one that thinks like that.

        • Garmrspor

          That’s great, and I know a lot of people, console gamers or otherwise, share your view. But not MOST of them, which is the problem. I think it’s perfectly understandable, though (and hell, I can be accused of it… couldn’t get into EverQuest because merely learning how to navigate the menus was a giant pain). If most play to have fun, they don’t want to feel like they’re mastering a profession.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Willy-Torres/1843126720 Willy Torres

        that’s not really an excuse, since there really are people who cant seem to be patient with game features there can always be options like “deploy with what is recommended” or something that is less time consuming for them. Personally i love going into depth with customization and in-depth game options and such.

        • Garmrspor

          You’re obviously not wrong. There should be OPTIONS, always. But a producer looks out for their money first and foremost, and that means listening to the general voice. And the sad truth is that actual fans are a minority of the audience. I’m pretty sure they were well aware that fans wouldn’t like these changes.

          Which reminds me of the video where Angry Joe and Spoony interviewed guys from the team, and they stated they were happy to talk with hardcore fans, as if it was unexpected.

      • zhellas

        I don’t think that you should blame the Costume Designers for this.

        Be cool, man!

        • Garmrspor

          Oops! Thanks for pointing that out.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Vaughan-MacDonald/100000473507885 Vaughan MacDonald

    As a console gamer, I honestly can’t see why this game would have to be dumbed down. No one’s gonna go into XCOM thinking it’s a cover based shooter or anything, and its not like you need a key bored and mouse to move items into an equipment slot. I would have liked to see the customisable inventory too.

    • http://twitter.com/incarnedine_v Dan Hibiki

      well… it is a cover based shooter.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Vaughan-MacDonald/100000473507885 Vaughan MacDonald

        ….. What the hell kind of difference is that supposed to make?

  • draxo

    I would say to put out a secondary video analysing and directly stating what needs changed and to what. I know you touched on these but I think this game deserves more attention to it. Also you need to better let people know they should support the devs and buy it. You need to better state that this is a good game!

    Its still a GOOD GAME. It really is! Its fun! I ave lost time playing this!

    All the issues he mentioned did stick with me, and a few more, but its still great fun! And its a risk. Please, go out and buy it! You won’t regret it!

    Here are a few of my ‘fixes’. In regard to squad size issues: the ability to buy multiple Sky Rangers and deploy them at your secondary Interceptor bases. Multiple teams would make sense in this situation for faster response.

    Base defence: The ability to research certain items that have an explicit ‘counter attack’ statement. For example, captured a sectoid commander? They are going to try to rescue him. Researching him explicitly states that it will draw a counter attack on your base. (telepathy) and tada, base defence. Same deal with researching the node. Etc etc.

    Class: let us pick. Simple. (also I want to choose the countries my troops are from, this is a simple change. I am sick of my entire teambeing Spanish and German and 75% of my recruits being Spanish/German. I know my base is in Germany but frig, I want a British man and a French man and an American man etc etc. International effort)

    Broken abilities: I mistakenly chose the (NOT WORKING) ‘can fire on any enemy my team can see’ ability. And it doesn’t work. FRUSTRATING. I could have moved and shot with my sniper rifle without that. Firing limitations need easing up on.

    Some abilities need a but of help (smoke grenade I am looking at you). It shouldn’t just provide defence, it should provide LoS issues for the enemy like the original game)

    Expand the equipment slots. Why can’t I wear an UNDERCOVER VEST and hold a Grenade? They aren’t even semi-related slots! Give us some SLOTS. Stunner could take the pistol slot, etc etc.

    • Malidictus

      Squad sight works perfectly, actually, but your sniper still has to have line of sight of the enemy. What Squad Sight eliminates is the need to be CLOSE to the enemy to shoot. I pick that over Snap Shot every time, because Snap Shot suffers a severe accuracy penalty if you move and then fire.

      That said, I do want to pick my own classes. When they train up, ASK me what class I want to train them in. I mean, seriously, are we saying that Reb Brown was just “born” to be a Heavy? OK, bad example, Reb Brown kind of was, but you get my point – soldiers need to be trained in a field in order to specialise in it. This “shows aptitude for” stuff just means you have no control over who your men turn out to be. I HATE random reward mechanics in every game they show up in, and I hate this.

      Same with psychic aptitude, by the way. I hate having my psychics chosen at random. It turns this into a time sink where you level soldiers up, test them, then fire them, hire new ones, level them up, test them and so forth until you end up with all psychics on the team. Or do like I do and fuck it all, then just go with whoever has whatever.

      I’d say hard-limit a squad to just two psychics on the team, then let everyone be a psychic. That way, you’re still not making it easy for the player to just mind-control everything, but you’re also not relying on crapshot luck. It’s easy enough to fudge, too. Say people can manifest psychic abilities only through the use of a focus, and you only gain one after the first Sectoid Commander, so you can only have one. Then when you meet your first Ethereal, you gain another one so you can have two, and that’s all.

      And please don’t force my “volunteer” in the final mission to wear the shitty Psychic Armour. In fact, scrap the final mission entirely and give us a decent finale with some closure, and less autotune whining bullshit. Aliens should speak!

      • ScreamingDoom

        Psychic aptitude is only semi-random. It’s based on the Will score of the soldier. I’m not sure of the exact formula yet, but I suspect it may be a direct relation to the score on a percentage chance. A soldier with a Will of 75, for example, will have a 75% chance to be psi-enabled. So, you can kinda stack the deck easily by only putting your highest Will rated soldiers into the Psi Lab. Its random, but not completely so.

        • Malidictus

          Not only. According to people researching this stuff on the official forums here:


          get a bonus chance to be found psychic while veterans tend to have
          higher will, and there may or may not be a system of diminishing returns
          as you get closer to having six psychics.

          What I’m saying is I don’t like my soldiers’ progress to be random. I’d rather suffer harsher limitations than roll dice and hope I get the soldier I want. I’m fine with accuracy dice rolls, sure, but basic soldier progress? Not really. In fact, I had to order four separate soldiers just to get one sniper because they come in with a random class.

          • ScreamingDoom

            Interesting. I wonder how they got that snippet of source code. Lower ranked soldiers do get a nice bonus to the Psi roll, but willpower also plays a part. So you should put in your highest-willed Squaddies into the program.

            I agree with the soldier classes. It’s… a very confusing design decision to have classes be random, especially as the first skill choice is pointless. Why not just have the class be what’s chosen there, along with its corresponding bonus?

            Psi potential, however, I must disagree. It makes sense within the context of the game that not everyone would have such potential and you can still make rational decisions about who to try first. It’s a decision similar to deciding whether or not to fire with a 55% chance to hit.

          • Malidictus

            Sure, not everyone’s psychic. That works, too. Hard-cap the number of psychics you can find to, say, three or four, and then don’t let the player test any more soldiers past that until one of the psychics dies or is dismissed. I still want to pick who my psychic soldiers are. We all have our “favourites,” and it just sucks when they don’t turn out to be good enough, so I have to buy a new puppy to replace the old one, essentially.

            Besides, a 55% to-hit shot is one of many. It doesn’t determine the future of a whole soldier, at least not every single time out of the hundreds of shots he’ll take.

          • ElderVIII

            This is actually my biggest problem with the game. Why does must my barracks have 1 support, two snipers, two assault and SEVEN heavies – a class almost completely useless since they’ll fail point blank shots half the time? Yay, suppression and explosives, but I get near the same effect with the Support class.. I can’t reroll rookies because I’m so far along they’re cannon fodder.

            Let us choose our classes, or better yet, if a squaddie shows aptitude give them a bonus in certain attributes that would be most effective with certain classes e.g bonus aim for snipers.

  • Strelnikov

    I saw the Twitch stream; it was intermittently hilarious.

    I liked how grimy and utilitarian the game looked; it reminded me Command & Conquer: Red Alert….speaking of which how the base has to be constructed (excavate before building your new widget) brought back memories of Dune II, where you had to lay out cement pads before building power stations or other crap if your rock outcropping was too small.

