XCOM Enemy Unknown

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XCOM Enemy Unknown

We go hands on with the alien invasion.

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Steve Butts:
Squad of four

That is... one hell of a downgrade, actually. Part of the fun of xcom was your expendable hordes of recruits and their stupendous death rate. With four team members, that's gone. Straight off, gone.

That is kind of disappointing. The rest of the changes are fine. I just really don't agree with that. Either the enemies are less dangerous to compensate or less numerous, so either way things are on a smaller scale.

Less logical as well. A squad of 26 is slightly better than a squad of four in investigating a crashed UFO or whatever.

I'm actually looking forward to this.

I know that any change whatsoever will have purists up in arms, but as someone who enjoyed the original I really like the idea of a streamlined version.

XCOM without having to solve a fox-chicken-grain puzzle every time I want to assign equipment? Sign me up.

I understand the rationale behind Army of Four, but yikes-- that means small scale engagements are the name of the game and massive operations-- taking an alien battleship intact, for instance-- are likely on the out.

Do we need 26 units? No. I just replayed xcom a few weeks ago and how long did I spend dragging my units out of the avenger for 15 minutes just to get from turn to turn and get them arranged into squads? A long ass time. Too long. But four units?

The emergence of true tactical squad combat without forcing tactical squad combat was one of the ways xcom shined. If you want to be terrible at the game, you can use circa 1600 AD battlefield tactics-- line em up and walk slowly through open spaces shoulder to shoulder.

My favorite parts are when squad 1 gets tied up at a gas station, so I duck them back around the corner and bring squad 2 down to flank from the other side, while squad 3 tosses some grenades.

I'd be interested to see your impressions on how the engagements played out from your demo play. Is it going to be essentially tactical shooter on rails?

GiglameshSoulEater:

Steve Butts:
Squad of four

That is... one hell of a downgrade, actually. Part of the fun of xcom was your expendable hordes of recruits and their stupendous death rate. With four team members, that's gone. Straight off, gone.

That is kind of disappointing. The rest of the changes are fine. I just really don't agree with that. Either the enemies are less dangerous to compensate or less numerous, so either way things are on a smaller scale.

Less logical as well. A squad of 26 is slightly better than a squad of four in investigating a crashed UFO or whatever.

I agree. It's not being a purist. I've seen and like many changes they announced, like what they did to the cyberdiscs and the movement system. But a squad of 4... it just changes the style and atmosphere of the game. There was a feel of horror when your rookies got butchered by aliens shooting from far away positions, or a soldier being mind controlled who then starts shooting his fellow soldiers or doing whatever you can to stop the chryssalids before your whole squad turns. They said in interviews that they wanted to recreate this atmosphere. But how can you when you only have 4 soldiers? The loss of a single soldier matters more but you also have to give more power to single soldiers or less power to the aliens so that the missions remain doable. We saw this in the "UFO: After(math,shock,light)" series where each soldier could take a lot of shots if you didn't walk to the shotgun wielding biomass-thingy to melee him. If you played smart the enemy would hit you for only a few of your hit-points and with increasing armor this got ridiculous. Compare that to the original game where even in the best armor an unlucky heavy plasma shot could be fatal. And don't forget the Blaster Launcher. If they enable that, if a single unlucky shot of the best non-explosive alien weapon can drop one of your squaddies who is the best armor... well then you can loose a quarter of your team's strength too easily. If not... then one of the things that made the original great, a part of it's atmosphere, to expect the RNG being able to f* you up hard at any point and you still end up pushing onwards since there is nothing more rewarding than iron manning a game... that part of the atmosphere will be lost.

Right now I can't see how a 4 character squad in a game that strives to have a similiar stile and atmosphere like the original game can work. But I am prepared to be suprised.

Edit:

thiosk:
Do we need 26 units? No.

I do agree on that but 4 is too few. I always thought the size of the original Skyranger to be pretty balanced. 14 Soldiers or 10 Soldiers and a Tank. A reduction of 2 Soldiers would be fine too, enabling you to split up your soldiers into 3 4-man squads.

Steve Butts:
The new XCOM even goes one better than the original by allowing you to open doors quietly without having to barge right into the room. >

What do you mean? I can open doors in X-Com without barging into the room. Right-click other side of door while facing door.

