Unhidden Movement: XCOM Demo Is Go

Aha! If you’ve been fretting about whether XCOM Enemy Unknown is the second coming or an act of outrageous vandalism, now you can – partially – find out for yourself. A two-mission plus base-browsing demo has just arrived on Steam, which sounds like it’s primarily tutorially but should give you a flavour of Firaxis’ 21st-century reimagining of the classic 90s TBS. Get it from the link on the right of this page. Be warned it’s a chubby old six gigabytes, however.

The download process is a bit squiffy here at the moment, so I don’t know if the demo is fully live yet, but 2K claim it “will be available today”, so keep trying. I’ll update as and when it works properly here. Update: it works properly here! So there.

Also, there’s some of batshit bonus incentives thingy unlocking new stuff as more and more people pre-order the game. We already know about the Guile ‘do, there’s also a bunch of TF2 customisations and now they’re promising a free copy of Civ V to all pre-orderers if enough extra people pre-pay. It’s currently 47% of the way there. 47% of what, I don’t know. But it seems likely it’ll pull it off before the game’s release on October 12.

I don’t know as yet (due to those download problems) whether this demo is an accurate reflection of the full game, but I do hope so – and that you like it as much as I do.


  1. jthmmdom says:

    Best news all year. Let the downloads commence.

    Quick Nathan let us ascend to Jake’s computer.

    Looks like I will have a break from FTL.

    • mouton says:

      60 hours in FTL, almost all ships and variants unlocked, I can finally stop.

      • cybrbeast says:

        The modding scene for FTL is just revving up, I think they will add a ton more variety and stuff the devs just didn’t have time for.

        • janmos654 says:

          it’s just worked for me mate. downloading as we speak, well as I type anyway!

          oh and it’s it’s just shy of 5GB, I may be getting told off by my ISP!

          • realityflaw says:

            That’s a clever spoof, almost clicked until I happened to look down and see where the link actually goes.

          • sbs says:

            RPS, home to the most sophisticated spammers ever. I’ve never seen smarter commenters, and I’ve never seen smarter spammers :D

  2. JoeGuy says:

    Sweat, bought the game but this will do nicely for now.

    edit: LOL – (Sweet!!!) I am terrible at spell checking. Are you happy RPS? Are you?! :(

    • Kestrel says:

      But why are you sweating?

      Edit: You have made me the happiest man in America.

      • marbled says:

        I’ll be sweating when I play this, and that’ll be on normal difficulty. If I ever get to Classic Ironman, I may have a heart attack when playing…

  3. Nallen says:

    Well this is a pleasant surprise!

  4. pakoito says:

    Definitely not netbook friendly. I got soooo spoiled by Torchlight 2.

    • Moraven says:

      My netbook was new for the time and ran Torchlight 1 like crap in netbook mode. =/

      While I can still play WoW enough to do 5mans or solo questing. (With the occasionally BSOD in 1 or 2 zones.)

  5. QualityJeverage says:

    Never played the original unfortunately, but I’ve been looking forward to trying this out nonetheless. Human Revolution got me to play the original Deus Ex. Maybe this can do the same :)

    Guess I’ll wait a few hours though, the “Download Demo” button is currently functioning as a “Freeze Steam for 30 seconds or so” button.

    • jthmmdom says:

      I just finished human revolution. There were many useless upgrades and the last third of the game left me disappointed. I was very happy with the beginning since it felt like the darkness and vtmb mixed. Overall it was a mediocre experience that I kept hoping would get better.

      Sorry to derail your comment but it was brought to mind.

    • deadly.by.design says:

      Funny timing — I JUST got to the final boss in Deus Ex:HR yesterday, and plan to finish today on lunch break. I’m satisfied with the game overall, but I agree that you run out of useful/necessary augmentations pretty early on. Then again, I was going nonlethal and hacking pretty much everything I could for the first half of the game.

      Why is this a good thing? Two reasons:

      1) I didn’t want DE:HR to become another half-finished part of my Steam library
      2) Now I can stop staring lustfully at my Black Mesa install

  6. briktal says:

    Why does this have a Codemasters tag?

  7. LXM says:

    Oh god you’ve just made my monday at work all the more excruciating

    • lasikbear says:

      Well I seem to be coming down with something, you might want to head home too to be safe

  8. SAeN says:

    Hmmm, upon requesting the demo Steam is going into a state of not responding and doesn’t initiate the DL. Think I’ll have to wait until later.

    • Crispy_Steak says:

      Happens to me as well, probably need to restart steam or wait a few minutes.

      • JohnH says:

        Yeah, same thing happens here.

      • GameStunts says:

        I’ve already restarted steam, and tried going to the page via the web for the link, nothing works.

    • JiminyJickers says:

      Same for me. It is just cruelty teasing me with the download demo button that doesn’t work, haha.

      EDIT: Yay, downloading now.

    • TormDK says:

      The Steam client Demo button doesn’t work for me, but the link did. Thanks RPS!

      • RogerMellie says:

        I’m getting it OK. Currently got 220MB and going at about 900KB/S.

