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XCOM: Enemy Unknown PC Demo Now Available on Steam

By on September 25th, 2012 6:12 am

XCOM: Enemy Unknown | "Get ready Earth scum!"

An XCOM: Enemy Unknown playable PC demo is now up on Steam, two weeks before the game’s official release. And this says much about 2K and Firaxis’ confidence on their sci-fi strategy game, in a time where demos are scarce and demos before a game releases even scarcer. Word is that a console demo is promised to come soon.

The demo offers access to two levels from the single player tutorial campaign and a glimpse on the XCOM base. Pre-orders are currently open and system requirements are already available.

XCOM: Enemy Unknown is targeted for retail release on Oct 9th 2012 and digital release on Oct 11th, 2012.

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  1. DeLastOne says:

    Great news !!! I should just tell my boss I do not feel well and rush to base to test this ;)

    I am impatient to test this tonight :)

    • TheSisko says:

      6gb download and its epic but effing waaaay to short.. damn still 2 weeks … and the UI needs a bit getting used to.

      I was positively impressed by the gfx though, most gameplay vids i saw where a bit blurry and the picture is crisp with good animations.

  2. ray says:

    Huge download and over in less than 30 minutes.. waaay to short to really get a feel of any depth to the game =- but fun non-the-less. Played it over 3 of 4 times upping the level of difficulty thru a hack in the config file

    • yogiwp says:

      >upping the level of difficulty thru a hack in the config file

      Please elaborate :)

      • Loyal_Viggo says:

        Presumably the entire download is the full game, but with code missing to disable the full version.

        So somewhere will be a config file, usually a .txt or something that can be edited for a range of functions.

        I’ll look after work…

      • ray says:

        Goto your Steamapps account / common / X-com enemy unknown demo / engine /config and open using text editor Basegame.ini
        Once in there find the line; GameDifficulty=+0.0
        Modify this line up to a level of 3. where 0 = easy, 1 = normal etc
        EG gamedifficulty=+2.0

        Hope that helps

  3. Loyal_Viggo says:

    (Disclaimer – I know people get passionate about things they love and these are my opinions only)

    *Stops playing TFTD*

    I must say… I’m pretty disappointed with this demo, and what it portents for the actual full game.

    Sure it’s shiny and pretty and loud etc but… there’s many things terribly wrong even in this tiny demo alone.

    First off, movement. Why can’t I move my soldiers around in stages as I like? I do not like the one move only thing, that is just wrong and it’s not XCOM.

    In those two small levels my soldier leveled three ranks… at that rate before I even research plasma pistols all my team will be elite. Elite at what I don’t know, rocket launchers I can only use once per battle…. great. Also the unlockable ‘skill’ that means if you fire first you can still move is just a big punch-in-the-face. Really Firaxis, really?

    And the confirmed one base with barely-interactive cut-sections is a massively weak decision. Why only one base? And why do different continents give different bonuses… again, weaksauce flavour that is not XCOM.

    Maps… too small, no sense of dread and surprise as you know where everything will be. No large areas to sweep room-by-room, floor-by-floor.

    Squad size… again really?. If this really is the best the Earth has to offer, 4 paltry meatshields that can eventually become 6… that just does not compare to a full 14 in your Skyranger deploying for battle.

    At the end of the day, it just seems like a bad console port wherein everything was dumbed down and compressed so that 5 year old console technology can handle it.

    This is a poor excuse for strategy overall. I never felt like I was in danger or that anything was actually ‘Unknown’.

    Verdict: A poor man’s XCOM with shiny graphics, a pretender, an imposter, a doppleganger with loose skin, a fraud, in short, I’m going back to the original and TFTD.

    *Goes back to playing TFTD*

    • JohnR says:

      Thanks for posting man. I had been excited about this game, but after reading your decidedly negative impressions of the demo I’m definitely going to wait until 2-3 major reviews are published (including Adam’s???) after the official release. Carrier Command: Gaea Mission is right around the corner. Maybe I’ll spring for that one instead of XCOM.

      Goes back to playing Alea Jackta Est and UFO: Afterlight. ;o)

      • Adam Solo says:

        Yup, you can count with my review :)

      • Loyal_Viggo says:

        JohnR – I’m a hardcore XCOM series fan, so much that I used to edit the hexadecimal files to change things back in the day…

        So my opinion comes from a pro-original standpoint (and TFTD, Apocalypse, UFO series etc).

