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Old 06-11-12, 06:10 PM   #1
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Post Everything old is new again in XCom: Enemy Unknown

Just one of the dramatic camera angles that spices up the familiar tactical gameplay of XCom: Enemy Unknown
2K / Firaxis

Building a new game on top of a well-loved, long-dormant franchise that's nearly 20 years old is a bit of a double-edged sword. On the one hand, you've got a built-in fan base with fond, nostalgic memories of the series. On the other hand, you want to attract a new generation of players that probably have little to no idea what your franchise is or what made it special. Change too much of that successful original formula, and you run the risk of upsetting those original fans. Don't change enough, and you run the risk of coming across as an outdated relic to the newer audience.

This is the dilemma faced by the developers at Firaxis, who are finally showing off a playable version of Xcom: Enemy Unknown, the first new title in the series since 2001. Their chosen method for walking that tightrope, it seems, is to keep the gameplay relatively familiar while adding a layer of presentational gloss designed to attract a generation raised on first-person shooters.

The turn-based tactical gameplay in the newest Xcom will be extremely familiar to anyone who played the original games. You're still leading a small squad of alien hunters through urban environments shown from an isometric, overhead perspective, taking turns with the invading forces as you try to outflank them while keeping behind cover. But fans of the original game will immediately notice that the new version is a bit moreaccommodatingto new players, with a tightly scripted 45-minute tutorial (which was all that was playable at E3) that explains the game's flow and major actions.

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