XCOM Remake: 8 Things I Dig, 6 Things I Worry About

By Alec Meer on March 6th, 2012 at 1:01 pm.

Wolverine needs to go on a diet

Last week, I finally got to see XCOM: Enemy Unknown, Firaxis’ X-COM remake, with my own failing eyes. I have various things to post about it over the coming days, but let’s start with a break down of what made my little belly flutter with excitement and what made my weak jaw clench with anxiety. It’s X-COM, but… not. Here’s why.

I AM EXCITED ABOUT:

1. The base, or the ‘ant farm’ as Firaxis refer to it. A cross-section view of your (gradually tailored and expanded) facility with a side-on view into every room, it looks alive and busy, something beavering away to combat an enormous threat, something far more engaging than the static Lego of the original X-COM. The infirmary contains your wounded soldiers, the healthy ones are exercising in the gym or shooting pool in the recroom, the scientists and engineers are doing their things in their respective parts of the base. This is the world that you have built and staffed. I also dug hearing the intercom intone ‘commander to mission control, commander to mission control’ – a reminder that you’re there with a job to do.

2. The Skeleton Suit, which grants a grapple special ability. I’m still in two minds about the emphasis on special powers rather than straight combat (see below), but this is one that makes sense – it can get a Sniper to a rooftop location so he has a better line of sight. For instance, he can take out a lurking Sectoid that’s in Overwatch, so one of your assault or support soldiers are able to move closer to a building or alien without immediately getting their buzzcutted heads blown off. In other words, it’s genuinely expanding the game’s tactical elements, rather than being a posturing gimmick.

3. The little details. The way Sectoids cower when shot at, or crash through windows to escape, the way car windows shatter, the horrible crunching noises when new alien the Berserker beats a soldier to death, the way planned movement is shown as a fluid, flowing line, the way the dramatic music fades out when no enemies are visible. It seems crafted.

4. The new-look aliens. They seem an awful lot more alien now, whereas most of the originals were overtly humanoid and very 90s comicky. The Sectoids scuttle and snarl, the Mutons look like murderous monsters rather than muscly guys in catsuits… New, helmet-faced monster The Berserker I’m not too keen on the look of (see below), but I think the point is to have a palpably big threat on the battlefield, and one that you want to steer well clear of because it’ll beat your guys to death if they get within arm’s range.

5. The cover system. Well, provisionally – I need to try it for myself. It seems like a smart way of bringing in more military-like tactical thinking, of making the environment more than just a destructible maze, and of how you direct your soldiers around the battlefield as opposed to fanning them out in the relative open and hoping to see before you’re seen. Then again, it does risk losing some of the tension of never being quite sure whether you’re hidden or not.

6. The soldier customisation. There’s loads of it – name, nickname, country, race voice, head, skin colour, hair, hair colour, a range of beards…It’s a chance to build the team you want. On the other hand, there was something wonderful about growing attached to the random strangers you recruited in the original – but that appears to be in the new game too. It’s up to you whether you want to tailor your guys or not.

7. The destructible environments. This is not token destruction, trust me. When a rocket launcher guy fires at a diner, it takes out most of the front wall, part of the roof and leaves flaming wreckage all over the place. It also opens up a line of sight for the sniper on a nearby rooftop, so he can pick off one of the Mutons inside the diner rather than have to send another soldier in to its Overwatch range. This sort of casual, natural combo appears to be at the heart of XCOM’s missions. Also, explosions are fun!

8. The Geoscape. It looks great. Earth appears titanic, vulnerable, mysterious, too large to possibly defend and yet so evidently precious that you feel compelled to. It conveys the scale of what you’re involved in.

So that’s the good. What follows is not the bad as such, but the stuff that I need to see more of before I am confident that it is also good.

I AM WORRIED ABOUT:

1. The soldiers’ barks. ‘Eat this!’ ‘Set ‘em up, knock ‘em down!’ They’re cheesestastic, and will likely become irritating almost immediately. I’m not convinced these guys need to have audible personalities in the first place, let alone posturing action hero personalities.

