Posts Tagged ‘XCOM: Enemy Unknown’

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 they’ll only star briefly. Whenever someone dies, they’ll be replaced by one of this site’s readers. Who will also almost certainly die. That’s how much we love you.
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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 off, Firaxis commissioned the clever folks who made the Long War mod for Enemy Unknown to produce three day-one mods for XCOM 2. They are neat additions but, more than that, they’re signposts toward an exciting future.

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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 is a welcome one – and it does this even though, thematically, we’re talking a post-alien-invasion Earth and all the horror that implies. It wouldn’t be unfair to invoke Independence Day comparisons, but it wouldn’t be quite correct either: XCOM 2 does have that hoorah-heroism, but fortunately it’s bereft of flag-waving. This is the bright dystopia, the heroic rebellion rather than the forlorn resistance.

When I play XCOM 2, I feel incredibly excited most of the time, and it’s not just because of soaring military march soundtrack – there are dozens of tiny things it does to make me feel like an action hero (or a least a commander of action heroes).

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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 on various alien homeworlds? Would it take risks or rest comfortably on well-earned laurels?

The answer, as we now know, didn’t quite fit any of the above. These are happy times for the XCOM devotee but I’m hoping for an apocalyptic future. Here are a few ideas and hopes for what the game’s first expansion might be.

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Wot I Think: XCOM 2

In 2012, Firaxis took on the seemingly impossible task of reviving one of the most beloved PC games ever made. The original X-COM is widely considered to be one of the masterpieces of the nineties golden age, and since its release there have been sequels, spin-offs and unofficial revivals, but Firaxis’ XCOM was a complete, licensed reinterpretation. It was also rather good. Now, with XCOM 2 [official site] ready for release, Firaxis aim to improve on the formula that made Enemy Unknown such a triumph. Here’s wot I think.

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XCOM: Long War Team Making XCOM 2 Mods

Alec hasn’t been the same since he returned from the Long War. The celebrated XCOM mod turns the base game’s wee scrap into a gruelling war, chewing through your forces and your resolve with relentless difficulty. Some days we find him simply sitting in a chair by the window, staring out to sea, his bottom lip quivering.

The folks who made Long War are working on their own strategy game now but, also, have teamed up with Firaxis to make a few mods for XCOM 2 [official site].

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XCOM And Civ Aplenty In Humble Firaxis Bundle

While Adam is larking about in XCOM 2, I’m replaying XCOM: Enemy Within to demonstrate how totally fine and unbothered I am that he has access and I don’t. It’s still really fun! Last night I ordered a cyberlady to punch a robodino so hard it exploded.

If you want to join in with not feeling bitter, the latest Humble Bundle is a cracker. It’s a big merry load of cheap Firaxis strategy games, with your XCOMs and your Civilizations and your Pirates! and your Starships and so on for not very much money at all. We can all be unbothered together.

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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 and strategies that were successful in its predecessor. I’m smitten.

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XCOM Long War Modders Working On Standalone Strategy Game

XCOM’s Long War mod [official site] is, to many, the definitive version of Firaxis’ reboot of the alien-repelling strategy classic. As the title suggests, it extends the length of the campaign, making the fight against the invaders into a gruelling conflict rather than a streamlined series of missions. The campaign structure isn’t the only thing the mod changes – it’s like the biggest and most delicious expansion imaginable – and you can find all the details here, as well as download links.

Now, the team behind the mod have formed a studio and begun work on “a grand strategy game in which the player leads the defense of Earth during an alien invasion”.

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Making The Misfits: XCOM 2’s Character Customisation

It’s the RPS Horacetide lunch and beverage session today, which is why the entire site smells like eggnog and reheated turkey twizzlers. Here’s an early pressie in the form of a video showing the XCOM 2 [official site] character customisation suite in action. This is taken from my recent hands-on session – I’d made the rather fabulous lady above and she’d survived one outing. I decided to give her a new gun, and ended up giving her a new face and outfit as well.

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XCOM 2’s Concealment Mechanic Changes Everything

Procedural maps, randomised weapons and chain-smoking soldiers. In XCOM 2 [official site], the rules have changed. One seemingly minor addition to the tactical combat might have the greatest impact of all though. In our recent hands-on, we had a chance to test out the new concealment mechanic. It removes one of XCOM’s few frustrations and creates an entirely new scouting phase as each mission begins.

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Hands On: XCOM 2’s Strategy And Tactics Dissected

With XCOM 2 [official site], Firaxis are not resting on their laurels. The studio’s reboot of the license had a great deal to prove – primarily, it had to satisfactorily answer the question as to why the much-loved series needed to be revived at all.

