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Today at PAX East, Firaxis announced that their current project is the next iteration of Civilization, and they plan to go boldly where no man has gone before with it. Titled Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth, will indeed take the strategic gameplay the series is famous for and put it in a space setting. Why space? Firaxis designer and programmer Anton Strenger mentioned to Joystiq that it allowed the development team to be freed from a historical context and thus branch out in a new direction. Strenger brings out a new tactical element called the orbital layer as a new addition, which allows the player to send satellites to influence the events happening on the planet below. He also brings out that the game will have some sense of scientific plausibility despite it's science fiction setting, which is set some 200-250 years in the future. Alien species, of course, will also factor in as well. Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth is slated for release this Fall. In the meantime, you can check out the announcement trailer below. Source: Joystiq Are you excited for Civilization: Beyond Earth?
Developer: Firaxis Publisher: 2K Games Platform: PC, XBOX 360, PS3 Release Date: October 9th, 2012 ESRB: M This review is based on the PC version of the game If you're looking for a remake of the original X-COM, you're looking in the wrong place. What Firaxis and 2K have done to the venerable turn-based strategy title is break down the core elements that made X-COM great and rebuild them into a new, modern image. It's not the X-COM you might have expected. However, what this newest iteration does is nothing short of astounding. Firaxis has created an XCOM that's addictive, intense, and just as challenging as the excellent original. Regardless of how your 20-30 hour war against the alien threat ends, you can rest assured that the battle for dominion over Earth was epic. XCOM wastes no in time in putting you in the Commander's chair. Your first mission, which serves as a plodding tutorial, forces you to command a small squad of troops in a first-contact confrontation with the enigmatic aliens. It's here that you'll learn the basics of movement, abilities, cover, and squad-centric tactics. While it's relatively uneventful and slow, the XCOM tutorial does a serviceable job of introducing the very basics of combat to players. The more advanced game mechanics set in only a few short missions later. Following your intro to XCOM's turn-based combat, you'll get to see the headquarters from which all of your anti-xeno operations are run. At the HQ, you can research new weapons, build housing facilities for alien captives, recruit new soldiers, and more. Your base is your hub for launching ground assaults against the aliens via the Command Center. And believe me, it's critical that you build your base intelligently. While there are no base defense sequences, you will need to manage the assets each facility provides with maximum efficiency. In order to locate alien activity, players must utilize the satellite network that they've built around Earth. Launching satellites from various countries lowers each nation's panic level while providing faster scans. Once alien activity has been intercepted, players are offered several choices in missions. Each is in a different part of the world; whichever countries you don't choose will have an increase in panic. These panicked countries will reduce funding to XCOM, thereby limiting your already-limited resources. Seeing the challenges forming yet? It's this constant tug-of-war and tension that really builds the campaign's pace and excitement. At any point in time, a player can lose the war. Even if you've invested 10 or more hours into the campaign, Earth can still be overrun. That feeling of potential (sometimes inevitable) defeat always nags at you, even in the turn-based battles. The odds are almost always stacked against your standard troops until you unlock powered armor, new soldier abilities, and super-powered troopers. Even then, the aliens always have new variants, more powerful units, and greater numbers to squash the puny humans like bugs. The inherent difficulty is punishing at times, but can be so rewarding when a victory is stolen from the jaws of defeat. While I adore XCOM's punishing approach to combat, I have to say that there are times when I felt the odds were unfairly stacked against me. I often walked (albeit cautiously) straight into ambushes. I could do nothing but watch as squad member after squad member was reduced to a red pulp. Maybe I just played the game wrong, but I found myself regularly losing soldiers. Then again, XCOM presently reminds you that casualties are inevitable with the trite Memorial. It lists all of the soldiers you've gotten killed, with nary a word of warning or remembrance in their honor. I'm surprised XCOM does so little in this regard, given that you can customize each soldier's name and look to a great degree. You should be attached to your squad members; the Memorial almost trivializes their deaths. It's a minor, if morbidly amusing gripe. From a technical standpoint, XCOM looks and sounds great. The Unreal 3 engine has been used to great effect here. While the character models and cutscenes won't win awards, the effects and combat sequences look great in motion. The voice-overs are mostly solid, though some of the main characters at the HQ begin to grate when they continue to bug you with information. The soundtrack, orchestrated by Michael McCann, is very Deus Ex-esque. While it sounds very familiar, I love the score all the same. What I am less a fan of is the presence of bugs. Every once in a while, my mouse seemed not to respond to anything I clicked on. At other points, soldiers would clip into cover or have one or two odd animation glitches. The minor visual oddities didn't detract from the overall experience greatly, but they did prove distracting on occasion. I do wish the combat UI was more responsive. At random intervals, ability buttons simply would not work until I'd clicked them three or so times. In general, these were infrequent but aggravating when they appeared. If you're looking for a deep multiplayer suite, look elsewhere. There's a limited deathmatch mode where squads of aliens and humans go head to head. The map rotation is small, though there is the potential for more to be added through DLC. Regardless, you should only play XCOM for the singleplayer campaign. XCOM: Enemy Unknown succeeds as a reinterpretation, not a remake, of X-COM. For series veterans, it is a fresh and inventive take on the franchise that moves at a quick, intense pace. It's challenging, rewarding, punishing, and addictive. Expect to have your tail handed to you regardless of your experience or familiarity with strategy titles. I can't help but recommend XCOM to any gamer with a love of tactics and action. Pros: + Excellent tactical depth + Lots of intense action + Extensive campaign + Great musical score Cons: - Glitches here and there - Some visuals are lacking Overall Score: 9 (out of 10) Fantastic I can't recommend XCOM enough for gamers looking for strategy and tactical depth.
If you're a fan of blasting aliens in turn-based strategy fashion, you're likely a fan of the X-COM series. While the franchise started to abandon its strategic roots with the shooter spin-off (currently in development hell), Firaxis has done X-COM fans proud with its remake of the original title, X-COM: Enemy Unknown. The demo for Enemy Unknown has just launched on Steam. If you've got a few GBs of hard-drive space, I'd recommend you give the game a spin. Firaxis has really made the feel of X-COM fresh and slick. Combat flows quickly and the action is brutal, bloody, and intense. Couple that with great Unreal Engine 3 visuals and you've got a surefire hit when the game launches this October 9th. Trust me: the demo is worth checking out. I was blown away with just how much love and attention has been paid to the look and pacing of the game. Look for the X-COM: Enemy Unknown demo here and check out the awesome trailer below! Are you looking forward to this re-imagining of the alien-slaying strategy classic?