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Posted by mracoon (4972 posts) 11 months, 16 days ago

Poll: GotG Round 1: XCOM: Enemy Unknown vs. Valkyria Chronicles (734 votes)

XCOM: Enemy Unknown 72%
Valkyria Chronicles 28%

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Full bracket

A difficult one for fans of tactical turn-based strategy games.

XCOM: Enemy Unknown (2012)

What the community has to say:

As a sum of its parts XCOM: Enemy Unknown is an excellent game that should not be overlooked. The game can be overwhelming at times but in a good way that can be a test of your own tactics and decisions, while being very rewarding when you overcome the challenges it presents you. It is a title that presents complexity and multiple interconnected systems and packages it into an easily digestible experience. Catering to hardcore strategy players and still being perfectly accessible and enjoyable to newer players and can leave you coming back for just one more mission.

From user review by @bubba1287

Valkyria Chronicles (2008)

What the community has to say:

I really enjoyed Valkyria Chronicles and whole-heartedly recommend it to anyone who enjoys turn-based SRPGs. I'm giving it five stars because I feel that it filled all of my expectations and then some, and because a good SRPG is really hard to find these days.

From user review by @patchinko

Voting closes at 12pm GMT / 4am PST Sunday.

#1 Posted by Happenstance (462 posts) -

I really cant choose between the two, both were excellent games.

#2 Posted by HH (611 posts) -

XCOM because it doesn't have all that weirdness in it.

#3 Edited by Chaser324 (6651 posts) -

I'm happy just to see Valkyria Chronicles represented in this tourney. It's a great strategy game and the definitive PS3 sleeper hit.

That being said, XCOM is the better game of this pair. It achieved something I thought was impossible. It brought back one of the best strategy game franchises in a way that modernizes the formula while still being incredibly reverent to the original.

Moderator
#4 Posted by Zevvion (2105 posts) -

I've put over 300 hours into XCOM. It is most likely one of the best games of the generation if you were to ask me. Although I doubt I could ever pick one specific game that would be game of the generation. That's just madness.

#5 Posted by Darji (5294 posts) -

Both great games but in the end I must give it to X-com. Yes it is way more streamlined than I wished it to be, but it still was a very very good remake something so many developers failed to do in this generation

#6 Posted by golguin (3971 posts) -

XCOM is one of the few games I've ever regretting playing. People who weren't familiar with the genre over hyped the thing and so I went in expecting to get my mind blown. What I found was a mediocre game with easily exploited mechanics. Snipers with squad sight on overwatch kill everything.

#7 Edited by YI_Orange (1163 posts) -

XCOM probably deserves to win, but I voted Valkyria Chronicles just to give it some love. That series has always deserved better.

#8 Edited by Zevvion (2105 posts) -

@golguin said:

XCOM is one of the few games I've ever regretting playing. People who weren't familiar with the genre over hyped the thing and so I went in expecting to get my mind blown. What I found was a mediocre game with easily exploited mechanics. Snipers with squad sight on overwatch kill everything.

A known overpowered tactic. Yet, even with that, it's not at all an easier game than the vast majority of games out there. Also, once you up the difficulty, you can't solely rely on that tactic anymore. Playing that game on Impossible was some of the most tense moments I had this generation. To the point where I sometimes put the controller down, walked to a window and stared outside for 10 minutes before continuing.

#9 Edited by SomeJerk (3305 posts) -

I wish it was possible to explain the thing about Valkyria Chronicles without expanding and making a quicklooky deal again. It's an ancient title, it never broke or bugged out or ruined saves or gameplay, it delivered so much more story, development, character development than X-Com 2012. It gets a tiny bit old over time, the control and play is a little stiff and rigid and overall less impressive than what X-Com 2012 offers despite what X-Com 2012 lacks over its predecessors.

Losing a long lived character (perma-death is in Valkyria Chronicles by default, you just don't want it to happen) hurts in both games but I never cried out in panic when it happened in X-Com. In Valkyria Chronicles you have actual characters with backstories, voices, faces, feelings and honest to dog personalities that play out on the field for better and worse. In X-Com you have very nameless random grunts in an all out battle against alien invaders and not people with families, friends, deep back-stories.

