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PAX East – XCOM:Enemy Unknown and Civ5:Brave New World

By on March 25th, 2013 9:57 am

PAX East 2013 - Civilization 5: Brave New World and XCOM: Enemy Unknown

I watched 2K’s PAX East (Penny Arcade Expo) live feed this weekend, because there was going to be “never-before-seen footage and big reveals and announcements for upcoming Firaxis Games projects”, namely about XCOM: Enemy Unknown and Civilization 5: Brave New World, the second expansion to Civ5.

In a discussion panel set up for the occasion, named “Strategy Masterminds Mega Panel – Behind the Scenes at Firaxis Games”, XCOM: Enemy Unknown was represented by Jake Solomon (lead designer) and Greg Foertsch (lead artist). Civilization 5: Brave New World was represented by Ed Beach (Civ5:G&K lead designer) and Dennis Shirk (Civ5 producer).

You can watch the full panel video here (starts at 5h 20m). Civ5:BNW presentation (main part) starts at 6h 03m and XCOM:EU at 6h 16m.

So, what were these “big reveals and announcements” and “never-before-seen footage” about? And, was it worth it?

Sid Meier’s Civilization 5: Brave New World

I would say that Civ5: BNW presentation was OK and moderately satisfying. But, to be honest I was expecting more Civs to be revealed.

There was some Civ5:BNW footage showing off the new international trade routes system, which allows you to set up trade routes on land and over the sea. This was cool to watch and looks to be a promising new feature.

PAX East 2013 | Civ5: Brave New World - International trade system

Civ5: Brave New World - International Trade Routes system

There was also a brief presentation on how the Tourism new concept works. You can now use great artists and great musicians, and other great people, to create Great Works, which can fill in a few new slots created on some culture generating buildings. These Great Works should generate extra culture and tourism.

PAX East 2013 | Civ5: Brave New World - Great Work buildings and Tourism system

Civ5: Brave New World - Great Work buildings and Tourism system

So, these Great Works should attract tourism, which is a new Civ5 resource, like Faith or Culture. We were shown two of these great works on the presentation: the Tower of Babel and the Hall of the Mountain King.

PAX East 2013 | Civ5: Brave New World - Tower of Babel Great Work by Great Artist

Civ5: Brave New World - Tower of Babel Great Work by Great Artist

But, I suspect that what everybody was really hopping to see were new Civs reveals. One was already know, because it was presented when the expansion was first announced. That is Casimir of  Poland. Ok, but there were 8 more Civs to go.

Ashurbanipal of Assyria was semi-revealed. I say “semi”, because there were already assumptions made that the Assyrians would be in because of some units spotted on the announcement’s screenshots. The only true new Civ to be revealed in PAX East, in my view, was Pedro II of Brazil. And, that was it regarding new Civs.

Civ5: Brave New World - Pedro II of Brazil (new Civilization)

Firaxis also presented some prototype footage, or previz, for Civ5. Yes, footage from Civ5 before it was first released. Features and art style which were cut out from the game. It was still somewhat fun to watch this “never-before-seen footage”, and one has to say that some of those features, especially the way city attacks would work, or the extra work put on the leaders animations were really cool, but could probably become tiresome on the long run. You can see this Civ5 prototype content at 5h 37m.

Juicy stuff summary for Civ5:BNW

  • Prototype footage for Civ5: interesting to watch; nice dynamics, especially city attack. But, nothing special to see here to be frank;
  • Some nice footage showing off the international trade and tourism mechanics: quite promising stuff;
  • 1 new Civ: Pedro II of Brazil; 1 (semi-)new Civ: Ashurbanipal of Assyria (was already perceptible from previous announcement);
  • Civ5:BNW release on July 9 (North America); July 12 (Worldwide).

XCOM: Enemy Unknown

I was personally underwhelmed by XCOM:EU’s presentation. These were certainly not the kind of “big announcements” I was hoping for. But, I’m sure some folks will still be happy with them.

But first, Firaxis presented an XCOM:EU prototype showing off gameplay and art that ended up being scrapped. It’s always nice to know more about a game’s evolution, but the content shown was really not that interesting in my opinion. But, it’s always fun to watch in any case (5h 40m).

PAX East 2013 | XCOM: Enemy Unknown - previz pre-production footage

XCOM: Enemy Unknown - previz pre-production footage

Then, Firaxis presented three XCOM:EU announcements: a) XCOM:EU for Mac on April 25; b) XCOM:EU for iOS; c) a big “not gonna talk about it for a while… thing” which “may” be coming next.

XCOM:EU coming for Mac was already known. We knew it would be released on spring this year. The new bit is the April 25 release.

XCOM:EU for iOS (iPhone and iPad) was an important announcement, which will open the game to a new audience. They announced to be working on this, and expect to be working on it for the next few months still. Release status is “coming soon”. The iOS versions should include all the game’s content, said Jake, but the game will be optimized for the iOS touch system.

The third “big announcement” was only a teaser. A very small, 40sec long, very vague teaser about “something big to come next”. The full transcript goes like this: “Hello Commander. The war continues, at great cost. We now believe another force is at work against us. If not dealt with swiftly, it can destroy us (interferences). What we’ll be about to tell you (major interferences) the agents (major interferences) - signal lost”. You can see it at 6h 20.

We can only speculate what the “big something to come next” will be about. The teaser seems to suggest an expansion pack in my view. An extension to the game of some sort. So, I would say it’s unlikely it will be a small DLC like Slingshot but most probably something bigger.

The contents found on the Steam Apps Database seem to suggest a different EXE is being worked on under the codename: “XCOM:EW”. Some people think EW may stand for Enemy Within. This seems to correlate well with the hypothesis of “another force”, another Earth organization like XCOM being a threat. But, it could also be a major threat (external, internal, possibly from the deep?) from which even the XCOM:EU aliens are running from, and are afraid of. But, frankly, no one knows what it will be at this stage.

Juicy stuff summary for XCOM:EU

  • Prototype footage for XCOM:EU: not that interesting to watch; still kind of fun though;
  • XCOM:EU for Mac on April 25: the news part was the April 25 date, since the Mac announcement was already known;
  • XCOM:EU for iOS (iPhone and iPad): this was a first hand reveal, and quite an important one; surely very good news for iOS touch device enthusiasts;
  • XCOM:EU “big something to come next”: a very small and vague teaser about “the war continues” and “a new threat is at work”; definitely some sort of big XCOM project seems to be in the works but probably we’ll not know what is for quite a while longer.

That’s it folks. Hope you enjoyed this PAX East coverage summary for XCOM: Enemy Unknown and Civilization 5: Brave New World. We’ll continue following these two Firaxis titles very closely. Let’s see what GDC (Mar 25-29) and E3 (Jun 11-13) will bring new to the table.

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45 Comments


  1. Kyle Rees says:

    I read somewhere that Xcom units might be included in Civ 5 where they replace Paratroopers. Wondering if that was the third thing?

    • Adam Solo says:

      I interpreted that as a gag, sort of like a funny moment as transition from Civ to XCOM in the panel context. But, one never knows. Some people are taking that very seriously though, and there’s even discussion about it at civfanatics here.

