Sunday, November 27, 2022
The third game in the X-COM franchise (and the only sequel to be helmed by series creator Julian Gollop), which tried to be something more grandiose in scale; ironically while only taking place in a single city rather than encompassing the entire planet. Not only do you have to contend with invading aliens, but the city's major players all come into play to work for or against you; for example, helping fund the police force will have them aid you in fending off alien invaders, befriending the android and alien-hybrid minorities can make new (and quite powerful) troops available, while making an enemy of the transportation corporations will make getting around to undertake missions much more difficult. Unlike the previous X-COM games, the central government is also your only major funding lifeline; getting on bad terms with them (or seeing them fall to the aliens) can make the game downright miserable, forcing you to rob other factions to survive and painting a huge target on your back for the rest of the game. There's also an alien worshipping cult that will oppose you no matter what you (or the aliens) do, which can be troublesome at times. There's also an option for a real-time mode which sounds like it could speed up the monotonous search and destroy missions, but honestly, the AI is too mediocre and the action gets too chaotic to make it practical on all but the earliest battles. Sadly the game wasn't as good as it could have been - internal conflicts and tight deadlines meant many planned features (like inter-faction conflicts and espionage missions) were scaled down or cut entirely, so the game overall feels very similar to the original with a few extra gimmicks glued on. Still a fun game that executes the X-COM hook of "gradually learn, adapt and overcome" quite well, but it's definitely not as well-refined and cohesive as the original classic.