        • Sheng-ji says:

          Heh… Time remaining 11h 5 minutes. 128.7Kb/s

          I miss fibre optic broadband

    • Deston says:

      I was supposed to be working until 7pm tonight, as soon as I saw this posted I had to leave early. For personal reasons. Sorry boss.

      Edit: Oops, in my overly excited giddy haste I seem to have replied to the wrong thread.

      • Aedrill says:

        I think you should be happy you didn’t reply in an email to your boss.

  9. Ian says:

    So this won’t spoil/much anything if I play it, then?

    • dingbat91 says:

      No it’s good, it covers the first two tutorial missions.

  10. Drake Sigar says:

    *Freeze frame punches the air*

  11. Trithne says:

    What’s this about a free copy of Civ V? Does it count if I pre-bought it from somewhere other than Steam? Because I live in Australia and I’m not paying the ludicrously high cost for games on Steam when I can buy them at Gamersgate and have my currency’s strength matter.

    • LXM says:

      Pretty sure this is only a steam pre-order incentive, and it only comes with Civ V if enough people pre-order it

    • Gummi says:

      I doubt it. At least people who pre-ordered Sleeping Dogs somewhere other than Steam did not get the TF2 pre-order bonuses, so I wouldn’t expect it. That said I’m getting it from Gamersgate as well as I have a 15% discount there, I have no interest in TF2 items and I already have Civ V unfortunately, so the extra $7.50 on Steam for an extra copy of Civ is not worth it to me.

      You do get the first reward tier though, that’s included with every pre-order, so that reward “unlock” was a bit of fluff.

      Gah, I wish RPS didn’t post this so soon as now I can’t stop checking to see if the demo is working or not.

    • Stromko says:

      Free Civ 5 would be a misnomer anyway. Yeah you get the base game, but if you like it, why wouldn’t you want all the DLC (or at least the major DLC)? The first hit is always free ..

      Personally I found Gods & Kings rather meh, did nothing to rejuvenate the old flame, but if I were picking up the game at this late date I would certainly want the extra variety.

    • Caiman says:

      Yeah, as an Australian buying it on Steam over Gamersgate (which registers on Steam anyway) is like getting Civ V for $20 (assuming they get enough pre-orders). Hardly the deal of the century. Oh yeah, you get some silly TF2 hats as well (actually a disincentive to buying it on Steam as I’ll have yet more useless TF2 stuff cluttering up my inventory).

      Steam will continue to lose out to other retailers while they continue to impose their 25-50% Australia tax on games. Not that this makes a skerrick of a difference to them either way, but at least I feel better.

      • sebmojo says:

        It’s the publishers that set prices, not Steam.

        Still bullshit though (in NZ here). Greenmangaming can be a good place to get US prices – I think they have a 20% off coupon active as well.

        • jalf says:

          And you say this based on what actual information?

          Beacuse no, The publishers and Steam set prices on Steam. You’re deluding yourself if you think Valve has no say in the matter. Of course, so do publishers. Anything else would be really really absurd.

          But ask yourself for one moment if Valve goes out to every single publisher to ask permission every time they run a sale. Of course not, they would never get anything done then. Valve can certainly shuffle prices around by themselves.

          • JiminyJickers says:

            The publishers definitely set the cost. The games on Steam sell for a bit less than you get if purchased in a store.

            They charge Aus and NZ more than US and UK and they always have. Nothing new here, happened before Steam was around too.

    • zaphod42 says:

      The free copy of Civ 5 is DEFINITELY STEAM ONLY, and is part of a steam promotion that isn’t even guaranteed yet. Its a kickstarter style “if X people buy this than we’ll also give you Y”

      Other sites had the game available for preorder long before Steam, and offer different bonuses.

      Steam offers the bonus everybody else is (character customizaitons), plus some TF2 items, and possibly free Civ.

      Free Civ is Steam Only.

  12. SlappyBag says:

    I verbally screamed “YES!” when I read the posts title. =P

    • Lowbrow says:

      The word you’re looking for is “literally.” It’s a shame so many people are turning it into “totally” or “figuratively.”

  13. marbled says:

    Demo? You mean a free slice of a game that enables you to experience what it’s like before buying it? That’ll never catch on.

  14. Tom OBedlam says:

    Is it downloading for anyone yet?

    • Chris D says:

      Not for me. Also not showing up in the just released tab of the demos section so I guess it’s not quite ready yet.

    • Tom OBedlam says:

      Its just let me get it, any one else managed?

      • Chris D says:

        Yes, back for me too. Now if only my download speed didn’t drop like a stone at this time of day.

  15. horus_lupercal says:

    grrr no download yet, steam just freezes for a few seconds then nothing. ah well I’ll be trying every 10 minutes or so at least. I haven’t anticipated the release of anything this much since I was a teenager!

  16. TechnicalBen says:

    I was worried about the pre-order bit, but if they release a demo (during the pre-order time) then that’s alright in my books.

  17. Cooper says:

    An actual demo for a contemporary game from a major publisher.

    A PC game with an interface designed for PC controls.


    It’s like the last ten years didn’t happen.