That obstacle overcome, the sequel is on safer ground and it might have been enough to reskin and reshape ever so slightly. A new setting, a new gang of aliens, and a few new weapons and hairstyles for the defenders of the Earth. Instead, there’s a degree of role-reversal, with the player now attempting to take the planet back from an occupying force rather than protecting it from invaders. There’s a new approach to the strategic side of the game, the return of randomised maps and an in-depth suite of soldier customisation tools.

After a couple of hours with the sequel, I’m more excited about XCOM than I’ve been since the announcement of the reboot.

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Someone Has Recreated A Playable XCOM In Excel

An XCOM fan on Reddit has created a rather robust version of XCOM that is played using the spreadsheet software Microsoft Excel. Dubbed EXLCOM, this reimagining of the science fiction turn-based strategy game is far from complete, but that doesn’t mean you can’t sink a few hours enjoying the fact that the program you use to budget your weekly spending allowance can be used to build a fully functional video game. I spoke to its creator about the hows and whys.

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Julian “Mr X-COM” Gollop’s Chaos Reborn Is Out Now

Just a PSA, as we already mentioned this a few weeks before it happened: Chaos Reborn [official site], the successfully Kickstarted remake of/sequel to classic Spectrum wizard-bothering strategy/bluffing game Chaos, has left Early Access and gotten a full Steam release. Much as I can’t help but include “OMG made by the guy who invented X-COM” excitements in any coverage, I really should stress that Chaos Reborn is a clever and tense game of magical battles in its own right.

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X-COM Creator’s Chaos Reborn Is Born This Month

I’ve started to feel a degree of sadness when games leave early access and embrace a full release. It’s like watching your kids get older and go to college – there’s that point where, one day, their growing up is done. You know who they’re going to be. There’s pride, sure, but all the what-ifs are over and done with. Julian Gollop’s turn-based wizard-battler Chaos Reborn [official site] (currently on Steam Early Access), for instance, is no longer a great unknown – the X-COM co-creator’s latest (and first independent) game will be released on Steam at the end of the month. It’s not that its journey is over, but the guessing and hoping stage is. That great question which has floated around PC parts for years – what would it be like if Julian Gollop made a new game? – is answered.
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Xenonauts 2 Is “More Likely Than Not”

XCOM 2 [official site] is a hugely exciting prospect (so much so that I’m genuinely grumpy about the delay), but XCOM and X-COM are so very different things by now that it’s unlikely to slake anyone’s thirst for a true-blue, Gollopy experience. Fortunately, sounds like we might also be in for a sequel to unofficial X-COM spiritual sequel Xenonauts [official site], 2014’s Cold War-set alien invasion strategy title.
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So, Uh, Who Wants An XCOM 2 Prequel Novel?

I… Uh. Erm. Must be polite. As much as I love it, I don’t know if I’m into XCOM/X-COM for the fiction? Like, at all? It certainly didn’t work for me when they wrote a tie-in book for the original 90s game. But, here we go. XCOM 2: Resurrection is a whole damned novel which explains what happened between XCOM 1 and XCOM 2 – i.e. how the aliens ended up in charge of the Earth and besties with humanity. I feel like an introductory cutscene might have been enough to explain that, but then again I’m pleased that XCOM is clearly enough of a success that it’s getting spin-offs.
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XCOM’s Free This Weekend, Or £3/$7 To Own Forever

Is it you? No? What about you? Or you over there, with the… oh God, what is that on your face? Oh, sorry, you’ve just been at the cronuts again, haven’t you? Well, I know it’s one of you. One of you hasn’t played XCOM: Enemy Unknown [official site] yet. Just the one, though. This means that this post will surely be our lowest-trafficking of all time, but I shall write it anyway as a public service. XCOM’s free on Steam this weekend.
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Have You Played… XCOM: Long War?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

Oh no! XCOM 2: Be The Baddie has been delayed until next February. If you’re anything like me that wait is agony. There is no stronger recommendation I can give to get through it than XCOM 1 mod Long War.
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XCOM 2 Release Pushed To February 2016

Alec took the news badly

A message, beamed into the RPS mobile base from an unknown source:

“Hello, Commander. In light of our desire to ensure that the upcoming extraterrestrial reign of terror is a significant improvement on the gloriously successful incursions of 2012, this council of developers has convened to approve the activation of the XCOM 2 Delay Project. You have been chosen to spread word of this initiative. To oversee our first… and last* change to the release date. You may believe that releasing this year would have made all of your planet’s dreams come true but we are looking to the future. We urge you to keep that in mind as you proceed.”

Actually, I spotted the news on Twitter. XCOM 2 [official site] won’t be with us until February 5, 2016.

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