American science fiction

XCOM: Enemy Unknown (2012, United States)

2012United States

Categories: alien artifactsalien speciesscientific fictionextraterrestrial life2010s sci-fi

XCOM: Enemy Unknown  2012 sci-fi computer game

UFO: Enemy Unknown published in 1994 was a game that almost did not happened due to financial problems of the company developing it, but once the gamers got to know the game it became instant icon - involving, entertaining with dark overtones and challenging progression of the enemies and the missions we had to face. The following games were rather disappointing for many reasons, but remake of the game in 2012 was a chance to revive the series and in a way, just like any other legend, there was a huge pressure from the fan base to make this game right.

The alien forces have reached the Earth and while they are abducting humans the XCOM organization is the only hope to stop the invasion. The means we have to fight the enemy are interceptors able to shot down flying saucers and the Skyranger vehicles that can transport our soldiers to the crash site, where they can fight the aliens on the ground. Also you have the engineers and scientists helping you with the improvements of your equipment and with examination of alien artefacts.

On surface XCOM: Enemy Unknown is very improved game with far better tactics segments and elements that will help you dealing with enemies, but after a while a sour moment of realisation comes that there is something missing in the game and the list is quite extensive. While in original game you could have build a number of XCOM bases around the world to cover the most important countries, in 2012 game it is limited to just one base and satellites that will help you guard other regions. Also you are limited to just one Skyranger and its capacity is limited to just 6 people, which is not enough when you try to invade alien base or deal with terror attack on large scale.

Another curious choice was the modification of brilliant inventory system from original game - in XCOM: Enemy Unknown there isn’t one. You soldiers can carry only 4 pieces of equipment: main weapon (gun, rifle), secondary weapon (pistol), armor and additional equipment. In theory it looks ok, but in practice is far from being enough - you can take only one grenade (or with time improve some soldiers to carry two) or you can exchange that grenade for medikit or other equipment, which also includes a additional armor, which makes no sense at all. It means that you highly trained soldier is capable of carrying ONE grenade or medikit or additional armor or additional scope, etc. but NEVER more than one of those things. To make things even weirder you can’t get rid of pistol (that is useless any way) and take grenade instead.

Once you start the tactical mission other drawbacks begin to appear - you simply can’t pick things up. In original game you could have land on the ground, shot the alien, take him to the backpack, return to Skyranger and return to base so the scientists can examine him, but in this game it is impossible - all the elements will be picked up after you kill all the aliens. What is more you can’t pick up weapons or equipment from the bodies of your dead soldiers, so... Well, let’s just say it is a great disappointment. The aliens themselves are a letdown - while some of them are taken from earlier games, other were invented for XCOM: Enemy Unknown, you can easily spot them, they are the ones that look cartoonish and make very little sense (like floater, which has one robot arm that has no meaning at all).

After long years of experience you could have expected XCOM: Enemy Unknown to be a great game, but since the whole games market went into sewers it was a hopeful thinking that Firaxis Games and 2K Games would actually care about the quality of their games - since they designed it for multi-platforms the project was downsized to fit the consols, which means simplified interface and cutdown on all the great things that made the original Enemy Unknown a legend. Shame.

Our rating

5.6 / 10

Overall rating

6 / 10

Reality complexity

3 / 5


3 / 5

Story complexity

2 / 5

XCOM: Enemy Unknown American science fictionXCOM: Enemy Unknown American science fictionXCOM: Enemy Unknown American science fiction

Full XCOM: Enemy Unknown

 XCOM: Enemy Unknown XCOM: Enemy Unknown XCOM: Enemy Unknown

XCOM: Enemy Unknown  2012 sci-fi computer gameXCOM: Enemy Unknown  2012 sci-fi computer gameXCOM: Enemy Unknown  2012 sci-fi computer gameXCOM: Enemy Unknown  2012 sci-fi computer gameXCOM: Enemy Unknown  2012

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