    • Garmrspor

      DUNE II!!!

  • http://twitter.com/FirstAngelus Canis the Wolf

    Great review, beside some anoying bugs it covers prety much all issues I have with the game. Far better then all the reviews just stating “ohh its so so awesome nothing wrong with it”.
    A review mentioning the downsides does not mean its ultimatly a bad game, and I for myself enjoy it a lot so far beside the issues.

    One little side note: If you are willing to do so you can influence the Souldiers class basicly by save exploiting (I know a lot dont like doing that, but I prefer that over running arround with 6 snipers^^).
    You just have to save right before the soldiers first mission ends (before the last shoot at the last alien, or the last move of the VIP to the evac zone). The reload that save and end the mission until you get the class you want.
    It works similar with new recruitet Soldiers if you have the feat that gives them the first rank at once: Just save before they arrive and then reload until you have those you want.

  • Malidictus

    I’m with Spoony on this one. XCOM’s heart is in the right place, but MAN does that make the glaring, obvious problems all the more grating. Problems always hurt more in a game with a lot of promise that we want to care about. XCOM is glitchy as all hell, both with graphics and gameplay (I’ve had a dead-end crash like him once, but luckily I had other saves to fall back on), aliens landing impossible shots is just outright insulting and the soldiers panicking is really annoying. There isn’t nearly enough technology to research (Extraterrestrials had so much more), all the bonus artwork doesn’t exist, the voice acting is shit, the named characters are one-dimensional and that FUCKING Mass Effect style ending is just offensive.

    XCOM is a great game, but it needs help. Fix the fucking inventory menus, give me an option to empty the packs of EVERYONE not currently in the jet, give it a better, more conclusive ending… Basically, go ahead with the DLCs. I normally don’t like being nickle-and-dimed for a gold-plated Bolter or a Chaos Marine skin or such, but XCOM NEEDS DLCs to survive. It’s a great game that’s desperately short on content, and I’d hate to see it fail over teething issues when its heart is in the right place.

    And build Satellites. For crap’s sake, if you do nothing else, build satellites! Might want to mention that in the Tutorial.

  • Smoke Fumus

    3 missiles if heavy class getting shredder missile and second missile later in tech tree and 3 uses of medkit if support class developed properly.
    By the way – they not really stopped shooter creation. Halted for a few months, but i’d like to give it a chance.
    I mean – there is X-com: Enforcer and you know how that shit came out, so at least we can say x-com already has a shooter. And it suck ass, now how about shooter based on x-com lore which would not suck?

  • greyjoy

    Base Defense was part of the early build of this game. The developers tried to keep it in but they said that since you only had a single base it made the game too difficult if the aliens keep attacking it.

    • http://twitter.com/FirstAngelus Canis the Wolf

      May be they should have done the whole base thing a bit diffrent.
      For example allowing to have multiple bases but just the one we have now for organizing purposes as “main base”, the rest of them… may be for Satelites istead of the satelite hubs in our bases. Or to station Troups there that can react faster. Something like that… and then make base defense with those bases.

  • Soviet_Missile

    It also didn’t help the fact that he barely scratched the game in terms of playing through it before reviewing. Minor inventory gripes he had, while still present, are addressed via the class system with certain classes either getting another inventory spot, or getting multiple uses from one item type.

    A gripe that wasn’t addressed when the UFO landing/crashes with larger ships. The camera fights you tooth and nail in many of these maps, and to be honest was the only issue I personally have with the game. I loved the streamlined combat, the extra value added to your soldiers, and while I miss being able to act, then move(certain classes can do this) I feel the change adds to the strategy element.

    After watching the live streamed footage from Spoony actually playing this game, and watching his bias grow as he died and reloaded each time, I wasn’t surprised by the list of complaints found in the review that I feel are pretty unjustified, especially how “unfair” this one is. I can’t believe a veteran of the original Xcom would say something like that.

  • http://www.facebook.com/laura.rola.9 Laura Rola

    I haven’t had problems with the PS3 version, but either way, decided to hit up Steam for the original games too. I may as well have some good reason to have a PC.

  • TacDrol

    Spoony, you have no idea what you’re talking about, Snipers are awesome! My final group consisted of 4 snipers and 2 assault units and 2 of those snipers were with me since the beginning of the game. To be fair, I did use the saving system a little bit, but I saved them from perhaps 2 deaths at most, while their mission count at the end was 38 with over 100 kills each.

    I enjoyed the game, although I agree it’s missing some things that would make it better, it’s still a great game. The ending is most satisfactory if you name your units after your friends.

    • http://twitter.com/DigitalWarriors James Drover

      Snipers are great, but early game especially you usually want a balanced group, this whole random class thing is a problem

  • Salen Stormwing

    A lot of the issues Spoony has with the new XCOM is just the amount of streamlining done to the game. Were things cut that old-school fans like me and Spoony enjoyed, of course, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t help remove some of the extra picky spreadsheet-esque busy work for a faster, stronger focus on good gameplay.

    There are options for soldiers to carry extra missiles, but you can’t go 15 blaster bomb-happy like you used to in the original game. Is it sad for the old-school player, sure, but that gameplay was 18 years old. The gameplay could legally vote in the US now (but not drink).

    For what the game is, it has a LOT of the old-school love of the game, with a refreshing, streamlined set of play. No more having to buy more grenades for your soldiers, no more having to manage EVERY SINGLE AMMO CLIP you give your troops, no more having to do all the silly busy-work that could drag down the original to a crawl.

    Is the game perfect, no, but it’s more nitpicks than true flaws in my opinion, although you will abuse those save-states pretty harshly.

  • Anyone00

    I think alot of the design decision in combat you did not like stem from the choice to make the maps relatively small and fairly linear (which is my biggest complaint about the game, well that and no auto-cannons). Hopefully Firaxis will expand map sizes in future installments.

    In the original X-Com all the soldier stats were fairly random. Spoony when you are playing an pen and paper rpg do you prefer point buy or random rolls?

    “What am I suppose to do with four sniper?”
    Kill everything: squad site snipers are the most over powered thing in XCOM. Just set one sniper up as a pistoleer with an armor underlay.

    As for support:
    While they make the best medic they are not inherently medics and make the best psi soldiers if built right (and if they are luck enough to be talented).

  • http://twitter.com/DigitalWarriors James Drover

    That was a fair review, I’ve played the game an I like it to but I had many of the problems you did, (biggest problem I agreed with was the random class BS), this is a game that desperately needs an expansion to fix these issues, they did it with civ 5 why not now?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Seth-Williams/15618827 Seth Williams

    PLEASE tell me we’ll get to see some more of Commander Spoony defending the earth and sending his friends into the jaws of horrible alien death. :D

  • http://twitter.com/Ryuzito RyuRanX

    Buy this game, enjoy it for what it is (it’s very fun) and let’s hope for a sequel closer to the original. BTW, there’s Xenonauts and UFO 2: Extraterrestrials coming by the end of the year. Both are very promising XCOM inspired games.

  • ScreamingDoom

    I really don’t get why you’re complaining about the soldier customization, Spoony. I mean, yeah, its not as good as it could be, but it’s still WAAAAAY better than the original game. You couldn’t change your race, face, hair, anything really in the original game except the name. Compared to the original X-Com, the remake allows a boatload more options for customization. It definitely would help if the customization options are open for mods, though.

    I never really saw the technical glitches you mentioned either, Spoony, other than an occasional freeze after hours of gameplay. Also, I think you probably played on Classic difficulty. You probably want to play on Normal. That’s designed to be a tough but fair game; Classic and Impossible are designed to be completely unfair to the player. It says so in the descriptions.

    I do very much agree with being able to choose a soldier’s class. I really don’t understand why you don’t get to do that; it seems such an obvious thing. When a soldier gets promoted from Rookie to Squaddie, just have the player choose a class for the soldier and get the automatic level 1 perk from it — it’s not like you have any choice in the perk you get for that initial promotion, so why not use it to let the player choose a class? It’s a strange design decision to have it be random.