If I had the time and the health I would letsplay a bit of Valkyria Chronicles and demonstrate what it is and why I prefer it. It has aged beautifully and deserves more love and attention, as one of the greatest (exclusives) on the PlayStation 3, and a very good reason to pick the console up.

#10 Posted by CaLe (4021 posts) -

Too much anime bullshit in Valkyria for me to take it seriously, and XCOM hooked me like no other strategy game has before. Easy choice.

#11 Posted by golguin (3971 posts) -

@zevvion said:

@golguin said:

XCOM is one of the few games I've ever regretting playing. People who weren't familiar with the genre over hyped the thing and so I went in expecting to get my mind blown. What I found was a mediocre game with easily exploited mechanics. Snipers with squad sight on overwatch kill everything.

A known overpowered tactic. Yet, even with that, it's not at all an easier game than the vast majority of games out there. Also, once you up the difficulty, you can't solely rely on that tactic anymore. Playing that game on Impossible was some of the most tense moments I had this generation. To the point where I sometimes put the controller down, walked to a window and stared outside for 10 minutes before continuing.

I didn't even know about tactics with the classes since I had never played an XCOM game. I just got the classes as they came and realized that 3 snipers with 2 assaults revealing enemy locations was the best combination. Hearing the dudes on the bombcast talk about Snap Shot made me wonder what game they were playing.

#12 Edited by mosespippy (4286 posts) -

@somejerk: Very well said. It is one of only two games from this generation to break into my top five of all time. The series deserves more support from Sega than it got. Here's hoping Atlus takes over the franchise.

#13 Posted by gike987 (1759 posts) -

@golguin said:

XCOM is one of the few games I've ever regretting playing. People who weren't familiar with the genre over hyped the thing and so I went in expecting to get my mind blown. What I found was a mediocre game with easily exploited mechanics. Snipers with squad sight on overwatch kill everything.

This is how I feel. If the new XCOM came out in an age were games like this were still popular people would have ridiculed it. It's just not a good game.

It's still commendable for getting more people in to the genre so that we may actually some day see more good turn based games, but It doesn't deserve to be on any best of lists.

#14 Edited by Chaser324 (6651 posts) -
Marina - secretly the best character of the generation. Those XCOM snipers ain't got shit on her.

Moderator
#15 Posted by mracoon (4972 posts) -

Now that I have PS3 I should really play Valkyria Chronicles. My housemate goes on about it all the time and I can see why it's got such a passionate fanbase.

#16 Posted by SlashDance (1828 posts) -

Valkyria Chronicles is everything XCOM is, but with a good story and great characters on top of it.

Yes it's an anime story, so it's not for everybody, but compared to XCOM's little green men story? Not even a contest.

#17 Edited by TheManWithNoPlan (5808 posts) -

Valkyria Chronicles is the secret winner here. I love both a whole lot, but I think VC has so much more charm and character to it. The Psp sequel was pretty good, but I still resent Sega for never bringing out the 3rd game in the U.S.

#18 Edited by Snail (8617 posts) -

I remember Valkyria Chronicles' quality being a refreshing surprise, because it came out a time when SEGA was churning out terrible, terrible things, wasn't it?

#19 Posted by TobbRobb (4752 posts) -

One is a fantastic and versatile strategy game with an interesting story and fun characters. The other one is XCOM.

#20 Posted by Guesty_01 (377 posts) -

Valkyria Chronicles deserves regognition, sure. Xcom, however, is the most fun I've had with a strategy game in years. Loved the base building and the squad missions in equal measure.

#21 Posted by mosespippy (4286 posts) -

Valkyria Chronicles is the secret winner here. I love both a whole lot, but I think VC has so much more charm and character to it. The Psp sequel was pretty good, but I still resent Sega for never bringing out the 3rd game in the U.S.

