So as you’re all already aware (having devoured my preview on the subject) I’ve been reviewing XCOM:Chimera Squad in the Reticule towers for the past week. I’ve finally come to a point where I think I can give an honest assessment of the game, so jump to the cut to see what I think.
Here at Reticule towers I’ve been reviewing Firaxis’ new XCOM game; Chimera Squad. Luckily for you lot I’m a huge XCOM fan so I grabbed the title as soon as it came out to bring you the only definitive review….
However it’s not going to be as simple as I thought. I’ve put 9 hours into it already and feel I need to spend more time on it before I can give you a fair evaluation of the title. As such i’m going to do a ‘first impressions’ piece with.. erm… my first impressions (and perhaps some context as to why I want to spend more time on it), and then I’ll follow it up with the final review late this week/early next.
So jump to the cut for my initial thoughts.
Ten years is a long time. I bought a house, I got married, I had TWO kids (what WAS I thinking) and I finally found out how to use a Chainsaw without killing myself….. In the background of that though was gaming. Always gaming.
Because of the two little bundles of….. erm…. let’s go with ‘joy’ here, my gaming (and writing!) time has had to be wrestled free and jealousy guarded- so it means what gaming time I DO get is oftentimes rare and always, always, precious. This means I tend to fall back on games I know, games I trust, and well, you all know it’s XCOM right?
XCOM: Enemy Unkown, the expansion, and the inevitable sequel have devoured a ridiculous amount of my gaming time. I’ve played it so much that I broke the Steam timer, so all I know is that it’s somewhere north of 200 hours. Now the potentially controversial part here is that it isn’t either of the main games that get my vote as the Game of the Decade; it is Enemy Within, the expansion to the 2012 return that wins it for me. Hands down.
When Enemy Unknown was first on the radar, it was a bold proposition. A world of FPSs, cover shooter and sprawling RPGs didn’t seem the place for a turn based isometric game to make a splash. Especially not one that was missing in action for a decade. Even I wasn’t sure. But it came, and it absolutely kicked ass. The sequel upped the ante, and switched roles. This time you were the guerrilla force attacking the established world. A great way to keep the game fresh.
XCOM for me was always more about my squad than the actual mission (and it’s worth saying the bonds and rebuffs available in the XCOM 2 add to this immeasurably), and there’s something about genetically modifying your troops in Enemy Within that really connected with me. You could also turn them into giant stompy-mechs. I found though, as many do in XCOM, that you start to make your own rules and conditions, so I reserved the bot-ectomy for soldiers who got gravely wounded in a mission. OCP would be proud. It just added something for me, another layer, more character for my team members. I loved it. Always seemed to be Nick who got the ‘upgrade’ mind…
It was still hard, ridiculously so, and the addition of in-mission meld canisters (required to upgrade your soldiers ) meant that even though you had some serious tech at your command, you were always having to stretch just out of your comfort zone to grab all the meld AND achieve the objectives. These missions were so good that they basically formed the template for the majority of the second game’s missions. Oh, and the cloaking skill. SO good.
XCOM will always be a special game for me, especially as a dad (the turn based format means you can literally stop at the drop of a nappy), but Enemy Within is the one that I think stands out above all others in the last ten years. It just added so much extra to the game that made me care more about my team, and made it hurt so much when one inevitably failed to come home. It’s an excellent expansion, and arguably better than any of the ‘main’ versions or expansions since. If you haven’t played it, you absolutely should.
So that’s my vote, XCOM: Enemy Within, FTW.
I like Xcom. I like Xcom2. I even like the ridiculously hard add-on for Xcom2. You may have seen me write about Xcom in all it’s recent incarnations at length. I like Xcom.
So this is why i’m rather interested in Phoenix point. Not only because it’s been made by Jullian Gollop and his team at Snapshot Games (Gollop was originally part of Mythos who birthed the original Xcom games back in the nineties, Yes, nineties) but because it is building on everything that made the remakes of Xcom so great. It’s certainly got my attention.
If you’ve read the Ret anytime in the last year or so, you’d know I like Xcom and the expansion (Enemy Within) quite a lot. I played it so much I broke my Steam timer on it (it reset itself after 103 hours logged). It was a simply phenomenal game.
I wrote a number of XCom diaries detailing the exploits of the Ret’s writers in their desperate battle to save the world from the alien onslaught. Needless to say, they all died horribly (Nick especially) and the final mission saw Steph going against a map full of enemies on her own…. …
It’s that time of year when the big blockbusters launch ready for Christmas. I’m talking about games like Call of Duty and Assassin’s Creed…sadly though, we will only be covering one of those games in the coming weeks. We weren’t able to secure review code for Unity or Rogue here at The Reticule, so unless one of the team can afford to dig deep, they’ll be on the back burner. In brighter news, I’ll be having first thoughts on Advanced Warfare soon, while Kevin will be taking a crack at Dragon Age: Inquisition on the Xbox One.
With those few updates out of the way, let us get on with Our Week in Games. …
I normally start a Verdict like this by saying something along the lines of “I’ve never played a game in this series before, but this really surprised me.” Or I might write “I don’t usually play games on my tablet, but my eyes have been opened by this game.”
Today, those phrases can be applied to XCOM: Enemey Unknown, but not the PC or even the console version as I have been busy playing the turn-based alien hunter on my Google Nexus 7 tablet. …
I was saved from scrambling to come up with an introduction with the announcement of Civilization: Beyond Earth which is coming this ‘Fall’ according to the American terminology. The spiritual successor to Alpha Centauri, perhaps the most highly praised 4X game is sure to attract a lot of attention before release, and fortunately PC Gamer have a massive interview with the team covering factions, the planet and more. Well worth a read while the first trailer can be found after the break along with our team’s contributions for Our Week in Games. …
Let’s recap. Everyones dead. They’re all dead. They’re dead. NO ones alive, they’re all dead Dave. I mean Steph. If you want the full tale of how we ended up in this sorry predicament, I kindly advise you to read these posts.
An Abduction mission pops up and I load Steph, alone, into the VTOL to face her destiny. …
To recap from part two… Steph is on the floor of a railcar bleeding out. Jordan has a hole in his chest, slightly dead, and Chris has also bought the farm. Which is a shame as he was due to get a promotion soon…This leaves Nick, a 25% chance shot, 2 rather unhappy Thin men and two turns to save Steph.
Does Steph survive? Can Nick score with the 25% shot? Hit the break to find out. …