As a youngster growing up I loved PC strategy games (as I still do) but one of my favourites was the 1994 MicroProse title XCOM: UFO Defense a turn based strategy game which saw a group of elite soldiers eliminating invading enemy forces. By today's standards the game is extremely primitive, but the gameplay was engrossing. When a new XCOM title was announced at E3 2010 I was overjoyed, but that soon died when it was announced that game was a reimagining of the franchise as a FPS, and only on PC and XBox 360. Fortunately in January 2012 XCOM: Enemy Unknown was announced, and this was a turn-based strategy game like the original. What's more, it's coming to PS3 this October.
XCOM: Enemy Unknown places you in control of a secret paramilitary organization called XCOM. As the XCOM commander, you will defend against a terrifying global alien invasion by managing resources, advancing technologies, and overseeing combat strategies and individual unit tactics.
While these are XBox screens, the PS3 is identical.
While many assumed the announcement of this strategy based title was a kneejerk reaction to the "disappointment" of the FPS game announcement the truth is that Firaxis have been working on this game since 2008 with a development team of 50- 60 people (each of which has been made to play through the original apparently). Given that Firaxis develop all the Sid Meier branded games (including Civilization) there is no doubt the game is in good hands.
XCOM: Enemy Unknown is a turn based strategy game where you take a team of operatives and need to stop an alien invasion through over 70 unique missions. As well as completing the missions you will need to research alien technologies, build a fully operational base, and plan and execute each mission. This updated title retains plenty of links to the original with many enemies and weapons being recycled among others.
Taking on aliens around the petrol station.
There have been a few changes from the classic game though. The Time Units (TU's) have been thrown out as they were hard to manage and calculate - the developers did originally include them however after much play testing they were removed due to complexity. The squad size now starts with 4-members but as the game progresses this will increase over time. Soldiers that you do have can carry through multiple missions, but once they're dead, it's new recruits for the squad.
As yet there has been no mention, confirmation or denial, about multiplayer in the game. In theory it would be possible to have different players controlling different characters on the battlefield, but whether or not this is implemented remains to be seen.
Close quarter combat in XCOM: Enemy Unknown.
Visually XCOM: Enemy Unknown uses a deliberate stylized approach with the characters and aliens made to look like pieces on a board game. While initially skeptical we don't mind what we've seen from the game so far.
Moving to the audio and in order to remain authentic to the original game the developers have even enlisted Roland Rizzo as the audio lead - he was a member of the original games QA team and is using the classic cues created by composer John Broomhall and updating them for inclusion in this latest XCOM release.
With a release date set for October 12 there's only a couple of months until this game hits the shelves, and we can't wait. Not only is the PS3 lacking decent strategy games, but with the entire development team having played the original we expect a faithful update. We'll know if Firaxis have worked their magic soon.
While it doesn't show any gameplay the E3 2012 trailer for this game certainly sets the tone of the game perfectly. Check it out below...