      Now, in reply to your “Wondering if that was the third thing”. No, Jake was clear when he said that the first thing was the Mac port, the second was the iOS/iPhone/iPad port and the third can only be the “big not gonna talk about it in a while thing”, because it came out after the iOS announcement and only revealed after a suspense moment. So, the teaser, was the third thing. You can see the three announcements being presented in a row at 6h 16m.

    • Gunnergoz says:

      I actually saw a video outtake from the conference that shows precisely this unit in play, so it is more than a screenie or rumor. I think it is possible it is a product tie-in that will be in the expansion, but it may also be simply an inside joke…if it is a joke it is a pretty expensive one in terms of art/programming resources devoted to making it happen.

  2. Loyal_Viggo says:

    Personally, the re-hashed Xcom was one of worst games I’ve ever played (having grown up with the originals it’s almost heresy that I even tried the ‘new’ one) and nothing they can do, no rip-off dlc or expansions or – worst fear of all, they have the temerity to remake TFTD – can redeem it.

    I lament wasting $50 on that.

    I realise however that many younger or deluded players will actually think the emasculated Xcom remake was good… and if so you are beyond redemption.

    Fear the heretic, the psyker, the remake!

    • Adam Solo says:

      I, on the other hand, love the new XCOM game, as well as I loved X-COM:UFO Defense and X-COM: Terror from the Deep, two of my favorite games of all time. Different approaches, same addictiveness, both XCOM. To each his own, of course.

    • zigzag says:

      I also grew up on the original Xcom games and like the remake. But, there’s no disputing taste, I guess.

    • Mark says:

      I played the demo and I wouldn’t say that it was one of the worst games ever, but it *did* feel very simplistic and dumbed down compared to the original. I certainly agree that XCOM-EU is far, far inferior to its much older predecessor. Which doesn’t say much about modern programmers.

      I almost cried at 5h 40m (the prototype talk) when I saw that they originally had time units and complex terrain and then abandoned it because it was all “too hard”. Now *that* game I would have bought!

      At one point, the designer says “Now I know you all think this game looks awesome” and I thought Yeah, it looks a hell of a lot more awesome than what you actually gave us! What a waste.

      • ashbery76 says:

        The new X-com is the one of the most addictive and best strategy games in recent times and I was pissed off with the lack of any expansion or sequel details.

        Civ5 had some nice new mechanics.

        • Loyal_Viggo says:

          From this statement I can surmise that you’ve only ever played one strategy game, the re-hashed emasculated and gutted-out Xcom.

        • Adam Solo says:

          @Loyal_Viggo
          What’s the point in provoking a reader with such a sarcastic comment? You made your point, others have made theirs. If you want to continue this discussion, please be more specific and use facts and opinions on what you don’t like in the game, and why, instead of just repeating the words “emasculated” and “re-hashed” over and over and insulting other readers. Can you do that?

        • Loyal_Viggo says:

          @Adam – I find it less than interesting that one moment you espouse, “To each his own, of course” and the next minute you appear so anal you were toilet trained at gunpoint.

          What was it, the implication that someone has never played more than one strategy game (a heinous insult I agree) or the repetition of two words that has you so bent out of shape?

          You also need to check your definition of sarcasm – there is no irony in my other comment – Can you do that?

          Reassuring to know we have educated, impartial moderators here.

          “To each his own, of course.”

        • Adam Solo says:

          @Loyal_Viggo
          I did that. Sarcasm doesn’t necessarily imply irony. A sharp, bitter remark can also be understood as sarcasm.

          “the next minute you appear so anal you were toilet trained at gunpoint.”
          Please be more specific. Help me understand where was I an ass.

          And, I didn’t insult you, but you insulted me and the other reader. No need for that at all.

      • CptKork says:

        You cant judge the game from its demo because the demo is heavily scripted.

        • Mark says:

          lol, If I cant judge the game by the Demo then whats the point of having a Demo? Anyway I think I saw enough of the basic game-play to convince me how shallow the whole thing was. Things like not being able to pick up equipment dropped on the ground are just indicative of fundamentally dumbed down game-play relative to the original.

          Its also kind of annoying to find out that they originally implemented many of the original’s deeper aspects like time units and complex terrain and then totally dropped them. I cant be sure of course but I strongly suspect that cynical business men forced them to dumb the game down for the mass market in the name of the all mighty dollar.

          I’m just glad I didn’t spend any money on it. I’ve been burned enough times, its nice to know I avoided it just this once :)

  3. Lens Flares Suck says:

    Love both games. Can’t wait for BNW. The ‘X-Com non-announcement announcement’ was just silly.

    • Adam Solo says:

      Yea, ideally Firaxis should have gave us a little bit more on XCOM. Not a release date perhaps, but a reference to the type of project (expansion pack, sequel, DLC) would be nice, and perhaps a couple of features wouldn’t have killed them either.

      The part which intrigued me the most however was when Jake said: “a big not gonna talk about it for a while… thing which “may” be coming next.”. I was worried with the “may”. Perhaps they are still assessing how big the next project will be. Perhaps it will depend on iOS and Mac sales. One thing is certain, the XCOM guys looked like they were a bit tired and feeling gloomy. Something doesn’t feel right.

  4. DevildogFF says:

    I really think nostalgia gets the best of us sometimes. I’ve been playing computer games (X-Com, Terror from the Deep, ALL OF THEM) for the past 23 years and while the original Xcom had some true greatness, the new one isn’t nearly as “bad” as some “old-school” players would have you believe.

    In fact, with its skill tree, troop customization and special actions, combat is actually a little deeper. Aside from having the ability to develop multiple bases, I can’t think of a single thing that the original does better.

    I don’t get it. I think some of us “old schoolers” just like to complain…

  5. Mark says:

    “Aside from having the ability to develop multiple bases, I can’t think of a single thing that the original does better.”

    Seriously?? Wow. I was just about to make a long, detailed list before suddenly realizing that I just don’t care enough. Have a nice day.

    • Adam Solo says:

      I don’t get it Mark. You say that you tried the demo and didn’t like it and now you say that you could create a long, detailed list of what the original game does better but you didn’t proceed.

      By all means, do proceed. I’m very interested to read your list. But, how could you really know since the only thing you played was the demo? I’m confused.

      • Mark says:

        Actually I wouldn’t say that I didn’t like it. It wasn’t a horrible experience, I would have given it maybe 5 or 6 out of 10 which isn’t bad, more like mediocre. But unfortunately I couldn’t help comparing to the original game (OG) which I would have given at least 9.5. It bills itself as a sequel and IMO doesn’t even come close to measuring up.

        I didn’t proceed with the list because I thought it was pretty unlikely that someone who posts things like this.

        “I think some of us “old schoolers” just like to complain…”

        would have their opinion even slightly swayed by any list I could make, and so I decided that those 30+ minutes of my life would be better spent elsewhere.

        “But, how could you really know since the only thing you played was the demo? I’m confused.”

