The success of "XCOM:Enemy Unknown" and You.

#1 Edited by Grimhild (721 posts) -

If you're like me, you have an odd relationship with Jagged Alliance: BiA. Is it a Jagged Alliance game? Not really. Is it decent modern tactical strategy game? Mostly, yes. It's decent with very annoying flaws. The "plan and go" system actually works better than I thought it would, and I admire the aesthetic touches they've added such as the camo patterns and equipment showing up on your mercs. The things that annoy me about it, or that I miss from JA2 (1.13 or core) would take up too much space and would be pointless to specify, since I'm sure many of you that played it feel the same way.

That being said, it's also the only release to fill that void for gamers like us since Silent Storm, or more recently Valkyria Chronicles.

And if you are like me, you're waiting giddily for the proper reboot of XCOM. Bearing all that in mind, I'd like to see what you guys think on the subject. Do you think strong sales for XCOM:EU will allow a handful of tactical turn-based strategy to get developed? What would you like to see in the future of the genre if XCOM revives it?

Also, if I've missed out on any good turn based tactical strategy games that went under the radar in recent years, feel free to point them out.

#2 Posted by GozerTC (456 posts) -

Personally I keep trolling Kickstarter hoping more Xcom games show up. Outside of IOS I haven't seen many and not many even on IOS.

#3 Posted by Gargantuan (1881 posts) -

I have high hopes for the new Xcom and I think Firaxis is the perfect developer for that game.

Chaos Gate is a pretty fun turn based tactical strategy game set in the Warhammer 40k universe.

#4 Posted by BeachThunder (11725 posts) -

Definitely looking forward to it; from what I've seen and heard, it looks like they've implementing some nice gameplay mechanics.

Also, if you have a 3DS, check out Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars; it was designed by Julian Gollop, the guy behind the first two X-coms.

#5 Edited by Stephen_Von_Cloud (1530 posts) -

I am totally with you. I am buying this game because it does look fun, but I feel compelled to just to support the Tactical RPG genre. I would love a game that was a bit more hardcore in some ways, building off Jagged Alliance and Silent Storm, but X-Com still looks great and like it'll have a good amount of depth. Their replacement of the AP system I personally don't find too offensive and it could actually end up being something I like better. I do get really bored in say Jagged Alliance 2 when I can't see any enemies and my guys still take forever to move around the damn map.

There is so much that could be done with this genre. It's a shame it is so ignored. I hope in this new world of Kickstarter and indie game projects we can see some new entries in the genre.

I also feel compelled to point out the game Xenonauts, which is an indie project that is a spiritual successor to X-Com and is much more traditional in appearance and in game systems to the original X-Com. Definitely check it out.

#6 Posted by Sparky_Buzzsaw (6107 posts) -

While I gladly shelled out for Back in Action, I'd be lying if I said it wasn't a step backwards for the series. That said, I'm glad to see a resurgence of the genre, and I'll be buying Firaxis's X-Com. I'd like to see a proper Jagged Alliance 3, with full turn-based combat, new mercenaries, and an original setting. Beyond that, some new IP's similar in spirit that don't suck would be fantastic. I enjoyed Silent Storm, but outside that, there haven't been any games in the genre since Jagged Alliance 2 that I've really liked.

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#7 Posted by Grimhild (721 posts) -

: Awesome, thanks. I don't have a 3DS, but I might go pick one up for some good TBS. I wasn't looking to buy a PS3 until I saw that the Valkyria Chronicals was PS3 exclusive.

: I agree. Like I said before, there were some good ideas in it that worked out better than I though they would. but on the whole it was kinda eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeh. I keep hoping that the mod community behind the JA2 1.13 mod will figure out something for BiA.

After playing through the stable of TBS at my disposal, I eventually just sat down and wrote a d20 rule set for a cataclysmic survival tabletop game with modern firearms during a viral syndemic. Worked out good, but tabletop takes so much time and effort to get going now that we're responsible adults and shit.

#8 Posted by Ubersmake (754 posts) -

@Grimhild: It's far from recent, but Age of Wonders 2 sucked away many, many hours of my life years ago. I don't regret any of it, and you can find the game on Good Old Games. You could also check out the more recent Frozen Synapse. I wouldn't say it flew under the radar, but besides word of mouth, it didn't have a lot of marketing behind it.

#9 Posted by Grimhild (721 posts) -

Good stuff. Thanks, duders.

#10 Posted by Shakezula84 (443 posts) -

Their was a GBA game that played like xcom in battle (no world map. It was mission based). About a resistance against alien occupiers. Me and my brother both bought copies but I can remember the name. A lot of fun.

#11 Edited by Kovie (198 posts) -

@Shakezula84: You are thinking of Rebelstar: Tactical Command.

It makes some really interesting changes to the format of X-Com, and has a really dull story, at least for the early going.

#12 Posted by Dredlockz (343 posts) -

@Grimhild said:

If you're like me, you have an odd relationship to BiA.

It's also the only release to fill that void for gamers like us since Silent Storm, or more recently Valkyria Chronicles.

Dude, you just quoted my three "fave" games in the past decade. I double quote "fave" because they are really not that great, but they kinda scratch that itch that the original X-COM and JA created.

I think I will love XCOM:Enemy Unknown, but will it be the perfect turn-based tactical game I've been waiting for? I hope so.. but I really don't think so.

I love firaxis, and most of the design changes in their re-imagining make sense, and I can get behind of, but still. removing inventory? not being able to trade guns between your characters in battle, not having ammo? It seems like they've been focusing on solid tactical gameplay, and removing everything that got in the way of that goal, and I can respect that. But maybe they took away something important in the process.

