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Thread: Xenonauts

  1. #1
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    Xenonauts

    Thoughts now it's up on Steam?

    So I experienced the original XCOM relatively late, clocking over 40 hours late in 2012 prior to Firaxis release. Overall I found the former much more enjoyable in terms of atmosphere, immersion and depth, so have naturally been looking forward if Xenonauts recapture those aspects.

    Two interceptions in so far and I'm moderately impressed. In terms of mechanics and UI it's improved upon the original, and you could definitely argue the gameplay is more tactical. Difficulty in terms of landing shots and taking damage seems the same.

    However, while the artstyle is OK, the atmosphere isnt as foreboding. As mentioned on the main site, the aliens are pretty forgettable and don't have the level of mystic or terror the original has. While the backgrounds are visually very good, I can't help feel a dettachment between the units and the terrain. Almost like a boardgame in terms of placing your units.

  2. #2
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    I've been impressed so far that the game isn't slavishly devoted to Old X-COM. Don't get me wrong, it's really really similar, but a lot of pointless dicking around has been removed. I am particularly a fan of the infinite-basic-equipment feature, like New XCOM has. It really does strike me as a game that has embraced modern ideas without leaving the core design of the original very much.

    Night missions are still way too annoying, but they are trivial to mod out.
    Irrelevant on further examination of the rest of the thread.

  3. #3
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus b0rsuk's Avatar
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    Judging from screenshots, the lack of opressive feeling may come from the fact there seems to be a lot of open space. Not many twisted corridors and nooks and crannies for aliens to hide.

    It's nice that it's not a carbon copy of X-COM. I backed Maia for the same reason - Simon Roth is not merely a fan of Dungeon Keeper or Dwarf Fortress. He's inspired by those games and also has a number of his own ideas.
    pass

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    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Tikey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NathanH View Post
    I've been impressed so far that the game isn't slavishly devoted to Old X-COM. Don't get me wrong, it's really really similar, but a lot of pointless dicking around has been removed. I am particularly a fan of the infinite-basic-equipment feature, like New XCOM has. It really does strike me as a game that has embraced modern ideas without leaving the core design of the original very much.

    Night missions are still way too annoying, but they are trivial to mod out.
    I'm glad to hear that. My greatest fear was that It could've been to attached to old X.
    I'll have to give it a try.

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    Just got my Steam key from Desura after pre-ordering it ages back. I've been avoiding it because the first couple of alphas I played were only vaguely encouraging but I might dive in again. I too like how they haven't just copied XCOM, because XCOM (for all its incredible goodness) still had quite a few issues that were either silly design choices or limits of 90s tech.
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    Anyone decided to give this a go since the v1.0 release a couple of weeks ago?

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    The more new versions of such a classic the better, and don't forget there is also OpenXcom, that has just had a 1.0 release also.

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    Quote Originally Posted by baby snot View Post
    Anyone decided to give this a go since the v1.0 release a couple of weeks ago?
    I'm playing it at the moment. It's improved a lot since Early Access started. I'm impressed with the game so far. Also:

    Night missions are still way too annoying
    is no longer true since grenade-throwing was improved. Night missions are still something one tries to avoid but they're no longer so brutal.

    If you have played enough of Old X-COM then I recommend the difficulty one higher than Normal. I have been playing on Normal and it's a bit too easy in the tactical game.

    One potential criticism (not sure how valid it is since I have only played one game) is that the Geoscape strategy is quite narrow at the start of the game. It's a bit like New XCOM in that one element (there satellites, here radar/interceptor coverage) is really important.
    Irrelevant on further examination of the rest of the thread.

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    I'm liking it a lot but I've run into two things that annoy me somewhat, completely based around a lack of knowledge on my part.

    1) the frequency of UFOs. The game always seems to kick up UFO Frequence whenever I build a new interceptor, so it's just always more UFOs than Interceptors. I've tried a new game where I beelined for three bases with several hangars and was still swarmed by just a handful more UFOs than Interceptors. On the flipside, if I completely neglect building more Interceptors, the UFO Frequency remains low until late into the game. Why the hell bother then?

    2) Finding Alien Bases. I've got the entire world, every square inch, covered in a thick radar net spawning from 6 bases with 3 radars each. I've got no more fun left on the Techtree and more money than alien god, but I just bloody can't find those goddamn Alien Bases. I see where the UFOs spawn and disappear, I've set several planes to circle that area on top of radar coverage but it just won't do.

