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This weekend I’ve been playing XCOM: Enemy Unknown on PS3. It’s a turned based strategy game developed by the same people who made Civilization. It’s based on an old game called UFO: Enemy Unknown (1994). I wasn’t sure I’d like it, but I bought it since I’ve been playing Civilization Revolution a bit recently.

As you probably have guessed already, it’s a game about saving the earth from an alien invasion.

XCOM is pretty challenging. Frustrating at first, but then it’s a bit thrilling. I haven’t played the old games, so I didn’t have any prior knowledge about the strategies involved. Apart from commanding a squad of soldiers in alien infested areas, you also have to manage research, build facilities in your base and make decisions on what part of the world should get satellite coverage/military help/etc. to avoid panic.

I think part of the game is not knowing what to do. When you meet a new kind of alien you know nothing about its capabilities. Also, just because a mission is available to you at a certain time in the game, it doesn’t mean that you can succeed with the mission at your current level. And losing all high ranking soldiers is quite a blow to your operation.

That way it’s a bit like Civilization. You can build something for a long while only to see that there’s no longer any way to win. “What? You didn’t churn out satellites? Game over.”

If you didn’t throw the PS3 out the window the first time you failed to save the earth, the second game you feel like a master strategist (at least up until the point you reached in the first time around).

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(the screens are from the official site and are from the xbox360 version)

It’s a pretty addictive game once you start to get the hang of it. It’s kind of repetitive in terms of the objectives of the missions and the area the missions take place, but you often have to really plan your moves in order to keep your soldiers alive.

The only real complaints I have are that there are a few camera glitches and the graphics in the cut-scenes aren’t really the peak of PS3 graphics (a bit simple yet laggy).

There’s a demo out that you can try, but it’s mostly just the tutorial which is a bit boring. It gets much harder after that. But you can see if you like the general style at least.