XCOM: Enemy Unknown Preview

The tactical lover's wet dream is about to return.

Joey Davidsonby Joey Davidson


XCOM: Enemy Unknown is a slow, slow burn. Fans of the original games can attest to the patient, strategic, turn-based gameplay that made the franchise so tremendously popular amongst its diehards.

Firaxis, the same studio that worked on Civ 5, is aiming to please fans of the original X-Com run. They know their stuff. That much was evident as the rep giving the demo for the game took answers from obvious stalwarts.

Why employ a six man squad limit for this update? Because the massive squads in the original games made decisions less important. Will base defense segments return? They weren't willing to answer, but they did explain that they'd be taking out the utter sense of loss brought on by these base defense moments.

Every question that was asked about the new game as compared to the original entries was met with an answer rife with knowledge and love for the brand. Firaxis gets it, it seems, and they're working hard to remain faithful to fans while creating a new take.

So far, it looks like they're moving in the right direction. We watched a four main squad take on two different sets of alien forces. Each player, in typical turn-based fashion, moved and impacted the environment exactly how diehard fans remember.

The action within the demo was slow, but rewarding. That's what tactical games like this are all about. It's not a second-to-second firefight that's over just as quickly as it starts. Each move, especially within the four person squad, was a calculated decision based on risk and reward.

That risk/reward is what made the original X-Com games so wonderful.

It looks like it might return in spades, and that's exceptionally exciting.

This article originally published as part of our PAX East hub coverage. Head over to the site to read more articles from our weekend in Boston.