        I’m more than a little surprised at your confusion considering that *you* are the one who emphasized to us to read all the reviews before we buy :) I was seriously considering purchasing at one point and I read a lot of different reviews in addition to trying out the demo. When you read the same thing over and over, you tend to believe it even without first hand experience.

        I’m happy to supply a list, mind you I’m talking here about areas where the OG is deeper, more complex and offers more meaningful tactical decisions than the New game (NG). For me, deeper and more meaningful choices *are* better. I know you see some of these “streamlining” changes as an improvement, but I’m afraid I don’t agree. Once again many of these are taken from reviews, not personal experience.

        1/ NG: One base only vs OG: having the ability to develop multiple bases, strategically deeper, specialist bases, improved flexibility, interesting when poorly defended bases are attacked. As pointed out by Devildog.

        2/ NG: No base invasions by aliens, less variety of challenge, less interesting.

        3/ 4 soldier limit, upgradable to 6. In OG, 14 gave you more tactical flexibility. Newbies could be used as sacrificial lambs.

        4/ NG: forced troop specialization vs OG Voluntary troop specialization. more freedom & flexibility to play the game the way you want.

        5/ NG: almost no inventory management (1 grenade). OG Full inventory management of every location on the body. More freedom and flexibility.

        6/ NG: Tiny maps, OG Big maps. Tactical complexity and flexibility.

        7/ NG: Impossible to pick anything off the ground. OG no problem.

        8/ NG: Impossible to pass or throw equipment between soldiers. OG no problem.

        9/ NG: Alien equipment explodes. OG Alien equipment can be picked up.

        10/ NG: Panicked soldiers never drop their weapon. OG they do, more interesting, realistic.

        11/ OG: Soldiers can have more interaction with the environment in general. more interesting

        12/ NG: 2 actions only, less control vs OG: time units, more tactical flexibility, more freedom, deeper

        13/ NG: Infinite ammo vs OG: Ammunition modeled for all weapons, more interesting, more realistic, immersion

        14/ NG: No specific crouch or prone orders, NG whatever you want as long as they have TU. More freedom, flexibility, more interesting.

        15/ NG: Base room layout is static, OG base room layout totally flexible, bases can be designed.

        16/ NG: Cant influence research speed, OG can influence research speed, flexibility, realism.

        17/ NG: Targeting bug, shooting through walls, 20% chance at point blank range vs OG: consistent targeting. less Frustration & breaking of immersion

        18/ NG: Teleport bug vs OG no teleport bug.Frustration, breaking immersion.

        19/ NG: 100% Scripted (on-rails) missions vs OG totally random missions. flexibility, variety, immersion ++ for OG, replay value.

        20/ NG: Limited variety of maps, limited terrain types, repetition, vs OG: Replay value, fight anywhere in the world, desert, arctic….etc.

        21/ NG: All maps and alien “spawn points” are totally fixed, they never change. OG Maps and alien number and positions are all randomized for every map. tactical flexibility, interest, replay.

        22/ NG: Aliens never (or hardly ever) move until discovered. OG they wander around everywhere before you see them.

        23/ NG: Only a single strike team can be deployed at a time. vs OG multiple strike teams can be sent. flexibility, realism.

        24/ NG: Strategic layer is essentially gone. The geoscape is nothing more than an interactive, push (X) to continue, movie. OG: Complex, essential strategic layer which made a huge difference to the way the game played out.

        25/ NG: No assaulting alien bases vs OG: alien base assaults, less variety of challenge, less interesting.

        I could probably do more, but I think I’ll stop here. Sorry about the long post but you did request it. These are the main reasons why I decided not to buy the game. Basically the NG is shallow, less tactical, totally scripted, on rails, less interesting, less realistic and more frustrating for all the above reasons. Its not the kind of XCOM game I would have any interest in playing. I’m looking forward to reading about Xenonauts and keeping my fingers crossed that they don’t cave in to the console crowd. :)

        • Mark says:

          Thought of 1 more.

          26/ NG no difference between day and night missions vs OG vision drastically reduced at night, requires different tactical planning, interesting, replay value.

        • Adam Solo says:

          Now that’s more like it. And, you got me in the “confused” part. You do have the reviews and the knowledge on the OG as basis to formulate your analysis. However, you have to admit that although informed you cannot have the same unbiased approach as someone who has played both games heavily.

          You’ll get your answers. And, you know me, I don’t have an ego in this sort of thing.

          1/ NG: One base only vs OG: having the ability to develop multiple bases, strategically deeper, specialist bases, improved flexibility, interesting when poorly defended bases are attacked. As pointed out by Devildog.

          Neutral. Satellites in the NG solved this to some extent. And, to be honest, sometimes I had the feeling that the multiple bases of the OG were a filler feature more than a fun feature.

          2/ NG: No base invasions by aliens, less variety of challenge, less interesting.

          Agreed. No X-COM base invasions is a plus for OG. There is alien base invasion in the NG though.

          3/ 4 soldier limit, upgradable to 6. In OG, 14 gave you more tactical flexibility. Newbies could be used as sacrificial lambs.

          Disagree slightly. 4 is too few, 6 is ok, 14 is too much. I would say that 6 + 1 Tank would be the ideal configuration. I suspect that people always sent their 6 best soldiers plus 1 or 2 tanks as soon as they got the chance on the OG. So, 6 is ok, but the sweet spot would have been 6 + 1 or 2 tanks. More than 6 soldiers and combat can easily become a chore.

          4/ NG: forced troop specialization vs OG Voluntary troop specialization. more freedom & flexibility to play the game the way you want.

          Disagree. I prefer the way troops specialize in the OG. More freedom is not the same as more strategic depth. More freedom resonates more with simulation while rules and constraints resonate more with strategic gaming. I prefer the latter any day.

          5/ NG: almost no inventory management (1 grenade). OG Full inventory management of every location on the body. More freedom and flexibility.

          Slightly disagree. Inventory may sound very restrictive from the outside (without playing). But, after you play and start climbing the skill ladder you easily forget the inventory constraints completely. Trust me on this, you would prefer the way the NG deals with the inventory. Again, OG sounds more simulationish (more freedom) where NG sounds more strategic/abstract.

          6/ NG: Tiny maps, OG Big maps. Tactical complexity and flexibility.

          Agreed. NG maps are its Achilles heel.

          7/ NG: Impossible to pick anything off the ground. OG no problem.

          Agreed. The impossibility to pickup medis from fallen comrades is absurd.

          8/ NG: Impossible to pass or throw equipment between soldiers. OG no problem.

          Slightly agreed. Not as important as the ability to pickup stuff from the ground, but still, it would be nice to see someone throw a grenade to a fellow soldier.

          9/ NG: Alien equipment explodes. OG Alien equipment can be picked up.

          Neutral. Why is this a problem? NG equipment explodes for a reason, and alien equipment can be picked up intact later in the game as tech progresses. This one you could only know by playing.

          10/ NG: Panicked soldiers never drop their weapon. OG they do, more interesting, realistic.

          Neutral. I see this as flavor. Why would this be an important aspect? I don’t miss this while playing, so, not an issue really, or very minor at best.