        Saying that though, I stand by it and strongly feel that the sheer lack of options relating to movement – ie no ducking, crawling, turning, picking up/placing down weapons/bodies/ammo etc – negatively impact this game.

        Removing time units to this move/move or move/shoot method is like taking a shotgun to your own foot.

        There is no sense of strategy, you just run from one box and hide to the next.

        And also, something I forgot to mention – your direction HAS NO BEARING on overwatch at all – where is the tactical choice in that?

        The mind boggles…

        • Hypnotron says:

          well put Loyal_Viggo.

          It’s part of the general trend of the “New School” of game developers to eliminate game mechanics. Simple game play with visceral action they feel is more appealing to the masses. The downside is, it’s a self fullfilling prophecy as you dumb down the games and you get the audiences used to dumb games rather than encourage the masses to enjoy smarter games.

          But i think the indie scene and kickstarter is giving us a resurrgeance in old school mechanics based gameplay. FTL of course ia great example.

        • Towerbooks3192 says:

          Wow, thanks for the information mate. Well I was gonna pre-order it but its a good thing that I have read your thoughts about the demo coming from someone with a lot of experience from the past games.

          I will give this the benefit of a doubt and see where it goes before I will totally remove this game from my priority list. I mean as someone who gave up on xcom because I can’t tolerate the UI and for me this type of game is hard (heck I played complicated games but lets just say its sort of hard for me) but I am willing to give it a try so that I won’t miss out.

          I just hope it wouldn’t turn out like Jagged Alliance which the hardcore fans says the older ones were better. I will keep an open mind about this game and maybe see it like the transition from Civ IV to Civ V where the simpler Civ V is more appealing to me due to a key feature that was lacking in the previous game (one unit per hex).

          This game might have a key feature/mechanic or something that I would find more tolerable compared to the original.

          Anyway thanks for the info mate.

    • Alexander J Bradley says:

      I can see that your pissed at the direction that this game has taken but please don’t ask questions that have already been answered.

      E.G the single base was announced so as to avoid having to spread resources across multiple bases and so they could enrich the single base with more content allowing more upgrades and so on without diluting the experience. Also cuts down on micromanagement.

      Maps are smaller to allow for faster games and more heated battles. Yes some of the suspense has gone but remember that we’ve only had two missions to play with and they were tutorial missions. This is 2K that we’re talking about, the company that has served Sid Meier’s needs incredibly well of the years. Do you not think that they were in a perfect position to reproduce a classic turn based game?

      I agree that the game has changed considerably from the originals but if you want a clone go and purchase Xenonauts instead. Its a damn fine recreation but it ain’t original. What is nowadays, I know. But at least they’re doing something new with the genre. Christ! How many youngens like me do you see playing this kind of game nowadays. If people don’t buy the games, people don’t make em. I’m an exception to the rule due to being practically born with Xcom and the like at the edge of my fingertips.

      Please give it a chance, at least until you can form a better opinion. I wouldn’t want any Xcom fan to miss out simply because of a few changes to the game-play.

      • Loyal_Viggo says:

        Alexander, thanks for your comment.

        In respect to the base decision, ie cutting down on ‘micromanagement’, that my friend is contrary to the spirit and success of XCOM – it IS micromanagement! It’s like the devs don’t trust the player to do anything on their own.

        And as for ‘enrichment’… you can’t free-click anything in your base you move around via the names at the top of the screen… its not interactive…. it might look pretty but I think in all the ‘glowing’ previews this base-fail issue has been mentioned before.

        The reasons you provide – which I assume came from the devs – are just weak excuses to dumb down the game for a console audience and people who never played the original.

        Smaller maps may make for smaller battles, you are correct, but that detracts from the suspense and overall sense of strategy. It’s like they made it so small so consoles could handle it. The arcade feel is counter to the spirit of XCOM.

        I hope you enjoy the game, as doubtless some will.

        And finally, rest assured, Xenonauts is already on my radar.

      • JohnR says:

        Alex and Viggo – You both make some good points. Still in all, discretion being the better part of valor, from what I’ve read here I’m definitely going to hold off buying until I’ve seen the reviews from Adam, IGN, and Gamespot.

        BTW, I love UFO; Afterlight. It’s one of my top ten games. I was really hoping that XCOM: Enemy Unknown was going to be an updated take on that masterpiece.

        • Kyle Rees says:

          This is all really sad news, and yet not that disappointing. When I read that it was going to be ported to consoles (big companies= chase the big money), my heart fell to the floor.

