XCOM: Enemy Unknown Review

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In today’s age of ultra-realistic games with enormous open worlds and near-infinite customizability, turn-based strategy titles might seem to be somewhat out-of-place. Despite this, Fraxis games have brought us yet another dynamite game which is not only incredible, but also a genuine turn-based strategy extravaganza.

For those that might be unfamiliar, Fraxis’ original X-COM (released in 1993) is well-known as one of the better strategy to have ever come on the scene.  Expanding upon that, this most recent release accomplishes everything the original did and more.  “XCOM: Enemy Unknown” is basically your classic alien invasion story (which you are tasked with thwarting). To prevent a full-on takeover, you will need to control a squad of elite commandos.  It’s a challenging game that’s both fun and rewarding, although it features an entirely different type of action that what most gamers are probably used to.

Visuals

In terms of visuals, “XCOM: Enemy Unknown” doesn’t disappoint, the game features very modern graphics albeit from an elevated perspective that’s typical of strategy games.  One of the coolest things about “XCOM: EU” is its use of a ‘dynamic camera’ which will zero in on spots of intense action.  This simple inclusion makes the game feel like a big-time action game in places, which greatly adds to the overall feeling of suspense and intensity.  The environments are top notch as well; the same thing goes for the basic character models.

Gameplay

Given that “Enemy Unknown” is a strategy game, you would expect the gameplay to be the most interesting feature of its basic design.  Simply put, it is.  This title isn’t just about you and your squad facing down hordes of alien invaders, you’ll also have to research alien technology and build bases as well.  All in all, it’s a very balanced game that demands better strategies from players.

One of the more interesting facets of the game is its treatment of fallen allies; in short, if one of your squad mates is killed, that’s it…, they’re finished.  In other words, if you spent a lot of time upgrading that particular character, say goodbye to their specialized traits and abilities.

Verdict

The bottom line is that “XCOM: Enemy Unknown” is one of the (if not the) best alien-themed strategy games out there.  Whether or not you’ll like it will likely hinge upon your feelings toward turn-based mechanics; however, if you can appreciate the setup, this is a brilliant game that will keep you entertained for hours on end.  If you actually enjoy turn-based strategy titles, pick this one up immediately!

Rating – 8 / 10

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