Saturday, 17 July 2010

JJ on X-COM UFO Defense

 Shuffling through the field in the dark of night, fearing each sound, losing your squad in seconds. Freezing in the arctic, blasting aliens to shreds with plasma weapons and getting pushed into a position where you are 1 vs. 5. Quickly flying ships around the world, spending hours pouring over statistics, spending days working on a base or squad layout. These are all examples of X-com UFO Defense, a great, very deep and interesting turn based strategy game. This game was made in 1993, and for standards back then this game was probably a pretty cool game. Now, in 2010, with games that are breaking the barrier of anything video entertainment has ever seen before, X-com UFO Defense is still an amazing game. Sometimes X-com UFO Defense can be one of the most frustrating games known to the universe, but for some reason that makes it very, very, VERY fun!

 X-com UFO Defense has can NOT compete with modern day graphics. This is no matter, though it usually is in most games. X-com UFO makes graphics not matter. Everything is rendered clearly, so I wouldn't really care if it had better graphics. The gameplay isn't hindered by the graphics, ships look normal, people too (Though everyone looks the kinda the same), and aliens fit their role. The landscape is destructible and looks perfect. Cities have gas pumps, soda racks, food racks, cash machines, houses, warehouses, and many more. Fields have grass that can be burnt and fences and tress that can be destroyed. The world view, or "Geoscape" looks like a jumble of not impressive colors and textures. The Geoscape is still a great addition to the game, it would be really boring to just click, "Send ___ ship on patrol to (Insert a list of all the major cities in the world here)". 

Games that are made during this decade seem to wear off after a month or two, then you MIGHT pick then up at some later date to play with a friend. That is the main reason I keep buying more games... X-com UFO Defense is a completely different story, though it might not be for some people. Let's get this straight before I proceed with the "Gameplay" section, X-com UFO Defense is a hardcore game. Not for the casual gamer, or someone who might sit down every few days to play an hour or two. To fully experience this game you need to have patience, time, and... more patience. Spending minutes deciding how many scientists to assign to a project, then realizing you need to do another project and spending even MORE time considering which project to proceed with. Spending thirty minutes to an hour on just one terror mission, spending an average of 10-30min on a large spaceship crash recovery, this game takes a while. Just today I spent maybe, an hour to an hour and a half on my first terror mission. I was fully equipped, had a lot of high quality soldiers, and yet I got completely dominated. After I went in with my full party of 10 soldiers, I came out with 2. Even with me saving after each turn, and cautiously proceeding. I learned a valuable lesson with the mission. Even if you have the best squad, the best weapons, the best plan, everything that can go wrong will go wrong. The main point I'm trying to get through with this is: X-com UFO Defense can last a LONG time. If I'm reviewing it 17 years after launch, then that is solid proof. Hours of base planning, even more hours of strategic combat, and long periods of thinking. Several re-plays are recommended once you beat the game on the easiest setting. 

Sounds in X-com UFO Defense aren't anything special, a man's scream always sounds the same. An alien's plasma weapon has the same zapping sound. The footsteps of a soldier on metal are identical. The only thing that makes me a little mad at the X-com sounds is that they sometimes lag slightly. (Remember this IS a 1993 game.)

X-com UFO Defense is one of the best strategy games I've ever played. It's a ton of fun to play, and will only get boring if you lose patience. I only recommend this for a hardcore gamer who has a ton of time on his hands. It is available on Steam for a meager price. Pick it up today before it gets snatched from your hands by an alien humanoid! 
   Overall Score: 9.0

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