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XCOM: Enemy Unknown Review
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XCOM: Enemy Unknown Review

Site Score
Good: Fun tactical alien killing
Bad: Not as refined as it could be
User Score
(3 votes)
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VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.0/10 (3 votes cast)

XCOM was one of the first games I’ve bought on a whim in years, and I don’t have any regrets. As a fan of Final Fantasy Tactics, I knew I had to get it. I didn’t even wait for a steam sale. The game begins when aliens attack the earth, and you are tasked with commanding the XCOM project, earth’s last defense against an alien threat.

The story is incredibly predictable and the missions aren’t very different from one another. Most are either kill all the aliens on the map or escort someone somewhere. So there isn’t much innovation, but it’s not really that kind of game. Also, the controls are simple, and you command your squad on a tiled field. Due to the game’s simple design I give it a 6 in Innovation. That’s where the mediocrity ends though.

Aside from the previously stated negative remarks, there is also a great deal of depth to xcom. You are given the freedom of choice regarding what subjects to research, what your engineering department should be building, how your base is laid out, how each soldier you hire is outfitted, and a few other things.

Perhaps the hardest of all the choices to make are which countries to save in what order. Every time a mission comes up, at least three countries are attacked at once, and you can only save one. The two you choose to neglect have their levels of panic rise, and if you don’t help them soon, they stop supporting xcom, and you lose funding and various benefits. If enough countries drop out, you lose. That’s right, here is a game that you can actually lose in this day and age.

I never actually played the original, and many dedicated fans complain about how easy or oversimplified this game is. Rest assured, it isn’t an easy game. If you need more of a challenge, there is a classic mode where the difficulty is raised quite high, and an Iron-man mode where you aren’t allowed to load previous saved data. Losing soldiers can be tough even when playing on normal, so in Iron-man mode it is gut-wrenching. The amount of variety in xcom lets me give it a score of 9 in Replay Value.

Xcom has a couple glitches here and there to make note of. Sometimes a turn doesn’t end for about 10 seconds when there are no units left to move, and firing grenades and rocket launchers move the camera WAY too quickly. However, none of these things are more than annoying, and don’t hamper the ability of the game to function. I give it an 7 in Playability.

The soundtrack is quite small and gets repetitive, but the music does the job. The sound effects are exactly what you expect, gunshots, lasers and explosions. nothing great, but nothing bad. 7 in Sound.

Graphically, xcom doesn’t win any medals, however it looks good enough for my tastes. If you are looking for eye candy, you won’t find it here. It receives a 6 for style.

Xcom does also have a sweet multiplayer, which I was able to play at bit of. I wish I could play it more, but I can’t be bothered to wait more than 5 minutes for a match, which happens too often. Making your own squad out of a certain amount of points and seeing who can come up with the best combination sounds really fun. Only two times was I able to get into a match in under a minute, and every time I played online it was a blast.

All in all xcom is a really fun game, but is a bit under polished. There are too many little annoying things that could have been fixed with another month or two of work. And while you have plenty of decisions out of combat, I feel that they could have done more to make combat feel a little more tactical. If you are looking for a decent strategy game, and like to shoot aliens, I would recommend picking up XCOM, it will definitely entertain despite it’s flaws. 8.5 out of 10.

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: +2 (from 2 votes)
XCOM: Enemy Unknown Review, 9.0 out of 10 based on 3 ratings
Profile photo of Joshua "Cardboardowl" Arrieta
Joshua "Cardboardowl" Arrieta

An avid gamer since he could hold a controller, Joshua plays everything out there, except sports games. He also has some mad skills, and plays multiple games at a tournament level such as Street fighter, League of legends, UMVC3 and a few others. Always ready to play and isn't afraid to let people know what he thinks. Josh is a feature writer for Game Override


  1. Profile photo of Faintduke
    01/12/2013, 01:49

    Xcom is a really fun game I used to play it all the time with my friends and I. We would make characters and whenever it was your character you play as him or her and you only can make 2 characters so it was a challenge but it was fun.

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  2. Profile photo of caryipod
    01/06/2013, 23:50

    So many games now a days comes out unfinished and then wait a few months after to polish it more! But the thing of some games is that a good thing like it actually improved the game experience a lot and some just makes it terrible! I never played Xcom before but looking at this review and other videos makes me feel this game is really nice in mechanics and also the style is really interesting. The level of hardness is so different from other games like Dark Souls or other hard games out there.

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