2. The Fallout 3-style slo-mo kill shots. Yes, they lend a moment of celebration to a good kill, but I worry they can spoil the flow of your tactical thinking and will just get in the way of keeping a wide-eye on everything that’s going on. I do hope there’s an option to turn them off for players who just want to get on with things.

3. The camera as a whole seems a bit too free. This is obviously the intractable purist in me speaking, but being able to manoeuvre the view all over the place seems a little at odds with what your role as commander is. It means the player is not the guy watching and ordering from on high and afar, but a nebulous floating eye on the ground. That said, given the amount of little visual details it would be a shame to not have a way to admire them.

4. The focus on special abilities. Again, all judgement must be reserved until I’ve played it, but I’m somewhat concerned missions will partly become a matter of waiting for cooldowns rather than out-thinking and out-manoeuvring your enemy. There’s no denying, though, that some of these abilities increase the tactical thinking – for instance, Suppression pins down a foe or two so that you can move another soldier in safely. The question for me is whether this could be seen to be almost a cheat, a way of getting around a desperate, dangerous situation instead of having to deal with it as best you can and face the consequences.

5. Searching for threats on the Geoscape rather than being alerted when they happen. I can see why it’s been changed, as God only knows there were enough times in the original that I just sat there with the fast-forward button on waiting for a UFO to appear, but it seems to me as though this change makes you the an active doer rather than a desperate defender.

6. The Berserker, the hulking new alien on show. While the masked, clawed brute was certainly imposing, he seemed a bit generi-monster to me, rather than doing the X-COM thing of evoking all manner of B-movie staples. I appreciate that big, ugly bruiser presents a very different sort of threat to the psychic Sectoids and the gun-wielding Mutons, but it seems a bit too unsubtle, not something that’s going to scuttle in the darkness and put the frighteners on you.

All told? Excited. Very excited. I’m a little worried about some of the tonal stuff in the missions, but very much reassured that this is not a slapdash affair that doesn’t get X-COM. It gets XCOM. It is, I think, a true sequel to X-COM – one that uses the major concepts as a foundation then evolves them in new ways, rather than being a slavish retread or a soulless IP-grab. Whether all those ways are successful I won’t know until I’ve tried them for myself. And I am aching to play this for myself, both for my own edification’s sake and to get a better sense of the balance between straight-up turn-based combat and those special abilities.

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78 Comments »

  1. RedViv says:

    More umm-worried than good-gods-worried. Looking good so far.

  2. AmateurScience says:

    It cheers me that a goodly proportion of your worries can be assuaged with a toggle in the game options.

    • Alec Meer says:

      Yeah. Or, to put it another way, it’s totally something that the devs could still add an option for if the feedback suggests it’s needed.

    • AmateurScience says:

      Yes, that.

      I know nothing of programming, but I can’t imagine it’d be too difficult to pop something like that in there. Like you said, I can see frequent killcam crash zooms and ‘chew on this!’ style grunting getting swiftly on my nerves too.

      Side note: are the ‘grunts’ localised by nationality? I saw a chap sporting a union flag and another with what I think was an Iraqi one in the video. Would be a pretty big disconnect if they all sounded like Duke Nukem…

    • Ultra Superior says:

      It makes me very happy, that ALL of the things Alec is worried about – I will actually enjoy I think.

      I like kill cams because I never hurry in TBS, I like to plan carefully, so I do enjoy an animated reward. (Just like I did enjoy gore and funny texts in the combat log in fallout tactics etc.)

      SUPEREXCITED ABOUT THIS GAME.

      Quality TBS is looooong overdue.

    • aircool says:

      The only one that really, really worries me is the cheezee bull-talk of the soldiers. Not only is it annoying, but it soon becomes repetitive and an extreme annoyance to anyone else in the room.