Pic or it did't happen.

GiglameshSoulEater:

Steve Butts:
Squad of four

That is... one hell of a downgrade, actually. Part of the fun of xcom was your expendable hordes of recruits and their stupendous death rate. With four team members, that's gone. Straight off, gone.

Totally agree, this sounds like a pretty bad change to me.

Tiamat666:

Steve Butts:
The new XCOM even goes one better than the original by allowing you to open doors quietly without having to barge right into the room. >

What do you mean? I can open doors in X-Com without barging into the room. Right-click other side of door while facing door.

That's only possible in "Terror of The Deep" or with an extender mod.

----------------

Anyway back on topic, I agree with the sentiment of posters above - 4-man squads are just way too small and fragile (in the original game at least). To extend longevity of gameplay they must have invincibility behind full cover while being able to shoot (Full Spectrum Warrior), infinite stamina, infinite energy and levels must be designed so that your squad doesn't become flanked too often.

In essence, the game will revolve around a team of super soldiers like in Mass Effect where a bunch of guys can take out thousands of enemies, rather than as kids who start out as mere mortals and only after many missions can end up with more HP than a tank (but still die in a few shots)!

Also, you can only build 1 base :( That's pretty sucky.

thiosk:
Do we need 26 units? No.

I admit, I only used that figure for emphasis. Often, yeah, you would use less, but you still had a back up in case your team got slaughtered, or you would have a tank with you (that seems to have been cut as well, thinking about it).

But still, you have to agree that it will inevitably change the look and feel of the game.

BenEEeee:
Also, you can only build 1 base :( That's pretty sucky.

True.

Oh, well. Xenonauts and OpenXCOM, anybody?

GiglameshSoulEater:

Steve Butts:
Squad of four

That is... one hell of a downgrade, actually. Part of the fun of xcom was your expendable hordes of recruits and their stupendous death rate. With four team members, that's gone. Straight off, gone.

That is kind of disappointing. The rest of the changes are fine. I just really don't agree with that. Either the enemies are less dangerous to compensate or less numerous, so either way things are on a smaller scale.

Less logical as well. A squad of 26 is slightly better than a squad of four in investigating a crashed UFO or whatever.

I think that GameInformer ran a story on XCOM a while ago, and the impression I got from that is that the squad of four was a mission limit. You can have more recruits available at your base, but you only send a team of 4 (or 3, if you send in one of the big support vehicles, which were also mentioned in the same article) on a mission.

That seems like a fair limit, considering (judging from the same piece) that the encounters are a bit smaller in scale, less "full-scale invasion" and more "small scouting incursion". The squad'll still be outnumbered, but I'm guessing upgrades and promotions should mitigate that, as would good tactics.

BenEEeee:
Also, you can only build 1 base :( That's pretty sucky.

Wait, when did they say that?

OT: I never actually played any of the original X-Coms, but this looks like a game that I would really like to sink my teeth into, so I am very excited.

I was really hyped over this game, but when hearing you can only have 4 guys in the mission at a time, i got worried.

I played the UFO:After- series as well, and while i thought at least the last one (Afterlight) was really good, the way the limited soldiers scheme worked in that game made me reload if any one of them died. In Afterlight, your guys surviving was the nr1 priority. Mission success was secondary (as you could very easily afford losing a territory. You just have to retake it at some point later)

In X-COM... not so much.

Where botching a mission nets you heavy point penalties, reducing your funding and depriving you of the resources dead aliens bring, success becomes paramount. Losing a few guys is expected, just hire some new ones and be done with it. With a squad of 10, losing 4-5 of them is perfectly fine if the mission is important enough.
With a max squad of 4, losing even a single one limits your options considerably.

It's fine if you can afford to lose a few missions. If you can't, then hello Reload button :(

I opened doors with weapons fire or grenades.

Yeah 4 soldier limit is....limiting. The whole talent tree thing is cool and all but I can't imagine the game will be tactically anything like XCOM.

Swarming out of the skyranger to surround the battleship was a big part of the fun. And then when I got flying armor I sent a couple of guys to the roof of the saucer and blew an entry hole with a blaster launcher, then cleared with grenades to breach the control room.

No time units, no stats... squad of four.

I won't lie, this game sounds kinda shitty to me.