The third one is also pretty good; definitely a step up from the second one. Definitely more challenging too (they added a fourth and fifth star difficulty). I just wish it had more new maps. Half of the maps are the VC2 maps, which are already old by the time you do all the end game content of VC2.

#22 Posted by Nekroskop (2786 posts) -

As much as I love Valkyria Chronicles(Damn you Sega for making VC2 on PSP and a total Anime shitshow), Xcom wins this one.

#23 Edited by sawtooth (446 posts) -

I vastly prefer valkyria chronicles, if only for the more satisfying cover system.

#24 Posted by RobotSquad (216 posts) -

Every single one of these I have voted on, I have cast my vote for the losing one. I think, unintentionally, I have become a video game hipster of sorts.

#25 Posted by TheHT (11526 posts) -

Heard very good things about Vakyria. Been meaning to check it out for a while. XCOM was endlessly entertaining... until it wasn't. When you pull back and look at that game, there's kinda not a lot to it. You'll go to the same areas, fight the same aliens and their reskinned alternates, come back and upgrade the same way you did the last game you played.

I never felt that there were effectively different paths to go down in the strategy layer. I wasn't expecting Civ V with aliens or anything, but some modicum of consequential choice would have been nice. Soldier customization was cool, and the automatically generated nicknames helped build an unexpected level of attachment to my squad. The emergent story of troops, if you'll allow me to use that word, was right up there with the narrative of a Civ V or Mount & Blade game. The well-presented and generally snappy combat was the right amount of stressful and tactically rewarding.

Not much of this stuff lasted through to the second game I started, when I started to notice how little there was in the game. Hopefully the new expansion will make things more interesting. Still, that first playthrough was tons of fun, and I haven't played Valkyria so I'll vote for XCOM. Don't see the point in abstaining.

Online
#26 Posted by Claude (16254 posts) -

I bought a PS3 about 3 months ago along with Valkyrie Chronicles. Got XCOM around 6 months ago. I've enjoyed Valkyrie Chronicles much more. The artwork is very nice and the characters are interesting. XCOM just seemed rather lifeless to me.

#27 Edited by Nasar7 (2731 posts) -

Oh Valkyria Chronicles. You do everything XCOM does, but with a better story, actual characters, engaging first-person combat, and a great soundtrack. One of the first games I got on PS3 and still one of the best, most unique games this gen. I blame Japan for your inferior anime, portable-only sequels.

#28 Posted by Pr1mus (3953 posts) -

XCOM is the greatest game ever made in 2012, by Firaxis.

#29 Edited by LackingSaint (1833 posts) -

Valkyria Chronicles is everything XCOM is, but with horrible awkward movement, weird arbitrary cover systems, and a tedious story with stereotypical characters that constantly intrude on the gameplay (as opposed to XCOM, in which the tedious story with stereotypical character are minute-long cutscenes that set up the one or two major campaign missions). It's just beyond me how people can call VC one of the best games out there, it really is. I got to the part where you're standing off against tanks and the random unkillable enemy shows up and completely invalids the majority of the mechanics, and lost interest entirely.

#30 Posted by mrfluke (5271 posts) -

Damm right Xcom.

#31 Posted by Grissefar (2842 posts) -

The real shame here is that nobody on the Giant Bomb staff bothered to play Valkyria Chronicles.

I wonder what would have happened had it been a 360 exclusive.

#32 Posted by Zevvion (2105 posts) -

@golguin said:

@zevvion said:

@golguin said:

XCOM is one of the few games I've ever regretting playing. People who weren't familiar with the genre over hyped the thing and so I went in expecting to get my mind blown. What I found was a mediocre game with easily exploited mechanics. Snipers with squad sight on overwatch kill everything.

A known overpowered tactic. Yet, even with that, it's not at all an easier game than the vast majority of games out there. Also, once you up the difficulty, you can't solely rely on that tactic anymore. Playing that game on Impossible was some of the most tense moments I had this generation. To the point where I sometimes put the controller down, walked to a window and stared outside for 10 minutes before continuing.

