Tag Archives: XCOM

XCOM Enemy Unknown

Are remakes ever any good?

XCOM Enemy Unknown was a big game back in the nineties. It is widely regarded by those of a rose spectacled disposition to be one of the greatest games ever made. Essentially the game sees you taking your team of Vanilla Ice clones in beige boilersuits saving the world from hordes of marauding aliens. It was mainly turned based full of RPG elements with great levels of tension and excitement and unlike anything else we’d ever seen before. I certainly remember playing it a lot.

Recently a remake was released. Could it ever match up? Having played it a bit I can categorically state that it is a fantastic reworking of a classic game. Basically, it’s the same game with all the boring bits taken out. Boring bits in the greatest game ever? Great as the original was, it could drag a little bit. The maps were huge, your squads could be large and the turn based nature meant your Vanillas could move a few steps every five minutes. Trying to find a lone sectoid hiding in a wardrobe somewhere in downtown Tokyo for the fifth time in a week under these circumstances could be pretty dull. Bear in mind that you would always have to be tactical because any one of the thousand wardrobes could spell permadeath for your nurtured mini Ices if not handled correctly.

The remake sees the maps and squads being smaller, which means quicker into the action and more focus on squad tactics. The arbitrary time unit has been replaced by a move and then shoot action type sequence meaning it plays a bit like a squad based tabletop skirmish wargame. Troop levelling up now gives special feats, and with specific classes of characters every member plays an important role increasing interdependence.

Obviously the graphics are much improved, the interface is slicker and the out of action sequences are now less micro-managerial. The flat-tops and hi-tops are gone; but heck you can’t have everything!