    • tur1n says:

      Don’t get too comfortable. Once the next console generation is released, you shall once again be treated with barely veiled contempt.

      • TechnicalBen says:

        I’m actually looking forward to the first publisher stupid enough to force a dev team to “port” an EyeToy/Move/Kenect only game over to the pc before realizing their error…

        (Although Kenect for PC might change that soon)

    • Moraven says:

      Agree! Demo, out before the game is out! Even over 2 weeks!

      Its like we hit a space time continuum.

    • Balm says:

      Actually controls scream “Console!”

      Actions require ‘confirm’-presses, target selection menu is called up by ‘space’ and there is no button on UI for it, camera can be turned only in 90° segments by “Q” and “E” buttons, no free angle spining of it, screen can be scrolled by usual cursor to border or arrow buttons but not by click and drag.

      UI of the base is console centered too. Also all text screens are tiny and unscrollable: mission briefings, research reports, council demands are displayed in little window that scrolls slooowly while actors read them out, with no way to scroll it through read and close. Well, you can close, but that will interrupt voice and close text not giving you chance to finish reading.

      • Toberoth says:

        Maybe I’ve missed a memo somewhere, but none of that screams console to me. It sounds perfectly functional with a mouse and keyboard.

        • GHudston says:

          A lot of his complaints are also completely inaccurate.

          I didn’t encounter a single “confirm press” during my play through. You right click to move or select an action and left click a target. They couldn’t reduce the amount of clicks if they tried.

          You can bring up the targeting menu by clicking the “shoot” button on the UI, or pressing the corresponding number key. The same goes for all the other actions too, there’s no need to press space or Q and E if you don’t want to, but at least the option is there. You can also press tab to cycle through your available targets. It’s exactly what I wanted the UI to be like, they’ve done an absolutely wonderful job with it.

  18. The First Door says:

    Excited Kermit arms!

    Although less exciting is the having to be a grown up before I download this, or nothing will get done.

  19. byteCrunch says:

    XCOM demo is a no go, they have now took it down. Shame, was excited to give it a go.

    • horus_lupercal says:

      it’s just worked for me mate. downloading as we speak, well as I type anyway!

      oh and it’s it’s just shy of 5GB, I may be getting told off by my ISP!

      • Donkeyfumbler says:

        Downloading at full speed for me too, although it’s closer to 5.5gb according to Steam on my PC.

        • horus_lupercal says:

          I’ll admit to having a wild stab in the dark in relation to the size, I always forget how many MB in a GB. My only problem is the missus will be home in the next hour… just as the demo will have finished downloading. hmmm priorities… ;-)

          • Mandabar says:

            The reason for the high GB of the demo probably relates to the full 3.78 GB of movies included on the demo.

            Yes. 3.78 GB of movies. Every Movie. Every Damn One. End Game Spoiler alert….

            I mentioned it on the gamespot livecast and the Hat/Bald Guy mentioned it to JS:GA in addition to another question, and we didn’t really get a response. So I hope they just glossed it over and actually noticed it and will get around to correcting the Steam Demo download. DELETE DELETE.

            Only thing better would of been releasing the FULL game as the demo ;-)

    • Harlander says:

      They haven’t… I’m getting it. Getting it now.

    • Hardlylikely says:

      There is a broken entry for the demo in the Demos box at the bottom of my Store page, next to a working one. Click the one with the picture and you’ll be away.

    • Drake Sigar says:

      It’s downloading, get out of my way everyone! *pushes and shoves*

  20. MistyMike says:

    Why can’t these turned based ‘strategy’ games… okay, okay, I won’t try that this time :)

  21. Maritz says:

    Yep, it’s working for me too.

    Now all I need is a Dishonored demo so I can work out what to buy on 12th October.

    Edit: supposed to be a response to byteCrunch

  22. konrad_ha says:

    5 fucking GB? For a demo! Are you trying to kill me with anticipation?

    • Harlander says:

      No, we’re trying to kill you with –

      Aha! Almost had me there, you sly dog.

    • Baines says:

      It is probably a full game, just with the bulk of the content locked. Companies do that because it is easier on them than creating a stand-alone demo.

      • iucounu says:

        Hmm, I doubt it’s all in there. Otherwise it’ll be cracked and unlocked pretty sharpish, I’d guess.

    • Mandabar says:


      The reason for the high GB of the demo probably relates to the full 3.78 GB of movies included on the demo.

      Yes. 3.78 GB of movies. Every Movie. Every Damn One. End Game Spoiler alert….

      I mentioned it on the gamespot livecast and the Hat/Bald Guy mentioned it to JS:GA in addition to another question, and we didn’t really get a response. So I hope they just glossed it over and actually noticed it and will get around to correcting the Steam Demo download. DELETE DELETE.

      Only thing better would of been releasing the FULL game as the demo ;-)

  23. Hardlylikely says:

    A pre-release demo! Not waiting a month to milk the fanboy pre-orders and the hype machine, nor waiting until after the console exclusive release day reviews (9.5/10!). Thank you 2K and Firaxis people.