  • AggroWill

    My biggest disappointment was that the armor tint is only for people who get the preorder DLC, which is bullshit. I have six squad members, and I wanted to turn them into ponies. With matching armor and hair colors. Because I have problems. Pinkie Pie with a rocket launcher.

    It’s streamlined and not perfect, but it’s a damn good game despite that. It’s Bethsoft good in that it gets me to look past the seams and faults, and that’s a rare thing to see. The game feels rewarding enough that I can forgive its limitations.

    • antiquarius

      Yeah actually glad you couldnt do it.

      Im a huge nerd, but every time I see “Bronys” I suddenly understand the jocks in high school who were beating me up.

      • AggroWill

        Man, buncha haters. Six squad members, six main characters. Probably wouldn’t have been compelled to do so otherwise. I like when I can get my teams to fit a theme. Is that so wrong?

      • CheshireBat

        I’m not a brony, but I do suspect those jocks hit you in the head too hard. Or possibly not hard enough.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001759742791 Tom Neill

    DLC that gives us more customization in both equipment and character features, iron out a few bugs and the games is right as rain. I never played XCOM before now, and I think this is a good jumping on point. I agree with everything spoony said, and I still think this game is fantastic.

  • PeaTearGryfin

    I’ve never understood this need to dumb down games when it comes to the console versions. What? Are console gamers unable to work an inventory system? Still, the game does look fantastic and definitely looks like one that I’ll be picking up soon enough.

    • Atmos_Duality

      It’s a major problem in the gaming industry.
      “Market appeal” and “accessibility” are important elements of game design and should not be ignored.
      However, they have become WAYYYY overemphasized in the AAA business, and it always comes at the expense of Depth and Legitimate Difficulty.

      I find it particularly ironic how X-COM: Enemy Unknown is so brutal and punishing on Classic mode…but for entirely artificial reasons.

      Firaxis subtracted depth in an attempt to make the core game more “accessible”, and on Easy and Normal, this is quite evident.
      However, the higher difficulties are horribly LUCK DRIVEN, and it all stems from gimping the options tricks and techniques a player used to be able to employ.

      You can’t ambush enemy targets anymore. You can’t manual-fire or set your shots up to choose between firing speed and accuracy. You can’t prep gas grenades to go off at the end of your turn to keep the aliens from fragging a wounded soldier.

      I like how much cleaner some aspects of the missions are now (the notorious camera is FINALLY unfucked by the miracles of actual 3D graphics), and the action-cam is really good, but it all comes at the expense of depth.

      Instead of rewarding the player for using their time units and equipment properly (or ingeniously), it mostly becomes a matter of “find cover, shoot, roll the dice”.
      I had really hoped that the new class system would fill in the gaps, and as good as it is, it doesn’t compare to the depth the original X-COM games had.

      • http://www.facebook.com/jack.wellington.1238 Jack Wellington

        It’s funny you mention that the difficulty in the new game feels artificial, because I found this new one was actually the easiest in terms of difficulty compared to the original two. X-COM apocalypse may have been easier, but that was solely because the game was easy in general.

        The thing that the Enemy Unknown did was remove a lot of the doubt of the action system. I can’t count the number of times I got smoked in UFO or TftD because my guy ran out of TUs before he could get to cover or I lacked the TUs to turn around, because there was no easy way to know how far I could go. Or getting flat out cheesed by the aliens because they could pop out of the door of the UFO, shoot you and go back inside before your guy could even get off a reaction shot. And lets not even talk about original psionics, which was basically a cheese deathsentence in the original games.

        I personally like the idea of knowing I can get behind cover and ready an overwatch action, or get behind cover and reload, or if I have to burn my entire action to get to cover. All that stuff is just so helpful in terms of planning strategy, because I know what my soldiers can do. In the prior two games it was really a guessing game. Most of the time you’d end up trying to do something cool and realize you came up short by 4 TUs and you were going to die.

        The core action mechanic in Enemy Unknown is more streamlined and transparent, which is something that the originals desperately needed. In many cases the features that got removed aren’t things that I miss anyway. It’s fine being able to throw a grenade as one action, instead of the old draw -> prime -> throw, all of which could leave you short on TUs and were all separate actions that you had to memorize their TU costs if you didn’t want to get screwed over.

        I’m not saying I wouldn’t like some of the old features back, but I love the new two action system. It could use some enhancements for sure, but it’s an excellent core system.

        • Atmos_Duality

          “It’s funny you mention that the difficulty in the new game feels
          artificial, because I found this new one was actually the easiest in
          terms of difficulty compared to the original two. X-COM apocalypse may
          have been easier, but that was solely because the game was easy in
          general. ”

          The gaps in difficulty are more pronounced.
          Of course it’s going to be easier on Normal. Try playing on Classic or Hard.
          It’s nothing but rolling dice since the enemies get such insane boosts to their overall accuracy and crit, anything less than total cover is useless.

          Moving Reaction to Overwatch was the only major improvement I can agree with, because most of the time in X-COM 1-3 the rookies would panic and either get behind cover, or stand there with their thumb up their arse staring at the alien jackass who just broke cover without firing a single shot.

          The rest of those issues you brought up came down to calculated risk, and that’s the element that’s been dumbed down the most.

          I like the game, but I can’t see myself playing it more than once.

          • http://www.facebook.com/jack.wellington.1238 Jack Wellington

            I’ve only played on Classic difficulty. I don’t really find that it’s impossible to make aliens miss. Yeah the later aliens, like the elite mutons will take you out generally if you’re in half cover, but by then you have tools like suppression fire and smoke grenades to help you out. You really need to use those if you expect not to get chewed up in the later stages. You also have the “hunker down” command which gives you big defense bonuses, and is pretty wise for your point man to use sometimes.

            Obviously some parts of the game come down to luck, but that’s really true of the original too. I mean, firing your gun is pretty much random in all the X-COMs. It’s just that the Enemy Unknown actually gives you your hit percentage where with the other games, you had really no idea what the percentage was. Yeah you had a base percentage, but when you factored in cover and such, you didn’t really know what the modifiers were. So generally you just ended up doing a bunch of burst fire shots and hoping one of your shots landed. Personally, I like knowing my modified percentage chance to hit an enemy, because I can make more informed decisions.

          • Atmos_Duality

            Fair enough; but even using Suppression, Smoke Grenades, and eliminating enemy cover to force them to retreat to inferior positioning, Classic has been particularly lethal, and for no other reason than my soldiers keep missing 75%+ shots, and their cover keeps getting eliminated.

            Which is particularly annoying having to feed rookies and squaddies to the grinder just to preserve the one or two vets I get out of it.
            (Yes, the original X-COM did the same thing, but back then you could bring upwards of a DOZEN agents, rather than just six.)

            The only remaining issue is that I wish soldiers wouldn’t blow your own dudes away when they panic. It makes no goddamned sense until you encounter enemies with mind-control.

  • Amdor

    I would say that camera work sux when you try to navigate on larger UFOs with multiple heights. But game is good ^^

  • http://twitter.com/RemakeBook Mike M

    Spoony, you have to do a Let’s Play of X-COM. Either this one, or UFO Defence. I’ve never laughed so hard at a let’s play as I did when you played SWAT, and I can only imagine the metric tonnes of bitching at your squad in a let’s play of X-COM! :D

  • Albert Hwang


    I love this new XCOM, but I have to agree with a lot of the complaints you made.

    What it comes down to is that XCOM EU is a GOOD, SOLID game, but it falls just a little short of what it needed to be GREAT. On the other hand, with modern production cycles, the game’s not really finished until either all the DLC gets released or the publishers confirm there won’t be any DLC.

    The big thing I agree with you on is character customization. As much as I dislike EA, I have to admit that Madden does a fantastic job with player customization. I’d like to see something like that in an XCOM game.

