XCOM: Enemy Unknown PC Games
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XCOM: Enemy Unknown Product Details
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Defend against a terrifying global invasion in XCOM: Enemy Unknown on PC!
The original X-COM, widely considered as one of the best games of all time, has been re-imagined for this generation of consoles and gamers, expanding the XCOM legacy with a new alien invasion, and new technology and methods to face the alien threat.
XCOM: Enemy Unknown puts you in control of XCOM, a secret paramilitary organisation. As XCOM commander, your job is to defend against a terrifying alien invasion by managing resources, advancing technologies, and overseeing combat strategies and individual unit tactics. Only you can control the fate of humanity by researching alien technology, creating and managing a fully operational base, planning combat missions and controlling soldier movement in battle.
Key Features of XCOM: Enemy Unknown
- Strategy Evolved - XCOM: Enemy Unknown combines tactical turn-based gameplay with incredible action sequences and on-the-ground combat.
- Strategic Base - Recruit, customise and grow unique soldiers and manage your personnel. Detect and intercept the alien threat as you build and expand your XCOM headquarters.
- Tactical Combat - Direct soldier squads in turn-based ground battles and deploy air units such as the Interceptor and Skyranger.
- Worldwide Threat - Combat spans the globe as the XCOM team engages in over 70 unique missions, interacting and negotiating with governments around the world.
Last year, the revived turn-based strategy game XCOM: Enemy Unknown blew critics and fans away with its deep gameplay and nail-biting battles against alien invaders. The fate of its sibling title, a first-person shooter set in the same universe, slipped off the radar. Originally revealed in 2011, this more action-oriented spin-off went very quiet.
That is until a few weeks ago when it burst back onto the scene, with an awesome new trailer which showed a shift from first-person to third-person perspective, and an emphasis on tactical squad play rather than real-time fragfests. What changed? Not very much, according to 2K Marin senior producer Nico Bihary.
"All we did was a camera transition to third person", he told VG247 when quizzed on the project's revamped form. "It gives you a solid visual understanding of the landscape. It gives you a solid tactical space of where you are in the environment as a player, so you understand when you're getting flanked. All we did was transition the camera, but the fundamentals of the game, what we were building, the core tenets of what is required to make The Bureau - or any XCOM game - have been constant throughout development."
The game is certainly looking very promising now - the battles are more up close and personal, but there's a clear strategic core and the 1960s period setting gives it a cool visual hook.
Journey, the stunning ambient explore-em-up from designer Jenova Chen, swept the board at the annual DICE Awards. Voted for by the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences, the awards are the closest thing the games industry has to the Oscars, although the ceremony inevitably involves less dance numbers.
Already a favourite with critics and a top selling game on SONY's PlayStation Network, Journey took home eight awards, including the big three: Game of the Year, Outstanding Achievement in Game Direction and Outstanding Innovation in Gaming.
No other game came close to Journey's haul, but several games came away with multiple awards. The brutally brilliant XCOM: Enemy Unknown took home prizes for best strategy/simulation game as well as Outstanding Achievement in Gameplay Engineering. Microsoft's Halo 4 also took home two gongs, for Outstanding Achievement in Visual Engineering and Outstanding Achievement in Connectivity.
Topping off a 2012 that was stuffed with superb titles across all genres, the exuberant Borderlands 2 was crowned Action Game of the Year, while Need for Speed: Most Wanted took the prize for best racing game and Mass Effect 3 was dubbed best role-playing game. Skylanders Giants beat Lego Batman 2 and Nintendo Land for Family Game of the Year, while PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale provided an upset in the fighting game category, as SONY's character crossover mash-up beat such genre mainstays as Tekken Tag Tournament 2 and Street Fighter X Tekken.
Telltale Games' gruelling episodic adventure series The Walking Dead, based on the hit comic, also won big. It was awarded Adventure Game of the Year, and also took home honours for story and voice acting.