  10. #10
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    It still feels pretty rough to me - I've encountered a few bugs with doors not working as expected (staying closed and blocking line of sight despite a soldier running through them) and stairs sometimes not used as a valid path (for no apparent reason). And I'm seeing the same thing as theForged with interceptors and UFOs, to the point where it's not worth the upkeep of the extra interceptors. Really, it feels like it needs more time to cook - a bit more polish wouldn't have hurt. It's still a long way from the early access days, but it still feels unfinished.

    The AI are a bit all over the place - I've seen them ineffectually running back and forward between two points to apparently waste a turn, and most of their advantages seem to come from simply better stats - which is okay in a way, because the original XCOM pretty much pulled the same trick and the AI just wandered around for the most part, but I've seen the AI fail to take advantage of some situations that are clearly in their favour.

    On the plus side, they've nailed the 'lore' aspect of XCOM, particularly with the autopsy screens, and it probably is the best direct translation of XCOM since the original - right down to the progression and threat escalation (save for the ridiculous interceptor scaling thing above, which I hope is a bug). They've also killed the infuriating "last alien standing" hour-long hunts that did nothing but piss me off in the original for UFO crashes - you can win by holding the UFO for 5 turns. There's also a bit less micromanagement (no need to keep ordering magazines for the starting weapons, for example). That said it brings a lot of old XCOM baggage with it - the UI sometimes feels a bit clunky, the Geoscape is still pretty shallow (radar coverage and keep a sane number of interceptors) despite them adding new things, and it still needs a bit of balancing (particularly the UFOs on the Geoscape).

    Also I hate the interceptor minigame - I pretty much always autoresolve because I just find the UI absolutely atrocious and the entire thing way too clunky to even bother with it. No doubt if you take the time to learn it you'll get better results, but I just can't be bothered to put up with it.
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  11. #11
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    I find it so much more appealing than Firaxis' game, maybe because it feels more open and less straightforward.

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    Right now I'm coming down on the side of XCOM with my only game being able to beat that being Apocalypse.

    For Xenonauts:
    + Open ended
    + Infinite basic weapons
    - There is still some annoying ammo stuff to do. Nothing worse in old X-Com days than accidentally sending a soldier on a mission already out of ammo. I'm glad that is gone.
    - Some questionable UI designs. The going between soldier loadout, soldier hiring, organising your transport is all just a bit icky.
    - There are no fucking tooltips. I know my way around these games, but clicking on a grenade and chucking it, i'm never 100% certain if it primed or not. I think may have just been throwing around un primed frag grenades. WHY WOULD YOU GIVE ME THE OPTION OF EVEN TRYING THAT.
    - Interceptor mini-game is actively irritating. Coupled with the afor mentioned weird UFO spawning stuff. Also the alien fighters annoyed me. With the old ones it was at least relatively clear that size = danger, large UFO? Maybe leave it be... tiny UFO? Oh only send 1 interceptor. Nope doesn't work in this one.
    - I do not like time units anymore. Also I'm really not clear on why my guys aren't taking overwatch shots. They have the needed time units, the thing is ticked. They never do though, or the ones that do are ones I'm sure didn't have time units left.
    - There's no cover. This is something the new XCOM did so well, the environments feel so dynamic and real. Hop over the fence. Duck down behind the bar. Stand at the corner and lean around. Sending a guy to go stand next to the corner to look around it feels so clunky.
    + It's just like X-Com.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zephro View Post
    - There is still some annoying ammo stuff to do. Nothing worse in old X-Com days than accidentally sending a soldier on a mission already out of ammo. I'm glad that is gone.
    I suppose they could have given each solider infinite ammo clips. The Xenonauts system does make you have to choose between enough ammo to be safe and extra support equipment, which may be considered a good thing.

    - Some questionable UI designs. The going between soldier loadout, soldier hiring, organising your transport is all just a bit icky.
    Yes, this is annoying. I'm not sure why all of these games struggle so much with this. You should be able to equip each soldier with a "preferred" loadout that it always retains until you change it, and if there aren't enough it should display red and automatically equip the next-best available item.

    The best approach in Xenonauts is to create "inactive" roles with default equipment, so that when you remove a soldier from your dropship you also switch his role to "inactive", thus freeing up your advanced equipment for whoever replaced it, without actually having to unequip it by hand.