    In the end. . . I do feel like this was rushed, and I have a feeling a LOT of it was due to the whole “Xenoshock” debacle. I theorize, although I can’t prove any of this, that XCOM EU was probably meant to come out next year or so: I mean, wasn’t Xenoshock supposed to be out around this time? But after the initial backlash, 2k might have pushed Firaxis to release this game much sooner than anticipated, to fill the gap.

    The real shame of it is. . . like I said. . . all this game needed was a little bit more polish, a bit more finesse, maybe a little bit extra, and it would have been 10/10 all the way across the sky. As it is, it’s a solid, good game.

  • http://twitter.com/coner31536543 coner

    It’s over the magic is no more let it go it was time for a new start but that will not be. The old is no more and so are you good day.

  • http://www.facebook.com/l.andrew.spencer Leonard Andrew Spencer

    German? I thought she was some kind of badly done South African

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-Collier/100000597249968 Michael Collier

    Marzgurl really knows how work that vigilon too.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Novak83 Ed Novak

    You may underestimate the awesomeness of the Support class, Spoony. By the end of the game, I usually ran with three Support characters with different specs. Having more medpacs to go around was nice, sure, but their other abilities (getting two Overwatch shots, the smoke grenades, being able to mimic the Heavy’s Suppression) were invaluable. They also eventually get the ability to carry two support items at once, which, for me, meant S.C.O.P.Es for everyone. They ended up almost as good of shots as my Snipers, had a better chance of survival than my Assaults, and could provide the same kind of buffs as my Heavies. And they had Medkits. Invaluable, I tell you.

  • http://twitter.com/Bad_Brett Bad Brett

    Firaxis _used_ to be receptive to fan input – before they released Civ 5, which is one of the worst games I’ve ever played. At first I was angry, but it’s just sad how they managed to ruin one of the best franchises of all times by letting a 25-year old punk who’s more into tactical war games be the lead designer.

    They actually told us that Civ 5 was going to a big sloppy kiss to the old fans and modders, just to fuck us brutally by dumbing it down, removing the empire building aspect, adding intrusive DRM, tons of pricey DLC and of course, almost no modding tools.

    It’s great if they actually managed to do something right again, but I’m not buying more games from that company until I’m convinced that they actually care about the fans again.

  • http://www.facebook.com/niQboy Nico Havia

    There’s already a mod on XCOM Nexus that lets you equip several support items and/or grenades for single character, among many other things.


  • kfizz

    They did not switch the other xcom to this one they were doing both at around the same time. So this was in development in conjunction with the other xcom.

  • capthavic

    While I agree with most of his gripes I do feel that they came off as bigger problems than they really are. Admittedly I’m not a old school fan of this series like he was (grew up a console gamer, so sue me) but I didn’t really mind the changes or sparse customization. Though only having one inventory slot was kinda bullshit. Also having gone and watched his game on twitch I haven’t had the problems like he did. Of course I’ve just been playing on normal difficulty for my first campaign, so maybe that has something to do with it. And it’s possible they patched some of those issues by the time I got to them.

    Overall a decent review, could have stood to offer more what he liked instead of spending most of the time nitpicking.

  • Senna4ever

    The reason the game seemed rushed is cos it was.
    I am 100% convinced they had no intention of making this game until a certain somebody screamed “BETRAYAL!!”

    Going back to the “other” Xcom, the FPS one.
    When they first showed it…no one liked it, so they “tweaked” it. Showed it again and it was still not right, so they tweaked it again..and now it’s kind of dissapeared.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-Morris/100002709997988 Michael Morris

    I’ve got to say… I’m with you on a lot of this. It is a damn fine game, don’t get me wrong, and it’s one that I’ve been playing the living daylights out of. But even from the start, there were a number of glaring omissions from the original, made for the sake of simplification… but the thing is that I don’t -want- simplification. I want a deeper, more complex game. In the broad sweep of the game, it does a fantastic job of things. As you mentioned, the camera work just makes the game feel dynamic, even as it plays out as a proper turn based strategy game.

    Beyond that, I did find the base management to be quite frustrating, the game leaving me sitting on my hands for days on end while I waited for funding to come through, a chance to get new scientists or engineers, or a mission to come up in an area that I needed to get calmed down. If they could get those and the other gameplay elements cleaned up, they’d have a truly fantastic game.

  • Shawdawg

    The interesting thing is I’ve got the 360 version, and I’ve not had one load issue, or single problem with it. Best game bought all year for me. While the customization and graphics are kind of behind, I don’t have many flaws with it.

    As for the Shooter X-Com, I still kind of want to play that one. Seemed to have cool investigative elements (like LA Noire) with shooting elements.

  • http://electricsistahood.com KL

    I don’t want to speak ill of the dead. especially a man who died for his planet, but why was Benzai dancing on the roof of that bus, and who allowed him to carry that boombox on the battlefield?

  • godmars

    I don’t get how when its pretty obvious that this game was put together after the FPS version that the publisher if not the dev aren’t called on the fact. More than they have anyway.

    I mean I get that we should be grateful that in this one instance game makers not only listened and gave fans what they wanted after offering something neither expected or wanted, but the first thing was still offered in the first place.

    The full message has to be sent that not everything has to be a COD clone. Give us some diversity by looking at and improving old game mechanics, not forget about them.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jack-Donald/547723767 Jack Donald

    I preordered and got the game I wanted. It kicks me in the nuts repeatedly and often, occasionally thanks to buggy gameplay. But the bugs do work both ways. If I put my squad on overwatch if they’re in range they will all fire at the same target, regardless of whether they can actually see it or not. It only matters if one sees it. It does get really annoying as they’ll all shoot at the first alien that they see moving so when another turns up in the perfect position to splatter his entrails over a wall with a shotgun, it doesn’t matter because he’s already used his reaction shot on some guy in the next room.

    And the panicking isn’t arbitrary, it is actually dependent on your soldier’s ‘will’ score. A soldier with more ‘will’ is less likely to panic and gets bonus abilities toward the end of the game (they’re really cool, check it out).

    I love this game, I do wish it had spent maybe a few more months in development just to address the issues with it, because it certainly isn’t perfect, but I love it and I’m going to keep playing it for a long time.

    • http://www.facebook.com/Novak83 Ed Novak

      The panicking is based on a random die roll, though. I was flabbergasted when my veteran sniper, with more than 100 kills to his name, while flying high above the field in his Archangel armor, panicked because a muton berserker growled at him. The damn thing couldn’t even REACH him!

  • Tyson Vanover

    The question is, if they fix the bugs like Bethesda did with Fallout: New Vegas, I mean that game was almost unplayable on launch. Would you buy a $5 to $10 DLC that added base defense?

  • http://www.facebook.com/milo.gotje Milo Gotje

    I hate to say this spoony but by most modern standards the original x com has a lot of
    issues it’s not a bad game and I like it but it has a lot of stupid design decision.

    Really it’s mostly the incredibly unfriendly interface that’s the problem and it result in
    many good ideas that are poorly executed For instance time units would have
    worked if the game told me what each action besides using items cost.

    Stupid shit like not showing what radar coverage my starting base has when you build it.

    But the worst thing is the inventory first up I can’t give equip troops at the base
    instead when you start a mission the game gives everybody the wrong items
    meaning I have to sort it all out.

    But worst of all is the fact that when you equip troops it shows jack all
    you can’t see the stats of each soldier your equipping which is really annoying
    but can be solved by using the naming system but what can’t be solved is strength
    which even if you write down what each soldier carrying capacity is you still
    have no clue what each item weights unless you look it up online.

    If the original x com was a modern game people would say it sucks just because the
    inventory for good reasons.

    I’m not saying the new game is better I’m just saying that if you put away your nostalgia goggles
    the original game has just as many issues hell a lot of the issues you mentioned
    plague both games.

    Although the new game does not has reaction fire fuck reaction fire that was pure luck based
    tactic destroying bullshit and overwatch in the new game is a huge improvement.

    Also I’m sorry my English sucks I’m Dutch and believe me I tried as hard as I can so don’t
    shoot down my message with my horrible English.