I don't think I mind the level up tree. It kind of removes some of the randomness from soldiers (we all know Chucky Lawrence with 10 bravery isn't going to last long), assuming the trees are complex enough.

But four units. It's just too little. I would think 8 minimum. You can certainly make each unit more complicated than the original x-com in terms of what abilities they can do, but it's still just four fucking people.

It's the difference between four squads of four each infiltrating and securing a building in a turn, versus going one building at a time with your 4 man squad. And if it's not, it means one unit can secure a whole building themselves.

I don't want my guy's to be super-soldiers, I want them to be unprepared humans investigating something beyond their understanding. Even with full power armor the aliens advanced weaponry still poses a threat.

Steve Butts:
...you can only take four soldiers...

Are you sure the maximum isn't six?
Was it reduced since GameSpy's preview two months ago? That sucks...

Actually you can upgrade it to six people, but I don't think that translates into squishy people or less-ferocious aliens. There are some different mechanics that even it out without having to touch the sqish-ability.

Cover, a formal cover system should help mitigate a lot of the one-shot kills when you're at a stand off. I mean you could still get shot while moving or blown up, but the alien hitting you over the little stone wall just because they have better stats or gear are pretty evened out.

Also, there's more segregation of gear and range limits. No more thirty shot heavy plasma which in the right hands boiled them down to thirty shot sniper rifles with three shot burst capability.

There's also more gear in general. Armor and all that.

I don't think it's an automatic corollary to assume that less people equals less squish. It has more to do with developer goals. Look at Dark Souls, if less people meant less squishy then your guy would die from a paper cut.

NewYork_Comedian:

BenEEeee:
Also, you can only build 1 base :( That's pretty sucky.

Wait, when did they say that?

OT: I never actually played any of the original X-Coms, but this looks like a game that I would really like to sink my teeth into, so I am very excited.

What I got from the feature here was that we can build multiple bases, it seems, though we only get one headquarters.

I'm also really excited about this game, I haven't played the originals, but the concepts involved are just so facinating, I'm willing to jump right in.

James Joseph Emerald:

Steve Butts:
...you can only take four soldiers...

Are you sure the maximum isn't six?
Was it reduced since GameSpy's preview two months ago? That sucks...

'Players aren't always constricted to four-unit squads, however. By researching upgrades - a feature that I'll explain later - players can have up to six-man teams, but no more than that. "This makes for a more compelling tactical experience," said Murray, who pointed out that the original X-COM allowed players to have massive squads that were upwards of 20 units.'

It sounds like we start with four man squads and if you don't research properly may be able to play the entire game with them but we have the opportunity to upgrade. I dunno on the one hand I am super excited about a new turn based strategy game but the four man squads alarms me. There really won't be much chance for expermentation I will just always have a heavy, support, assault and soldier. If one dies it will severly limit my tactical opportunities to where losing a man will probably mean losing a mission. I'm sure there will be a retreat option to at least save some of my better squadies but still...I would prefer 8-12 men on the field at least. That would give us 2 or 3 four man squads and make for bigger, more engaging battles and more excitement when one squad takes heavy casualties. Bleh, I'll still pick it up but I hope to get a definitive number soon!

6SteW6:

It sounds like we start with four man squads and if you don't research properly may be able to play the entire game with them but we have the opportunity to upgrade. I dunno on the one hand I am super excited about a new turn based strategy game but the four man squads alarms me. There really won't be much chance for expermentation I will just always have a heavy, support, assault and soldier. If one dies it will severly limit my tactical opportunities to where losing a man will probably mean losing a mission. I'm sure there will be a retreat option to at least save some of my better squadies but still...I would prefer 8-12 man squads at least. That would give us 2 or 3 four man squads and make for bigger, more engaging battles and more excitement when one squad takes heavy casualties. Bleh, I'll still pick it up but I hope to get a definitive number soon!

Four is too few, but I think six is actually about right. You have to remember that although the original XCOM was tactically rich, there were a lot of bullshit deaths that came out of nowhere that you never could have anticipated, like a floater who spots you from a mile away and rains burning plasma death down on your squad before you have a chance to do anything. Having 12+ troops was necessary to counter-act the fact that even the best armour seemed to be made of papier-mâché and there was no way to stop them from dying like flies. Until you unlock the psi-amp and become a god.