    Still not paying the antipodean Steam tax, so no pre-order bonuses for me, but I’ll get over it by paying comparable prices to the rest of you. At this point I only buy indie and discounted games via Steam, any release large enough to be marked closer to our rip off retail prices I simply wait or buy somewhere that charges a fair price.

    • horus_lupercal says:

      I’m normally the same mate and, tbh, I was gonna do the same here but my brother pre-ordered it as a birthday gift for me. Otherwise i’d be waiting for a steam sale as per usual.

    • GHudston says:

      The early demo says to me that they believe the game speaks for itself. From what I’ve seen, it really does. It’s nice to be hyped for a game and be reasonably certain that it’s not just empty hype.

  24. LMarkus says:

    I still remember getting the original XCOM demo on a 3.5″ floppy inside a gaming magazine. Totally hooked and bought the original immediately. Been waiting for this sequel for 18+ years…. damn-it I’m getting old.

  25. karthink says:

    A demo! Before the game releases! And it’s X-COM!

    Firaxis just made my day.

  26. Tilaton says:

    Just got it to start installing. Firaxis, I love you.

  27. Auspex says:

    First nothing happened which I clicked download and now I get an error: “An error occurred while installing XCOM: Enemy Unknown Demo (No subscription)”.

    Doesn’t look like I’ll be playing it any time soon. D:

  28. JB says:

    If you can’t get it downloading, restart Steam, go in through the “Demos” tab and access it from there.

    e: I was having the “no subscription” thing until I did this.

  29. mrmalodor says:

    edit: JB’s instructions worked.

  30. Azradesh says:

    Doesn’t seem to be on the UK steam or work if I click on it on the US page.

  31. Ntk says:

    XCOM demo on my birthday? Thanks Firaxis and 2K!

  32. Vesuvius says:

    Took many a re-start of Steam and some patience, but it’s downloading for me and I should be starting it up and playing in about 30 minutes!

  33. Dark Nexus says:

    Dear Firaxis,


  34. TsunamiWombat says:

    Yes but can you talk to the aliens?

    Imagine that.

  35. Stellar Duck says:

    This is how they can convince me that their game is worth my time/money. How splendid!

    Now to actually download it and see if I like it.

  36. CaLe says:

    The level of polish is just amazing. This seems like a dream game for any fan of XCOM. The demo doesn’t go very deep, but what’s there is a great indication of what to expect in the full game.

  37. Haphaz77 says:

    YAY! Thank you Firaxis. It might take all evening to download though.

  38. mrmalodor says:

    Finished the short demo, took only 37 minutes. Impressions:
    1) Low resolution textures.
    2) Zoom won’t stick. Unacceptable in a strategy game where you need to have a wider overview of the battlefield. What’s the point of even offering a zoom feature if it just resets every time I switch to another soldier???
    3) Interface is clearly built for gamepads and is very clunky and uncomfortable. WASD controls camera movement, but then suddenly it controls something else and I end up pressing and getting unwanted inputs and everything is just a big mess. And the keys can’t be reconfigured, so you’re stuck with that.
    4) Just lacks that X-Com feeling.

    Won’t be pre-ordering this one, I’ll wait for deep discounts.

    Xenonauts it is, then!

    • TCM says:

      How can the interface be built for gamepads when they had _entirely separate teams_ do the PC and Console interfaces?

      Methinks you had a conclusion you wanted to reach, and worked backwards from there.

      • Captain Joyless says:

        1. Have you played the demo? No? I have, and I agree with him.

        2. “entirely separate teams”? Oh I guess that just makes it completely impossible that they could have had similar design directives or goals or that just could have done a console-y feeling UI on the PC.

        • TCM says:

          1) I haven’t played the demo, it is installing — but what I have gathered is that people who don’t want to like the game haven’t liked it, and people who went in with an open mind have enjoyed it. This is regardless of prior experience with XCOM, nostalgia, or anything else — again, some people went in with a conclusion they wanted to reach, and worked backwards to reach it.

          2) Educate yourself. link to news.softpedia.com

          • Captain Joyless says:

            So what you are saying is that you had a conclusion about some people’s arguments and interpreted their arguments to reach that conclusion instead of considering them on the merits?

            I’m going to love the contortions you’re going to make when you come back here and try to explain how the demo represents a good game.

          • TCM says:

            Here’s my conclusion:

            I’m not the one doing contortions.

          • Captain Joyless says:

            It’s a bad game.

            See how contorted that is?

          • mckertis says:

            link to news.softpedia.com

            “Educate yourself” – wikipedia\marketing.

          • Trithne says:

            The UI *is* console-y – It’s things like the lack of tooltips, needing to press a button then press it again to confirm an action, and the utter lack of mouse targeting outside of area effect weapons.

            Mouse is sluggish, at least to my tastes. Antfarm wobbles.

            However, I do not think these things are ‘SHITTY CONSOLE PORT BURN IT’ level issues. As for the gameplay itself, it’s fine. The demo sucks because both missions it puts you on are disgustingly linear and hand-holdy, the first massively so and the second is basically a straight line with a bit of variety in what you do.