          This is what happened to Civ Revolutions which is a sickeningly dumbed down Civ. I may have to pass on this one as well. I miss the days when you actually HAD to read a manual, because that usually meant a deep game was there to discover.

        • csebal says:

          Are you really that lazy? There is a demo out there, nothing is stopping you from getting a first hand opinion instead of relying on the biased ones formulated by others.

          I think the facts that
          a) there is a demo two weeks before release
          b) there are lots of videos showing several hours of game play already from various events
          show how confident they are in their game, and from what I see, they have all right to be.

          Yes, it is not an 1:1 copy of the game from 20 years ago, but guess what.. It is not 1994 anymore. Trends change, people change (barring a few who got stuck in the 20th century), games change.

          I’m not saying, that I like every change they made, but I never judge a game based on single changes, but rather on how the overall game play is affected by them. Small squads and single base can turn out very well for the game, if it is done right and from the videos of some of the terror missions for example.. there definitely is an element of suspense and terror involved as you try to save the poor civilians while dodging alien shots :)

          Overall: Give the demo a chance and if you are still not satisfied after that, then wait for the reviews to roll in. What you should not do is to trust the word of fanatics, who have been known to trash games for nothing else but not living up to THEIR vision of how things should be.

          Also, a quick rundown of the usual complaints I hear regarding the new game:
          – Smaller squads, limited grenades, rockets, etc will make it impossible to do human wave tactics like some of us did in XCOM. This one is true.. I will not be able to fly 12 rookies armed with 2 grenades each to a terror mission and then go suicide bomber on the aliens, but guess what.. while it is really just STRATEGY, it is the brute force equivalent of it. The one you use when you prefer to avoid thinking. Smaller squad sizes actually require more strategy as you have to manage your squad better. It might also allow the squad members to grow on you more, making their loss feel a lot more personal. Unlike when I lost a skyranger full of rookies and then I just took off and hired 12 more.
          – Single base takes out versatility, strategic decisions, etc. What it really cuts down on is micromanagement. Having to manage several bases in xcom was always a pain in the A. Sure, the nature of the game was such, that you eventually wanted to have several interceptor bases, a few more psi training facilities and maybe a hidden manufacturing complex somewhere away from the prying eyes of the aliens, but this is nothing that could not be replaced with a deeper single base experience.

          UFO:AL for example has a single base, with squad sizes similar to this new XCOM and it was a game that rivaled the original XCOM.. in fact I like them equally well.

          – The two movement phases and how they are interacting with the ability to shoot. I think it is great that they finally got rid of the AP system. It did boil down to this anyway, you usually either moved long distances, moved some and fired, or fired multiple times. Now it works the same way, except that it is a lot more streamlined and you do not have to watch your APs tick down, making sure you still have APs left to fire at the end of your movement.

          Seriously: there is nothing about the new XCOM that people can point at and say it is bad, unless they also add: “because it is different than how the old one worked”.

          Maybe they should realize that it is a different game, a game in its own right and not expect it to be something it is not.

      • Ahbery76 says:

        Wow lets base an opinion on a whole game on 2 tutorial missions,yep 2 easy tutorial missions.Wow not an agenda much.

    • Adam Solo says:

      You enumerate some of the points I personally have some reserves also. I’m a long time fan of the series. UFO Defense and Terror from the Deep are two of my all time favorite games.

      The absence of time units in this new XCOM is the major criticism people make. This issue was raised a ton of times to the lead designer that replied that TUs were in the game till very recently, but Firaxis finally decided against it (apparently against Jake’s will – Jake is also a long time fan of the series). So, you can “move & shoot”, “move & move” and in special cases “move & shot & move” and other combinations, but you’re not free to do what you will. The truth is that those were the action patterns we used: move & shoot, move & move again, although freely. Seems like Firaxis and 2K thought the math involved would not appeal to people as you could lack 1 point to fire and that would cause frustration on players. There would be a lot to talk about here, but at the moment I’m waiting to see. I’ll not make hasty judgement, I want to feel the game in a good dose before jumping into conclusions.

      One-base is another one of those hotly debated issues. But, how much love did we had for those secondary bases? Didn’t they felt a bit like fill-ups really? Again, I will only judge after playing a good deal. Now, if our base is attackable or not that’s a different story. I hope it is.

