XCOM: Enemy Unknown, developed by Firaxis who have brought us the popular Civilization series, takes on a whole theme and setting for its widely anticipated release.
This title is a reboot into the series of past XCOM games which lets the player take arms of the Earths best military defences (XCOM - Extraterrestrial Combat unit) to try and confront alien invasion through strategic game-play. This game also sticks to its roots with its notorious difficulty and harsh ways.
This is the XBOX 360 version, even though it is great on any platform, I personally prefer games of this genre to be handheld.
Though other games in the series have experimented with various game-play mechanics. The new instalment goes back to its roots of turn-based combat as the core game-play, whilst blending a strategic base management system, in which you decide the best ways to research and develop your units. This base management acts as the central hub, where many actions can be taken, such as customising soldiers, unlocking classes, upgrading equipment through R&D along with other decisions in which you will suffer nonlinear sacrifices and consequences which will certainly have you scratching you head and breaking a sweat.
Entering a real mission, your soldiers will be sent into a randomly generated version of ground map of the chosen area shrouded by a blinding fog. Here, intense turn based combat begins. challenging you to strategically traverse the unknown area, discovering and fighting enemy units, whilst often trying to topple overwhelming odds.
A seamless link between tactical game-play and exciting over the shoulder shooting visuals really gives this genre something new. The mechanics are extremely well polished and offer enough changes in techniques of classes and weapons to keep things exciting for the games entirety.
Don't let all this talk of difficulty put you off, the game has multiple difficulty settings, even on easier modes, the game requires some thought as units suffer "permadeath" meaning a squad member dies and he is lost forever. No fear though just saving often and making careful decisions is a sure way to prevent this.
Whilst the in game and cut-scene graphics wont leave your jaw dragging on the floor, the aesthetics are still really nice for a game of its genre, where graphics are one of the last thing fans care about. whether it be the quirky yet creepy style of the mysterious aliens or the detailed realistic ground map environments. They deserve credit for how good they are in this type of game and even though not as obviously stunning as your typical console action game on first glance, its still rather impressive.
XCOM: Enemy Unknown is a gem of a game. if you're a turn based strategy fan it's a must, or if you're fairly keen it's a great place to start offering a cool setting and a very unsettling atmosphere that always puts you on guard. Obviously if you have always hated strategy games it wont sway you but It offers the perfect mix between classic hardcore difficulty in older cult games, with enough of this generations streamlined operation to make it an experience that can be enjoyed by all.