Xcom Enemy Uknown is a remake of Xcom UFO Defense. While Enemy Unknown is extremely hard I think UFO defense is harder because you can be invaded right in your home base. The game starts out with an awesome tutorial for you to play through that sets the tone of the game perfectly. It really does build up suspense until you finally see your very first alien and they begin the attack on you right away. Only a single crew member survived that encounter and he becomes the veteran of your team. Xcom’s gameplay is split up in two sections. Base management, and combat scenarios. Before each encounter you’ll have a chance to upgrade your defenses. On harder difficulties I recommend building as many satellite uplinks as possible so you can have more satellite coverage over the world. Satellites are your main defense against the aliens because they reduce attacks on the country that has one. You’ll also have to decide on how often you’ll need new equipment. Do you want laser weapons? Or is getting that new set of armor for your squad more important?
Even when you research them you’ll have to spend money to actually buy them and that’s the hard part. You have very limited cash in this game. Once you run out of money you’ll either have to wait until next or wait for another alien attack somewhere in the world but even then you’ll run the risk of losing two countries every time you take a mission so you’ll have to choose wisely. You’ll also have to upgrade your aerial defense for those UFO’s you’ll encounter. Normal jets won’t be enough. You’ll eventually have access to a UFO of your own and it’s freaking awesome. During your missions the bodies of the aliens that you kill will be available for you to either sell to the council or you can have your scientist perform an autopsy on them so you can learn more about them and even research new technologies so the choice is yours.
Once an alien invasion occurs you’ll have to choice between three different countries to defend. Whichever country you help will be grateful but the other two will have their panic level rise. Once this happens more aliens will attack that area and it’ll be harder to defend it in the long run but it’s going to happen and there’s nothing you can do about it. Once a country’s panic level is too high they’ll drop out of the Xcom Project and it will affect your rating, and monthly income. Out on the field you’ll be tasked with various different missions but your main goal is always to kill the aliens in the area. Some times you’ll have to rescue civilians that got caught in the crossfire or even rescue someone that managed to escape alien captivity for their intel. Some times you’ll even have to defuse and alien bomb and that’s where things get interesting. You’ll have to fight off the aliens while defusing their bomb and that’s a challenge for the most well prepared team of Xcom Operatives.
The way you want your team in Xcom is up to you. What name are your soldiers and more importantly what class are they? Xcom has some minor character customization. You can’t choose the class you want for your team. That’s completely random but you can choose which skills they’ll learn along the way. There are five different classes available. Assault, Heavy, Support, Sniper, and later on in the game you’ll have access to the very powerful Psionic Class which can tear a group of aliens apart without firing a single shot. Getting this class is rare and completely random. You’ll have to test your team to see if any of them have potential and that takes more then a week. Never send more then one high ranking squad member in at a time or you’ll struggle against the alien attacks.
One of the main features in this game is permadeath. Once you lose a squadmate they’re gone forever. This makes every move you make critical out in the field. You naturally don’t want anyone to die but it’s going to happen and it doesn’t matter how careful you are. One thing that should mentioned is will. Each member of your team has will. A squad member with low will is more likely to panic when fired at or hit by one of the aliens projectiles. Keep this in mind because i’ve had my own soldiers shooting at each other because they just weren’t ready to face the aliens. As long as the leader of your squad doesn’t go down everyone should be alright out in the field but rookies are more prone to panic then veterans.
As your team grows in strength and you get better gear, and weapons so will the aliens that you face. You’ll fight a wide variety of aliens out on the field and even some upgraded versions of the same aliens. You’ll never really feel like you have too much of an edge in battle because of this and I love that about this game. In most games when you get stronger your enemies stay the same. One major thing that you must accept before you even start playing this game is the fact that you can put over 30 hours in one playthrough of the game and still lose at the end of it. This is a hard game and it does not hold your hand. You’re going to lose countries but your ability to bounce back from that will help determine the outcome of the game.
When you have a full squad of 6 highly trained Xcom Operatives against a wave of 20+ aliens is when Xcom really shines. It’s an amazing experience that never gets old. It’s addictive and once you learn the game and how everything works you’ll still end up getting killed or at least getting a few key members of your team killed. Xcom has a Ironman mode that doesn’t allow you to save your game during missions. If someone you really like dies then that’s too bad. You’ve better have a good replacement or start training that rookie in the back. Ironman mode is the way Xcom is supposed to be played and it’s awesome. One thing I like about this game is the permadeath and difficulty of the game. If you manage to have your entire team wiped out then the mission will fail and you’ll be back in your base with six less members.
This will set you back but you can recover with time. Xcom Enemy Unknown is an excellent game that deserves every bit of praise that it got and more. My final verdict for Xcom Enemy Unknown is a 9/10. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for the Xcom series. As long as we get more strategy games and not another first person shooter then i’m good. Xcom Enemy Unknown has my recommendation and I highly recommend it to anyone that’s curious about it. If you don’t mind hard games then try this one out.