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  1. #1
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus vinraith's Avatar
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    X-Com Advice sought

    So here's my dilemma. I never really spent any time with the original X-Com games. That's a damned tragedy, as they're exactly my kind of games, but I flatly missed them in their era (didn't have a PC of my own at the time and was at the mercy of other people's game purchases as a result) and have subsequently always been put off by interface issues.

    The result is that, honestly, I haven't paid the new one much mind. My general sense has been that it's fundamentally a lesser game than the original, so if I haven't played that why play this?

    My question, I suppose, is where someone who loves the idea of X-Com but seems to have an underlying problem with both the old and the new version is better off trying to get a toe-hold on the series. Is there any real merit to the new one over the old ones? Are there mods for the old ones that smooth out the interface issues and fix the lingering bugs? What's an avid strategy gamer with a glaring hole in his gaming background to do?

  2. #2
    Get the new one, ride the hype wave of love (and hate), if you still like it, buy the old one(s).

    In my subjective opinion, the new XCOM is going to be a lot of fun. I will never supersede the classic(s) but will be a great game in its own rite. Lot of people think that it is dumbed down but I disagree.

  3. #3
    Network Hub MadJax's Avatar
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    Personally I still enjoy playing the original as it comes on Steam (Long since lost my original discs), which afaik comes with all the patches that were released (1 I believe) and a working version of DosBox for modern OS's. There's nothing REALLY game-breaking left over with the game (Unlike TFTD which can become un-winnable if a certain piece of kit isn't researched at the right time), and as for interface issues, it may be just nostalgia, but I've never had a REAL problem with it (I find if I've forgotten what a certain buttons/function does, I head to the UFOPaedia .

    I still can't wait for the new one though, so my recommendation is get both, play the original until the new one comes out next week :)
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  4. #4
    NB, there aren't that many bugs (in the old one(s)) really. And it's not like the UI just goes nuts in the middle of the game - it's just cumbersome. There is also XcomUtil to tweak the game a little bit.

  5. #5
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Sparkasaurusmex's Avatar
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    You say you're into strategy games, so you probably already have (or don't like) Civ V, but that comes with the new XCom if you pre-order on Steam. To me that makes it seem worthwhile if you don't have Civ V... would be nice if they gave you the expansion if you already own the game. Well, I guess it's nice enough to simply give us the game they're selling.

    I think this new game will be perfect for you. You won't be disenchanted by any possible bastardization of canon, and it won't have that interface that keeps you away from the original.

  6. #6
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus vinraith's Avatar
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    Tried Civ 5, don't like Civ V, if anything it's a further source of skepticism with respect to Firaxis in general and this remake in particular.

    Anyone here know anything about the Enemy Unknown Extended mod?

    http://ufopaedia.org/index.php?title...known_Extended

  7. #7
    Network Hub MadJax's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vinraith View Post

    Anyone here know anything about the Enemy Unknown Extended mod?

    http://ufopaedia.org/index.php?title...known_Extended
    Never tried it tbh, the only thing I've ever used is XcomUtil for the occasional tweak. I tend to keep things mostly vanilla...in fact *Boots up Steam*

    EDIT: For you (And anyone else who decides to try out the Classic), the best piece of advice are easily Murphy's Laws
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  8. #8
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gundato's Avatar
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    If you can find it cheap (and with an acceptable DRM), UFO: Extraterrestrials is a pretty good take. MUCH lower production values than the new one, but captured the feel of the original (at least for me), albeit a lot easier.

    And there was a pseudo-sequel that came out afterward (think it is a prequel?) that incorporates all the best mods from the original.

    I think Steam has it.
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  9. #9
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Drake Sigar's Avatar
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    I have a feeling I'd love the concepts and consequences X-Com brought to the table far more than actually playing the original game itself. I've followed this new one religiously and know without a doubt this is the game for me.

    Quote Originally Posted by gundato View Post
    If you can find it cheap (and with an acceptable DRM), UFO: Extraterrestrials is a pretty good take. MUCH lower production values than the new one, but captured the feel of the original (at least for me), albeit a lot easier
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  10. #10
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    The original is quite a good game, but certainly has it's share of issues. The learning curve is pretty high for it, too. Coming to it recently myself, I would suggest watching a let's play or two of it on YouTube and seeing if you like it. Either it'll get you interested and educated enough to play it, or it'll not be interesting enough to play. Either way, you got a chance to see the game enough to know what it's like.

    If you don't go for X-Com, I'd recommend taking look at the UFO: After series. It's 3 games with pause-able real time combat that is a little more modern while having some of the charm of X-Com. I really like them.

    The new XCom does look pretty excellent, and I like that they tried to change a few of the features instead of slavishly assuming the original is all roses. It looks like they took an honest attempt at modernizing the original instead of cashing in.

  11. #11
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Hypernetic's Avatar
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    The original xcom pretty much requires you to have the manual sitting in front of you, at least until you memorize everything.

  12. #12
    Lesser Hivemind Node DWZippy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hypernetic View Post
    The original xcom pretty much requires you to have the manual sitting in front of you, at least until you memorize everything.
    This is nonsense. I taught myself the game when I was 12. I still play it now, although I die much much less [I used to burn 5 soldiers a mission when I was 12. I was awful.] - and I've never touched the manual. There are some things that maybe don't make too much sense, but the in game UFOPedia clears up a lot of the fuss.