          11/ OG: Soldiers can have more interaction with the environment in general. more interesting

          Neutral. Not sure here. You mean, free aim? There’s free aim in the NG with some weapons. Besides, free aim would destroy the NG’s cover system. So, this was a design decision that you don’t really feel as missing while playing.

          12/ NG: 2 actions only, less control vs OG: time units, more tactical flexibility, more freedom, deeper

          Disagree. Time units gives you more flexibility but also more hassle. “Err.. what do I need to do to have 4 points to spare, so that I can duck”. “Hum… How many points to shoot? Ok, I’ll move 1 tile, another, ok, done. Shoot. Good”. This is unnecessary micromanagement in my view, and a hassle. Believe me, I played the OG heavily (and TFTD), and TUs were great at the time, but now I don’t miss them a bit. There’s enough complexity with the new actions system. And, it’s not 2 actions only. There are abilities that let you fire 3, 4 or more times. But, the main approach (move and shoot) is really what you wanted to do 90% of the times in the OG in any case. And now it’s much more simple to achieve that and you can concentrate more in the game and have more fun.

          13/ NG: Infinite ammo vs OG: Ammunition modeled for all weapons, more interesting, more realistic, immersion

          Neutral. I don’t remember very well how often I used spare magazines in the OG. It’s been a long time you know (and yes, you can review games by themselves, without the need to constantly compare them to something else). Ammo is indeed infinite in the NG. However, the reloading mechanic is fun and elegant. You really need to think if you should reload or push forward. Should you suppress and empty your magazine, or should you save ammo? And, there’s tech to increase magazine length later in the game. Believe me, you don’t miss the need to bring ammo as a separate item with you. I think this is one more example of simulation vs strategy. Ammo micromanagement drops more on the simulation side of the equation.

          14/ NG: No specific crouch or prone orders, NG whatever you want as long as they have TU. More freedom, flexibility, more interesting.

          Disagree. The constant need to think how many points you need to crouch in the end (dominant strategy) was annoying. But, you only see it now after playing the NG. You can hunker down now, which is stay put (don’t show yourself). I like the mechanic and don’t miss specific crouch a bit.

          15/ NG: Base room layout is static, OG base room layout totally flexible, bases can be designed.

          Disagree. Bases can be designed in the NG as well. The way to design the base will dictate how efficient it will be in the long run. The strategic depth on the base could be higher, but saying that the base room layout in the NG is static is false.

          16/ NG: Cant influence research speed, OG can influence research speed, flexibility, realism.

          Neutral. Not sure here. Don’t remember. You can influence research speed in the NG by constructing more research labs and acquiring more scientists…

          17/ NG: Targeting bug, shooting through walls, 20% chance at point blank range vs OG: consistent targeting. less Frustration & breaking of immersion

          Slightly disagree. Targeting bug you mean shooting through walls? Yes, it’s a graphical glitch. It’s not nice but it’s not unbearable to watch either (and it manifest unoften). Not sure what you mean with 20% chance at point blank range. You would need to understand how the NG’s cover system work to understand what I would have to say. After you understand how cover works you don’t have any problem with “what seems like point blank” or “but I’m right next to the alien” kind of thing. The cover system isn’t easy to understand at first, and this is a slight minus, but it’s quite an elegant system after you understand it and accept it, of course. There’s a chance you may not like it and that can ruin your entire combat experience though.

          18/ NG: Teleport bug vs OG no teleport bug.Frustration, breaking immersion.

          Neutral. The teleport bug is specific to the NG. There’s no point in comparing this with the OG. OG also had bugs. However, the teleport bug (more rare below Impossible difficulty) does destroy immersion in the NG completely. It has been satisfactorily fixed in the latest patch (#4) but there’s still work to be done here no doubt.

          19/ NG: 100% Scripted (on-rails) missions vs OG totally random missions. flexibility, variety, immersion ++ for OG, replay value.

          Agreed. This is point where I think the NG got it totally wrong.

          20/ NG: Limited variety of maps, limited terrain types, repetition, vs OG: Replay value, fight anywhere in the world, desert, arctic….etc.

          Agreed. Yes, like in 6/ above, maps are a problem in the NG. They know it, acknowledged it. But, there’s still no word about improving this. However, there are still a lot of maps available (around 80) that will be enough to give you 1 excellent playthrough and perhaps a couple more enjoyable ones. Second wave gives you a couple more extra runs perhaps, but that’s it really. Replayability is a problem in the NG at the moment yes.

          21/ NG: All maps and alien “spawn points” are totally fixed, they never change. OG Maps and alien number and positions are all randomized for every map. tactical flexibility, interest, replay.

          Slightly agree. Spawn points do change, but only pragmatically as it seems. The new patch changed some spawn points by the way. But, yes, fixed spawn points is not a great feature.

          22/ NG: Aliens never (or hardly ever) move until discovered. OG they wander around everywhere before you see them.

          Disagree. Yes, up to Classic. But, when you play Impossible, oh they do come after you big time.

          23/ NG: Only a single strike team can be deployed at a time. vs OG multiple strike teams can be sent. flexibility, realism.

          Slightly disagree. I see no need to have two strike teams. In my view it only complicates things (not more complexity, just more complicated, more micro). However, there’s some less than satisfactory feeling when equipping and re-equipping the squad in the NG when we want to send different squads to different missions. So, there’s not great flexibility, but again, I don’t miss multiple skyrangers. There’s also a plus on having a single skyranger from an emotional attachment point of view. You do feel it while playing, specially if you finish the game.

          24/ NG: Strategic layer is essentially gone. The geoscape is nothing more than an interactive, push (X) to continue, movie. OG: Complex, essential strategic layer which made a huge difference to the way the game played out.

          Slightly disagree. You’re too fast with the “strategic layer is essentially gone”. That’s false. There’s a strategic layer. Could be further worked out, with better balance and more depth. I only slightly disagree because yes, I do miss the old geoscape. It’s only push button now yes.

          25/ NG: No assaulting alien bases vs OG: alien base assaults, less variety of challenge, less interesting.

          Disagree. There’s alien base assault in the NG. There were more alien base assaults in the OG indeed but there’s alien base assault in the NG, and a damn good one too.

          “I could probably do more, but I think I’ll stop here. Sorry about the long post but you did request it.”

          No problem, I had fun, thanks. And, I think your post and mine will be helpful for folks that are still on the fence.

          “These are the main reasons why I decided not to buy the game. Basically the NG is shallow, less tactical, totally scripted, on rails, less interesting, less realistic and more frustrating for all the above reasons. It’s not the kind of XCOM game I would have any interest in playing. I’m looking forward to reading about Xenonauts and keeping my fingers crossed that they don’t cave in to the console crowd. :)”

          More freedom is not equal to more depth and “more tactical”. I’m sorry but I disagree with you completely here. Less interesting is a subjective opinion. Less realistic – I don’t feel that. And, if you mean the “more freedom” thing again, then I’m sorry again, but it’s a mater of taste. Perhaps you prefer to have more simulation aspects on your game, I prefer to have more strategic aspects.