      Exceptions are made for the Dreadnought and Librarian in the original DoW.

      Everything else looks great, super. Can’t wait :))

      • Biff_Stone says:

        It’s better to die for the emperor, than live for yourself

    • LockjawNightvision says:

      @AmateurScience

      On the barks, I think your idea would actually be pretty awesome. Having your dude spew invectives at the aliens in Ukrainian is immediately funnier and cooler than teabaggy American broshouts.

    • cairbre says:

      DLC voice packs! Or maybe be allowed to make your own. You f£$King alien C**T springs to mind.

    • sinister agent says:

      “Try phoning home with no face, you wrinkly little turd!”

  3. InternetBatman says:

    I kind of like the glam cam. It reminds me of Fallout 1′s incredibly elaborate death animations.

    • groovychainsaw says:

      Me too, i usually dislike such things, but seeing as the ‘shot’ is the culmination of the tactical work in XCOM (even the original), it’s nice to see the outcome play out as a mini-cinematic to raise the tension. Of course, it would also make sense to be a toggle, i dont know if I’d be so enamoured after a 20-30 hours campaign…

    • BobsLawnService says:

      Ther difference being that the Fallout 1 animations were unobtrusive and part of the game. Modern games scream “LOOK AT ME!” while going onto slow motion, panning and zooming and just generally being obnoxious about it.

  4. mr-wolfe says:

    I hate the idea of soldiers with dialogue and the “glam cam”. Hate it. Don’t tell me how to feel about a situation, I’m the commander, I decide whether this is good, bad, acceptable, or surprising.

    When I send a soldier into danger, I might be doing it as a cold-hearted experiment, willing to sacrifice this unlucky soldier without emotion. Other times, I’ll send my favorite soldier into battle praying that he makes it out unharmed. And other times yet, I’m sending him out with the full cockiness of a conqueror, hardened against the risks. Sometimes I blow the snot out of aliens and don’t even care. My soldiers may very well be panicking or losing morale, but that’s their experience, not mine.

    When the game is telling me how to feel about a situation, I get very annoyed very quickly. I hope we can turn off this silly feature.

    • Zephro says:

      Do you just avoid games with plot then?

    • tattertech says:

      Woah. What are you talking about? Nothing here in this article does different from what you said. If the soldiers have a voice and if the camera shows certain events at certain angles (or speeds) that doesn’t tell you to feel anything in particular. In fact all it does is enhance seeing THEIR experience while still keeping you separate to your own experience.

      Sometimes I think if people can’t find a legitimate complaint, they just make one up.

    • mr-wolfe says:

      Nothing here in this article does different from what you said. If the soldiers have a voice and if the camera shows certain events at certain angles (or speeds) that doesn’t tell you to feel anything in particular. In fact all it does is enhance seeing THEIR experience while still keeping you separate to your own experience.

      Are you also going to suggest that closeups, wide shots, and slow motion have nothing to do with evoking a particular feeling? The combination of music, camera, and dialogue has everything to do with interpreting the significance of a moment.

      It may seem like an overreaction, but these games are supposed to be cerebral. Imagine if you were playing chess on the PC, and every time a pawn was taken, the camera zoomed in and played weepy violin music, as if your best friend had just been killed. It would be pretentious and stupid, just like the glam cam here.

    • Biff_Stone says:

      aye, hear hear!!1

  5. Eclipse says:

    soldier’s barks will definitely put me off :(

    • Moonshine Fox says:

      Played the Afterxxxx games? GOOD LORD the soldiers sounds like mental retards >_>

    • Homercleese says:

      Playing through Aftershock now, and yep, the soldiers do grate. Especially when they only seem capable of expressing either a standoffish affirmative or else disgust to your orders. The 100th time you hear a soldier shout ‘That order is screwed!’ because an enemy he’s been attacking has been killed by another squaddie… well, it’s not easy listening.