            But the base design is good, although cover is… weird. You see it a lot in the glam-cam where shots are fired through solid walls to hit targets, since being in cover means you’re also sort of occupying the open space next to you.

            It doesn’t feel like the original X-COM, no. It lacks, as someone said somewhere, the feeling of dread. But it’s a decent enough game in the same vein, and it’s a bad demo. I don’t regret my pre-order. UFO Defense isn’t going to stop working because I installed this.

      • mrmalodor says:

        Play it first, then talk.

      • bakaohki says:

        Entirely separate teams? Wow, this sounds great! Then it mustn’t be a port at all!
        Pardon me sir, but as a developer separate teams have nothing to do with port or build quality.

        • ItalianPodge says:

          Well, the textures aren’t fantastic (but it allows my laptops piddly 540M gpu to run it native res and with all options on high but with low AA) so given that the art style is very nice I’m more than happy.

          No issues for me with the interface, looks entirely unintrusive either with a xbox controller or the mouse.

          Demo is such a tiny drop in the ocean, but had my injured sniper take a headshot to reduce the last two aliens to one and then my shotgunner burst through a window and took out the other one before he finished off the sniper. It went right, could have gone oh oh so wrong. I want MORE!

      • jalf says:

        Wow, listen to yourself for a moment.

        “What you saw in the demo cannot possibly be true, because of some statement Firaxis made about how they developed the game”.

        His point #4 is clearly subjective (as is its significance. It didn’t feel like XCom to me, but that’s ok, I still enjoyed it, and I didn’t really *expect* it to feel like XCom).

        But 1-3? Those are objective statements, facts, descriptions of how the demo works.

        This doesn’t ruin the game for me, but I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t an annoyance.
        I don’t usually care much about graphics, but the low-res feel of the demo was really noticeable. Firaxis games have never been great lookers, but even so, it felt like it was designed to run at an extremely low (console) resolution, with low-res textures (to fit into a console’s limited VRAM).

        #2 and #3 were a pain in the ass.

        The controls *are* designed for gamepads, and it *does* prevent me from doing simple things that I’d want to do.

        For the most part, it was just an annoyance (when firing you can’t select targets with the mouse. You have to use A and D. In the base view, you can’t click on rooms, you have to click on the menu entries at the top of the screen with the *names* of the rooms), but there was one point for me where it affected the gameplay. I was unable to throw a smoke grenade onto the roof of a building because in the grenade-throwing view you can’t zoom/change elevation. And of course, if you do that before selecting the “throw grenade” option, it resets the elevation and re-centers on your soldier.

        100% subjective, biased and personal bottom line:
        this is a console port, and as ports go, it’s not a particularly good one. But the gameplay still seemed fun, and I’m still looking forward to playing it.

        Methinks you had a conclusion you wanted to reach, and worked backwards from there.

        Says the person who hasn’t played the demo, attacking those who have.

        You know that setting about a pot and a kettle? Can’t quite recall the details, but maybe you can jog my memory?

    • Captain Joyless says:

      Pretty much this. This isn’t xcom. I felt like I was playing some kind of weird cross between splinter cell and company of heroes.

      • TCM says:

        Considering neither of those are a TBS and this most certainly IS…

        • Captain Joyless says:

          What’s your point? I said “I felt like” – this is a subjective impression of an experience.

          Again, have you even played the demo yet? How do you feel about all the little mission advisor guys? The way the animations are presented? The graphic style?

          Oh, wait, you can’t talk about any of those things at all BECUASE YOU HAVENT PLAYED THE DEMO YET.

          • TCM says:

            You have not talked about the gameplay. At all. Everything you have said has been related to graphics, sound, or presentation choices.

          • Captain Joyless says:

            Oh, oh, so now we’re talking about GAMEPLAY? I’m sorry, it’s bad. It is a turn-based version of Company of Heroes/DoW where you move a few guys from pre-defined cover to pre-defined cover and shoot aliens.

            It is called XCOM and it has aliens and shooting, but it is as similar to Mass Effect 2 with pausing-issue order as it is to X-COM.

          • subedii says:

            I HAVE played the demo,and I’m just going to go ahead andI agree with TCM. I cannot get where you’re getting Splinter Cell from, other than maybe “military dudes”.

            And CoH is an RTS with a very different feel. I love CoH, played lots of the multiplayer too, but yeah, I can’t say I felt anything like that here. I mean the very nature of it being turn based makes the gameplay feel wholey different for a start.

          • Lowbrow says:

            I’ve played the demo and I agree with TCM. I does need tooltips, but I liked the keyboard commands when I gave them a shot.

            This feels like Xcom to me, and I was happy that it ran well on my laptop (which was my main reason for the demo).

          • arccos says:

            I’m in the middle of an X-Com playthrough, and XCom certainly feels like an X-Com sequel to me. It’s surprisingly similar considering how long it’s been since the original came out.

            Battlefields are multiple levels, there is destructible cover, soldiers have multiple strategic options, and they made a point in the very first level of killing off most of your squad without much comment. I think they’ve done pretty well making a new game with significant callbacks to the original. I don’t want something slavishly copying the original; I still have X-Com and soon Xenonaughts if I want that.

