Posts Tagged ‘XCOM: Enemy Unknown’

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 strike me as an obvious move for XCOM, so I asked Solomon how the concept of the expansion had developed, and whether he’d drawn any inspiration from Shadow of Mordor’s Nemesis system. And whether we can expect any terrors from the deep in the future.

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XCOM 2: War Of The Chosen coming August 29th

As expected, Firaxis announced a full-fat XCOM 2 [official site] expansion at the E3 2017 PC Gaming Show, promising “new environments, new enemies and new XCOM forces”. It’s called War of the Chosen and the trailer shows those Chosen, the “ultimate enemies of XCOM”. They are three champions – nemeses perhaps – and they will grow up in strength through the game, learning new skills and abilities.

On top of that, there are resistance groups to win over, new zombie-like hordes that will attack aliens and humans alike, and a whole lot more. It’s “twice the size” of the original XCOM’s expansion.

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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 almost a quarter of a century later.

Yet here we are. The crowdfunding campaign for Phoenix Point [official site], a sci-fi horror strategy game about an alien onslaught, has just begun. Gollop is back where many people feel he belongs, and this time round he seems extremely confident in his game’s design.

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Get your ass to Mars – the original X-COM is free

Oh sure, it’s basically been pennies for years, but nothing motivates the merely curious like free-free-free. For that is the case for X-COM: UFO Defense aka UFO: Enemy Unknown, the 1994 alien-bothering strategy game that kicked off a series now made something of a household name by Firaxis’ remakes. Only until tomorrow, though. Read the rest of this entry »

XCOM Long War 2 is coming

Many people thought that the comprehensive and tough as nails Long War mod was the best thing to come out of XCOM: Enemy Unknown so the news that the team behind it would be producing mods for the sequel, in partnership with Firaxis. If only they were working on a full-blown Long War mod though for XCOM 2 [official site], wouldn’t that be something?

Well, they are. Intriguingly, the announcement comes from Firaxis rather than Pavonis, the team formerly known as Long War Studios. Whether that means this will be a super mod with in-house assistance or a full-fat expansion (the difference between those two things might be nothing more than a pricetag) we don’t know, though more info is due “in the coming weeks”.

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The 50 best strategy games on PC

An entirely objective ranking of the 50 best PC strategy games ever made, now brought up to date with the riches of the last two years. From intricate wargames to soothing peacegames, 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 to download and play forever. They’re all brilliant.

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Long War Studios Release New XCOM 2 Mods

The Long War is one of the great mods, expanding Firaxis’ XCOM reboot in ways that called back to the campaign of the original game while also building on what was brilliant in the new version. The team behind it formed a studio and are now working on their own aliens vs Earth game, Terra Invicta, as well as Firaxis-approved mods for XCOM 2 [official site]. The first set of mods arrived on launch day and two more appeared a couple of days ago. One of them is good, the other is spectacular.

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Five Months Later, How Has XCOM 2 Changed?

Five months and one day, in fact. XCOM 2 was a big huge hit at release, and mostly very well-received – although, variously, there were complaints about performance, difficulty, time-wasting and the opacity of its complicated systems. The picture’s a little different now we’re here in July. There have been three DLC packs, a bunch of patches, a mod community and most of all, plenty of time for repeat visits to see how it feels now we know how all the pieces fit together. I’ve just emerged from the requisite sleepless nights to wage the main part of another campaign, and I have indeed found a significantly changed game – for reasons both good and bad.

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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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First XCOM 2 DLC Inbound, But No Perfomance Fix Yet

Suicide Squad, innit?

Well, in fairness, they’ve still got a week to squeak out a much-needed fix for the otherwise great XCOM 2 [official site]’s assorted technical issues before the Anarchy’s Children DLC arrives next week. They might yet do right by us. Leaves a bit of a bad taste in the mouth to even be talking about flogging extra content before the base game’s fully ship-shape, though – especially as said extra content makes me twist my lips into a sort of bemused pout. I really dig XCOM 2’s current and generous character customisation options, which manage to be playful without capsizing into arbitrary weirdness. I’m not sure the same can be said about the Anarchy’s Children pack of cosmetic add-ons.
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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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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,'” Firaxis’ Jake Solomon told RPS. “Of course it triggered a fairly mad rush to balance things out, but I think when the game got more difficult then you started to see people engaging, you felt that spark of life.”