    • http://electricsistahood.com KL

      Nah, dude, your English is just fine. I think that Spoony was asking for the game to be just like the old X-Com. I have not played X-com, but from seeing what he and Angry Joe have shown of the old game, it looks like the old X-Com went all out, and the new one had the problem with a) going with that 50s FPS game and b) like Spoony said, not having enough time to fine-tune minor stuff.

  • Ebonwing

    This game is a perfect example of how Gamer culture has changes in the last 20 years. I remember the original XCOM on the PS1. It was one of the launch titles for the new system, and it was a direct port from the PC version, and it worked well. The new changes to the system are a direct result of how the gamer culture has been changed by the FPS Madden frat boyz. Games have to be made simpler for the new audience. Who knows, considering how much better the internet is now Firaxis may patch the game with DLC that will add Base Defense later on, and give you a larger Sky Rnger and the ability to have more bases in the future. I’ll wait for the Game of the Yer edition which will have all the DLC in it.

    • http://electricsistahood.com KL

      So you haven’t played the game, yet you are calling it dumbed down? Also, not every game is dumbed down. People who love to play FPS games are not likely to play an RTS like X-com. Sure, there’s crossover, but people whose game catalog mainly consist of shooters aren’t looking for more complex fare.

      • Ebonwing

        I’m not saying dumbed down exactly. Simplified would be a better term. Games have been slowly simplified over time. If you look at games from the 8-bit era to today, you can see that games have slowly just gotten more simple to play as the graphics have become a bigger focus. This is not always a bad thing, after all Battle Toads was hard as Titanium balls. And even FPS games have gotten simpler. I men compare Doom to Doom 3. But the first XCOM for Console was no different from the PC version, but it seems the Console market is getting more attention than the PC these days, so games that are simplified for the console controls just feel wrong to the PC gamer crowd. Does any of this make sense?

        • http://electricsistahood.com KL

          It makes sense, but it doesn’t mean that it carries water outside of your perception of today’s gaming.

          SOME games, not universally across the board, especially considering indie efforts.

          So you think that Doom is more complex than what’s come after it?

          I think that the annualization of games is just pushing out less than ideal product, but if I play something like Battlefield Bad Company 2, I’m strategizing more than I am in doom, because the state of graphical complexity is such that buildings can be destroyed, eliminating cover, snipers can hide amongst trees, and thanks to draw distance, they can snipe people from far away.

          In other aspects, like storytelling, it might be dumbed down, but I don’t subscribe to “things were better when” Things are always good, because there are developers who are capable and who are fans of the industry; they learn from previous design work.

  • http://twitter.com/ghost1807 Travis Rae

    As someone in the video game industry, I’m glad to see developers so open and receptive with their fans. While I’m not in a position to be able to do such a thing (us QA folks don’t get to discuss much with the fans, and it takes the right company to be able to get meaningful suggestions though) it’s certainly the mentality I have with making games, and I do what I can to help ensure that the effort is put in so that people get the full enjoyment out of the experience. Here’s hoping more companies start to understand the importance of listening to fans, rather than just doing what they think people will like more (See: XCOM FPS…)

  • David Mason

    This is the first time I’ve disagreed with Spoony, no disrespect of course.
    I loved the graphics, the music, the research and the soldier customization. Call me crazy.
    The voice acting I thought was fine too except for the lack of international accents for your soldiers, everyone just had an american accent.
    Though, I am kind of disappointed with this game. Just because it’s just not in depth enough, though I understand they couldn’t have done that much. This is, sadly, probably going to be the last good X-com game or anything like this for a long time :|

  • http://twitter.com/charlofsweden charl

    Spoony, American English is as much an accent as any other. It is in fact impossible to speak any language “without any accent whatsoever”.

    Apart from that I agree with most of your points. The graphics don’t bother me as much, but otherwise spot on.

  • http://www.facebook.com/scott.woodward.338 Scott Woodward

    Show of hands- who wants a spooney XCOM let’s play?

    • http://electricsistahood.com KL

      Yep. He should play VS. Angry Joe as well.

    • kevbo2040

      I’d be happy if we got Spoony generating any actual content, so sure. XCOM let’s play would be great…especially if he put out more than one update per month.

    • banned_guy

      Original XCOM or the New XCOM? … either one would be awsome – as I answer my own question

      • http://www.facebook.com/AngeloJuusan Erik Herrick

        He did do a playthrough of the original that’s on his blip.tv page, but 1: it’s long 2: it’s quiet. Although a let’s play of this one would be friggin’ awesome.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Davy-M-Jones/1410746248 Davy M Jones

    But you don’t even know the icing on the cake, Spoon.

    That FPS? Someone DID ask for it. Yeah, I know: Why?

    A friend of mine got to beta test for 2K on the titles Borderlands 2 and X-Com: Enemy Unknown. When they asked for input/complaints/general comments about how they could improve the game and so on, some kid (friend described him as loud, obnoxious, slightly overweight, and had a stupid haircut… just so you can picture that) belches out without raising his hand: “If it was a first-person shooter, I’d like to play THAT.”

    As though all their worries had melted away regarding the FPS, the representative rushes to youtube and pulls up the trailer for the X-Com FPS, and the mouth-breathing luddite goes “YEAH, I’d MUCH rather play THAT!”

    Good for you, kid. You wanted Crysis set in the ’50s. Have fun with that. I’m going back to stunning aliens and shoving them into the goddamn interrogation room. This is war, dammit!

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Davy-M-Jones/1410746248 Davy M Jones

      Also, I’m inclined to disagree with you on Bioware: They’ve given away more legitimate DLC for free than any other company I’ve encountered on XboxLive.

      On EA’s servers, that’s no big deal. EA publishes their games, makes money of their games, so it seems reasonable that if Bioware has more free content to give, it will be hosted there for the PC iterations of the games.

      On Xbox? Do you know how much it costs just to PATCH games? Take that oft-overlooked pricetag/contribution, and look at how much is being done with each of the free DLC they’ve released. Someone has to pay for that, and it wasn’t Microsoft- it’s their server space.

      What’s more- the ending. The color-selective elephant in the room. I understand that they should have made it better from the beginning. I get that. I was chomping at the bit right along with everyone else, believe me. But when they turned around, said “We’re sorry,” and within three months they put in the work to give us more closure, what is expected?

      Bioware is one of the last companies I trust to any degree. Dragon Age 2 was bad as far as writing goes, but it was no Ultima 9. The original Ending to the Mass Effect series was heartbreaking in the worst ways, but it wasn’t the same as Capcom celebrating MegaMan’s 25th anniversary with an iOS game that will play itself if you ask it to.

      I’m not even that big of a fan of the Civilization series (turn-based world-domination is something I left behind with RISK), since I’m a big fan of deep RTS games… preferably if I can play them online while believing with any reliability that no one is going to rush me and end the fun early for everyone. Despite that, I’m really happy with this X-Com game, and I’m stoked that we already have new content from the Mass Effect universe on the way. Hell, I even thought the days that I got excited over a new Halo or Assassins Creed game were long gone, yet here I am, bouncing up and down over it whenever I’m not playing Deponia, Guild Wars 2, or Borderlands 2.

      It feels like we’re at a point where it’s almost just plain “good to be a gamer” again, and I feel like it’s these companies that are leading the charge, so to speak, while former big hitters (Square Enix, Capcom) are only pushing out a couple diamonds in the rough (XIII-2 [no, seriously, I loved it…. except for its crap ending… DAMMIT], Dragon’s Dogma).

      When we get to the point were you can be as immersed and as flexible as you can at a tabletop, or as you could in Ultima 7, I think we’ll finally be completely out of complaints to give that aren’t little nitpicks. Until then, however, I’m satisfied with what we have, and that it keeps improving all the time.

      …. keep doing what you’re doing anyway, though. It’s input like yours and mine and the other critics and some of these fans (who deserve their own shows) that keep those thoughtful people moving forward all the time.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Boris-Stanky-Stankovic/1474364027 Boris Stanky Stankovic

    not as good as it could be…..did somebody say new terror from the deep?

