It’s one thing that XCOM’s intergalactic band of merry arseholes feel the need to invade our planet, probe our rectums, vandalize our crops and screw with our beef supply, but do they have to be stark bollock naked while they do it? We have to watch Zorg’s prehensile space junk slapping against his bare thigh while he subjugates the entire human race? I think not, ET. We will not go quietly into the night.

So the XCOM demo has wormed its way onto my computer, and while it’s divorced from the larger campaign that will no doubt provide it with precious context, the available mission was a gloriously tense experience. The UI still needs a little bit of work, it’s far too easy to send the wrong trooper to the wrong spot where he will invariably be exposed to laser beams and/or an alien’s nether regions, but I think it’s earned my pre-order.

While I’m glad XCOM is getting another turn-based outing, I’m disappointed 2K Marin’s 1950s interpretation of the series seems to have gone on the back burner. Firaxis’ turn-based effort is gorgeous in a simple, cartoonish kind of way, and it’s more “true” to the original games, for whatever that’s worth, but 2K’s take sported a far more interesting aesthetic.

I guess what worries me about the whole affair is that the fan “outcry” has actually done something. It’s prompted the release of Firaxis’ more traditional take on the series, and that’s great, but I’m not keen on fan grumpiness negatively affecting a game’s development. Detractors will no doubt point to the recent, and decidedly shit-arse, reboot of Syndicate as proof that first-person remakes of venerable franchises are bunk. But I also happen to remember two other first-person games that were met with similar, negative responses from their franchise’s fanbases: Metroid Prime and Fallout 3.

Overall, I’d say I subscribe to Jimmy Sterling’s philosophy of judging a game by its individual merits. I’d prefer it if “remakes” became new IP, because god knows we don’t get enough of those, but I’m still willing to take a shot at any series that tries its hand at a new genre.

Speaking of judging games by their individual merits: Resident Evil 6 is terrible and I told you so.

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