    If you've played other strategy games [JA2/Silent Storm/Swat 2] the game will make a lot of sense to you.
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  13. #13
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    Hmm, I'm trying to apply what I know of your tastes here and failing. I may ramble a bit below, but the only really useful bit of advice I can give is to buy the original, since it is cheap and excellent, and wait for the reviews and post-release feedback before buying the remake.

    Rambling likely coming in later post.

  14. #14
    Lesser Hivemind Node Oak's Avatar
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    Like BestFriends said, the UI is more cumbersome than anything. Once you decipher its hieroglyphics - I think I simply read the manual - and make peace with the lack of some modern conveniences, it's gravy. Nothing to be scared of.

  15. #15
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Jockie's Avatar
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    If the new one looks a bit streamlined for your tastes (I think it looks rather wonderful myself) there's always Xenonauts to keep a look out for. It was getting quite a lot of RPS coverage at one point and looks more like the original x-com with the rough edges sanded off.

    They haven't updated their website since May, but they release pretty regular updates via their forums and there's a paid alpha program if you lack patience.

    Lets play of the latest version is looking pretty promising:

    Last edited by Jockie; 05-10-2012 at 10:35 PM.
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  16. #16
    Lesser Hivemind Node TillEulenspiegel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oak View Post
    Like BestFriends said, the UI is more cumbersome than anything. Once you decipher its hieroglyphics - I think I simply read the manual - and make peace with the lack of some modern conveniences, it's gravy. Nothing to be scared of.
    Do people have serious issues with the X-COM interface beyond just the unlabeled buttons? I've seen a few people complaining about the X-COM UI recently and didn't really understand. If it's just that, yeah, it's easily learnable. Click stuff and see what it does. If you die, try again. If you can't figure out what something does after a few clicks (probably because you don't have a flying suit yet), look it up.

    I assume you've played Jagged Alliance 2, so all the basic concepts are the same.

    Outside of combat, the geoscape controls and stuff aren't exactly slick, but meh, they work.

  17. #17
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus soldant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TillEulenspiegel View Post
    Do people have serious issues with the X-COM interface beyond just the unlabeled buttons? I've seen a few people complaining about the X-COM UI recently and didn't really understand. If it's just that, yeah, it's easily learnable.
    True but it's still not a particularly good UI. The issues with ambiguous buttons was a limitation of the time period, so for then it was okay, but by modern standards it's unacceptable.

    A far greater sin was making it far too easy to screw up a movement by not requiring a second click in movement. As it stands it's easy to accidentally have the mouse snap to another grid square and have your guy go cheerfully walking away from cover and into the open. That was a genuinely bad piece of UI design, because the rigid grid makes it very easy to have accidents like that. It's exacerbated today with fast mouse movement unless you slow the game down in DOSBOX quite a bit.


    OP: Get the original. It's cheap, there's an abundance of information about it to get you started, and it's a classic. I wouldn't bother with Terror From the Deep, because it artificially ramped the difficulty right up by making everything take a thousand hits to kill and flooding the place with aliens.

    Xenonauts will be closer to the old XCOM than the new XCOM, but that means some arbitrary things like time units and soldier stat progression are done just because the old XCOM did that, not because there's any real justification for it. For a purist like me, that's cool, but if you don't like the original XCOM mechanics it's not worth getting.

    The new XCOM takes a different path, so the die-hard purists will bitch about changes like removing time units and stats progression and multiple bases (I wish we had multiple bases!) but by all accounts it keeps the asymmetrical warfare component and uphill struggle which is the hallmark of the series, as well as the tense battles. It just has different combat mechanics, and some changes help with the flow and might help prevent that endless hunt for the last alien hiding away that you spend the next 50 turns looking for.

  18. #18
    Activated Node Barberetti's Avatar
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    I started playing it a couple of weeks ago for the first time. The manual has 3 short tutorials that take you through the basics of the Geoscape, Battlescape, and Base management. By the time you're done with those, you'll have the interface down. It's really not that bad at all.

  19. #19
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    My honest opinion is to go for the old X-Com.

    Its a phenominal game. The UI is dated, the graphics are obviously dated but it is a game which I really enjoy instead of just kill time with.

    I didnt really get on with UFO:E. It was good, and a fairly solid remake but I didnt like the art style and the pace of the game seemed wrong.

    I also think all of the UFO after... series are good. The last two being the best. They arent quite as tactical as X-Com but the story is more fleshed out (Except the ending of After Light) and the UI/Graphics improved.

    The Firaxis X-Com seems like it will be fun but im not expecting anything great from it. Firaxis, IMO, did mess up Civ 5 but forgetting that and just judging the game on what I have seen, it feels like the game will grow old really quickly. A limited number of men and the slight streamlining makes me wonder, truly, how many tactical options there will be. I also fear, that the research will be pretty basic. That fear is unfounded but I have a feeling I will be right.

    Xenonauts looks like there has been some real passion put into it. The graphics are so so and the art style an aquired taste but it looks like there will be a fair few tactical options in there. I also fear that the research tree will be TOO similar to the original X-Com. If so, some of the novelty of researching each item will be lacking. The guns also look pretty generic but, that aside, I reckon Xenonauts will be the better of the two new games.

    Thats my opinion anyway :)
    Last edited by Dariune; 05-10-2012 at 11:52 PM.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Dariune View Post
    Xenonaughts
    Very "telling" choice of spelling : )

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