Hopefully, the ability to do things like take cover and peek through doors before you open them will reduce the need to rely on the rather silly tactic of sending out half your team as cannon fodder to spot the aliens and then sniping them with the other half of your team.

James Joseph Emerald:

6SteW6:

It sounds like we start with four man squads and if you don't research properly may be able to play the entire game with them but we have the opportunity to upgrade. I dunno on the one hand I am super excited about a new turn based strategy game but the four man squads alarms me. There really won't be much chance for expermentation I will just always have a heavy, support, assault and soldier. If one dies it will severly limit my tactical opportunities to where losing a man will probably mean losing a mission. I'm sure there will be a retreat option to at least save some of my better squadies but still...I would prefer 8-12 man squads at least. That would give us 2 or 3 four man squads and make for bigger, more engaging battles and more excitement when one squad takes heavy casualties. Bleh, I'll still pick it up but I hope to get a definitive number soon!

Four is too few, but I think six is actually about right. You have to remember that although the original XCOM was tactically rich, there were a lot of bullshit deaths that came out of nowhere that you never could have anticipated, like a floater who spots you from a mile away and rains burning plasma death down on your squad before you have a chance to do anything. Having 12+ troops was necessary to counter-act the fact that even the best armour seemed to be made of papier-mâché and there was no way to stop them from dying like flies. Until you unlock the psi-amp and become a god.

Hopefully, the ability to do things like take cover and peek through doors before you open them will reduce the need to rely on the rather silly tactic of sending out half your team as cannon fodder to spot the aliens and then sniping them with the other half of your team.

That's true. With more tactical options there will surely be less 'Bullshit deaths'. Maybe the 4-6 man squads is tactically viable and you will surely care more about your men and women with such an intimate connection to them through learning what they are good at and how their place in the squad makes them an asset. A loss might really feel like a loss when you lose a squadie in this on as opposed to them just being fodder.

Agh I dunno, as I said I will definetly be picking this game up I have been starved for a good Turn-based game for awhile. I mean I love the high fantasy setting as much as the next guy and some of those turn based games have been really good but, I really just want to shoot aliens with guns, y'know?

Only 4 Soldiers?
That's so stupid i don't even know what to say.
Guess it will be xenonauts for me, thank you.

Btw: xenonauts has a kickstarter going with a public demo for everyone. So everybody who wants to try a remake that is nearer to the original should definitly look at this!

The Critic:
What I got from the feature here was that we can build multiple bases, it seems, though we only get one headquarters.

I'm also really excited about this game, I haven't played the originals, but the concepts involved are just so facinating, I'm willing to jump right in.

That's correct - You have your main HQ that houses your team and facilities, then you can build multiple bases around the world that act as interceptor bases, where you launch your jets that shoot the UFOs down.

The locations of the interceptor bases are very important, just like the original game.

4 or 6 soldiers is just stupid. It doesn't create a more tense tactical mission, it creates save/load exploitation and that replaces tension with annoyance while simultaneously ruining immersion - oh joy.

All of my best X-COM memories involved my squad getting hit hard, taking significant casualties, then regrouping and finishing the mission so their comrades' sacrifice wouldn't be in vain. Even when things went according to plan I'd still lose the occasional scout, sometimes I'd even lose someone important to an ambush, stray fire or my own overconfidence - it kept the aliens a credible threat. Without the numbers to absorb a little punishment though, the only way the game can stay winnable is with OP agents, nerfed aliens or quicksave abuse and any of those will ruin the experience.

Well, at least there's still Xenonauts.

Will it even have a Geoscape or will missions be a linear series of events? Most of what I heard would suggest the latter and really take away from the management and planning.

BenEEeee:

Tiamat666:

Steve Butts:
The new XCOM even goes one better than the original by allowing you to open doors quietly without having to barge right into the room. >

What do you mean? I can open doors in X-Com without barging into the room. Right-click other side of door while facing door.

That's only possible in "Terror of The Deep" or with an extender mod.

Oh, ok. I only played Terror from the Deep because I got it first and the creepy atmosphere felt superior to the somewhat cheesy, cliché Sci-Fi setting of the original X-Com. Never realized that this open-door ability didn't exist in the original.