    • Fumarole says:

      “You ain’t been in combat Ace until you’ve pulled an eyeball out of your pocket.”

  6. JackDandy says:

    This looks great!

  7. atticus says:

    Gertrud Schulz… I remember you! You got so many movement-points back in ’95 that you broke the game, leaving me with a soldier who could survive a twelve headshots but couldn’t move more than 4 feet per turn.

    You’re out!

    • jezcentral says:

      Ah yes, the 256 point bug, that went back to the beginning. (I.e. 257 became 1).

      Also, great X-COM-type name. Never have I supported a group of Germans like an X-COM crew taking out a Battleship. :)

  8. nfire3 says:

    I really really hope they have the option to turn off solider dialogue.
    The lines will repeat and it will take away alot of the game for me

    • Antsy says:

      This is the fix for a couple of these concerns. Let us switch off the soldiers commentary, let us switch off the kill shots and i’m happy.

    • eks says:

      If it really comes to it, I’m sure we can just replace the sound files with mute ones.

  9. Khemm says:

    The lack of TUs is not a concern? Or the lack of an inventory? Unlimited ammo?
    I am disappoint.

  10. Yargh says:

    The Berserker sounds like the new Lobsterman, with less cheese.

    • RadioactiveMan says:

      I loved the Lobstermen! Tough as nails, even against Sonic Cannons, EXCEPT if you could get up close enough to use Thermic Lances. Nothing quite as satisfying as putting a Thermic Lance through a Lobsterman Commander with that nice crackling sound… of course, there was always the fear that if you did not finish him off, he was going to peel open that fancy Aqua Plastic armored suit with his giant claws on the very next turn. The exploit/feature that Lances always cost the same number of TUs made life slightly easier, however…

      Plus, Lobstermen meant the presence of two other lovely bundles of joy: Tentacults (flying Cryssalids) and Bio-Drones (smaller, faster, deadlier versions of Cyberdisks).

      TFTD remains my favorite X-Com, but this new one is looking might exciting…

      • Biff_Stone says:

        Dont even remind me of TFTD it was too bloody scary, untill my guys could finally fly-swim around for better mobility, and those jellyfish, or squid thigs,,, arrrggggh!!!!!
        and then at the end my dudes are exploring the sunken city of Ryleh ?? I kept expecting Cthulu to rise up, especially when i saw pictures of him everywhere

  11. Bhazor says:

    “I appreciate that big, ugly bruiser presents a very different sort of threat to the psychic Sectoids and the gun-wielding Mutons, but it seems a bit too unsubtle,”

    http://ufopaedia.org/index.php?title=Reaper

    Subtle.

    • Moonshine Fox says:

      You know, I was thinking the exact same thing when I read that. The “Brute” or “Berserker” is just a spiffed up Reaper. And hey, how the heck claimed a Sectopod was subtle?

  12. Hodge says:

    The ‘searching for threats’ one and the ‘I win’ powers are ones I’m most worried about. Not that it can’t be a good game with them, more that they’ll steer it away from the feeling of the original X-Com.

    In the original, the passive radar thing really reinforces the idea that your team is hopelessly outclassed by the aliens and is basically clutching at straws. Same with the base invasions. The aliens call the shots for most of the game and for me that was a huge part of the atmosphere.

  13. MiniMatt says:

    You know, if when you get your paws on a copy you find yourself too tired or busy to play it I could always help out; you know, just doing a favour, that sort of thing. Hell I wouldn’t even charge you, hows that for fair.

  14. Sirbolt says:

    “3. The camera as a whole seems a bit too free.”

    What is this i don’t even

    Can a camera in a tactical shooter ever be “too” free? Personally i’m sick and tired of restricted camera angles. Whats the point of having 3D graphics otherwise? I don’t remember anything in the original about the commander being in a blimp overseeing the action, that was Syndicate mate.

