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Replayed: XCOM: Enemy Unknown

Mick Fraser: "I’ve never been much for tactics. My brain doesn’t work in straight lines, doesn’t allow me to analyse a situation as it is and deal with it. I’m governed by imagination, by whimsy and fancy and what-ifs. Had I been a soldier, I’d have likely been useless for anything but making up numbers and soaking up bullets.

As a result, I tend to avoid strategy games like a plague of locusts, preferring something less cerebral like your average bombastic shooter or kill-loot-level grindathon, maybe a low-brow brawler like Mortal Kombat now and then. Which is why I didn’t pay much attention to XCOM: Enemy Unknown when it was first announced. A game developed by Firaxis, they of Civilisation fame, it seemed far too clever for my liking, far too involved – and so I more or less ignored it.

It turns out that it was exactly all of those things, and yet also much, much more. A thinking man’s action game, Gears of War with a brain, Halo with a better tactical spin than Halo Wars – a game not about gung-hoism and high-fiving bro-heims, but about patience and planning as well as kicking the crap out of alien scum. I can honestly say that it’s the first strategy game I’ve ever played and truly enjoyed."

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