The last alien has been killed, and the Earth is saved (except for France, sorry.) In my analysis of X-Com Enemy Unknown, I did not touch on the end game and how the game’s challenges change. For this last post for now on EU, I’m going to go into more detail about the various elements of the game and what worked and didn’t work for me from mid to end game.
With X-Com Enemy Unknown this past week, we got to see what a re-imagining of the original X-Com would look like today by Firaxis. In my analysis of EU, I mentioned the biggest fundamental shift in terms of design: going from a stat heavy pen and paper design influence to a board game design influence.
Board game design has become a viable option for strategy designers both as a way of creating gameplay and getting around having to create a complex AI. While it does have its advantages for the designer, they do come at a cost as I’ve been seeing in EU.
For PC gamers, 2012 has been the year of big name sequels: Diablo 3, Borderlands 2, and a little game called X-Com Enemy Unknown. To say that anticipation for EU was high would be an understatement: a revival of one of the most prominent PC brands by one of the most highly rated studio around.
This left Firaxis in a position as crazy as defending Earth from aliens: Reviving a brand for both newcomers and those that have been there since day one. And leaving me with the question: Did they succeed?
The city builder genre was one of my favorites growing up and the recent sale on Good Old Games of several of the Impressions series made me start to think about how the genre has grown and has become stuck in a sense. Looking back we can almost chart the development of the genre through the different games that have defined it.