    • plugmonkey says:

      Quite. My interpretation of the original game was never that I was literally looking through the eyes of the X-Com commander, as he sat on a very tall step-ladder at the edge of the battlefield.

      In fact, most of those things he’s worried about don’t seem to be all that much to worry about for anyone not given to paranoid worrying.

      Tell me, Meer, what exactly is your position on the Heathrow baggage retrieval system?

    • Alec Meer says:

      My position on you is that you are 67% rude.

    • plugmonkey says:

      Yay!

      I’m officially 33 % polite!

    • MCM says:

      This isn’t that kind of tactical shooter, sirbolt.

    • cairbre says:

      It could also be argued that your goons are wearing head cams like US Special Forces and you are watching the action from both their perspective and also from a drone flying over head.

    • Sirbolt says:

      Or it could be argued that this is a game and you don’t really need justification for a free camera, just that it makes it more convenient and better than not having one. Sorry about the shooter bit though, don’t know where that came from.

    • NathanH says:

      Dear me, we need justification for the camera in a turn based strategy game? How has it come to this?

      The best camera is, of course, the one that gives you every angle that you could ever want and no more.

  15. Hoaxfish says:

    Someone remind me, does this game have fog of war/hidden movement?

    • squareking says:

      I’d like to know this as well. Is the Hidden Movement screen gone forever? :(

  16. sneetch says:

    For the barks and the kill cam, I hope there’s a frequency slider. I don’t mind if the last shot in a mission (or a particularly good/lucky shot) results in a slo-mo-cam-er-a or a smart ass comment but if every second kill results in some cinematic shot or every second attack results in the soldier trotting out one of their three lines then it it’s just tedious.

    I hope you can turn off the voice altogether; I don’t want my French sniper or Korean heavy weapons expert to sound like Jonny Actionhero from the USA.

  17. JFS says:

    What about soldier lethality? Do your guys ever bite the grass? From the video here on RPS, it sure looks a lot more like Expendables with capital e than expendables with lowercase e, that is, much too action-heroey.

  18. DrScuttles says:

    Personally, I’m a big fan of things scuttling in the darkness. But I must admit, I also like making up the voice of the Berserker in my head (it’s Generic Monster Voice #2; my favourite). “Bwuuuuuuaaaah!”

  19. Antsy says:

    I’m not worried, at all. We were getting a FPS and now we’re being offered this too. Don’t like it? Play Xenonauts and be happy.

    This looks great and if they allow us to switch a few things on and off in the Options then i’ll be very happy indeed.

  20. jezcentral says:

    Forget the Berserker, I want to see the Chrysalid! The correct reaction to seeing one on the battlefield should be to make you want to run all your soldiers back to the ship. As you do so, it should rip through half your men.

    Of course, I also want them to hide it until just before launch, to keep me on tenterhooks. Make me beg and plead, Firaxis, make me bleed!

    • Lemming says:

      I always thought the Chrysalid evoked an ‘Alien’ vibe, so I’d hope to see it wall crawling and leaping like a mother-fucker from the shadows.

  21. hosndosn says:

    Neither the positive nor the negative points invoke any kind of emotion in me. Which is my dominant worry about the new X-Com. It seems utterly idea-free except for superficialities.

    Where are the new gameplay ideas? No, not making the game more accessible, actually giving me interesting ways to play it, that make me excited about tactical options and whatnot? It’s almost embarrassing how a game in 2012 doesn’t have a single game mechanic more than it’s almost 20 years younger predecessor.

    At least the equally boring fan-remakes aren’t dumbing down anything. But all of those neo-XComs seem to forget that X-Com: Apocalypse already added more to the franchise back in 1997 than any single one of the newer ones. We already had a working real-time system getting rid of time-units completely. So we’re going back to turn-based and try awkwardly re-inventing the wheel?

    • Zephro says:

      I would kill to see them implement the supply chain and politics of X-Com Apocalypse. Having the aliens infiltrate your main arms or fuel providers and having to carefully pick and chose which fights you could actually afford the resources to fight was brilliant.

