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Xs For Eyes: XCOM's Creepy, Cringe-Inducing War

I’m about to say something pretty profound here, so let me clear my vocal passages of any and all disgusting bilious substances that might’ve congealed while I was allowing them to hibernate for occasions like these. Ahem. OK then, here goes: War is kind of not great. Some cultures even go so far as to consider it “a bit of a shame, sometimes.” And from the sound of things, XCOM: Enemy Unknown‘s going to be one of those wars. Millions of people will come away feeling slightly unwell, and some might even have to miss work the next day. It’s going to be gruesome, folks. See the unbridled carnage in a new trailer after the break.

OK, in all seriousness, that looks pretty excellent. I was a bit worried when Firaxis first unveiled the emperor of extraterrestrial strategy’s colorful new clothes, but this trailer still makes the invasion seem pretty horrifying in its own way. Obviously, things are far less abstract now, but those enemy designs are pretty unsettling, and some of those trooper deaths are downright brutal.

So then, between a promising main game, unobtrusive multiplayer, and its own unique atmosphere, Enemy Unknown’s looking seriously impressive. I’m sort of amazed, actually. No, it’s not a spruced up take on the original X-Com, but if you want that, go play, you know, the original X-Com (or Xenonauts). Instead, Firaxis may actually pull off the incredibly precarious balance between reverent treatment of a legendary franchise and blazing its own trail. Has that actually happened, well, ever? Regardless, I want to believe.

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Nathan Grayson

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