If 2012 deserves to be remembered for anything - apart from the imminent Mayan apocalypse of course - it's as the year when people finally stopped bleating about the PC being a dying games platform. The past twelve months saw an astonishing run of top quality games for PC, as indie studios turned out fresh ideas by the dozen while mainstream developers fell back in love with the idea of pushing the flexible hardware a PC offers to the absolute limit. Here's our round up of the top PC titles that helped define the year.
What's perhaps most noticeable is that some of 2012's biggest releases were PC exclusive, not just PC versions of hit console games. Blizzard's Diablo 3, for example, was arguably one of the most important games of the year, yet talk of a console version is still shrouded in rumour. Arriving a mere 12 years after the release of Diablo 2, it's fair to say that fans were absolutely desperate to get their hands on Blizzard's fast-paced tactical action RPG. Always a series driven by frantic combat and furious loot-grabbing, Diablo 3 streamlined many of the processes involved without making the gameplay itself shallow. Whether playing online with friends, or hacking your way through the horde alone, it's still one of the year's most frighteningly addictive games. If you get it for Christmas, be careful - you may emerge from your first session to discover you've missed New Year's Eve.
But then this was a year for great RPG revivals on the PC. Fans of NCSoft's massive online role-player Guild Wars didn't have to wait quite as long as the Diablo faithful - a mere seven years separates Guild Wars 2 from its 2005 original - but the wait was still more than worth it. A rare MMO that requires no monthly subscription, Guild Wars 2 innovated in other areas as well, not least the fresh approach to quest design which allowed more fluid storylines to emerge based on player actions rather than strictly define dungeon encounters. With 400,000 players filling out its rich fantasy world, it's an excellent choice for anyone looking to try out an online RPG.
Or, of course, you could turn to the top dog of the genre. World of Warcraft continued to dominate in 2012, with the release of the latest expansion, Mists of Pandaria. This not only introduces a whole new land to explore, it adds a deeper pet battling system, a new character class and a new playable race - the Pandaren, a monastic order of martial arts mammals that look suspiciously like a certain popular animated movie character. Don't mention that though. The fans get very upset.
The best games of 2012 weren't only exclusive to PC, of course, but many of them were clearly designed with the platform in mind. Dishonored, the astonishing and compelling stealth adventure from the co-creator of Deus Ex, was a hit on consoles but a more perfect fit for PC. A game of painstaking plotting and careful progression, its dark and deliberate pace feels right at home on a keyboard and mouse, as you take control of supernatural assassin Corvus and set about unravelling a conspiracy in a steampunk world filled with detail and story.
Similarly indebted to the PC was the superb strategy game XCOM: Enemy Unknown, in which you manage a global agency tasked with investigating and repelling alien invasions. A remake of the 1991 classic, it retained the methodical turn-based structure but brought it bang up to date with nailbiting extra-terrestrial encounters and a satisfying web of upgrades and abilities with which to arm your brave, loyal and very often horribly doomed soldiers.
In certain cases, this shift back towards more PC-flavoured gameplay was especially useful. Far Cry 3 was great on consoles, but it pushed their fixed hardware to the limit. On PC, the tropical island setting is in full bloom, stretching into the distance in extraordinary beautiful detail even as you're prowling its open world, stealth-killing murderous bandits and trying not to be mauled by leopards.
An excellent year for PC players then, and a trend that will only continue in 2013. It might be a good idea to put some of those Christmas spends towards that new graphics card you've been promising yourself...
Mankind's Last Stand
Built by the team behind the revered Civilization series, XCOM Enemy Unknown is a modern day re-imagining of 1994's strategy game of the same name, which is widely considered to be one of the genre's finest. Taking control of XCOM, a secret paramilitary organisation tasked with defending the earth against an alien invasion, your playing time is split between turn-based combat and base management.
As leader of the war effort you're provided with a small squad of multinational soldiers, but repelling the alien menace isn't all about glory on the battlefield. Humanity's future hangs in the balance and you'll have juggle a range of tasks if you're to succeed, from overseeing combat strategies and individual unit tactics to researching and building advanced technology and dealing with global politics.