      Maps being too small is probably my biggest fear with the game at the moment. If there’s no surprise, sense of dread and the sweep room-by-room feeling than I’ll be disappointed. Again, we need to play and see. The demo shows little.

      Squad size. Well, to tell you the truth I’m not that worried. You know why? I remember that in the original games, in the beginning you had like 12 or more troops but in middle or late games you’d only send your elite force, so that you could bring 1 or 2 tanks with you. So, 4 sounds too few, right, but 6 doesn’t sound too bad. Again, wait and see.

      Too soon to verdicts in my opinion.

      • Loyal_Viggo says:

        You all speak sense, and I really hope I’m wrong about the game.

        Hopefully, patches and even the release of modding tools can let the community address some key concerns and see what happens, who knows!

      • Alexander J Bradley says:

        Yea I agree. It has been simplified for the younger audience. Unfortunately many AAA games don’t cater for gamers who want more complexity in there games. The only way for remakes like this to exist is either for them to be made for idiots or publicly funded like kickstarter.

        What I mean is this looks like a damn fine modernized take on the game that could revitalize the series or the genre even if it is simplified. Don’t know about anybody else here but I miss the turn based genre and the few games that have tried recently have mostly failed. Just look at the last few 4X games. I haven’t even tried Legends of Pegasus again since I bought due to the horrendous bugs.

        From what I’ve played and what I’ve seen I think they’ve kept some of the most important elements that made Xcom stand out from the pack while dropping some other features that were either difficult to implement in a 3D engine or simply due to simplifying the gameplay.

        The research, the air combat, the loss of life and the two complete separate stages of gameplay. This is what in my opinion made Xcom a classic and very few games have ever tried to implement these kind of features.

        I think that some people will be surprised by this game. At least I hope so anyway, been waiting long enough for it.

    • Fimbul says:

      Thanks Loyal Viggo, just my oppinion, its a poor shiny consol port without real depht. the stupidity of consol control for the “squad” and the camera makes my just angry.

    • DaWilko says:

      Well I just purchased 2 x Coppies of Xenonaughts. I’m going to give this console focused abomincation a miss.

  4. DaWilko says:

    Do you guys get the feeling this game was ‘made’ for console platforms?

  5. Stian says:

    Personal opinion
    Just my own view on how things are progressing..

  6. Wodzu says:

    Please guys, do not say that game has been dumbed because of the console users. I am one of them and I am a hardcore fan of three first instances of the UFO series:) If the game has been dumbed down(and I belive it is), it is because the general tendency in society to simplify things. From the perspective of developers if the game is simpler it will target wider audience which will allow them to make more money…sad but true?

    • Evil Azrael says:

      Zynically i could say it’s still due to the consoles. The tendency to simplify thing for simple minds leads to the situation that those dumb people buy consoles instead of real PCs. So these dumb people shift the priority of publisher from the presumely smarter PC gamers to the bigger group of consoles. And the more games are “also” available for consoles the more attractive consoles become to people. Another race to the bottom ;)

      • Kyle Rees says:

        It is all about please the board members, and the board members only care about money. As Adam pointed out that some of the devs wanted more XCOM true elements, but it got axed by corporate. This is because unfortunately consoles make more money for them.

        How consoles make more money with a smaller install base compare to PCs, I can make a couple guesses. The big one is hardware,many people by a PC from Best Buy expecting it to run all the games available in a decent fashion. But many times these users are disapponted. Consoles provide a hardware standard.

        Another hotly debated factor is PC game Piracy, which should be the bane of all of us PC gamers. I am guilty in this department, but I will always eventually support a developer with a well made title. Whether you belong to the “it sells more games” piracy camp, or it is stealing pure and simple, the PC side of things is now the evil step child with the consoles looking like the kid going to college.

    • Fimbul says:

      Wodzu, it’s not my opinion that consol players in general are dumb. i play pc and consol games an honestly i couldnt imagine to play Disgaea on PC, wouldnt be the same feeling.
      but the problem to dumb down games for consol is the old hardware and the lack of fine control (no mouse and keybord). Especially the lack of RAM 512MB for the XBox and its used for the grafik as well, so they cant callculate and display to much modells at the same time. so a PC game will be dumb down to be console compatible. and for general PC player it looks and feels (mostly because the bad control and lack of options) just stupid, on the other side the general consol player is just used to that stuff. for example, Dungeon Siege 3 had medicore to miserabel rewies from PC players but quite good ones from console players.
      Thats why i hate the most multi platformers.