Like in the original X-COM you could carry the body of your fallen buddies back to base in your backpack. it served no purpose whatsoever, but you could do it. They allowed for lots of sandboxy stuff that served no purpose, but allowed you to create your own experience, and "story" in your head. Removing those possibilities and adding hand-holding seems like a disservice to the original. Not because im a huge hipster, but because the "not knowing what the hell is going on" was a huge part of why the original X-COM was such an intense experience for a lot of people.

Anyway, I really hope they do great, as I do for the JA:BIA guys.

#13 Posted by Tennmuerti (8014 posts) -

Can't say i liked Back in Action all that much. Stopped playing probably halfway through the game. There were too many little things that bugged me about it's mechanics and gameplay. Lack of interesting soldier customization and growth, visually too it was fast noticable they all looked the same in the face ingame contrary to their portraits. Then there was stuff like i could run into a room with a couple of dudes with weapons and just waste them in melee. Lack of tactical options outside of simple combat actions. Dumb enemy AI. Convoluted yet mostly pointless camo system.

Another problem with such a tactical game in a modern realistic setting is that your brain automatically assumes and expects more realistic behaviour from things. In games like X-com or Fallout Tactics i am completely fine with how weapons and damage works because a lot of it is fictional, people are wearing exoskeleton futuristic body armours, or are huge mutants or tough aliens or robots. I think that was about when i stopped playing BiA when a top of the line professional sniper with a .50 cal and a 95% chance head-shot stopped killing dudes with a single headshot period, the grunts started having so much HP that even a critical shot like that would never take one out, rendering the silent ranged approach useless cause they would get shot shrug off the .50 cal critical to the brain and alert everyone, that just became silly. (it wasn't about difficulty, i like difficulty in these type of games)

#14 Posted by Funkydupe (3312 posts) -

Back in Action got a lot of hate. A lot. Parts of that were to the bugs that were in the game when it was released. I've played it recently, fully updated with some crucial changes and changes that makes life at least a little easier to manage, and I had fun. Yes the game isn't perfect, but I don't require them to be perfect. There are few games like Jagged Alliance, and I'm thankful that JA does exist. I hope there'll be more games.

The expansion to Back in Action Jagged Alliance : Crossfire.. well.. I had one. Singular. Merc. And I managed to play through with no problems. It is a stand-alone expansion. Basically pick a guy with Shotgun expertise and Gunslinger (expert at firing from the hip) and you're set. You can lure people to you. You can assault buildings. No problem. It was too easy and too straight forward. There weren't any real choices to be made because the area you're supposed to liberate is way smaller than in the original game.

I can't say whether XCOM will be a great hit, it probably won't simply because it isn't an FPS, it doesn't have phat loots and it doesn't involve co-op, zombies or team versus team multiplayer. I still hope that it will be well received, because reviews do matter in the sense of what reputation a game carries (I feel sorry for Syndicate) and it factors into whether the developer wants to continue developing games in the same vein and genre. There aren't many games like JA/XCOM, and with this a little more 'action'y' approach and polished look, I'm hoping more developers see that there are possibilities of renewing this turn-based tactical genre without ruining what makes it interesting.

That it is turn-based means that you can play the game in your own tempo and be able to set the pace of gameplay a little more compared to real-time rts and fps games.

#15 Edited by Dredlockz (343 posts) -

@Funkydupe said:

Basically pick a guy with Shotgun expertise and Gunslinger (expert at firing from the hip) and you're set

Wolf :)

Here's how a mission in JA:BIA looks when you bring Wolf with you:

#16 Posted by Tennmuerti (8014 posts) -

@Dredlockz said:

@Funkydupe said:

Basically pick a guy with Shotgun expertise and Gunslinger (expert at firing from the hip) and you're set

Wolf :)

Yeah that shit was so broken it wasn't even funny.

#17 Posted by myslead (926 posts) -

My favorite game of all time is definitely JA2 and while I liked BIA with mods it wasn't anything close to the quality that the original JA2 was.

When I heard about the new XCOM I was ecstatic especially when I heard that Fireaxis and Jake Solomon were working on it. I just knew it would be a good product. Now the announcement of the XCOM game was pretty much around the release of BIA which made me hope for a big studio remake for the JA franchise one day now that Fireaxis will show them that it's possible to make good Turn Based Strategy game in this day and age and have a framework to back it up.

#18 Posted by Halcypher (15 posts) -

@Grimhild: Shadow Watch is a bit old now, but it was a lot of fun, could scratch the itch while you wait for XCOM.

#19 Posted by TJUK (97 posts) -

Guys, is the Final Fantasy Tactics port on iOS in the same vein of XCOM:EU in anyway? Or can anyone recommend another good iOS tactical RPG? I never played FFT on the Playstation and am looking to try something similar ahead of the release of the new XCOM:EU game.

My only previous experience of playing this style of game is Space Crusade on the ZX Spectum back in the earlier 90s, which I have fond memories of.

#20 Posted by BoG (5185 posts) -

@TJUK said:

Guys, is the Final Fantasy Tactics port on iOS in the same vein of XCOM:EU in anyway? Or can anyone recommend another good iOS tactical RPG? I never played FFT on the Playstation and am looking to try something similar ahead of the release of the new XCOM:EU game.

My only previous experience of playing this style of game is Space Crusade on the ZX Spectum back in the earlier 90s, which I have fond memories of.

Final Fantasy Tactics is a fantastic franchise. FFTA is the game that sparked my interest in tactical strategy games. I wholeheartedly recommend that you buy it.

#21 Posted by benefitevil (49 posts) -

I want to help support games like this. I'm all for bringing back the tactical genre or anything from the past really. I see this game and the kickstarter revival of adventure games as a way for this to happen. I guess I'm just a sucker for things I played when I was a kid.

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