By david3cm 6 Comments
Anyone who has spent a decent amount of times playing games (which I'm guessing are most of the people on this site) knows the pain. It may affect some of us more than others but we've all felt it. Being passed in the final seconds in a racing game, resulting in a shameful second place after driving for what felt like an hour. Yelling at your screen after losing to the same annoying boss five times in a row. But I have never felt the pain like I have with XCOM: Enemy Unknown.
According to Steam, I have played XCOM for 16 hours already, the last time a game consumed by time so aggressively I was sitting at home with a part time job. Where as now where I have school and social obligations, but I still find time (usually while I SHOULD be sleeping) to battle the alien scourge. And I don't know if it is the sleep deprivation or the reliance I have on my soldiers but the anger that swells in my soul that occurs when my fully leveled support hits the ground, blood pooling around him, is unmatched.
Never having played the original XCOM, and only hearing stories, I surmised a few things about the game. One, it was awesome. Two, it was about aliens. And three, it was stinkin' hard. I heard your men will die, having been sniped by little grey men who are off screen. I heard countries will jump ship and you will be without funding with an alien invasion on the horizon. After hearing the tales I thought those people just sucked, I was wrong.
I know, I know. This is the dumbed down, streamlined version that pales in comparison to the difficulty of the original, but the core concepts of chaos still apply. You never have enough resources for all the things you need. There are difficult choices of choosing which countries to help and which ones to leave in the lurch. And as much as you may protect them, hunker them down and move them from cover to cover, your soldiers will die. Often the best ones.
It is a feeling that I can't really compare to other moments of video game rage. It is the combination of the time commitment, the reliance you put on those familiar faces, and those damn bagpipes, that makes losing one of your men so heartbreaking. I have been playing without reloading, I have kept multiple saves with the thought of going back after something bad happened, but I never have. Only having reloading a save when I literally couldn't have made it through with the two rookies that I had left. And I encourage all to play this way. War is hell, and you must live with the pain. I also encourage you to play with a shot glass and a bottle of whiskey next to you. So go forth bombers, continue the good fight against the alien scourge. Know that men will fall, countries will flee, but when all seems bleak, alt tab and play some Saints Row The Third.