      Or the more collateral damage you caused the less money the Senate would give you and you’d be in such dire straits you’d be turning off missile launchers on your interceptors to be on the safe side.

      Also the real-time combat was excellent in Apocalypse.

    • ZephyrSB says:

      I think Apocalypse gets a lot of stick it doesn’t deserve from the purists. I know, because I used to do it too. Then I clicked that magic ‘real-time’ button…

      The missions were clearly designed with real-time combat in mind, and the turn-based system clunkily bolted so not to alienate fans of the previous games – of course, due to it’s poor implementaion, that’s exactly what it did. The end-game could have probably done with being shorter too.

      There’s nothing wrong with a turn-based approach though, I still absolutely love playing though UFO/TFTD. Again, because their scenarios were designed with that system in mind.

  22. Shar_ds says:

    So, this sounds like a good, solid, turn-based tactical shooter… even that is good news to my ears!

    Now.. who wants to mod it to become XCOM: Ac!d….

  23. nimzy says:

    In the words of the immortal poet, “My love for you is like a truck/BERZERKERRRR”

    Also, I agree with you on #5, but just think of all the things they can do with it. Because you actually have to go out and find the aliens (evoking shades of Terror from the Deep‘s secret alien bases) you never know where they might have successfully infiltrated. This is probably a reminder that it’s being made in conjunction with another game that thrives on the idea that there are aliens among us already. Not to mention if funding is still handled how it is, there might be room to put in a way to get a heads-up from nations that you have good relations with by using their radar networks.

  24. dschinghis says:

    I don’t recall which of the prodigious developer interview posts it was in, but I seem to remember it being joked that, given the supposedly exhaustive mod capabilities in the final release, someone would inevitably make a “classic X-COM remake” mod that reverted almost everything back to the way the original played. If that were possible, it would seem to strongly suggest that almost all of the gripes mentioned here would be remedied — and quiet easily, at that — with a quick series of modifications.

    I can’t imagine it will be terribly hard to make a mod to change or silence the Action Man vocalizations or toggle off the kill-cam, for instance. Camera angle limitations might be trickier, but balance or art changes should be straightforward, so if the special ability cooldowns seem to over-emphasize their use, or if the Berserker model is too “generic monster”, those can always be tweaked.

    Some exciting, alien food for thought. Cripes, I’m looking forward to this game.

  25. Dreamhacker says:

    Wow, this looks so much like Silent Storm…

    …I freaking loved Silent Storm :) I also hope Firaxis will make this as moddable as Civ4. If they do, I’ll be making the Silent Storm TC mod.

  26. wodin says:

    If the game has issues (special abilities are what get me more, I’d rather your soldiers depend of their stats and the weapons you give them and your tactical know how) I only hope it’s moddable and some great spark will mod it the way I expect many want it to be.

  27. mickygor says:

    A lot of these concerns will be modded out quickly I imagine, if the devs don’t make them optional in the first place. Sounds like, against all odds, this game could actually live up to expectations.

  28. Nethlem says:

    I’m really interested in how “deep” the actual destruction goes.
    One of the fun aspects of the original Xcom’s always had been the destructability that would behave somewhat physically correct.

    Fires burning trough serveral stories of building, explosives at the right weak points bringing down whole buildings/stories.

    Is that level of destruction still present? With them using the UE engine i somehow fear all this “destructability” will boil down to “bombing away line of sight cover” without any actual real follow up effects.

    And do the barking soldiers at least have some kind of personality or are they all just “we came to conquer!” action heroes? If they mix up the personalities i won’t mind soldier chatter too much, that’s how Jagged Alliance made these chatters interesting.

    But i agree: Having all of them just be “GI Joe action heroes” kinda defeats the spirit of the original games. In the original games you never felt to certain about your position, you always felt vurnarable to that unknown enemy.