            I preordered it based on this.

    • ynamite says:

      Just finished the demo myself and sadly, I have to agree. I sooo wanted this to be good, honest. And maybe it’ll still be great, but the demo left a very bland taste in my mouth.

      Makes me wonder why RPS had such high praise for this game. Are they playing a different build? Or is it simply the demo bit that kinda sucks?

      I thought the graphics were generally fine (also, when it comes to XCOM I could honestly care less about the visuals).

      The interface is really strange (and it felt like it was made for gamepads to me as well). So strange in fact that I wasn’t sure whether I was missing something. So I went to check out the key bindings in case I was doing something wrong. Guess what! No key bindings for you my friend … I hope this is just a demo thing.

      For instance, changing the floor (level) is bound to the mouse wheel, while zoom is bound to first clicking the mouse wheel and then moving the mouse. Seriously? WTF? I mean, SERIOUSLY? Beside the fact that zooming seems way more important than changing the floor level, clicking the mouse wheel AND moving the mouse just seems way too complicated for such a simple action … That is just wrong, on so many levels *cough* They could have used just one key for zooming in and out and it didn’t even need to be on the mouse, y’know.

      I wouldn’t say it doesn’t feel like XCOM, not yet anyway, but I have to admit that the demo didn’t exactly assure me that the full game would. I preordered this straight after reading RPS’ thoughts on the preview code they received.

      I’m a little concerned now thb. Alec? Care to comment on how the demo differs from the code you got to play? Is it just a really bad demo? Or are/were expectations to high? Or were yous just talking out of your A-holes?

      • Premium User Badge

        Adam Smith says:

        The demo covers much less than half of what I played when I first saw the game – written up here. I was worried about the linearity, the feel of those early missions – it’s a shame in a way that the demo might dissuade people rather than persuade them since I’m glad it exists, in principle.

        I reckon Jim and Alec would agree that the first thing they do when they start a new game on the preview code we have is switch off the tutorial. It really is there to be a tutorial rather than an opening. In all the time I’ve spent with the game, less than an hour of it has probably been with the tutorial.

        • Trithne says:

          That’s pretty much what I thought. It’s a bad demo because it’s just tutorial. Linear stages and forced actions. It should be a research/plot progress-limited demo, with restricted options. Civ V’s demo was good like that. This is poorly thought through.

        • ynamite says:

          Thanks for getting back.

          That’s good to know, maybe it really has to do with the tutorial. Can you confirm that there is no way to change key bindings and is this generally the same UI as in the finished game?

    • Zenicetus says:

      I like the low-res textures and overall feel of the artwork. It borders on a cartoon look, but it’s easier on the eyes than Borderlands. It seems appropriate for the game, and I don’t think it would necessarily work better with more detailed models.

      The controls on the other hand… ugh, the mouse feels sluggish. Maybe there is a VSYNC on/off option in the actual game, or maybe it can be forced in the video card settings? That really needs fixing. The camera constantly changing POV and zoom level without the player’s input is annoying, but I suppose I can get used to it. But they need to improve that mouse latency.

      I was on the fence about pre-ordering, and I think this just put me on the “wait and see, maybe wait for the first couple of patches” side of the fence.

    • cybrbeast says:

      I would hardly believe it if they released the full version without keyboard config settings, that would be ridiculous especially as they’ve been calling themselves PC friendly.

    • Loyal_Viggo says:

      Agreed, there are many things my Spider Senses were detecting before, but now I’ve played the demo I can safely this this hatchet-job-console-port is a terrible, awful remake of one of the best strategy games ever.

      It’s just so… weak, almost treating the player with contempt even.

      not worth pre-order, or full price, even half price sale would be pushing it.

      *Sits down and waits for Xenonauts*

  39. JFS says:

    I didn’t believe this was possible. Downloading rrrriight now!

  40. pbrand says:

    I’m getting nothing but crashes after the second cutscene. This is abominable.

  41. mwoody says:

    Kudos for the pre-release demo.

    That said, WOW does this feel like a console game. My preorder still stands, but this demo has shaken the confidence I’d gleaned from recent previews.

    • Unaco says:

      How so?

      • Haxavier says:

        My best buddy (been playing xcom most of his life) played through it and I watched, and we both shared the following concerns:

        1. Almost complete lack of options. No graphics options, not even any options to change keybinds. Could be it’s just a demo, but most demos (even console ports) have allowed me to rebind.
        2. No confirmation click for movement or shooting? Why not? Almost any TBS worth anything has a click-to-confirm function. Ruined positioning a couple times thanks to an accidental mouseclick that you can’t renege upon.
        3. Combat interface is just clunky. You should be able to mouseover the combat abilities while in your overview to get a blurb about them, but you gotta hit spacebar to get into VATs-a-like first to read any of them.
        4. Weird LOS stuff that doesn’t seem right. Seems odd that a squaddie can see and shoot through a solid shipping container wall at a grounded floater who’s in cover himself.
        5. Base interface is clunky. Why can’t we just click on one of the antfarm holes to go to it, why do we have to cycle through the buttons at the top, and why is the mission control button at the bottom? It’s just all over the place…

        Don’t get me wrong, it looks like it has the trappings for solid gameplay and all that, it just feels…weird. And exceptionally consolized. At least this demo anyway.