Squads of four huh? Heh, alright, but the soldiers in XCOM were about as well armored as a French Fancy with a bite taken out of it to begin with. So hopefully we won't lose about a hundred million missions before our little tykes are leveled up enough to survive a plasma pistol shot to the face.

Bostur:
Will it even have a Geoscape or will missions be a linear series of events? Most of what I heard would suggest the latter and really take away from the management and planning.

From what I've heard, the game is mostly freeform, with a few "tentpole" missions scattered through the campaign. So, no two playthroughs will be exactly the same (we can choose which missions to take, what research to do, where to place our bases, etc.), but everyone has to experience certain critical moments, it looks like.

As for the 4-6 man squad limit, I really don't see the problem with this. Since the combat system would seem to focus around tactical planning and proper gearing of troops, rahter than pulling a Zerg-rush on the aliens, a small number would seem to be about right. Hopefully, as someone above me pointed out, this means that our troops will be exempt from "bullshit deaths" caused by lucky breaks/rolls for the AI, and that our decisions are going to be what determines who we lose.

I just hope that the 6-man limit upgrade can be researched fairly early on, or at the very latest, be researched mid-game. It would suck if we spend the whole game developing great 4-unit tactics, then suddenly have to learn how to use 6 units in the last few missions.

The Critic:

Bostur:
Will it even have a Geoscape or will missions be a linear series of events? Most of what I heard would suggest the latter and really take away from the management and planning.

From what I've heard, the game is mostly freeform, with a few "tentpole" missions scattered through the campaign. So, no two playthroughs will be exactly the same (we can choose which missions to take, what research to do, where to place our bases, etc.), but everyone has to experience certain critical moments, it looks like.

I suppose thats possible to do the old way without showing an actual global map, and my assumption that it wont have a map is still unconfirmed.

One rumour I heard that made me skeptical was that bases beyond the first have very limited functionality, that made think that they wanted to simplify the UI in this area.

One of the most characterstic elements of X-Com was the way the strategic and tactical gameplay melded together. Most of the preview information about the new one focuses on the tactical elements though. This have made me a bit concerned that it will be a mostly linear campaign.

I'm going to do the sensible thing and WAIT AND SEE.

The designers have made it very clear that this game will love to kick your ass up and down, and losing people will be common.

Again, wait and see, I'm not gonna cry "RUINED FOREVER" when its not even out yet.

I never played X-com until a few years back and it was fun but I never had the time to get into it. I did play enough to get the feel of the game and to start my second base. The idea of 4 soldiers, soldier classes, and the perk tree kinda turns me off.

I hope the game works out but I think I may enjoy Xenonauts more at this point. I hope for a demo of X-Com to try the ideas rather than just dismiss them.

Time Units never bothered me as I still play Blood Bowl LE. The movment concept is close enough to TU.

So...like Dawn of War 2 then?
I liked it but it was a far cry from my table top days.

So instead of fighting with an army we are fighting with a special ops team?
Hopefully there is a rez option.

Bostur:

I suppose thats possible to do the old way without showing an actual global map, and my assumption that it wont have a map is still unconfirmed.

One rumour I heard that made me skeptical was that bases beyond the first have very limited functionality, that made think that they wanted to simplify the UI in this area.

One of the most characterstic elements of X-Com was the way the strategic and tactical gameplay melded together. Most of the preview information about the new one focuses on the tactical elements though. This have made me a bit concerned that it will be a mostly linear campaign.

Don't worry, the Geoscape is here and intact. Much like in the original, you watch the globe until your radar picks up a UFO, send interceptors to shoot it down, then send your soldiers to clear the wreckage.

The thing with the bases is true, however. You have one main base where all of your research and development happens, and can put smaller bases all over the globe that function solely as interceptor launch points. Personally, this doesn't concern me too much, since that's pretty much all I ever used my secondary bases for in the original anyway.

Hmmmm, I am concerned over the small squads, seems like it will encourage save-scumming. I blame consoles and their awkward controllers. Then again I blame consoles for everything, ran out of milk, global warming, the Kennedy assassination...

And since you can only take four soldiers with you on any given mission, getting the right mix is imperative.

Lol this is more stupid than the x-com shooter

dumb qustion but...

is this thing turn based?

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