Editor's Choice - XCOM: Enemy Unknown (Preview)

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Release Date: 11/10/2012

Editor's Choice

XCOM Enemy Unknown on PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 at GAME

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.

XCOM Enemy Unknown on PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 at GAME

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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