Eurogamer Expo: Hands on with XCOM: Enemy Unknown
Hello again, old friend. The XCOM series is set to return with Enemy Unknown. The remake of the ’94 classic will once again put you in control of a squad of elite soldiers. As the commander, you will need to instruct your team every step of the way as you try to resist the alien invasion, which becomes increasingly seemingly unlikely as they slowly show their technologically superior arsenal.
The turn-based tactical affair opened with a cut-scene, which left a lot to be desired. Unflattering graphics and cheesy dialogue failed to engage me initially. Cringe-worthy and predictable events were things I was hoping the gameplay would allow me to overlook. Then again, when has XCOM ever been about the storyline?
I was thrown into the gameplay and was pleasantly surprised by the visuals. Traditional XCOM environments with a shiny coat were impressive and intriguing. Controls were simple and intuitive, however navigating the map was often frustrating, as it often can be when using analogue sticks in any overhead strategic title. Cut-scenes which adjusted in real-time to match your decisions separated move-making. My mission was to investigate a building after some unusual and unsightly deaths had occurred near by. I worked my team through cover, one by one, towards the suspicious structure. After breaking through windows and kicking down doors, I was face to face with a ‘Mars Attacks’ looking extra terrestrial.
Combat commenced and informative HUDs helped me make my choices effectively and take down the swarm using a variety of well positioned shots and tactical grenades. Animations were interesting enough to keep my eyes on the screen and not lose interest between instructions. Successfully out-smarting the enemy was more satisfying than I expected and made me want to see how far my newly found commanding skills could be pushed.
XCOM was a strange one. I never said ‘wow’, but I also didn’t want to put it down. It certainly appears to appeal to fans of the series, but this could be something that also turns potential newcomers away.