        • DuddBudda says:

          I’m too washed out to get clinical about these ‘features’ and how they undermine the tactical foundations of XCOM, I just wanted to vent

          Move or shoot and then move or shoot again

          Spot an alien? keep on trucking

          A progression of knee high walls

          Skills on cooldown

          Nonexistent facing – overwatch 360 degrees for the win

          Recruits all have the same stats

          Small, high-survivability squads

          One base

          Binary choice of missions

          Scaled-down economy (200 simoleons for helping the chinese? whtf?)

          Please, someone tell me it gets better, that these simplified elements add up to substantive strategy gaming

          • cybrbeast says:

            The demo got me worried too, but it might not be that bad. Remember this demo is on the easy setting so that should explain your squaddies surviving.

            Progression of knee high walls? I don’t really agree, the second mission had pretty diverse environment and the original X-COM was all about knee high walls and buildings for cover.

            This demo was very much run and gun, but I think your strategy will change a lot once the enemies get tougher and your soldiers get more abilities and weapons.

            I hope it’s not always a binary mission choice, actually doubt it, but that would be silly indeed. Maybe it’s only for some scripted encounters, which do have me worried, how many encounters are scripted?

            I agree this demo does anything but shine especially the consoley feel irked me. But the game still seems like it could be a lot of fun. And I’ll also have Xenonauts soon.

        • The First Door says:

          To be fair there are graphics options in the game, although the lack of keybinding is a bit odd! Also there is a confirm to shoot. You press space/click to go into the aiming mode and then press space/click again to fire.

        • Zenicetus says:

          “Combat interface is just clunky. You should be able to mouseover the combat abilities while in your overview to get a blurb about them, but you gotta hit spacebar to get into VATs-a-like first to read any of them.”

          I knew something was bothering me there, but couldn’t put my finger on it. That’s it!

          There isn’t much sense that I’m looking at the tactical situation from the overhead view and getting all the information I need right there. Instead, you have to move through these different modes and changes of perspective. I mean, the VATS-alike is kind of interesting, but I shouldn’t have to jump around and practically inhabit the bodies of all my guys, to get the tactical overview of the situation.

        • Mandabar says:

          Huh, In reaction to #5. I think I remember from when they went indepth on the PC UI they showed people just clicking and zooming into parts of the base easy w/o using the top interface. So this might all be demo glitches.

          This demo might be the Demo they are getting ready for the Xbox ported quickly to PC with PC UI Haphazardly ported in? Less work then doing 3 different demo builds?

          • jalf says:

            but also giving people a worse impression of the game? Wouldn’t that be kind of counterproductive for a demo?

    • ynamite says:

      I have to agree …

      It wasn’t baaad, but just not as good as many people who played the preview code made it out to be. I suppose my expectations were just too high.

      Oh well … here’s hoping that the full game will be better. maybe it’s just the demo that’s ass.

  42. Tuckey says:

    Mouse cursor lag (wtf!), unskippable intros, unskippable cutscenes, cinematic first mission. Tutorial mode first mission. Low resolution textures. Weird zoom.

    • bakaohki says:

      Oh Christ, then I’ll buy the xbox version – if I buy it at all. Thanks for letting me know, mate.

    • The First Door says:

      Try turning off V-sync! I get that problem loads with Unreal Engine powered games, for whatever reason.

      EDIT: Yeah, fixed it for me in the demo.

  43. Foob says:

    Hm, camera controls are buggy enough to break the game for me. It just scrolls to the top left of the map and stays there…

    • Qwentle says:

      That’s a fairly common problem in PC ports. Do you have a gamepad plugged in? (If they’re not calibrated 100% the deadzone often doesn’t work properly and it ends up taking control).

      • Foob says:

        Ah, it was a set of rudder pedals. They’re new, so I hadn’t seen the problem before… Thanks!

        • Inglourious Badger says:

          That gave me images of you using a TrackIR headset, joystick and rudder pedals to navigate the game. In fact, you should SO do that, that’d be japes

  44. Captain Joyless says:

    The last time I played a PC game demo it was Dragon Age 2. I uninstalled after about 5 minutes and cancelled my pre-order.

    I’m about 3-5 minutes in to the XCOM demo. Not looking good.

    Oh cool, rag-doll physics, too. Awesome.

    • TCM says:


      Jeezum frig, are you one of those people who thinks that the glam cam takes away from strategy?

      • Captain Joyless says:

        Wow, man, just wow. You are being insanely defensive about a demo YOU HAVENT EVEN PLAYED. Stop spamming post replies and just shut up until you have some kind of actual experience to talk about.

        • bakaohki says:

          Maybe he’s one of the developers – just ignore him and his caps locked ways.

          • TCM says:

            You can question a frigton of things about me, but do not dare question my motherfrigging integrity.

            Why are you even here, anyway? Everyone at RPS who has played the game has enjoyed it, clearly they were all liars, all of them, pushing the pisspoor console port on you.