    Having all your soldiers barge in there in an “Let’s kick ass!” attidute could kill alot of that atmosphere. Maybe they react differently depending on moral status? Or did they throw out that concept completly?

  29. MythArcana says:

    This isn’t X-COM, sorry.

  30. eclipse mattaru says:

    If that’s it, I’m kind of glad, actually. The only worry that makes me raise an eyebrow from that list is the Berzerker: It does look like a crappy villain from a mid 90s superhero comic, and completely out of place with this new, more realistic (God I hate that word) overall look. Bleh. But again, if that’s the worst you could find, these guys can count my money already.

    The soldiers’ taunts do sound like they might get slightly annoying, though.

  31. buzzmong says:

    Suprising list, as it wasn’t what I was expecting.

    I’m still rather concerned about:

    1) No TU’s

    Actually for similar reasons for Alec’s thoughts with regards to “waiting for the abilites to recharge taking away the tactical options”. TU’s are incredibly flexible for that very reason.

    2) The inventory, or lack of.

    Ammo was important in XCOM. It won’t be in this title. Which I think is a shame.

    3) A squad size of four.

    Four? This isn’t XCOM! I need my meatshields/scouts to defend my higher skilled units!

    4) “Press (X) to Scan for UFO’s”

    Eugh, please. No. Unless it’s basically just functioning as an unpause button after you’ve faffed around in the base for a bit, which would be the same as normal XCOM, where you’d go to the 5 secs time to do stuff, then to 24hr time until something came up.

  32. Noise says:

    I agree there should an option to turn the ‘kill cams’ off, but overall I LOVE a free camera, and it makes sense to have one in a 3D turn based game.

    And yeah the squad dialogue is stupid. Other than that everything seems great.

  33. mr-wolfe says:

    Are you also going to suggest that closeups, wide shots, and slow motion have nothing to do with evoking a particular feeling? The combination of music, camera, and dialogue has everything to do with interpreting the significance of a moment.

    It may seem like an overreaction, but these games are supposed to be cerebral. Imagine if you were playing chess on the PC, and every time a pawn was taken, the camera zoomed in and played weepy violin music, as if your best friend had just been killed. It would be pretentious and stupid, just like the glam cam here.

  34. wodin says:

    Not sure why someone would moan about a free camera. As most games usually suffer from having a terrible camera angle you can’t change i.e JA BiA.

    The free camera sounds like a very smart move indeed.

  35. BobsLawnService says:

    The reason I don’t want my soldiers screaming childish obscenities at the aliens is because I expect them to be more professional than that. They are supposed to be the best, most efficient special ops soldiers on the planet. I expect them to be ice cold and clinical on the battlefield. They should communicate by sign language. Not open their mouths unless strictly neccesary in order not to give anything away to the enemies.

    Childish bros need not apply for my army or I’ll send them unarmed into the fray as bait for the crysalids.

  36. Nice Save says:

    I’m looking forward to this, but I seriously hope they fix the spelling of squaddie.

  37. mxu says:

    There’s no such thing as “too free camera” in strategy games.

    Also, I am bit worried about those special abilities.

  38. RegisteredUser says:

    My biggest issue is that the interface looks like Yet Another Console UI; the “futuristic” aqua and green coloring, the “optimized for people playing with gamepad on a TV” font and interface..

    Basically all the things that make me feel neglected and like second class citizen afterthought PC moron, allowed to feed off the scraps the main audience, i.e. the console or gamepad+TV players, have left behind.

    I want to be cherished and “targetted”, not be a disturbing annoyance that technology also has to be (barely) compatible with as an afterthought.

    Some of the core game mechanics(destructible, “alive” enemies and interaction) sound great. It is the more “actionactionACTION!!11″ / “make sure people with gamepads can cope” aspect that worries me. Deeply.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      I hope you’re not seriously trying to say there are “console” colours?

