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XCOM: Enemy Unknown

2 months ago

Feature: Avengers vs Aliens

Have you played… XCOM 2: War Of The Chosen?

My favourite XCOM is XCOM: Enemy Unknown*, a pure and direct, no mess/no fuss modern-day remix of metagame-augmented turn-based tactics. My second-favourite XCOM is the polar opposite, XCOM 2 DLC War Of The Chosen, an absurd explosion of superheroics that throws internal logic to the wind.

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11 months ago

Feature: Hit Parade

The 50 best strategy games on PC

An entirely objective ranking of the 50 best PC strategy games ever made, now freshened up to include our favourites from 2017 and 2018. From intricate, global-scale wargames to the tight thrills of guerrilla squads, the broad expanse of the genre contains something for everyone, and we've gathered the best of the best. The vast majority are available to buy digitally, a few are free…

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1 year ago

Feature: Along came a spider

Phoenix Point is so much like XCOM it scares me

The mutant spider queen ripped through another building and I knew my team was dead. This didn’t bother me, I’ve played enough of nu-XCOM to accept the loss of humanity’s last hope. But there’s something more unsettling than being impaled by a large arachnid in Phoenix Point. Its the game’s uncanny and unnerving resemblance to its XCOM cousins. It’s like seeing a doppelgänger of your…

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2 years ago

Feature: Choose life, choose a fucking big mag cannon

XCOM 2: War of the Chosen’s alien champions, lost cities and soldier bonds explained

Fallen cities swarming with the dangerous remnants of their human populations, alien battlefield commanders who resemble fantastical heroes, new rulesets for friendship and fear, and an actual active resistance out on the Geoscape. XCOM 2 [official site] is changing. The War of the Chosen is "definitely the biggest expansion we've ever done", lead designer Jake Solomon told us at E3. Introducing unique enemy champions doesn't…

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Feature: The Council of Funding Nations convenes

Phoenix Point is now crowdfunding: we spoke to Julian Gollop about standing out in a post-XCOM world

The original X-COM (UFO: Enemy Unknown), Julian Gollop tells me, "succeeded in spite of itself". I asked him how he felt about the game now, twenty three years after its initial release, and particularly about the way it's often placed on a pedestal. He didn't expect it to be a success and certainly didn't think he'd be making a game heavily based on its legacy…

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3 years ago

Feature: X-COM Meets The Mist

Phoenix Point: Every Detail Of The X-COM Creator’s Return To The Genre

One of the most exciting games in Los Angeles this week won’t be featured at press conferences or on the showfloor. Phoenix Point [official site] is the new tactical-strategy hybrid from Julian Gollop, the creator of the original X-COM, and we met yesterday to discuss its procedurally generated alien threats, simulated human factions and much more. Here’s the world’s first in-depth look at the game.

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Feature: Tactics, Turn Timers, Difficulty, Boardgames, Bugs & Beards

Interview: Firaxis’ Jake Solomon On What Went Right And Wrong With XCOM 2

In which Adam and I sit down with XCOM 2 lead designer Jake Solomon to dissect the strategy sequel. We discuss what it does well and some of the complaints levelled at it, hear about ideas tried and discarded during development, why story had more of a focus this time around and the continued importance of the original X-COM games.

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Feature: Solomon: "I should probably have put in a fake difficulty below the lowest difficulty"

XCOM 2 Was Made More Difficult Late In Development: “There Were Definitely Moments Of ‘Is This Too Much?'”

XCOM 2 was made significantly more difficult late in its development cycle after playtesting suggested it was too easy, says the game's lead designer. "I remember saying 'you know what, we're going to make the game a lot harder. We're going to go back and make the game a lot harder on every level, because this game is not engaging people the way it should,'"…

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Feature: Death is not the end

Learning To Love Failure In XCOM 2 & Darkest Dungeon

The year is young but we've already had the pleasure of welcoming two gruelling tactical slaughterfests into the world: XCOM 2 [official site] and Darkest Dungeon [official site]. We've written a great deal about Firaxis' latest already and our ongoing diary has just hit the point where the alien threat starts to chip away at our beloved squadmates. Darkest Dungeon is more obviously punishing, every…

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Feature: The Wizened + The Doomed: An XCOM 2 Diary, Day 3

XCOM 2: Things Fall Apart

I'm playing and diarising XCOM 2 [official site] on Commander difficulty in Iron Man mode, using characters based on the staff of RPS, replaced by readers as and when they die or go out of action. Full explanation and the story so far here here, and you can download the characters for your own game here. And I was doing so well (thanks in part…

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Feature:

Have You Played… XCOM: Enemy Unknown?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time. Well, 'tis the season and all that. What with XCOM 2 currently overheating a few million graphics cards across the world, it seems a fine time to think back upon Firaxis' original attempt to reboot Julian Gollop's classic strategy+everything game for a new…

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Feature: Time-saving and dog-wielding

Dogs, Timesavers And Katanas: The Best XCOM 2 Mods

It’s been 20 years since the events of XCOM: Enemy Unknown and while you’re sat there wondering where it all went wrong, the alien occupation of the world as we know it is A Thing now. I saved the world the last time round, did I not? I hear you mumble under your breath. No, no one did and that’s the end of it. Get…

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Feature: A perma-Death Diary - plus download the RPS staff for your game

An XCOM 2 Diary: The Wizened + The Doomed, Day 1

It’s tradition now: when an XCOM game comes out, you recreate your friends, colleagues and record-collection-stealing former lovers then send them out to be murdered by aliens. Basically, it’s the Sims with Sectoids rather than sex. So let’s do it again: an XCOM 2 [official site] Iron Man/perma-death diary starring the staff of RPS, who you can download and add to your game below. But…

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Feature: To mod or not to mod?

XCOM 2’s Day One Mods Reviewed

XCOM 2 [official site] isn't just a big pile of tactical brilliance, it's also a big mod-friendly pile of tactical brilliance. Theoretically, that means someone will iron out the things that annoy you and build on the things you love. It also means we can expect anything from an increase in moustache variety to a revamped campaign or series of total conversions. To kick things…

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Feature: Independence Day+

XCOM 2 Is Ridiculously Exciting

I don't mean "I'm excited that this videogame sequel is coming out," but rather that the game itself works so hard and does so much to create a constant sense of near-euphoric drama. In an age where sequels=darker, because far too many people believe that The Empire Strikes Back is the highest watermark of popular culture, XCOM 2 [official site]s lurch towards brightly-coloured celebratory heroism…

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Feature: neXtCOM

What Should XCOM 2’s First Expansion Be?

I visited Firaxis in 2014 to see Civilization: Beyond Earth and it was impossible not to wonder which closed doors were hiding the XCOM 2 [official site] team. The game hadn't been announced but surely somebody was working on a sequel. Would it follow the path of the original games and take to the Lovecraftian depths? Would it reach toward the stars and a battle…

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Feature: Harder, better, stronger

Hands On: XCOM 2’s Brutal Difficulty And Superb Tactical Overhaul

Nobody gets left behind. That was my XCOM: Enemy Unknown rule and it was a rule that I adhered to in almost every one of the hundreds of missions I oversaw. If a squad fell in combat, they fell side by side. XCOM 2 [official site] has made me break my one rule. Repeatedly. Deviously. Tragically. It's hard as nails, and superbly distorts the tactics…

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