    Xenonauts is ncessarily a bit more fussy with equipment than New XCOM because of base defences and multiple dropships, but it ought to be doing better in this department since changing your dropship team is something you do almost every mission.

    More annoying is the way that you gain Strength by carrying around lots of stuff, thus making it worthwhile to equip every soldier right up to their soft carry limit. Indeed, most of the character progression follows the UFO Defence model of making it as fiddly as possible and incentivising time-consuming play.

    - There are no fucking tooltips. I know my way around these games, but clicking on a grenade and chucking it, i'm never 100% certain if it primed or not. I think may have just been throwing around un primed frag grenades. WHY WOULD YOU GIVE ME THE OPTION OF EVEN TRYING THAT.
    They're always primed, I think. Suppression-based grenades explode immediately, so they can suppress enemies in your turn. Damaging grenades explode at the end of your turn, to give you the chance to evade a mis-thrown grenade.

    - Interceptor mini-game is actively irritating. Coupled with the afor mentioned weird UFO spawning stuff. Also the alien fighters annoyed me. With the old ones it was at least relatively clear that size = danger, large UFO? Maybe leave it be... tiny UFO? Oh only send 1 interceptor. Nope doesn't work in this one.
    I've just being using auto-resolve for the most part, it seems like it's basically OK at least early on in the game. I guess you can do better manually (two Condors should be able to destroy a Corvette 100% of the time without taking a single hit, for instance, if you do it yourself) but it doesn't seem to matter too much doing it automatically.

    The fighters don't have alien faces on their triangles, so you can identify the enemy air superiority craft according to this. Other than that the bigger=badder formula roughly holds, although with the subtlety that the alien Light Scout cannot be killed by a single Foxtrot because it's too fast for the torpedoes.

    - I do not like time units anymore. Also I'm really not clear on why my guys aren't taking overwatch shots. They have the needed time units, the thing is ticked. They never do though, or the ones that do are ones I'm sure didn't have time units left.
    Reaction fire is I believe based on three things:
    - units with higher Reactions have higher chance to take a Reaction shot
    - units with more TU stored have higher chance to take a Reaction shot
    - units with more TU remaining have a lower chance to receive a Reaction shot

    This can be a bit annoying if you're trying to set up reaction fire of your own but on the other hand when you're assaulting enemy positions (more common) the subtleties of this system allows you to cope with alien overwatch.
    Last edited by NathanH; 16-06-2014 at 04:09 PM.
    Irrelevant on further examination of the rest of the thread.

  14. #14
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Zephro's Avatar
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    That clears up the reaction shot formula somewhat. But it was never really clear anywhere. I'd set up everyone with lots of spare TUS around the entrance to a UFO, alien waltzes out and shoots 2 people dead then goes back inside again. None of my guys fire despite all having reserved TUs.

    So really I don't miss Time Units in the slightest.

    Also I really love hard and soft cover.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by NathanH View Post
    Reaction fire is I believe based on three things:
    - units with higher Reactions have higher chance to take a Reaction shot
    - units with more TU stored have higher chance to take a Reaction shot
    - units with more TU remaining have a lower chance to receive a Reaction shot

    This can be a bit annoying if you're trying to set up reaction fire of your own but on the other hand when you're assaulting enemy positions (more common) the subtleties of this system allows you to cope with alien overwatch.
    Weapons also give modifiers. IIRC its pistol-shotgun-rifle-MG-sniper rifle. A shotgunner in a blind spot next to an internal UFO door can do some real damage.

    I'm quite enjoying it although there are some definite annoyances, mostly due to UFO balancing. There are also some nasty bugs (if an alien drone is killed next to a building the entire building can explode, as my best assault trooper fatally discovered.

    I am finding that there is quite a lot of cover, its just not well placed and aliens seem to have trouble effectively using it.

  16. #16
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Zephro's Avatar
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    There's cover but you can't stand at the corner of a building and shoot around it only poking your head out.

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  18. #18
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus soldant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DevinSmoth View Post
    How do Xenonauts and OpenXCOM compare?
    Well, OpenXCOM is XCOM, Xenonauts is a spiritual successor.
    Nalano's Law - As an online gaming discussion regarding restrictions grows longer, the probability of a post likening the topic to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea approaches one.

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  20. #20
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Wolfenswan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DevinSmoth View Post
    Well, yes... I get that... I'm just saying. Which is more worth playing?
    Mashed potatoes or fried potatoes. Which is more worth eating?

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