However, he acknowledged that some players might be struggling with the game as a result. “There were definitely moments of ‘is this too much?’ and how do we cater to people that maybe don’t want that experience?”

Solomon also felt that the presentation of the game’s difficulty settings might be to blame for this frustration. “I made a mistake, I think, by calling the lowest difficulty Rookie”.

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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 element built to communicate a sense of hopelessness and despair.

But how do the games compare, in their treatment of failure and death, both mechanically and thematically?

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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 to my own advice). As complacency crept in, an RPS writer fell in battle – and they’re not the only casualty of my recklessness. Bloody Sectoids, basically.

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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 generation. (And for an old generation. Primarily an old generation, maybe).

There is a very real chance I’ve played XCOM more than any game other than Quake III, World of Warcraft and City Of Heroes. Granted, part of that is chance and timing: previews, reviews and expansion packs, then doing the whole thing over again on iPad during paternity leave (baby in one hand, the lives of a dozen pretend soldiers in the other), but part of that is because I wanted to.

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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 it over it, man.

The aliens are here, they’re up to no good, and now it’s time to get rid of them. This list is the best mods XCOM 2 [official site] has to offer so far and should help you achieve that goal, or at least help you to fail (again) in style. This list is also best served alongside Alec’s XCOM 2 Guide: How To Survive And Thrive.

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XCOM 2 Tips: How To Survive And Thrive

I’ve played around 300 hours of XCOM 1, and 50 of XCOM 2 [official site], for my sins. I know full well that this does not make me any kind of expert but I’m experienced enough that XCOM 2 has not yet kicked my flabby little bottom. A lot of people are finding the game very punishing though, so I thought I’d try to help – both by sharing my own advice on how to keep your soldiers alive for longer and by inviting anyone else to share their own tips in comments.

This isn’t a definitive guide, but instead a grab-bag of assorted wisdom, both early and advanced, that I’m certain will help if you’re having a tough time with this wonderful (if sadly malfunctioning) strategy game.

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XCOM 2 Performance Fix: Partial Solutions And More Tips

A big ugly fly in XCOM 2 [official site]’s deliciously deadly ointment is that Firaxis’ game runs like a Psy-Zombie on quite a few folks’ PCs – even those with relatively monster systems. It’s not universal woe – for instance, it runs fine for Adam, hence his only mentioning passing problems in his review, but on my slightly superior PC I can’t even hit the golden 60 frames at minimum settings, while high sees it drop to single digits. In either case there are huge, frustrating lag-spikes throughout, and my PC’s running so uncharacteristically hot that I’m pretty sure I could roast a marshmallow over the rear vent.

I’m far from alone, as a glance at the Steam forums, official boards or Reddit will very quickly reveal. It’s a damn shame, crossing the line from ultimately meaningless visual sacrifices into actively annoying slowness. Firaxis and 2K aren’t giving anything away about what the problem is or when a fix will land, though they do tell us that they’re “aware some players have experienced performance issues” and that they’re looking into it. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do in the meantime – including one particular off-the-beaten-track fix which damn-near doubled my own frame rate.
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Four And A Half Million Dead: XCOM 2 Stats

Firaxis have unveiled an XCOM 2 [official site] stat-tracking page that shows how many soldiers have died, how many aliens have been killed and other such details. Four and a half million XCOM soldiers dead in less than a week since launch. Good work, Commanders. Five percent of those soldiers met their end at the hands and teeth of a zombie. Really great work, Commanders, seriously. You are nailing it. The stats page currently tells me that none of you have managed to complete the game but that is, apparently, an error.

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