      Yea the UI looks “futurey” with that whole floating transparent panels, but the only TV/Console thing I can see that you might be talking about are the faux scan-lines.

  39. Trent Hawkins says:

    I don’t know about you guys, but I never got tired of the Fallout kill cam and if the stakes are as high as they were in the original x-com, John Stewart’s random shot that happens to nail a distant sectoid will be all the more pleasant in slow motion.

  40. sophof says:

    The only thing that might worry me is those voices as well, but that could also be really nice, if they acknowledge certain special events during a mission. A sniper getting 3 kills in a row for instance, or a soldier pulling of a desperation shot. Looking at the video in the other post, the glam shots look magnificent. Hands down an improvement I think. This was exactly what my imagination was doing when I played the original. Every tactical battle will become a story.

  41. Cupowar says:

    Anyone who has played a FF game and experienced DA-DA-DA-DAAAA DA DA DA DAAAAA! after every battle could possibly be immune to annoying sound bites!

    Anyone who hasn’t should consider grabbing a PS2 and FFX and immunise themselves beforehand if they think repetition of speech by squad members will spoil the game.

    ‘Atmospheric’ noises really shouldn’t be such a big deal for a TBS game and in the long run I tend to see my friends go through three phases with repetitive sound instances in games:

    1-(1-10 hours) New game and everything is a novelty.
    2-(10-20 hours) Really annoying and grates to the point where they would rather watch Twilight.
    3-(20 hours plus) Did someone hear a noise just then?

    For the older gamer out there – What about the end of turn noise in Rebelstar (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rebelstar_%28series%29) which was basically a 5 second clip of someone putting a walkman in a blender while it was playing a Learn German cassette backwards with low batteries. I still played about 5000 turns on that though.

    If all the speculation and worry (hope that’s not too strong a word – Maybe concern?) is about the squad members comments and the camera, then just think how promising the mechanics and gameplay of this game are shaping up to be! I remember quite hazily getting up in the morning at 5am to play Xcom:Apoc before work and then getting to bed around 4 at night until it was done. I hope that this is half as gripping, tense and clever as that. Well. . . Maybe 1/4 as gripping. I could do with keeping this job and I’m no spring chicken now :) I just hope that in this age of over-expectation that a new generation of gamers experience what I did back way back when.

    My main concern is the lack of ammo and inventory. Is this definitely confirmed? The inventory system was a Tetris™-style subgame in itself when loading out a squad, and the last-gasp weapon swapping between squaddies in a tight situation could be very tense. Perhaps I’ve got the wrong end of the stick on this, but it seems ammo is definitely out? Not sure where the Strategy (cap S!) is in that.

    Great thread so far from all sides of this ‘argument’. I’ll be buying the game, but may now be on the fence with regards to the voice comments. If any of the comments is “Come get some!” then I’d be a little bit upset. I know that it’s not going to have the depth of dialogue, but imagine Aliens (film) without the squad chit-chat. It’s just a matter of balance, relevance and the depth of content that’s in the game I suppose. I too would also like to see it only used in relevant circumstances. Like a “First blood!” when getting the first kill of a game, and not “WHOOO THAT’S HOW WE ROLL” when you accidentally grenade a nearly dead alien, you didn’t even know was there.

    Anyhow – My first post is turning into an essay :( Sorry about that . . . . .

  42. Ratchet says:

    In the side view “Ant-Farm”, how do base attacks go? Is it a randomly generated base that you defend, or is the map you are defending based on the layout of what you’ve built?

    Consider this: in the original X-Com when your base got attacked the layout of the map you were playing was based on the layout of the base you’ve built. When the Aliens attacked your base they could only get in via the elevator shaft or the hangars, so that’s where they were when the attack started. I usually had my elevator shaft, then my three hangars hung off that, and the rest of my base on the opposite side of that elevator shaft which turned it into a huge choke point as the Aliens came from the hangars to try and get into my base. I did this with all my bases and it was a lot of fun defending that way.