XCOM: Enemy Unknown is a turn based strategy game where you are trying to defend the Earth from aliens. It offers an interesting premise with an addictive gameplay system similar to games like chess, along with making difficult decisions of which countries to protect or making the decision to use your limited resources to make a gun versus building a new aircraft to protect the Earth from invaders. Not only are the risks high, the rewards of nailing a low percentage headshot or surviving a terror mission with minimal causalities are even greater feelings.
In XCOM: Enemy Unknown, you play as the commander in charge of the XCOM project. The Earth is being invaded by the mysterious aliens and it is up to you to make the tough decisions and find a way to save the Earth. While the fate of Earth rests in your hands, the countries help you out by providing a small amount of soldiers and giving you some funds towards the project.
The gameplay of XCOM is a turn based strategy game. You start off taking control of a squad of 4 soldiers, maxing out later to a squad of 6. You take turns with your enemy making movements and taking cover. Soon enough, you will encounter an alien. They too will take cover and have just as much abilities as you do. When you are choosing which enemy to shoot at, there will be a percentage for your accuracy and critical hit chance. This will work for you, and against you. You will miss shots that are a high percentage like 80% which will frustrate you, but it is very satisfying to hit a low 30% shot and be able to have your squad live another turn. Your enemies play by the same rules too, except there are even more of them so be prepared to be outnumbered, outgunned, and lose a few soldiers.
There are four classes which your soldiers can be. They all start off as rookies, who are very weak and classless. Once they level up for the first time, they will become either a heavy, assault support, or sniper. Each of them has their strengths and weaknesses, like while snipers can't shoot after moving, they have some of the highest percentage hits and do some of the most damages. As they level up, you do level up you soldiers by putting a point into a perk, which can be very helpful as it gives you more abilities and a better squad. Their is a great balance in the game which doesn't make you feel too weak, but you certainly never feel too powerful.
But you would not be able to win on leveling up and dice rolls alone. Your ship has two key components, the research team and engineering team. You scientists use the resources you took from the field and researches them so your engineers get the blueprints of how each object is made. It does take a few days for them to learn how these unknown objects work. It is funny in a sense since your researchers are able to figure out how to build these amazing things just from 7 days of looking at the alien's plasma gun or from dissecting an alien. You do have to keep upgrading your soldiers armor and weapons in order to keep up with what the enemy throws at you.
You also have to maintain your base and build new facilities to keep improving it. Not only do you have to build new workshops or laboratories to speed up research and give you more engineers, but you must build new facilities like an alien containment to be able to interrogate the aliens and the foundry where you make improvements to your weapons and aircrafts. Your resources are very limited however and you must be able to make decisions of what you need to improve, which is everything. Only some missions do you get money, and at the end of every month you are giving your funds from the council, which starts off as a very small amount only increasing as you launch more satellites over nations. But your funds will decrease as nations leave the XCOM project since their panic level is too high from not doing missions for them. You have to be able to use your resources and time wisely since you are limited on each.
XCOM: Enemy Unknown is an absolutely amazing game. The risks are high but with a huge payoff. It is great how your decisions effect everything in this game and how the tension is high while you are giving time to think very carefully about the next steps of success (or more likely, your failure)!
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