      • Wodzu says:

        Fimbul I do not know how it is on XBox but on PS3 you can have keyboard and mouse. And I bet that you can also buy on on XBoX.

        We need to also distinguish two things:

        1. Hardware requirements.

        2. Game logic.

        By dumbed down I understand that game has been siplified and that has nothing to do with hardware on a console.

        As for hardware requirements: you can always use less detailed models on a console, less effects and so on. This thing is configurable, of course programmer need to code such settings. To be honest I think most of programmers became lazy and do not optimize their code because you can alwas buy a faster PC right? But take a look on a Uncharted 3 game for PS3, this game looks amazing on a 5 year old harware.

  7. David Carron says:

    I played through the demo a few times. It seems difficult to get a good sense of things from it. The UI is a fight with the camera locked to 4 points. I expect that there are better options for that in the full game. But the first battle is an interactive video and the second pretty well hobbled. (Although, even on Easy difficulty you can still lose folks!)

    Battles seem to be designed for 20-30 minutes skirmishes. No good sense of the strategic elements from the demo. The demo is pretty much on rails. All in all, I was hoping for a Civ 5 100 turn limit kind of demo. This was a half-hour tease. It is gorgeous to look at. But I need some quality time with this to determine whether it is a blond I want to invest in… :)

  8. SQW says:

    Those complaining about map sizes: watch other youtube full xcom gameplay vids; big maps, plenty of enemies. It was 2 tutorial maps for crying out loud.

    Those complaining about micro: I don’t recall having to do much ‘micro’ in the original. Apart from re-arranging the base design on day 1, there wasn’t anything to micro except your budget/research. As for the secondary bases, honestly, they were ALL glorified airfield with radar or simple research/workshop powerhouse anyway; more complex than a FPS but not exactly rocket science either.

    A real army quarter master would laugh his head off if he hears the self righteous indignation of us gamers complaining how our military organisation ‘micro’ is dumbed down for the consoles.

    There ARE game features I miss from the original but the reality is, without the console’s numbers, the game would NEVER be made by a AAA studio. Be grateful it’s better than the Syndicate reboot and hope a TFTD 2 is in the pipeline.

    • Adam Solo says:

      My concern with the “map sizes” is not due to the “2 tutorial maps” found in this demo but from watching a “full xcom gameplay video”. Even there I got the impression that maps seemed “small”, or the better way to describe it would be: things seem too immediate.

      There seems to be little time for tension build up and then tension build up again when there’s missing aliens in the map and you still hear civilians dying and you start thinking “where the hell are they?”. That’s my concern with the “small maps”. Hope my feeling is wrong of course.

  9. DeLastOne says:

    What about xenonauts ?

    Seems to me they are pulling out a great game here… Does anyone can comment on this ?

    • Adam Solo says:

      Wrote a Xenonauts preview back in April this year when they were in Alpha (before their successful kickstarter) and things were looking very good by then. I loved what I saw. It really got me back to the old X-COM: Enemy Unknown (aka UFO Defense) days. But, aliens were still immobile and they had only a couple of maps available. The game was clearly unfinished, as expected.

      To my best knowledge they are aiming to enter beta (feature complete but not) in the same day XCOM: EU releases, Oct 9th 2012.

  10. Ahbery76 says:

    1.Micromanaging buying inventory items like ammo types was not fun and became tedious in later game.
    2.Micromanaging loads of different bases was not fun and became tedious.
    2.Micromanaging loads of troops did not make the game more tactical and became tedious and very slow in pacing.

    This stuff did not make X-com great back in the day and I am not going to miss them.Tense tactical battles and the setting is what made X-com.Only a fool bases a whole game on 2 easy tutorial missions.

    • Adam Solo says:

      You made your point clearly and I even agree with you on points 2 and 3 to a good extent, but please stop insulting people otherwise you will lose all your credibility. Let people express themselves, based or not on a demo it’s their own right. Others will disagree or agree, and we need that debate. What we don’t need are insults.

      • Ahbery76 says:

        It is called balance.Slagging off a brief demo and then plugging Xenoaughts in the topic is cleary foul play.

        • Adam Solo says:

          I don’t see it as Xenonauts vs XCOM debate at the moment. People expressed worry on some XCOM features that got stripped from the originals. Don’t see any problem with that. In fact I think there’s some genuine and pertinent worry there. Some people already discussed some of these topics in other places while others have just arrived, no problem with that.