          • mckertis says:

            You think they’d get all these interviews with Jake if they were being all negative ? Of course not ! And interviews draw in visitors.

          • ynamite says:


            How can one not question your integrity when you defend the game like a rabid fanboy? I mean, you hadn’t played the demo yourself but you felt justified to slam the opinions of others who had played it?

            Sure, RPS did enjoy the game but the fact is some of us don’t. RPS felt they did a great job on the PC version, while some of us don’t think so. Both are valid opinions to have. The point is that now that we’ve played the demo (emphasis on “played”), we can actually participate in the discussion of the game (hint: because we have first hand experience).

            You on the other hand can’t, because apparently you haven’t played it yet. If all you’re going to do is defend the game by saying how great it is, based on someone elses opinion, then you’re not really in a position to discuss the game. So do yourself (and everybody else) a favor and go play it.

            If you still think it’s sooo great afterwards. good for you, that is a valid opinion to have, just as everybody elses.

          • jalf says:

            I will absolutely question the motherfriggin integrity of someone who not only prefers his delusions over cold hard facts, but also expects everyone else to abide by the same delusions.

            You said in your own comments that you hadn’t yet played the demo, and yet you refused to believe people who had played the demo when they said that the UI is very much a console-port.

            Now please grow up, take a deep breath, relax, and just go play the f’ing demo, instead of jumping at everyone who comments it in less than worship-like praise.

            I enjoyed the demo, but it certainly isn’t without its issues. And even though I *do* like the demo, even though I did *not* cancel my preorder, I find your behavior to be completely and utterly absurd, immature and needlessly offensive.

            Take a deep breath, and realize that this is just a game. It’s a game, and it’s a console port, and that doesn’t mean that it’s a bad game, because whether or not it’s a bad game is subjective.

          • RegisteredUser says:

            “I will absolutely question the motherfriggin integrity of someone who not only prefers his delusions over cold hard facts, but also expects everyone else to abide by the same delusions.”

            If american voters were like you, the republican party would no longer exist.

  45. TCM says:

    asdf what does no subscription mean



  46. flipflop mcbop says:

    hmm pre-ordered yesterday if I had known about the demo definitely would have waited.

    If I had actually played the demo first, I would not have pre-ordered.

    • Loyal_Viggo says:

      You know you can cancel Steam pre-orders, not sure about other digital distribution, they should.

      Most retailers will also cancel a pre-order too as the product is not even out (Amazon and and Gamestop for sure as I’ve done that).

  47. Adekan says:

    Thought it was pretty fun, if a little short. Admittedly never played the original X-com. Don’t see the issue with people talking about the first mission being a tutorial, having never played it gave me some idea of what was going on ( although I already had a decent idea from watching the hour long video posted here a few weeks ago ).

    I had no issues with the interface, what is the big deal with pressing 1-6 for abilities and clicking where you want it? Everything you could want to do has a keyboard shortcut, or can be clicked with the mouse.

    Will probably wait a week or two and then pre-order.

  48. snv says:

    What? I ignored this to do work. I could have been playing XCOM for hours!!!

  49. Deadly Habit says:

    I know the demo didn’t go very deep, but it just didn’t feel like X-Com. I understand the hand holding tutorial mission is a must since no one seems to read manuals anymore, but the game just feels dumbed down, at least that’s the impression I got from the demo.
    It was fun, but not in the same sense I get when playing the originals or Xenonauts, that and all the cinematic mission briefings I could do without, I wanna get to my tactical combat.
    Also encountered some lovely animation bugs and such, managed to blow an enemy off the map with the rocket which launched him into some grey void. Also when firing at an enemy directly next to me the troops fired forward instead of aiming at him which was kind of surprising with all the emphasis on the cinematic style cuts in between.
    My hype meter for this has gone down, but I’ll probably still get it as tactical strategy games are too far and in between.

    • JoeGuy says:

      I’m about to try out the demo myself but I’d say it would be like that first mission in Mass Effect 3, where they tell you how to jump, reload and all that. It really wouldn’t represent the game experience or unlock all the options, its just showing you the basic mechanics and possibly helping them find potential bugs before launch. Thankfully the tutorial is skipped entirely on repeat play-throughs.

      • Haphaz77 says:

        Without any strategic gameplay and only limited to first level tactical options, it does feel quite limited I admit – although a similar level demo for the original XCOM would be equally unimpressive I think. RPS and everyone who’s played a more detailed build seem to like it though – I think of this as a tech demo; it could have been better, but still very exciting!

        +1 Adam’s point: please don’t discourage devs from doing demos!

  50. peschi says:

    some terrible mouselag, also no way of adjusting mouse sensitivity.

    gameplay itself looks okay, a lot of handholding though

    • The First Door says:

      I found that too, but you could try turning off the V-Sync, that fixed it for me. Also having just played through the demo, it’s seems they’ve put in the tutorial segment in. Once it took the training wheels off, I found myself really, really enjoying it.

    • Haphaz77 says:

      There is a mouse sensitivity scroll bar isn’t there? or was that something else?