I didn't even know about tactics with the classes since I had never played an XCOM game. I just got the classes as they came and realized that 3 snipers with 2 assaults revealing enemy locations was the best combination. Hearing the dudes on the bombcast talk about Snap Shot made me wonder what game they were playing.

True, a lot of choices you have to make are rather easy. I spend some time over at the official forums and there is a very clear 'right' and 'wrong' choice for some of the promotions. Everyone picks Squad Sight, no one picks Snap Shot. Everyone picks Rapid Fire, no one picks Flush. Everyone picks Lightning Reflexes, no one picks Close and Personal. Except of course for people who've played the game a bunch and like to do different things.

That said, some choices are really hard and all classes have their uses. Especially on harder settings, I wouldn't want to do a mission that is lacking one specific class. While I think the game was still a lot of fun on Normal my first two tries, it did get stale very quickly because there was indeed not a lot of challenge. The game is noticeably designed around Classic though. While that stuff can get somewhat easy if you've played the game a bunch (but for what game is that not true?), it always demands your attention still. The Second Wave options also make it a very different experience.

I wouldn't excuse any of that stuff for not being made clear, but playing it on harder settings really does make it a lot more fun.

#33 Edited by ArtisanBreads (3882 posts) -

I think what VC does with turn based tactics is interesting, but I don't particularly enjoy moving a character around a lifeless, paused world from third person and then aiming shots. I much prefer how XCOM does it, that traditional way.

@grissefar said:

The real shame here is that nobody on the Giant Bomb staff bothered to play Valkyria Chronicles.

I wonder what would have happened had it been a 360 exclusive.

Don't see what that has to do with anything. They all own PS3s and play games on them. A better bet would be: I wonder what would have happened if it wasn't all anime.

#34 Edited by Hailinel (25179 posts) -

As much as Firaxis did to revive XCOM (and inadvertently embarrass 2K Marin in the process), Valkyria Chronicles is an innovative strategy game in its own right with a cast of great characters and a list of great scenarios. I'm sad to see that it won't win out here.

I have a feeling that the finals are going to come down to which of the staff's favorites is also the users' favorite.

#35 Edited by RobotHamster (4175 posts) -

While XCom is a great fucking game Valkyria Chronicles is a so much more fucking incredible game and should go much further. Definitely one of my top ten this generation. Since it's PS3 exclusive I'm sure many people didn't get to play it and also those jerks who aren't into anime writing it off because it looks like an anime.

#36 Posted by shinjin977 (787 posts) -

Valkyria Chronicles is everything XCOM is, but with a good story and great characters on top of it.

Yes it's an anime story, so it's not for everybody, but compared to XCOM's little green men story? Not even a contest.

this man speaks truth.

#37 Posted by mosespippy (4286 posts) -

Valkyria Chronicles is everything XCOM is, but with horrible awkward movement, weird arbitrary cover systems, and a tedious story with stereotypical characters that constantly intrude on the gameplay (as opposed to XCOM, in which the tedious story with stereotypical character are minute-long cutscenes that set up the one or two major campaign missions). It's just beyond me how people can call VC one of the best games out there, it really is. I got to the part where you're standing off against tanks and the random unkillable enemy shows up and completely invalids the majority of the mechanics, and lost interest entirely.

That's the same spot that most people quit. But now that you've played it once you should know that you need a lot of lancers and that you should plan ahead so that the tank is between your squad and the invincible enemy. Unfortunately two of the next three missions are some of the best and most people never get to see them.

#38 Posted by Hailinel (25179 posts) -

Valkyria Chronicles is everything XCOM is, but with horrible awkward movement, weird arbitrary cover systems, and a tedious story with stereotypical characters that constantly intrude on the gameplay (as opposed to XCOM, in which the tedious story with stereotypical character are minute-long cutscenes that set up the one or two major campaign missions). It's just beyond me how people can call VC one of the best games out there, it really is. I got to the part where you're standing off against tanks and the random unkillable enemy shows up and completely invalids the majority of the mechanics, and lost interest entirely.