In mission control centre you scan the Earth for alien activity such as abductions, attacks or crashed UFOs. The game's 70-plus missions each carry difficulty ratings and offer a reward in the form of currency or personnel, but your team can only be in one place at any one time, meaning you have to pick your objectives on a risk versus reward basis - governments all want protecting and if you ignore a nation in need of help they could lose faith in you and pull resources.
'Priority' objectives such as capturing your first live alien advance the B-movie story, which is well voiced and features brief cut-scenes, but these can be completed at your leisure. You have plenty of concerns to manage (your HQ constantly needs expanding, soldiers need care, training and gear, and scientists require alien specimens for research), and the game provides you with advisors who offer guidance on how best to proceed and what research to pursue.
Combat's initially forgiving, but as things progress missions require some serious tactical consideration. You can take a maximum of six soldiers into battle at any one time. Support soldiers heal comrades and provide smoke grenade cover, assault soldiers carry shotguns and are deadly at close range, snipers fire volleys the length of the screen, and there are also dependable all-rounders. Soldiers are fully customisable, allowing you pick their hairstyle, armour colour and names, and each class has its own skill tree, allowing you to unlock greater abilities as they rank up.
The grid-based and turn-based ground combat plays out from an isometric 3D perspective in which fog of war hides aliens and their actions from view until your soldiers are in range and have line of sight on them. Initially your actions are limited to two steps (generally move-move or move-shoot), but before long you'll unlock extra abilities allowing you to extend action sequences and add in different commands like zipwire or suppress, depending on your chosen character.
Developer Firaxis has channelled many years' worth of strategy expertise into a dense, rewarding, and intelligently designed game that never makes you feel cheated when you die. It's definitely challenging, but smart tutorials ease new players in and when you do get things right you feel like the world's greatest hero. It's also one of the best examples of a title co-developed for consoles and PC - you'll feel equally at home playing it with a mouse and keyboard or a controller, while viewing the interface works just as well up close on a monitor as it does watching from your couch on a TV, so the game comes highly recommended on all platforms.
- Satisfying strategy elements.
- Rewarding combat.
- Fun customisation options.
- Lacks a bit of visual punch.
- Occasional line of sight issues.
- Pure action fans will find micromanagement stressful.
Just seeing the X-Com name at the top of this webpage will leave some veteran gamers on the verge of nostalgia-fuelled tears (of joy). For the rest of us, this remake of XCOM: Enemy Unknown (available on the PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360) is a masterclass in making the old all shiny and new again...
Turn-based combat; three words that can strike ennui into the heart of any FPS adrenaline junkie. Gone are the fast-food thrills of second-by-second slaying and the herding of your movements down linear paths of action; in is the planning and strategising of every single move - where each tactical decision could lead to your eventual victory. Or death.
Thankfully, XCOM: Enemy Unknown falls firmly into the latter camp. Based on the 1994 original, you play as the commander of XCOM, the international force tasked with crushing an alien invasion. Presented in an isometric view, each mission is a tense turn-based confrontation with gloriously retro-looking extra-terrestrial forces, where you visit randomly-generated hotspots around the world and dish out orders to your squad each turn before sitting back, watching with bated breath as your soldiers execute them.
It's this 'preloading' of moves that makes XCOM so intoxicating as your best laid plans unfurl in front of you, leaving you to wonder/worry if your strategy is right or if one of your favourite soldiers that you've spent hours training could be wiped out because of a single cack-handed order. The icing on the cake? The thrill of victory as your plan comes together better than anything George Peppard ever managed. Or falls to pieces, leaving you with frag all over your face...
Framing this nail-biting, thinking man's action is your HQ. Shown side-on, you build up your ant farm-like base and its facilities over the course of the game, researching upgrades, monitoring global panic levels and fretting over funding, all while revelling in the system's accessibility.
You might have gathered by now that we're really rather fond of XCOM. And you'd be right - in a videogaming world where everything usually has to be decided in a split second (and with the liberal use of the right trigger), XCOM is out of this (and that) world. Essential.
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