          I’m also looking forward for Xenonauts. It should be much closer to the OG. So, I guess you’ll like that more. But, I’m in a better position than you here. I loved the OG, TFTD, the NG and will most probably love Xenonauts as well :)

          Believe me, you would love XCOM: Enemy Unknown, you just don’t know it yet, but you would. There’s a reason why my review for XCOM:EU is 9.4, even with the glitches, bugs, heavy scripting, can’t pickup stuff from the ground, lacking maps and geoscape simplification ;)

          And, what about the excellent and great stuff to be found specifically in the NG? ;)

          XCOM: Enemy Unknown is a very addictive game. The squad progression is excellent. Rich, and fun. You do get very attached to your squad. I think much more than in the OG. The tactical part of the game is superior to the OG (this is consensual from what I understand by the way). The cutscenes are good and the animations are simply … outstanding! You feel thrilled every single time there’s a new mission to be fought and you need to customize your squad in the hangar. Music is superb at places. Really, get this game. You will. Probably not now because you already made up your mind, but most definitely when the expansion comes out.

          Conclusion:

          Agreed: 5 (two are about maps)
          Slightly agree: 2
          Slightly disagree: 5
          Disagree: 6
          Neutral: 7

          Plus 7 things strongly favorable to NG:
          - Squad progression
          - Squad attachment
          - Tactical part is superior
          - Cutscenes
          - Superb animations
          - Thrill feeling every time before mission (better in my view)
          - Superb music at places

        • zigzag says:

          I think it’s important to separate “complex” and “meaningful.” Certainly, there were aspects of the original that were more complex, but whether those aspects were meaningful depends on the player.

          For what it’s worth, here are my opinions on whether the changes were “meaningful.” I didn’t include much discussion since “I find these decisions interesting and not those” requires little explanation.

          1 and 2. Disagree, I like the variety of buildings in the new game.
          3. Slightly disagree for the reasons suggested by Adam.
          4. Disagree.
          5. Disagree.
          6. Mostly agree. I like the smaller size and craftsmanship of the new maps, but liked the greater variety of the original maps.
          7. and 8. Disagree.
          9. Slightly agree. It makes sense from a gameplay perspective, but it seems very inelegant.
          10. Disagree, see 7. and 8.
          11. Not sure what you mean.
          12. Disagree.
          13. Disagree.
          14. Disagree.
          15. Disagree.
          16. Inaccurate.
          17. Strongly agree with the bugs, strongly disagree with the mechanics breaking immersion.
          18. Strongly agree.
          19. Slightly agree. The scripted missions are fun in that they offer different challenges than random missions, but I wish there were more sandbox missions.
          20. Strongly agree.
          21. Agree.
          22. Agree.
          23. Neutral. The forced choices are essential to the gameplay and atmosphere of the new game.
          24. Strongly disagree. Managing the new game’s strategic layer is the most difficult task in the new game. It’s significantly more difficult than in the original game – although randomness plays a role in determining this difficulty. In terms of complexity, the new game’s strategic layer involves more discrete mechanics than the original game. I feel that some of this complexity is unnecessary, and that some of these mechanics could be combined (e.g. research and academy).
          25. Agree.

          I realize that when you write that the new game is “shallow”, etc. you’re writing that as a shorthand for “for me the game is shallow”, etc., but in my defense, I’ve never owned a console in my life and suck at Halo.

        • zigzag says:

          @Adam I’m posting my reply to your reply to Loyal_Viggo here since you’re more likely to read it.

          Certainly, there are problems with the comment – “I can surmise that you’ve only ever played one strategy game” is a bad inference, and “emasculated” doesn’t sensically apply to games. But civility aside, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that kind of strategy when it comes to arguing about games.

          Games are successful only if they are fun. There are no rules that guarantee fun, and if I find a game fun and you don’t (assuming that our opinions are based on a thorough understanding of the game, etc.), there are no arguments that I can produce that will convince you to revise your opinion and vice versa. The above discussion about complexity and “meaningfulness” demonstrates this. Given this, I read arguments about whether or not a game is “good” as just enthusiastic declarations of support. “You’re a @#$%-ing incompetent judge” is just about the best argument that we can make in support of our tastes.

        • Adam Solo says:

          @zigzag
          My reply to Viggo had to do with both content and form, for the reasons I explained in the comment.

          This is not a tastes war, because that would be an unwinnable one and would just generate resentment among people. If you played and don’t like the game, that’s normal, as long as you can minimally explain why (I don’t have fun with the game is enough explanation I agree) and don’t just offend others by saying “you must have played only this game, bla bla”.

          I don’t find particularly happy that you replied here. You should have replied directly to Viggo and me above, because you seem to be mixing Mark’s and Viggo’s cases, and they are (seem to be at least) completely different.

          Viggo said to have bought the game and seems to have played it to a point of hating the experience. Mark, however, has read reviews and played the demo. So, it’s beyond me to convince Viggo that the game is great and that he should play it, while in Mark’s case it’s a bit different.

          Mark has a point about reviews. He read them and reached the conclusion that the game was not for him from a theoretical stand point. That’s what reviews are for. Good. But, in this case reviews are mostly very positive for a reason, and, he’s an X-COM fanatic (like me), so, I feel the need to give him a second and third chance to think it through. Because I think I owe him that much. I see this also as kind of an academical experiment, to see how far one can go just by reading reviews.

          So, it’s beyond me to convince anybody that they should have fun with a game when they do not. That would be foolish, and not very intelligent, for the reasons you mention. But, it’s my job to help people who haven’t played the game understand if a game may or not be for him/her, even after one has read reviews.

          What surprised me the most about Mark is how convinced and sure he was that the game is a 5 or 6 without having played it. Not that one can’t have an opinion based on an opinion, but having such a strong opinion without playing (or just playing the demo), doesn’t seem enough to bash a game publicly. But, now, it’s clear why Mark doesn’t like what he read. He’s more into freedom and flexibility than fixed rules and constraints. And, that’s perfectly understandable.

        • Mark says:

          @ Adam

          “However, you have to admit that although informed you cannot have the same unbiased approach as someone who has played both games heavily.”

          I’d agree with that, in fact it looks like a couple of my points were a bit off based on the fact that I haven’t played the full game, so thanks for taking the time to fill me in.

          1/ “sometimes I had the feeling that the multiple bases of the OG were a filler feature more than a fun feature.”

          Have to agree to disagree here. I loved the multiple bases and would miss their absence greatly.

          3/ “I suspect that people always sent their 6 best soldiers plus 1 or 2 tanks as soon as they got the chance on the OG.”

          Yes, but I also included 4 or so “sacrificial lamb” rookies who were used solely to smoke out the aliens so that the veterans could kill them. If they survived, great, if not, oh well, rookies are cheap. That strategy is no longer available now that every soldier is important.

          4/ “More freedom resonates more with simulation while rules and constraints resonate more with strategic gaming. I prefer the latter any day.”

          Interesting because I’m the opposite. I don’t want to sit down to a game of X-COM to play a glorified game of chess. If I want that, I have chessmaster 10. I play X-COM to immerse myself in the idea that I’m the commander of an elite squad of troops, desperately fighting to save Earth from slavering alien hordes. Anything that cuts into the quality of that simulation and breaks the immersion is bad IMO.