          People also felt the need to include Xenonauts in the discussion. Fine, that’s ok and even natural. And, I agree with you that tense tactical battles and the setting is a major part of what made X-com great. And your points on micro are sound. Just don’t insult people, that’s all I ask.

  11. Adam Solo says:

    Just finished the first mission. It’s a tutorial hand-held mission alright but was quite fun nonetheless, and in good XCOM style: fear, tension build-up. I found the mouse kinda laggy but nothing too serious. Moving now to the second mission. The soldier customization feature is fine. Nothing to report on the UI at the moment, it’s quite intuitive.

  12. Adam Solo says:

    Now that was fun. Finished the second mission and the demo. Easy stuff, for now.

    The experience was inline with what I was expecting. And, the game does manage to capture the XCOM atmosphere in my opinion. Nothing significant yet to be done strategically but it was enough to have a taste on the game’s tactical side. So far so good, now bring it on.

    Expect a review a week or so after release or sooner than that depending if I can get an early review copy or not.

  13. Space Raven says:

    I played the demo last night, and I agree with the atmosphere being captured very well. I actaully played with the lights off, since for some reason XCOM should have a little bit of a “horror” feel to it as well. Added to the element personally lol.

    On that note while I enjoyed the music I am hoping for a few slower paced, more dramatic tunes during the missions as well. Of course given this is a demo, we will know for sure upon release. I look forward to reading your review..and of course playing the game. These next two weeks will try my patience for sure!

    • Adam Solo says:

      Yea, I also felt the music, while nice, to be a bit too much action-oriented. But it does help to the tension build-up I guess. I would also love to have other, slower-paced music tunes during other types of missions. Hope it’s not always the same music.

  14. ray says:

    Well, if you can stand the english humour and accent and don’t mind some light spoilers this gives you a better over view of the game than anything else I have seen to date…
    Much better understanding of the depth – as well as emotive comments when Xcom squad members bite the dust… (all the xcom members are named after mostly British celebrities – you will know some of the names I am sure – makes for a laugh)

    • csebal says:

      awww… watching that video I just want to play this game sooo badly now.

      Thanks for the link btw. Haven’t seen this one yet.

  15. gunnergoz says:

    Has anyone here besides Ray bothered to look at some of the many previews and videos of preview play throughs of the new XCom that are available online? Read any of the developer interviews? Looked at the Pax footage and panels? Just wondering.

  16. Zizi says:

    I dunno, I disagree with the general sentiment on a couple of points (and generally felt like it was a solid tribute to the original in a lot of ways, though of course the demo is limited and I have my personal gripes here and there).

    Map sizes? Come on, how many of us REALLY want to go back to spending 30-40 minutes hunting down that last hiding Sectoid (being careful so he doesn’t burn down half the squad)? That was never fun– it was tedious and frustrating.

    I felt the atmosphere was good and plenty eerie. Am I the only one that saw the chest-bursted corpse and got totally worried they were throwing a Chryssalid at me first thing? I feel like that was put there just to mess with experienced X-COMmers, who KNOW what a burst chest in X-COM means.

    Of two minds about the Time Units thing. On the one hand, it had a lot of options to it. On the other hand, it could get really fiddly. Very pleased with how much more mobile the squaddies can be (shimmying up drainpipes, jumping off roofs, etc).

    Disappointed in squad size, I admit. Fully-loaded Skyranger would have been nice.

    Love the base UI. The Ant farm approach is just cool. Don’t mind lack of secondary bases, because you really only had extras to cover more of the globe most of the time anyway and it was needlessly fiddly at times. Glad soldier prep is faster than inventory-tetris literally every mission. Not sure I like the soldier-classes approach. Most other base-stuff I can only speculate.

    Tutorial intros new players to the idea that losing 3/4s of the squad is a success right off the bat. I like that. Would have liked to disembark the Skyranger myself, but okay.

    Didn’t expect or want a carbon-copy of the original. I still own it and play it, so don’t need that. We’ll see if they’ve really done a good job, but I’m content enough to be optimistic.

    • Adam Solo says:

      I share your sentiment about this demo.

      My only concern with what you wrote is regarding map sizes. It’s not a criticism because the demo is only that, a demo. My concern is that interventions seemed a bit too immediate in the full gameplay videos. Finding the aliens seemed too easy and fast, too much “on rails” as someone said. On rails in the sense that you go from one alien to the next without having “where are they?” moments. As a matter of fact I got a “where are they?” moment in the demo second mission, so I’m also fairly optimistic.