What was so awkward about movement and cover? I never had problems with that. Many of the characters, while thin, are also entertaining. And if the mission you're talking about is the seventh, which is admittedly a huge difficulty spike, it's not really "random" when Selvaria shows up to start annihilating your guys. She always makes her appearance at the same time. You just have to be ready for her when she shows up. (And by ready, I mean run the fuck away, because you're not supposed to fight her.)

Really, VC's biggest flaw is the spiking difficulty, but I don't hold that against it. It's still one of the best strategy games to come out in the past generation.

#39 Posted by EXTomar (4849 posts) -

This is why I never like these topics because there is no reason why you can't like both.

#40 Posted by Claude (16254 posts) -

@extomar said:

This is why I never like these topics because there is no reason why you can't like both.

In your discussion you can choose to like both, but this is part of a bracket. Like a playoff or something. There's a winner and loser. Thus, the voting. Winner moves on.

#41 Edited by LackingSaint (1833 posts) -

@hailinel said:

@lackingsaint said:

Valkyria Chronicles is everything XCOM is, but with horrible awkward movement, weird arbitrary cover systems, and a tedious story with stereotypical characters that constantly intrude on the gameplay (as opposed to XCOM, in which the tedious story with stereotypical character are minute-long cutscenes that set up the one or two major campaign missions). It's just beyond me how people can call VC one of the best games out there, it really is. I got to the part where you're standing off against tanks and the random unkillable enemy shows up and completely invalids the majority of the mechanics, and lost interest entirely.

What was so awkward about movement and cover? I never had problems with that. Many of the characters, while thin, are also entertaining.

I was constantly getting caught on level geometry and wasting crucial movement currency. I was also constantly running up to what was obvious knee-high cover, only to find out the developers didn't decide to designate that particular cover as actual cover. As others have said, maybe I just "played it wrong", but it just didn't work right enough times for me to not be able to really trust the mechanics of the game. And me not getting particular far is probably a big part of why the characters seem so one-dimensional, but the issue was how grating almost every single one of them was at first. In particular that sister, the-character-that-was-obviously-going-to-tragically-die-because-they-never-present-her-as-anything-but-a-perfect-little-princess, but just in general they felt lazy and manipulative rather than entertaining in an organic way.

It also didn't feel great when I was right behind a dude, shooting him point-blank in the face several times, but doing minor damage because he was crouched behind cover that wasn't even between me and him. And constant grinding. Oh god, constant grinding of the exact same encounters over and over so my units didn't suck.

#42 Posted by ArtisanBreads (3882 posts) -

I was constantly getting caught on level geometry and wasting crucial movement currency. I was also constantly running up to what was obvious knee-high cover, only to find out the developers didn't decide to designate that particular cover as actual cover. As others have said, maybe I just "played it wrong", but it just didn't work right enough times for me to not be able to really trust the mechanics of the game.

I agree with this. Not that I ran into this particular problem all the time but it is a good example of how the VC third person system is just kind of a waste. It doesn't add anything really and just gives less feedback on what moves you can make and how they will work if you compare it to XCOM or just about all other turn based RPG/strategy games.

#43 Posted by Mezmero (1969 posts) -

This was so easy. XCOM just tapped into so much of what I like about sci-fi and video games. I consider that game one of the best survival horror experiences to come out this generation. I realize not many people look at it like that. If you told me that the last of Earth's defenses were scraping together resources to survive an apocalypse of alien monsters then I'd call that survival horror. It may not be the typically 1st or 3rd-person corridor crawl with limited ammo and jump scares but it shows that those types of games can be conveyed with a lot of different game play mechanics acting as a whole.

Valkyria Chronicles was okay from what I've played. It's just you know, it's yet another World War allegory but with a lot more anime. It felt needlessly punishing at times so I stopped playing it. Pretty good for a rental but fuck that big tank.