          10/ “Neutral. I see this as flavor. Why would this be an important aspect? I don’t miss this while playing”

          People acting like real people is important to me for immersion and simulation purposes. I can see how it wouldn’t affect the strategy and therefore why you don’t find it important.

          11/ “Not sure here. You mean, free aim? There’s free aim in the NG with some weapons.”

          Yes that’s what I meant and no, I wasn’t aware that free aim was available with some weapons. That’s a big plus IMO. In real life, you can aim wherever you want, in chess you cant.

          In the OG, you could shoot at an alien, miss totally and accidentally hit another alien standing behind. That was totally awesome! Is that even possible in the NG?

          12/ “Time units gives you more flexibility but also more hassle.”

          I don’t care about hassle, I care about my squad being able to behave and act like real people, not chess tokens. If that means I have to do a simple sum in my head then so be it.

          15/ “Disagree. Bases can be designed in the NG as well.”

          By this I meant the actual physical layout and position of the rooms (which becomes important during base invasions, a poorly laid out base can be a nightmare to defend). Not so important I guess if the aliens never invade your base.

          18/ “It has been satisfactorily fixed in the latest patch (#4)”

          Wasn’t aware of that. Thanks.

          22/ “But, when you play Impossible, oh they do come after you big time.”

          Didn’t know that, much more interesting!

          23/ “I see no need to have two strike teams.”

          Because it’s something that I could and would do in reality. Why cant I do it in the game? Only because the game isn’t deep enough to allow something that would be common sense for any base commander with a brain in RL.

          25/ “Disagree. There’s alien base assault in the NG.”

          Didn’t realize that. So there’s 1 and 1 only, (scripted) base assault in the NG? That’s certainly better than nothing I guess, but its a far cry from the many random base assaults in the OG. And the fact that it’s totally scripted. Ugh!

          “Perhaps you prefer to have more simulation aspects on your game, I prefer to have more strategic aspects.”

          Yes, I think that’s pretty much it, the new game is far more abstract and I’m not after an abstract tactical challenge. I’m interested role-playing a squad of real soldiers fighting a desperate war against technically superior alien monsters. When I find that I cant pick stuff up from the ground, it kinda breaks that immersion.

          “Believe me, you would love XCOM: Enemy Unknown, you just don’t know it yet, but you would.”

          Well as I said, I didn’t hate it or anything, I just thought it didn’t compare favorably to the OG. I would probably consider picking up the full game if I saw it on sale on Steam. Thanks for taking the time to reply and correct the points that I was wrong on. It does make me see the game in a slightly more positive light although its still not something that I would pay full price for.

        • Mark says:

          @ Zigzag

          19. “Slightly agree. The scripted missions are fun in that they offer different challenges than random missions, but I wish there were more sandbox missions.”

          more? I didn’t think there were *any*. It’s all 100% scripted isn’t it?

          “23. Neutral. The forced choices are essential to the gameplay and atmosphere of the new game.”

          Which is one of the main reasons I prefer the OG.

          “24. Strongly disagree. Managing the new game’s strategic layer is the most difficult task in the new game.”

          I wasn’t talking about managing the base, I was taking about hunting down and killing UFO’s in the geoscape of the OG. The geoscape in the NG is just a glorified button to launch the next cut scene.

          “I realize that when you write that the new game is “shallow”, etc. you’re writing that as a shorthand for “for me the game is shallow”, etc.”

          Yes exactly.

        • Adam Solo says:

          @Mark

          Just one more.

          You say:

          “I’m interested (in) role-playing a squad of real soldiers fighting a desperate war against technically superior alien monsters. When I find that I cant pick stuff up from the ground, it kinda breaks that immersion.”.

          In my opinion, the NG is far superior in role-playing aspects. Well, at least in what one may consider RPG elements to be. The 4 different classes available (not free to choose though) and the very interesting skill tree, which forces you to make tough and fun choices, are probably the best elements of this game. And, as for “real soldiers”, it’s subjective what that means. If you mean more freedom and flexibility, yes, OG is better. But, if you mean, the way you care about your soldiers and the attachment bond you make with them, than the NG is far superior on that department.

          OG soldiers feel more like real soldiers yes. I dare to say “normal” soldiers. Were in the NG, soldiers feel more special, like an A-Team more than a group of marines that need to learn new tricks fast, if you want.

          NG is more fantastical while OG is probably more down to Earth. So, if you prefer more the latter (which is clear by now that you do), you’ll probably enjoy Xenonauts much more.

        • zigzag says:

          @Mark

          “It’s all 100% scripted isn’t it?”

          This may be a matter of terminology. By “unscripted” I meant sandbox missions that don’t have any objectives other than kill all the aliens. There are other missions that involve tasks like moving a designated unit to an extraction point, diffusing a certain number of bombs within a time limit, etc. All of the maps – sandbox and non-sandbox – feature precreated terrain. The sandbox missions are somewhat random in terms of the kinds and locations of alien spawns – no missions on the same map play out identically. I like the map design and feel that the non-sandbox missions add to the game, but I do miss the original’s sandbox missions’ greater variety.

          “I wasn’t talking about managing the base, I was taking about hunting down and killing UFO’s in the geoscape.”

          I misunderstood you, then. Is this a similar complaint to 23 (lack of direct control over transports and interceptors)? It’s true that you can’t preemptively dispatch interceptors on sorties, but I never got any utility out of that in the original game.

          @Adam

          Fair enough, I know that you need to be concerned with civility as the webmaster. I don’t have any issues with invective as an argument strategy since I think that aesthetic issues like “fun” are emotional issues.

          I know that the two cases are different, and didn’t mean to conflate them. I also agree that Mark is the kind of person that, even if he did know everything there is to know about the game, wouldn’t like it. I posted here since I wasn’t sure if you’d read anything higher in the page. (I should have known better, since you chastised some other folks for posting in the wrong place.) Anyhow, enough said about that.

        • Ben says:

          Adam, i am a bit late to reply to this but:

          [quote]9/ NG: Alien equipment explodes. OG Alien equipment can be picked up.

          Neutral. Why is this a problem? NG equipment explodes for a reason, and alien equipment can be picked up intact later in the game as tech progresses. This one you could only know by playing.[/quote]

          You state that destroyed weapons in the game, and you get the later as the mission ends, is the same as being able to pick up weapons in the OG.

          This is fairly wrong. I will give a example: Plenty of times in the OG games, i ran into situations where ammo became a problem on the battlefield, or even i ran out of ammo for a specific weapon ( RPG ).

          Nothing more handy, then being able to send that soldier, to pick up a dead aliens long range weapon. Better then him using its shorts range weapon. Or picking up grenades …

          It may not seem like a important thing, but this has saved my squad lives more then one can imagine.

          Also, why even bother with research in NG? If you only use the weapons from the aliens after each mission, even if you already know how the handle them. Its just pure dumb. Adam, you stated that you look upon OG more as normal soldiers, where as NG is specialized like Marines.

