Your disagrees simply feed my Bubble Count
CRank: 14Score: 0

Three ways in which XCOM went horribly wrong

Just a bit more than a week ago, gamers were treated to a revival of a beloved series called X-COM. This new strategy game is something that has been sorely absent on consoles, and something that PC gamers always welcome with open arms.

However, I was a bit leery about the new X-COM title. I grew up with X-COM and replaying the original is a yearly tradition for me. There are plenty of things to like about Firaxis' take on the series, but three things are such massive departures from the original I can't help but shake my head.

1) Line of Sight and shooting: You may not have noticed, but the new XCOM game doesn't have true line of sight mechanics in terms of what you can shoot. I can't count all the times I've shot (or been shot) straight through a stack of crates. In the original, you could shoot at anything, anywhere, at any time as long as you had line of sight. The game let you choose how to attack an enemy, and it let you try to pull off (no matter how impossible) those across-the-map shots that end up winning the entire mission. However, in the new XCOM, the game has to tell you "yep, you have line of sight to this guy, so you can go ahead and target it", which brings me to my next point...

2) Destructible Environments: The new XCOM has AWESOME environments! It really does. Firaxis nailed the atmosphere and multi-dimensional aspect of the original. Yet, what's the point if you can't shoot it all up? See, with the exception of rocket launchers and grenades, you can't "free shoot" in the new XCOM. Not only does that prevent you from doing all the cool trick-shot stuff detailed in #1 above, but it also keeps you from cutting up the environment to open up lanes of fire. An example? Ok, you need to kill an alien on the other side of a wall. You have two soldiers. One blasts the wall (using free shooting). The other blasts the alien. In the original XCOM, such a thing was commonplace. In the new XCOM, it's impossible.

3) Fewer soldiers, fewer items, fewer choices: Okay, I understand why Firaxis cut down on some aspects of the original game. Having to make individual loadouts for twelve soldiers and then spend the first three turns of a mission unloading them from your Skyranger CAN be a bit tedious. But the problem is Firaxis cut too much. Yeah, I understand the need to cut down to a squad of 4 (up to 6 with upgrades). That's fine. But why did you limit the inventory so much, too? Items take up your turn, so it's not like you can use every single item simply because your soldier is carrying them all. What ends up happening is that your soldiers are TOO limited, TOO specialized, and your equipment becomes less important. In the original, you could give a soldier several grenades, a medkit, a scanner, a few clips of ammo, a rocket launcher, and a backup assault rifle. In the new XCOM, there is always a limitation. Assault Rifle or Rocket Launcher, not both. Grenades or Medkit, not both. Scope or underarmor, not both.

Am I just some old curmudgeon who needs to get with the times? Perhaps, but perhaps not. No one would claim that Civilization: Revolution is on par in complexity with Sid Meier's Civ V, would they? No one would claim that Final Fantasy XIII lives up to the complex and satisfying designs found in previous Final Fantasy games, would they? In the same way, while I can admit that XCOM Enemy Unknown is a great game, I have to say that it isn't really a true XCOM game. It has SOME of the franchise's elements, but it is missing many others.

Anyway, I hope that one day the mod community will be able to make some optional tweaks to the game so that perhaps one day we will see a true revival of the XCOM franchise.

The story is too old to be commented.
SeraphimBlade2040d ago

As an X-COM noob, I enjoyed the game, but do completely understand what you're saying. It felt like the customization should have been deeper, I know I could've handled it. Free aim seemed like it SHOULD be possible but wasn't. And, did I miss something or is there no way to improve rockets, or get medikits beyond 6 HP (which is absurdly useless after about the halfway point) But I would consider my biggest gripe to be the way enemy's "spawned." You spot an enemy group , and then they all get a free move into good cover? (which always, always, always, happens during your last squadmate's turn) There's no way that's how it worked in the original, right?

It actually really reminded me of Valkyria Chronicles, which didn't have ANY of these problems, so I know it's possible. (though the customization wasn't astounding in that, either)

caseh2040d ago

Original X-Com had a ridiculous level of detail to it.

My main issue with this remake is they took out action points (AP) for your characters. Characters basically had a set of AP per turn and performing actions like walking, firing or crouching would use up your AP. You would need to calculate if taking that risky shot would leave your lieutennant in the open or leave him with enough points to find cover.

You could also factor if you units were safe by banking AP so they will counter fire during the enemy phase.

I've not played this remake much but I was almost immediately put off by the fact I can move my units a ridiculous distance (in comparison to the original) and fire, the combat just comes across as lacking any real complexity or strategy as a result.

You mentioned Valkyria Chronicles, in comparison to the original X-COM it would be like comparing checkers to chess. Don't get me wrong, VC was a great game but it seriously lacked any real depth.

dedicatedtogamers2040d ago

In the original, enemies didn't "spawn", and they didn't get a free turn to run into cover, either. Enemies moved around the map (whether you could see them or not), hunted you down, hid in corners, and tried to ambush you. It made for some very intense hide-and-seek missions.

taquito2040d ago (Edited 2040d ago )

consoles happened.......

gotta make it so joe-wall-mart can wrap his chubby little fingers around that ole xbox controller and feel like he's doing it right, make sure to pop-up with an "achievement" or "trophy" every now and then to let him feel good about

the only place where DEEP strategy exists is on pc, and EXCLUSIVELY so, xcom reboot is a great game, don't get me wrong, its just a stategy lite.

Games like Total War
Sins of a Solar Empire
Europa Universalis
Hearts of Iron
Company of Heroes (sorta)
Crusader Kings II
Civ 4 and 5(kinda)
starcraft 2 (somewhat)

these and 100's of others are IMPOSSIBLE on current outdated consoles

so xcom had to be dumbed down, now, again, its still a great game, it just could have been much better if consoles were not included, they are 8 year old dead weight at this point and degrade the potential quality of any game, lets be honest, MAKE NEW FREAKING CONSOLES!!!

BlackTar1872040d ago

i don't think ps3 or xbox or wii are 8 yrs old.

Not at you just my comment:

I played the original xcoms also about once a year and this game has me hooked. Yes their is stuff that can be improved upon and that is for sequels. I want more bases more skyrangers out at once. 6 squad is fine by me. I need them to fix line of sight.

taquito2040d ago (Edited 2040d ago )

your xbox 360 has been on the market since 2005, the parts in it are from 2004, its almost 2013, your xbox 360 is almost 9 years old , ps3/wii almost 8 years

Nicaragua2040d ago

Your comment would make sense if the original Xcom complete with all the features listed in this blog hadn't been released on the PS1, but it was so your talking shite.

This Xcom is dumbed down because Firaxis chose to make it that way. It has nothing to do with hardware limitations, just game design choices.

dedicatedtogamers2040d ago

Agreed. It wasn't hardware limitations. It was either laziness, lack of talent, or lack of development time. True line-of-sight and free shooting COULD have been in the game because grenades and rockets both use line-of-sight, and so does the Sniper's "Squadsight" ability. The UI used for equipping soldiers with items is actually MORE complicated than the originals (but less time consuming) so there's no reason why they couldn't have allowed people to add what items they wanted.

pr0digyZA2039d ago

"Your comment would make sense if the original Xcom complete with all the features listed in this blog hadn't been released on the PS1"

I think he is meaning more that the old ones were made with PC players in mind. Where as this one was made with console players in mind.

Nicaragua2038d ago (Edited 2038d ago )

No, he specifically lists the problem as a game with the depth of the original being "impossible on current outdated consoles" and offers a solution of "MAKE NEW FREAKING CONSOLES!!!"

So i think its pretty obvious he is stating hardware limitations as a problem, and thats just bullshit.