      Overall I enjoyed the demo a lot, but demos are a tiny part of the story. We’ve been mislead with demos before, and from the same publisher/dev pair ;) Not saying it will happen here of course, but we can never know for sure until we get the thing.

      • DeLastOne says:


        I actualy believe this is just a tutorial demo, introducing the player to the gamplay step by step. After all even the camera rotation is unlock after few turns etc…

        We will maybe see an option to disembark the Skyranger manualy on next steps…

        Also for those we fear size of the demo’s map there is just that to remember : this is a tutorial mission.

        Adam if you receive a version of the game before launch for a review, will you cover those points and also tell us if there will be a “sandbox” feature ..

        Scripted tutorial are all fine . But if the game was just a succession of scripted missions until the end, then that could be kind of annoying :)

        • Adam Solo says:

          Yes, the demo offers tutorial “hand-held” missions to introduce us to the game.

          I will cover all major points I can in the review: time units absence, map size, squad size, one-base and any others I can remember.

          I don’t think there’s a sandbox mode available. If it’s like in the original XCOM there’s a campaign. The events are non-linear (not a fixed script) but there’s a central story and a chain of events that you must fulfill in order to finish the game, although not in a particular fixed order. IF it’s like in the original. I understand that there’s also a multiplayer matchmode, 1vs1 humans vs aliens.

  17. Chris says:

    I might be late to the console discussion, but the first X-Com installements where also on several consoles. So I do not get why this argument should be valid. It was on Atari.

    Personally I play on consoles and pc, I like them both for their individual strengths. Unfortunately there are always those who emphasis a side and try to undermine the other one.

    I am going to wait until the game is released to get a full impression, making assumptions and theories does not help at all.

    • Jake says:

      What Atari was it released on?

      The originals were designed with a PC/mouse mindset and then ported to consoles. The console versions suffered for it.

      The fear is that this iteration has the reverse design philosophy. At best the new version is trying to serve two masters (PC/console/mouse/keyboard/gamepad) and at worst is designed with console/gamepad foremost and then shoe-horned into a PC control scheme.

      That being said, I’ll reserve judgement until I actually play it. It has to be better than the original right? I played that on a 286 for god’s sake! (maybe it was a 486… so long ago)

      Also, as far as your statement:
      “I am going to wait until the game is released to get a full impression, making assumptions and theories does not help at all.”…

      What’s the fun in that??? :)

  18. csebal says:

    Just a sidenote:
    The excellent video series that ray linked here has a 4th and 5th part as well. I think the 5th one got posted recently. Apart from a rather large map, it also shows how nasty the game can be in terms of difficulty :)

    • Ahbery76 says:

      Indeed.This series shows the open gameplay tactical combat that the demo should have included.I think the demo only showing 2 semi scripted tutorial missions was a typical SUIT decision.

  19. red1939 says:

    Ok, piece by piece, not to generalize too much. I am writing this basing on demo so many opinions might be wrong.

    1. No ammo clips.

    OK. Most of us would always get enough ammo to last for the whole mission. Considering it wasn’t expensive (most of the time) the only issue was to reload in good space-time.

    2. No ammo types.

    On the fence. I know some people liked to play with different types of ammo, but most of the time they have chosen the most cookie-cutter and went with it.

    3. No TUs

    OK. Yup, I said it. There was nothing great with the “I’ve got 60 TUs. Going there will take 13, so if the shot takes 45% of my TUs I should make it.”. That wasn’t fun at all.

    4. No base layout

    Bad. What about alien invasions? Everyone knew that the design of the base was crucial and one had to properly manage their space/defense needs.

    5. No multiple bases

    Bad. I’ve used several bases as a place for more labs/work., storing places or radar stations. It was really helpful.

    6. Small maps

    Bad. Discussed before.

    7. Static spawn points/big vision

    Bad. The game, as it is now, feels like a joyful going from one cover to another. No sense of fear as in the predecessor where people were killed, bombs blew off and the only thing you could do is to hear the sounds.

    8. Abilities instead of inventory

    On the fence leaning towards BAD. Interesting concept giving you a feel that you need to specialize your soldiers and you feel their progress (as the go down the talent tree). On the other hand though, the game seems very shallow that you are unable to choose your weapons, medi-packs, grenades, motion detector, etc.