  • http://twitter.com/Yatekko John Calderini

    Even if I sound like an idiot, I can’t watch more than half of this. There are SO many things you obviously did not look into before doing this review that it’s pitiful. I usually expect more from you Spoony. Guess I’ll go back to watching some LordKaT.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Davy-M-Jones/1410746248 Davy M Jones

      With that attitude, go to it, and “good luck.”

    • http://electricsistahood.com KL

      What did he have to “look into”? He played the original X-com, he knows how X-com, Enemy Unknown came to be, and he PLAYED the game, which is the most essential part. What did he have to look into, your opinion of the game, so he could agree with you?

  • http://www.facebook.com/huy.tran.31337194 Huy Tran

    Wow, for some reason the script and very general dialogue with no over-dramatic delivery makes this something more reminiscent of your older videos, where they seem truly more dark, cynical, snide, and genuine for which I think is far more funny than your videos for the last 2-3 years.

    I loved this video and I don’t even know much about X-Com.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Williams/506191785 Mike Williams

    I have a few problems with the review. Overall good review, but your good points boiled down to “it was good” while your bad points spanned the entire review and made the game out to be average at best, when honestly this is one of the most fun and enjoyable game releases this year.

    Your point about the console locking up was pretty invalid, I don’t have the console version so I can’t comment on how good it is, but the bug you encountered is there in the PC version as well, its a bug with the tutorial forcing you to make certain choices but then the other choice not being available, not with the XBOX version in particular.

    I also think you were wrong attributing the design choice of limiting your utility slots to console gaming and making the system work for consoles. It’s a design choice which clearly fits in with how designers tend to make games these days – preferring to give you limited slots so you have to make hard choices, rather than the older style where you got hoarding everything in a massive backpack and the focus was on knowing how and when to use your equipment to make it effective. You can dislike it, but to say its to dumb down for consoles is a discredit to the designers decisions- not to mention there are tons of xbox games with inventory systems similar to the old XCOM’s, its not a design choice that wouldn’t have worked on the console.

    I’m torn on base defence. It would have been cool as hell to do, but the game is so damned hard on the higher difficulties that I can’t imagine how impossible it would be if your research wing got decimated in a base raid.

    On the whole though, enjoyed the review, even with the issues and the factual innacuracies others have mentioned (oh look, because I dedicated so little to saying the review was good, this comment sounds incredibly negative in general. How ironic.)

    • doresh

      I can vote for the hard choices: Having to pick between a grenade, a medkit or a nanofiber vest has a significant impact on your character’s performance.

      Base Defense would be a problem because you only have ONE in the game. Getting this one wrecked up is basically game over. Though, it would be a nice option for some kind of last stand scenario.

  • Alan Rizkallah

    After a while, I get sick of all the accommodations made to console gamers… I know there’s more money to be made now in that market but, uh, I don’t care. The PC version should have been expanded upon. We’re not limited by the confines of a gamepad or unchangeable outdated graphics hardware. If they don’t make meaningful patches or updates for PC, I’m sure the modding community will overhaul the game and make it resemble classic XCOM.

    • doresh

      It’s the good old modern gaming cycle:

      1. New console generation gets released – everyone claims the death of PC gaming
      2. PCs quickly catch up to the new consoles
      3. ???
      4. PROFIT!

  • doresh

    Being a little turn-based tactical combat nerd (be it Super Robot Wars, Disgaea or the very enjoyable XCOM-based fan game “UFO: Alien Invasion”), I just HAD to big up this remake of the grandaddy of ‘em all.

    So far, I’ve had a blast with my little Ironman game and only encountered like one bug so far (the alien turn just wouldn’t end, but restarting the game did the trick). It was streamlined, but in the right way (the smaller range of damage and health is very well done for example). Though not being able to pick classes was a very odd choice…

    Suffice to say, whoever claims that turn-based games are dead because
    they are not intense enough should check this game out and shout up XD

    Removing Time Units was a drastic change, but now it feels more intuitive and even a bit like a roleplaying game adaption.

    And oh boy, thank god I didn’t switch my German copy to English voice acting. Our VA’s do a much less hilarious job.
    And your sure this was a German accent? Sounds more like halfway between German and Russian Oo

    I don’t mind them releasing the game in consoles as well, but this has the odd side-effect of even the PC version being best played with a gamepad oO

  • Kyle Rybski

    ‘Some shit that got rejected from Deus Ex: Human Revolution.’ Whoa, hey! What? DX:HR has very possibly my favorite music in any game, the only challengers probably being Arcanum and Planescape: Torment. Damn it.

    • doresh

      I don’t mind the music either. It has a nice epic-y, futuristic feel and stays neatly in the background.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jimmy-TheFish/100000139595167 Jimmy TheFish

    Its just too bad no one bothered to yell betrayal after Resident evil 4 or dead space3

  • doresh

    You shouldn’t be mad because Marzgurl got the Support class. They are MUCH more than mere medics and can dish out the pain just fine. One of my biggest asskickers is a Support chick XD

  • calbeck357

    Without even seeing this video, having drilled through the full campaign… I have to agree with Spoony’s complaints. Every single one is a legitimate thing.

    That said, it’s still an amazing game. I had a blast, and I sure hope some patches down the road or even a bit of DLC addresses these issues.

  • Robert Ryan

    I personally liked the review because frankly it felt honest. I’ve seen this game being cut perhaps a bit TOO much slack mostly just because it’s not that awful FPS. This game IMO really did fall short of greatness it’s not bad, but I’d probably only give it a 7/10 it had too
    many issues and dropped balls to really be considered a great reinvention of the series.

    The biggest flaw and one he was right to bring up and that leads into allot of others was the removal of time units. This was flat out a mistake and a really bad design choice I personally think ALLOT of reviews are skimming over this and not calling it out enough. As he said the lack of it removed a way to balance extra gear options and also considerably dumbed down tactics IMO. The “move and shot” system is overly simplistic and IMO a clear and blatant dumbing down. I frankly don’t buy anyone that defends it as not doing so.

    The lack of equipment and gear customization is also a major misstep the older system was clunky, but that just meant it needed to be streamlined not REMOVED. You could have easily simply had a set number of gear slots say two by default and extras unlockable by perks or certain classand then you could decide how much of a given thing you wanted to carry in them with a simple slider. If time units were still in this could be balanced by excess weight slowing the soldiers reactions and speed.

    The promotion system as designed is terrible I don’t think I’ve heard anyone say a good thing about it. Having a class system where you can’t chose what something classes into and the class isn’t visible at recruitment is a bafflingly stupid choice. I really just don’t know what the devs were thinking on that one as it can easily result in a type of RNG screw where unlucky rolls end you up with a glut of classes you don’t need and missing ones you do, as he aptly showed with his horde of snipers.

    The tiny squad sizes and inability to expand them much were also dumb choices. Now admittedly in the end game of XCOM being able to blanket a map with 20 guys and a pair of tanks took a fair bit of danger factor out of things and often made it seem like the aliens should be scared, but four guys? Come on it needed to be at least six to start and ten by the end, maybe even twelve. As Spoony himself noted the tiny squad sizes pretty much REQUIRE save scrubbing as a single mistake can pretty much lead to a TPK before you can do a thing.

    The lack of extra bases, the dumbed down research and production aspects (yes these COULD get exploitive, but they could have obviously been tweaked to fix that), missing base assaults, and bland and unimproved interceptions are all additional foibles and let downs. Now these are all legitimate issues and can’t IMO just be considered “nitpicks” or “bitching”. They’re serious missteps that significantly impact gameplay for the worse as compared to it’s predecessor. If XCOM never existed and this was the first game of it’s type… maybe it
    wouldn’t seem so bad, but it isn’t and these missteps really do significantly detract.

    Now SOME of this issues where nitpicky I think and could have been trimmed out to maybe talk about the good bits. The stuff about customization for instance given that the first one didn’t have it at ALL so that sort of reeked of ‘gift horse’, and the art style is a matter of taste I liked the sharp lines and almost animated look, but I know some people might have preferred more realism still I don’t think it was a very valid knock on it.

