Pre-ordered this a week ago and scored the pre-order perk which was a complete bundle of previous X-Com games on Steam and some other FPS game I didn’t install yet. I managed to sink a couple of hours in this game despite all the other stuff going on in my life (work, kids, wife, kids’ events, husband stuff, reading, etc.).
I’ll start with the bad.
- Check point saving – I hate this. It’s a bad idea especially when in the ‘hub’ that is your base. Nothing like having to turn the game off after doing a bunch of chatting only to discover that you have to do it again the next time you start up the game. I don’t understand why they do this check point save mechanic – it’s not like you can’t just restart the level or something? Or adjust the save game mechanism based on difficulty. I suspect that’s the reason, they didn’t want people loading games when they lost squad members.
- UI – the UI during order mode (Battle Focus) is decent but dominated by the mouse. I use the keyboard; SHIFT, A, 2 (to tell the left squaddie to move) and if I jiggle my mouse slightly it pops over S (main guy) kicking me out of assigning left guy something. It’s annoying as hell. They need to fix this by ignoring the mouse if the user starts using the keyboard in this mode – activate to mouse if the user clicks which is a more intentional action.
- While there is a story, the squadmates don’t have personality – something I can forgive since you create them on the fly – for the most part.
- I kinda miss base building, but it’s understandable since you’re in a base that already existed.
That’s about all I have for ‘BAD’ at the moment, which is pretty good considering…
- Plays like Mass Effect – main character is central to the story, squaddies are there to help out. It’s first person, over the shoulder view so not a turn based tactical game like the X-Com we’ve grown to love – it’s a nice change and neat perspective.
- A lot more options and precision control over the squaddies – kinda central to the game.
- There is a story you play through. I admit I do like it but find it missing something (see point 3 in the BAD above). It’s very familiar, unlike the sci-fi futuristic Mass Effect.
- The weapons feel good.
- The enemies are semi-true to X-Com: Enemy Unknown (though the Sectopods are not as scary – Mutons are cool).
- AI is okay, though I’m on a lower difficulty level – I’m curious to see if it scales up or they just hit more and for more.
- Weapon progression exists, though it’s through finding the items in missions so far.
- Some backpack designs come from exploring, finding in missions/side missions. I hope there are armor options…
- Side missions are decent – having a point to them, not just some randomization of aliens on a random map.
- Leveling in decent. More health, get to pick abilities at most ranks – some passive, some active.
- You have (special) missions you can send your squaddies on while you run with other squaddies letting you do your mission and them theirs. They’ll level from it and usually come back from the mission with something.
Overall I’m impressed with what I’ve played so far.