    9. Graphical style

    Bad. I don’t wish the game to be isometric/2D, but the 3D is neither unique (like Borderlands with unique blend of cell shading and art direction), nor jaw dropping (nowhere near contemporary games). Cinematics hurt the most.

    • csebal says:

      1,2,3 – I agree
      4 – You can design the layout of your base. Check out the video series linked a bit further up by ray and later by me. It shows close to 1 hour of “non tutorial” game play footage that does much more in terms of promoting the game than the obviously limited demo could ever do, not to mention that I sort of like the style of commenting on the video :)
      As for base invasions.. I would be surprised if they would not be in the game in some way.. In fact, the whole base is just way too detailed and I can easily imagine that there will be battles to be fought inside the walls of it. It is certainly large enough for that, just in different dimensions compared to the old xcom.
      5 – As someone already pointed out, multiple bases were mostly just radar installations with interceptor support. The game handles that very differently, through a satellite system that we know very little about for now (at least I do) :) The primary purpose for those extension bases are covered
      6 – Watch the 5th part of the video series, that I specifically linked and tell me that the map in that one is small. It is pointless to base such an opinion on tutorial missions or multiplayer footage, as those are by nature played in smaller, easier to manage areas for speed and / or simplicity.
      7 – Again.. watching the video series, even though I was not playing myself, I most definitely felt the tension of going from one cover to the next, not knowing when an alien on overwatch will open fire on me. You are misguided by the limitations of a few introductory missions.
      8 – Wrong again, from what I saw in the videos, not only can you outfit your soldiers, but you can also add various upgrades to the items they carry. Yes.. these items manifest themselves in abilities, yet you cannot just throw a medikit to someone else, but these can all be justified in some way or the other.. Point being, that there is variety in what you equip your squad with.
      9 – Completely subjective. I like the visual style.. but then again, I like everything in that regard from the ASCII approach of dwarf fortress, through the cell shaded madness of TF2 or Borderlands to the photo realistic visuals of modern FPS / simulation games. I just do not care about visuals as long as they are in line atmospherically with the game I’m playing.

      Judging from what I saw, they very much are in this case.

  20. halldors78 says:

    csebal: i agree with you, the demo was big but very short, but still its just a demo and i liked it very much, its great that you can go to a corner and shoot from behind it by just aiming at the enemy, you dont have to go out from it and be open for shot like in the old games, and your men take cover by themselfs. the new 2 move system is very nice and probably much better because you only did this anyway, usually moved maybe for long distance or very short and then one shot.
    and alot of people here are judging the game by one tutorial mission and one short mission, of course the first missions are gona be shorter and more simple because the invasion has just started. looking forward the game alot, its not the old xcom, you can play them if you want to, or you can play alien invasion or Xenonauts. but this one is gonna be great.

  21. JohnR says:

    Just did the demo. It did seem a bit hackneyed and cliched like some Hollywood bang bang shoot ’em up scifi movie, complete with big booted soldiers kicking in doors and crashing through windows. Also, I think I like the UFO: Afterlight RTS tactical system with its frequent pauses to issues orders a bit better.

    Having said that, the battles were actually kind of fun in a juvenile military cheap thrill sort of way, and it does seem there are a lot of options for squad customization. I also liked the dark and ominous Deus Ex/Blade Runner feel, presentation, and soundtrack.

    This might actually be a good one if your in the mood for a scifi action adventure game that’s not too serious or complex, and may also be an appropriate game for the ‘Halloween’ season. ;o) I dunno, I think I will probably pick this one up if the reviews are good. :o)

  22. Towerbooks3192 says:

    Pay day this afternoon

    So many mixed comments. I can’t decide if I should pre-order asap or wait for the reviews.

    From what I have gathered so far is that there are some things xcom vets are worried about? And some would say this game should be given a chance since firaxis (and sid??) is behind this.

    I am worried if the new steps this game takes is good for me like the step from civ iv to v or it totally ruins xcom like Jagged alliance 2 to Jagged alliance back in action

    • Stupid Space Lizard says:

      Jake Solomon is the lead designer, and it’s my understanding that Sid Meyer is acting as a mentor and helping with the tougher design choices. Personally I have immense respect for both Firaxis and Sid, I’d be surprised if they released a game as flawed as the JA2 remake was on release.

      And I’d take anything X-com vets say with a heavy grain of salt, especially about a demo. Like Fallout fans there no shortage of people who will freak out about any kind of change, even if it doesn’t necessarily make for bad gameplay.

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