    These issues COULD be fixed, but are probably too deep for any sort of DLC to do so. A full blown expansion perhaps, or failing that a sequel, but if they persist into said sequel they’ll really be no excuse and no real hope of proper fixes.

  • Doomsdayman

    The problem that really bothers me is the satellites. You need to spam satellites ore country’s will panic so fast. The 2nd problem is what Spoony says impossible shots and a to big alien reinforcements. I had a terror mission where there where 15 Cycalides and 3 Cyberdisc and both are harder in this game too. I also hoped for more strategy right now it’s more of a click, click, click game won. But in the original you really needed too look at graphs and buy personal and defend key country’s.

    I don’t really care about the graphics I think its just fine it isn’t that bad. I know it doesn’t look like Crysis but still i enjoy the graphics and voices are ok.

    I would say this game is one of the most strategic game I have seen in the last 8 years and it’s very adicting.

    • http://electricsistahood.com KL

      Are you using all these homonyms on purpose, to see who will notice?

      • Doomsdayman

        No I just suck at grammar.

    • ORCACommander

      technically speaking its a tactics game not strategy.

  • Carlos Garza

    I know how much people were hating on the first person shooter reboot, but I wasnt so much in that camp. Yes, it wasn’t the way everyone wanted the reboot to happen, but I still think it could be a really good game that brings people into the series in general. Prime examples being Fallout 3 and Metroid Prime. When those games came out, people were pissed, and I mean pissed, and now those games are some of the most critically acclaimed games in existence.

  • http://www.facebook.com/david.macdonald.752861 David MacDonald

    “Fuck console gamers”…….love you too Spoony

  • IHeart28

    Nice review spoony. Honest and fair but firm and critical. Very short, sweet and to the point. Really love the honesty

  • http://twitter.com/SPambas Samuel Amaral

    Hardcore XCOM fans should give a look at UFO:AI, it is a 3D XCOM like freeware game, it has all the inventory management and busy work you want, with multiple bases, but of course less production quality than Enemy Unknown.

    • zenithl

      Is it in a “working” state right now? I remember playing it years ago and it wasn’t quite finished. The AI is very simple, screens are missing etc. I’m not even sure the game can be played from start to finish at that point.

      • http://twitter.com/SPambas Samuel Amaral

        I did also play it a few years back, and I was irritated that there were no UGV in the game and that many things were missing, I think it is currently in a more working state now since they were recently licensing the games files so it seems they took a break from coding, but I was unable to play it recently due to internet problems.

        But it still gives a better tactical experience that Enemy Unknown with fully customization combat payload and time units. So it is more flexible if less action oriented.

  • zenithl

    While you have legit complaints about the seeming outdated graphics (they seriously look like something from the UFO:Aftermath era) I would say most of the alien redesign is very cool, with my favorite being Ethereals and Thin Man (the most unintentionally(?) funny alien to date).

    Except Cyberdisc. I would much rather it remained the original disc form, not becoming a transformer.

    • Guilty Light

      The Cyberdisc transforming into its insectoid assault mode was actually a really awesome change imo, really threw the “not everything you knew about the old XCOM is necessarily true here!” card right in the player’s face. I liked that. They kept it fresh.

      • zenithl

        It could have been. The more I think about it, I realized that I was more annoyed about the fact that the Cyberdisc transformation is spoiled in the trailer. I may well have taken it kinder if I find out the transformation by surprise, like how insanely powerful the Sectopod has become (which I LOVED).

  • http://twitter.com/Curtscorner Curtscorner

    Now this was a fantastic review! I like your other more scripted stuff too but you have no idea how much a breath of fresh air this is. Keep doing these, it’ll be a great balance to your videos. This is easily one of your best videos IMO, keep it up. I look forward to ff13.

  • http://www.facebook.com/AngeloJuusan Erik Herrick

    About the inventory…why can’t they pull what Resident Evil 4 did (only with all the various bits and pieces the old X-COM had), have your weight affect your movement, problem solved?

    Also, don’t trust the fucking crit chance. I had one shot to capture an Outsider live, it was in the corner, three guys were flanking it, my guy used a pistol and only had a 20% chance to crit it…and KILLED IT IN ONE FUCKING SHOT. I nearly threw my laptop out the window.

  • http://electricsistahood.com KL

    I’m just waiting for a current gen update to “Incubation” :)

  • BobDole

    You suck at this game. I didn’t lose a single guy other than what you are forced to lose at the beginning of the game.

    Though, I did play on normal. The game can be quite easy, but has good gameplay. The most unforgivable thing is that the enemy just plain cheats.

    It’s a common occurence to miss shots that are 85%+, or missing shots that are essentially impossible to miss. I’ve missed shots at punching range. That is inexcusable. Whether it was in the older game or not, translate it into guarantees PLEASE. I’m not playing a game of fucking cards, it’s a STRATEGY game, I don’t want to have to have a perfect squad laid out, with tactical positioning for me to take them out, and then 4 out of my 6 shots miss.

    There are a myriad of problems with this game. Which sucks because underneath the problems is a pretty great game.


    There are just too many problems for me to play without eventually quitting in frustration.

    • Guilty Light

      I ran through my own testing to check the reliability of the on-screen chance percentiles, and honestly I found the listed chances to be really damn accurate. I don’t think the game cheats at all. I mean I know the feeling that you think 85% “should hit” but almost 1 out of 5 times it statistically won’t. And while the seed for the pseudo RNG is generated at the start of a mission and lasts the entire mission (to at least tamp down on savescumming), the same probabilities exist.

      Have you ever played tabletop RPGs? I’ve rolled exploding d20s seven times in a row. The odds on that? 1 in 1,280,000,000 if my rusty probability math is right. I’ve also gotten a royal flush in poker. I’ve also lost with hands that had staggering odds in their favor.

      Lady Luck is a fickle mistress. It’s hardly inconceivable for your entire squad to have all 90% chances to hit and every single one will miss. That’s only what… 1 in 1,000,000 for all to whiff? Hardly outside the realm of possibility.

      Also I never saw anything to suggest heavy armor lowers your accuracy, not sure where you got that impression, but I’d be all ears to hear your thoughts.

      • BobDole

        Uhm. I never said it’s impossible. If there is a chance, of course it can happen, but it just happens FAR too often. And then for the next turn to have the enemy get ANOTHER critical and put my best guy in half health, and thus he gets wounded.

        What I’m saying is, it’s no fun. If I wanted a game of chance, I’d go play some casino games. I prefer it was strategy not strategy based on luck. That’s my personal feelings anyway.

        I never played the original game, so I guess most people who did just live it.

        And check when you are fighting an elite muton, press… I think F1, and it gives you information on the factors affecting your chances to hit. Heavy armour reduces it by 25% I think.

  • http://twitter.com/thadeshammer thade

    Support does not only equal “medic”, man. Try out a combat-kitted one to play up that lethal. Play a little more of the game before you come down on it so hard. <3

    • Guilty Light

      My Supports were actually pretty beastly, yeah. With their run distance, plasma rifles, and the ability to wear two pieces of kit, they were basically my mop up crew as much as medics. I usually left them last because if something was nearly dead but far off, I could rely on my Supports to get the job done.

      I want to try a Sniper in the next game that’s heavily invested in Pistols and perks that would enhance that style of play. With some of their perks it seems like that could actually be a pretty interesting class, with the Sniper Rifle more as a secondary weapon. Or maybe that’s a terrible idea lol

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Garrett-Ricksecker/100001617903955 Garrett Ricksecker

    But… but… I’m a console gamer. T_T I can’t afford the crap that constantly needs updating for all the latest games. And I’m using what I have right now for college!
    Also, just playing the demo was freaking cool.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chris-Horobin/100000917734895 Chris Horobin

      Dude my computer tower cost me no more than 160 quid, and the graphics card cost me 30 quid, the monitor, keyboard, mouse and speakers cost me more than the tower. The OS cost me about the same as the external hardware.

