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News 10-08-12 01:20 PM

Review: XCOM: Enemy Unknown is a credit to the name
 
http://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-conten...01-640x360.jpg 2K Games / Firaxis



The Skyranger lunged at the subway platform in Delhi, India. Thrusters vectoring down on their gimbles, the big tires taking the impact on thick shocks. The fireteam burst from the landing ramp into the dark and the rain, with Assaulter Edwin 'Geronimo' Garcia up front. They saw blood, a fine mist of it along the stairs, a small pool on the landing. The way it reflected the light, you could tell it was fresh. A paper bag blew along the ground as my men slowly tucked into hard cover behind the railway signage. I strained to hear our quarry in the night.We were not alone. A tall, thin man with round glasses stepped from the shadows across the track. And then came his twin'and his triplicate. Another pair of clones beside a commuter bench were illuminated by a flash of lightning. And then our world was lit green by plasma fire coming from all directions. Kim 'Steady' Check, our heavy gunner, set one of the clones inside her holographic sights. The rest of the team had a solid target now and let loose volleys of their own. Metal wilted around my team, chips of concrete flew, but they kept firing into the night.

Consider the audacity of Firaxis Games' Jake Solomon. It's all fine and good to praise X-Com: Enemy Unknown as one of the finest PC games ever made. But to remake it? Many have tried to modernize the game and failed, including series originator Julian Gallop himself. Perhaps the most successful games to follow in X-Com's turn-based tactical footsteps were Valkyria Chronicles and Frozen Synapse, but they never dared to tie combat to base building and a tech tree. Solomon's team went for it, and just to make it harder on themselves, they tacked on the added goal of broadening the game's audience to include console gamers.

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