          Find my one Marines, Seal, or whatever, who will let a perfectly good superior weapon ( that he knows how to operate ), go to wast during the mission? There is not one soldier that is that dumb! Let alone a trained specialized soldier. Personally, i find that a insult to any soldier: You can not use any enemy there weapons until you finish your mission. Not even if it can save your life.

          Just nuts.

          [quote]10/ NG: Panicked soldiers never drop their weapon. OG they do, more interesting, realistic.

          Neutral. I see this as flavor. Why would this be an important aspect? I don’t miss this while playing, so, not an issue really, or very minor at best.[/quote]

          Again, see point 9. Not only that, it also made for a more interesting gameplay. It can happen to them or to your team. Having one of your people drop there gun, was sometimes frustrating, but realistic. Same with the aliens. At times, it even became a tactic. When i knew one of my guys was probably going to be taken over by mind control, because of a tricky situation, i rather have had them drop there weapon.

          Its the same with the slots. 16 slots = two tanks and several soldiers. Or 1 tank, several veterans, and a bunch of rookies. I also played like Mark. If i was in need to train rookies, there where send on the battlefield as cannon fodder. If they survived, and got more experienced, they got moved up in the squad. You do not send your most experienced men into a door, knowing that the chance is very big that they will be killed by cross firing aliens.

          You end up defending the NG by saying: “Hey, there was a (scripted) alien base invasion”. What is the point of mentioning that? Its like saying: Hey, OG is a car that has airco, and you say, but my NG car has also airco, if i just roll down the windows. *lol* Just kidding with ya.

          I can go on for a while. A game does not need to be a calculator on steroids to be great to play, but it also does not need to be made like this. I am just saying, NG may be a enjoyable game, but at the same time, it robs there clients from what might have been a GREAT game. And the difference between a mediocre wast of time game, that people are not going to be replaying for years, and a great game, that people will use as a benchmark, is a lot in the DETAILS. And its not just graphic details…

          The more detailed a game world is, the more combination you can do, besides the basic gameplay, it allows you to reply the game, and try out new forms of playing the game. But the more limited your choices are, the less the game becomes memorable.

          Will people 5 years from now be saying: Darn, i wish this new game was more like NG, or will they say OG… I think this answers itself. NG looks like a game, where you play a few times, and just forget about.

        • Ben says:

          O and Adam, i almost forgot, check out “Divinity: Original Sin” on kickstarter. They raise money to add MORE content to the game, more quests, more interaction, etc…

          They allow the combination of products to create new weapons.

          Combinations of spells. Freeze enemy -> use fire -> ice melts -> use electricity attack + water on him = more damage.

          This is how you create replay ability. People can try the game in much different approaches, and i’m sure already that this game will be memorable, just based upon the fact that the developers are going for details, not just a rails game.

  6. ashbery76 says:

    Oh yes micromanaging multiple 14 man squads and their inventories and samey bases was such good 1990′s design and missed,err not.One man’s horrid tedium is another man’s flexibility it seems.

    • zigzag says:

      Or, yeah, I could have just written that instead.

    • Mark says:

      Are you kidding? I loved managing 14 man squads and getting all their gear exactly right for a specific mission! Although like Adam said, only 6-8 were real combat veterans. The others were just sacrificial lambs whose purpose was to draw fire.

    • csebal says:

      Sure, the original XCOM’s UI was not a dream to use. You had to reequip soldiers pretty much for every combat. There is a lot that could be done to improve on that.

      Dismissing the OG because of that is silly however, as you have to remember it was made a good 20 years ago. You have standards that are based on 20 years of R&D and yes, there were plenty of improvements UI wise in the past 20 years, just look through all the various operating systems and the changes they went through. Today, the UI for a game with 14 man squads would be done completely differently and a lot more friendlier to the users.

      As for the 14 man squads themselves, I can only write in my own name: I sure had my squad of elite soldiers AFTER A WHILE, mostly through Darwinian selection, but I always used my available capacity whenever possible. Also worth noting, that 14 was only the limit of the sky ranger. 2 tanks and 6 guys in that one mid game, or 10-14 guys with 0-1 HWPs in early game. Once you got to Avengers, you had a whopping 26 slots, of which I used every last bit for the last mission.

      Especially if you played on higher difficulty levels in iron man style, you had to depend on human wave tactics to survive the brutal onslaught of aliens.

      So yea, I miss having meat shields equipped with grenades to send in front of my valuable veterans. I miss having meat shields equipped with primed grenades (effectively suicide bomber with a dead man’s switch) enter through doorways where I suspected an ambush.

      I’m not saying that the new game is a bad one, but its a different one. It is a good XCOM adaptation in my book that I had fun playing. Yet it was not able to replace the original games in my heart, mostly because of the many things it changed to become more accessible for casual players.

  7. Lancor says:

    The new xcom wasn’t bad, just when you have played games like Jagged Alliance 2 its sad to see such a dumbed down combat system. No action points, no real aiming, no stances, no inventory etc. etc. etc.

    • Adam Solo says:

      I simply loved Jagged Alliance 2. I can’t explain why in precise terms at this point, because it was a long time ago. I think it was the atmosphere and immersion above all. It was also the visceral experience. An excellent experience. Well, there were certainly many good things about JA2. I also happen to love XCOM: Enemy Unknown.

  8. Adam Solo says:

    Sometimes I get the feeling that a significant percentage of all the hatred against XCOM: Enemy Unknown is because of the console port. Criticism usually involves “dumbed down” or “console port”. But, there are other reasons of course, like heavy scripting, lacking maps and others.

    But, again, this console thing drives PC users mad. Part of the reason is most probably fear that PC games will die to consoles or something. I think that will not happen, at least not too soon. I don’t own any console and only had a few experiences at friends. I still think consoles are not for me, but I do recognize some of their advantages and disadvantages of course.

    What I’m trying to say is. I think many people, particularly oldschool X-COM fans don’t forgive Firaxis for porting the game to consoles and accuse them of having dumbed down the game in that process. Well, truth is, I wouldn’t know. I couldn’t know, because I don’t play consoles. So, I played and reviewed the game as it is without any kind of prejudice, and, I discovered that I really like it.

    So, sometimes I feel that the game deserves more from X-COM fans. But, I recognize and accept that some still prefer the OG for many reasons. Some people prefer to have more freedom and flexibility, I totally get that. But, I loved both the OG and now also the NG. And, I suspect many oldschool people would love it too, if they gave it a chance.

    • Mark says:

      “But, again, this console thing drives PC users mad. Part of the reason is most probably fear that PC games will die to consoles or something. I think that will not happen, at least not too soon.”

      I agree that PC games are in no danger of dying off any time soon, as long as there’s a market, there will always be products for it.

      The problem with consoles is that when a dev makes a game for both the PC and console, they will inevitably degrade it in terms of technology AND dumb it down below what they could do if they targeted the PC alone. Reasons being…

      1/ Console hardware is not as powerful as PC hardware and the Dev wants to make sure their game will run properly on both. Therefore the game is only made to the peak standards of the lowest common denominator, the console.