      My gamecube collection cost me more, and I started building that after I got the computer.
      My RPG books have cost me roughly equal to the tower and I’ve been building that for less than three months.
      If you know what you’re doing, and aren’t overly corncerned about super high fancy graphics, a computer shouldn’t cost more than 500 quid all told.

      Granted I would watch out for steam, hat sucked will drain your money with all its fantastic deals and bargains, but that’s a matter of self control.

    • Bayz

      Buy laptops. Roughly $1000 every 6 years ain’t that different from consoles and you save money buying games at steam by a far lower price.

      And PC’s don’t need constant update, you can just throw $3000 once and then you just need to spend money on small stuff every 6 or 7 years. And that is like $500 at best during 7 years…

  • Guilty Light

    XCOM might be my favorite purchase of the year. I admittedly have never played the original X-COM games that much, but this game scratched an itch that hasn’t been satisfied in ages. That turn based strategy feeling where you care about the characters you’ve created and named, like in Final Fantasy Tactics or Ogre Battle. But even moreso here where combat is so brutal.

    Now that they have so many of the basic assets and their game engine is already made, I am REALLY looking forward to seeing what they do with an eventual expansion pack or sequel. Finished Normal mode last week. Going to try Classic Ironman soon.

    Sorry to hear the game didn’t fire on all cylinders for you, Spoony! But maybe that upcoming Xenonauts will be everything you want. And at least this was a billion times better than that FPS / TPS betrayal.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jesse-M-Danielson/6028162 Jesse M. Danielson

    I loved the game while playing it, but I don’t think it has the staying power of the original, sadly. I forgive the glitches… not like the original didn’t have them… but with the storyline so on-rails, the lower soldier mortality and the somewhat forced difficulty, fun as it is the original sticks better. Still, I don’t think it was bad. If they support the game, and with how well it’s been selling I hope they will, I think this could ramp up form 9/10 to 10/10. At any rate, it’s good to see an A-studio tbs, and since x-com 1 its one of the only games to do a tactical tbs right.

    It was good to hear your critique at any rate, even if it’s a little nit-picky ;P

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jesse-M-Danielson/6028162 Jesse M. Danielson

      honestly, you know, the original x-com is very much an early 90’s game, both in mechanics style and art direction, and it simply could not be made these days, especially since the current paradigm is the “cinematic” game whereas the early 90’s were more about complicated mechanics and player choice. And, of course, that game was right on the heels of Aliens, Terminator 2 and the general ‘EXTREME’ feel of the time combining with early 90’s fantasy/futurism. This, essentially, is the origin of the problems with the ‘realistic’ art direction the game took, which is basically inescapable these days, as opposed to the more fantastical look of the original. Most of my complaints about the game have to do with the stocky space-marine look, the very standard, if none the less creative, art direction the game took and the much more on-rails feel, where a lot of the ‘difficult decisions’ were kind of forced, as opposed the more organic difficulty and emergent gameplay of the original and most games from it’s era.

      I really hope that paradigm sifts back. A lot of more recent successes on PC have been games closer to that paradigm (Skyrim with it’s open world, Borderlands with it’s procedural drops, Deus Ex with it’s multiple routes to victory, not to mention run away successes like minecraft and cult classics like Dwarf Fortress and many of the crazy games Paradox has been releasing). Here’s hoping the 90’s game styles see a revival as the 20 year mark approaches. We could use more weird crazy and creative games that we keep playing 20 years later.

  • http://www.facebook.com/david.baer.395 David Baer

    I did find myself abusing saves way too much, in fact I had a lot more fun on my second playthrough using Iron Man. I strongly encourage anybody who gets this game to play on Iron man from the very beginning; sure it’s unusual to expect to lose your first playthrough of a game and have to start over, but it’s a clean, wholesome feeling compared to the cheap, dirty feeling you get when you load for the 3rd time to try to save your ” second alternate” sniper you don’t really care about that much anyway.

    Also, despite being rather limited in both unit options and maps, the multiplayer can be freaking awesome.

    • http://www.facebook.com/david.baer.395 David Baer

      Also, for the next expansion I want to see the ability to have a human as gamemaster, so a person can set up a scenario as the aliens, then share it online and people can play his campaign. Now all we need is somebody with a voice in the gaming community to go and demand this from Firaxis…Spoony?

  • Zaydin

    Funny thing? The remarks about the soundtrack sounding like rejects from Deus Ex: Human Revolutions soundtrack? Deus Ex: Human Revolution and XCOM: Enemy Unknown have the same composer: Michael McCann. And I actually like the soundtrack for XCOM, too.

    I really enjoy XCOM, personally (One of the deciding factors I had in buying it was that Yahtzee of Zero Punctuation actually liked it), but then again, I’ve never played the original game, so I went into XCOM: EU without any previous experience with the series. And it’s my understanding the XCOM shooter is still happening, too; it’s release date has been pushed back to the vague date of between April 2013 and March 2014.

    That said, a lot of Spoonys complaints seemed to be based on it wasn’t an exact remake of the original.

  • http://www.facebook.com/toni.stanicic.3 Toni Staničić

    I have news for you gusys….XENONAUTS.

    The TRUE sucessor to X-Com, not like the luke-warm UFO:ET.

  • http://twitter.com/KebabKastike Kebab Kastike

    So many facts wrong here, Spoony. First of all Firaxis didn’t have anything to do with the FPS XCOM. Anything at all. This is the company that made civilization series. The company behind the FPS XCOM are apparently still working on the game and their people are behind the bioshock series. No one stopped making the XCOM FPS and start this game from scratch, they’ve been working on this game for many years.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ryan.all.7 Ryan All

    Technically, you have two rockets if you go stinger.

  • Malidictus

    I keep coming back to this review because it breaks my heart what became of XCOM. It’s not a bad game, but it came out with so many issues it just undermined the game tremendously. It made what could have been a genre-defining game into just a pretty good game that we’ll occasionally remember we had and play for a while. Not a bad fate by any stretch, but… Damn this could have been glorious.

    It’s not worse than UFO: Enemy Unknown – GOD no! That game was good for its time but that’s about it. But between camera issues, line of sight, cheap shots, cover that seems almost worthless half the time and an inexcusably bad final mission, with out-of-combat gameplay that’s boring and tedious and fake difficulty out the wazoo, it’s just a shame.

    Yeah, there’s always DLC. More tech, maybe? Random maps? Ship terror defence? Underwater stuff? Nope, it’s more linear-as-hell missions – the one thing that makes no sense in XCOM to begin with. It’s been how long now, since release, and the only thing out there is that one DLC. Disappointing doesn’t begin to cover it.

  • sakusakusakura_nyo

    I thought XCOM Enemy Unknown was awesome, but I agree with Spoony when he says it could have been even more awesome. I only lost one character the whole game because I pretty much just played it like Fire Emblem and reset whenever people died.

  • Garmrspor

    Complaining about character customization because you can’t recreate your friends is a legitimate, biased-ass nitpick.

    • Senna4ever

      It’s a genuine complaint depending on how you like to play.

  • Joel Croteau

    Character customization? 3D graphics? Seriously? You’re really reaching for some gripes on this.

  • Ryan Rardin

    Hey, Spoony. How about a review of Enemy Within? MEC Troopers are so freaking satisfying!

  • Senna4ever

    00:54 “You shot Jew Wario.”…

    • http://electricsistahood.com/ K (VichusYotaru)

      FOR FUCKING REAL, asshole?

      • Senna4ever

        Why you calling me names, it was Spoony that made the comment.

  • George Hicks

    You know Spoony you REALLY should do a review of Enemy Within. Because it fixes a good deal of the issues you talked about(limited voices, only one support item).

    • Weedburner

      Yes he should do Enemy Within,it changes so much to make the Game better,it not only add mechs

  • Weedburner

    After seeing the original footage how XCom was planned,its obvious that they used the original Game for XCom The Bureau

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