#44 Posted by gike987 (1759 posts) -

The fact that we are even talking about VC having a better story is everything that I think is wrong with the new XCOM. The first game had more in common with a game like Civ or a multiplayer match. You are given an earth and asked to defend it against your opponent, the aliens. You place your base and then there are no guidance or characters at all. Meanwhile the new XCOM has a bunch of cutscenes and story missions, and it always tells you what to research next. In the original game you attacked alien bases when the aliens decided to build them and you managed to find them, not when the story thought it was time for it. The problem is that for that to work you need random maps, and the lack of thereof is possible the biggest failure of the new game. The game ends up some unsatisfying mix of a linear game and an open game.

Not that there are not many other problems with the game like the tiny squads. The pod system, were aliens always come in neat little groups. The incredible unbalanced skills (seriously who would ever pick snap shot over squad sight). The almost complete lack of the geoscape. The out of place combat music that damage the suspense. And last but not least, the game is a technical mess.

I have never played VC but I'm voting for it just because I don't think XCOM is a good game.

#46 Edited by charlie_victor_bravo (1047 posts) -

X-COM does everything better and without anime bullshit. Flawless victory.

#47 Posted by JZ (2125 posts) -

Valkyria chronicles is my game of the generation, I will never shut up about this game.

#48 Edited by Grissefar (2842 posts) -

I think what VC does with turn based tactics is interesting, but I don't particularly enjoy moving a character around a lifeless, paused world from third person and then aiming shots. I much prefer how XCOM does it, that traditional way.

@grissefar said:

The real shame here is that nobody on the Giant Bomb staff bothered to play Valkyria Chronicles.

I wonder what would have happened had it been a 360 exclusive.

Don't see what that has to do with anything. They all own PS3s and play games on them. A better bet would be: I wonder what would have happened if it wasn't all anime.

I see someone hasn't listened to podcasts from 2008.

#49 Posted by ArtisanBreads (3882 posts) -

@artisanbreads said:

I think what VC does with turn based tactics is interesting, but I don't particularly enjoy moving a character around a lifeless, paused world from third person and then aiming shots. I much prefer how XCOM does it, that traditional way.

@grissefar said:

The real shame here is that nobody on the Giant Bomb staff bothered to play Valkyria Chronicles.

I wonder what would have happened had it been a 360 exclusive.

Don't see what that has to do with anything. They all own PS3s and play games on them. A better bet would be: I wonder what would have happened if it wasn't all anime.

I see someone hasn't listened to podcasts from 2008.

I probably did in like 2008. Care to elaborate or just that's all?

#50 Posted by pyromagnestir (4327 posts) -

@hailinel said:

@lackingsaint said:

Valkyria Chronicles is everything XCOM is, but with horrible awkward movement, weird arbitrary cover systems, and a tedious story with stereotypical characters that constantly intrude on the gameplay (as opposed to XCOM, in which the tedious story with stereotypical character are minute-long cutscenes that set up the one or two major campaign missions). It's just beyond me how people can call VC one of the best games out there, it really is. I got to the part where you're standing off against tanks and the random unkillable enemy shows up and completely invalids the majority of the mechanics, and lost interest entirely.

What was so awkward about movement and cover? I never had problems with that. Many of the characters, while thin, are also entertaining. And if the mission you're talking about is the seventh, which is admittedly a huge difficulty spike, it's not really "random" when Selvaria shows up to start annihilating your guys. She always makes her appearance at the same time. You just have to be ready for her when she shows up. (And by ready, I mean run the fuck away, because you're not supposed to fight her.)

Really, VC's biggest flaw is the spiking difficulty, but I don't hold that against it. It's still one of the best strategy games to come out in the past generation.

VC's biggest flaw is that it's a tactical strategy game that doesn't give you the necessary information up front to make a proper strategy before starting a mission. If you want to find a good strategy for a mission you need to play it once or twice or hell even more than that, get to a part where you're stuck and figure out stuff like "Oh I need a sniper over here, or a lancer over here to start off would be really helpful since I could clear this path." and that's not even counting the times throws things like the aforementioned invincible lady at you completely out of the blue. (random is the wrong word, there's just not really any warning that an invincible super powered enemy is gonna turn up towards the end of the mission, so when she does and your strategy becomes completely invalidated it really sucks)