      2/ Console controllers are not as sophisticated at complex input as a mouse / keyboard combo, therefore the game must be set up in such a way that only a limited number of inputs can do everything the game is capable of. This often means cutting or reducing the more complicated features of a game so that it can be shoehorned into the console control scheme.

      3/ Devs who target both PC and Console are targeting as wide an audience as they possibly can in order to maximize profits. And they know very well that the largest audience is the casual gamer. Therefore they dumb their game down to the point that even the lowest common denominator consumer will be able to play it, resulting in games where its impossible to lose if you have an IQ over 100 and pretty hard even if you don’t. I realize XCOM is not in this category, due to the harder modes, but many console/PC games are.

      Compare this to say Kerberos’s SOTS 2 where they only had a niche, target audience of fanatical PC sci-fi geeks and therefore made their game quite complex and deep. Now I’ll be the first to admit that they made a breathtakingly horrific mess of it, but even if it was working 100%, could you really imagine it being targeted at casual console gamers? It would almost certainly end up being massively dumbed down for the mass market.

      So the problem with PC users disliking consoles is not so much that we think consoles will kill PC’s but rather that ALL games will ultimately *become* console games, that is, bland, simple, formulaic and dumb. I don’t think that XCOM-EU fell totally into that trap, but I’ll bet the Devs had to fight the suits every inch of the way for what ultimately did get through. There were clearly compromises though as it *has* been dumbed down compared to the 18yr old original. Thus the resentment.

      • Adam Solo says:

        I acknowledge your points. But, I still think some (if not most) of the resentment by some people may be ungrounded and based on prejudice. For people who advocate that the console-port is a show stopper, I mean. Why? Because again, I’m a PC player. I played everything from basic arkanoid-type games (I mean much more basic than arkanoid) to Civ games and everything under the sun PC-wise. Again, I don’t have a console and I didn’t play as much as 10h total perhaps in friend’s.

        And, I had a ball with XCOM:EU, as much as I have with Civ games or other games, of course in a completely different way. But, fun-wise, it’s the same thing. The game is extremely addictive. Believe me when I say this. And, if you don’t believe me, you don’t win so much awards and very high reviews for nothing.

        I love complex games like the next oldschool. Where I think XCOM:EU failed is not on lack of complexity but on lack of randomness and replayability. It’s still enough for you to squeeze your money out of it, but it’s too scripted and the maps, tile-wise, are fixed and quite small. They may have gone a bit too far also on not allowing inter-soldier interactivity (e.g. pickup stuff from the ground). But, the rest is pure fun and joy.

        But, if you bring with you some prejudice baggage, any kind of baggage, saying you “can’t like this game because of A, B or C”. Then by all means.

        But, my point is that saying that the game being ported to consoles was a sacrilege and that it can’t ever be a good game because of that, is pure prejudice. And, proof of that is that I, a person who doesn’t play console, and have experience with strategy games, love it and recommend it to anyone who likes the X-COM theme, loves games like Jagged Alliance 2, X-COM or other turn-based tactical games.

        I’m not making this stuff up. I don’t have theories about the game, why it may be good or not. I played and ended the game several times, including the top difficulty in Ironman (no saves) and had a ball. So, I like it. There’s nothing on this Earth that can convince me that I don’t like it. It’s the pure truth. But, I may convince people who haven’t played the game that they may like it too. Now, it’s up to you (figuratively – not you, but everybody) to understand if you may like it as well or not. Therefore my review. But, arguing that this may not be your kind of game solely because there was a console port (not saying you’re saying this, I mean generally), I’m sorry, but you’re not seeing the full picture about XCOM:EU.

        • Ofer says:

          Adam,

          I think you’re “remake hatred” is a general phenomena – not unique just to XCOM – people also hate song remakes and movie remakes and even restaurants ‘remakes’.

          I think there are several very good reasons to hate remakes..

          1. A lot of remakes are really crap..

          2. It ‘ruins’ the original – if the new version is good, what happens to the original – maybe now its outdated, not so special. Also, you might feel special just because of the fact that not too may people know the original. “Its special, not for everyone”. Now, a lot of those “kids who were 3 or 4 years old when the original came out” are going to enjoy an enhanced version of it? Unthinkable!

          3. Its very hard to be open-minded about a remake. You immediately compare it to the original. With the original – people remember the good things, and forget the bad – this is just human nature. And when the new thing comes out, and you compare – its the other way around. Its easy to forget improvements, but regression immediately stand out.

          4. Many times the original is attached to a special period or feeling that you cannot “remake”. For instance, when I played the original XCOM, I was just finishing high school. That moment when an alien lay eggs in one of my favorite soldiers and turned him against me was just horrific and unforgettable. Today, its a bit more difficult to impress me (luckily, the animation for the same event in the new XCOM did the trick for me.. gruesome and awesome!!).

          5. Its very easy to think “they don’t have original ideas, so they steal good ideas and make them shallow so they can sell more and make money” (of course this is also true for the original, but never mind…)

          I really loved X-COM: EU but just writing this comment makes me feel all nostalgic to those green elevators of the original. In my opinion, the best way to enjoy this game is just to forget the original.

        • Adam Solo says:

          @Ofer
          Yes, you’re right, there’s also the “remake hatred” to add to the “console port hatred”. Good point.

          Your points make all the sense and I simply couldn’t have said it better.

          Especially this: the fact that a remake may ruin the original, and we can’t let that happen.

          This one is specially interesting and I completely agree: “people remember the good things, and forget the bad”. “When something new is out it’s the other way around”. So true. Strange the human psyche, but there’s a biological reason for this of course.

          We immediately compare it to the original, it can’t live by itself. How could it?

          Then, nostalgia, the fact that “we were young”.

          Then, devs who develop remakes or clones are lazy, they steal as you said.

          But, some people forget that X-COM, the OG, is also based in other games, as you say. It’s true fact that Gallop said to see “turn-based tactical game genre in general as “sons of Rebelstar”. I totally agree. I played Rebelstar and Rebelstar2. GREAT games for Spectrum. X-COM: UFO Defense (designed by Julian Gollop) is a spiritual successor of Rebelstar (also created by Julian Gollop), but few know, and no one cares.

          Can’t we enjoy games for what they are, and not take prejudice by whom develops them or if they are remakes or if there are console ports?

          You really hit the mark. Something for all of us to think about.

  9. Alex Carr says:

    I frequent Rock Paper Shotgun and XCOM is often the topic of discussion. It seems to follow the exact same outline as this thread. You have the haters who seem to dwell on all the complexity and micromanagement that is missing from the new release, while completely ignoring the ACTUAL problems with the NG. Namely, shallow strategic layer, tiny assortment of tiny maps and the weird alien reveal mechanism. People point out the subjectivity of their adoration for some of the more tedious elements of the original, but haters gonna hate as they say and they never relent. Instead, they engage in hyperbole like the NG “Is the worst game EVAR!”

    In my opinion, there aren’t enough turn based tactical games for us to snub our nose at a competent entry in the genre that’s greatest failing is how close it came to being really great.

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