Remember “demos”? Those bite sized morsels of a retail product which allowed you to make an informed decision as to whether or not to make a purchase?
Well, Firaxis Games does and they have just released a demo for their upcoming reboot of the X-COM series, XCOM: Enemy Unknown.
Not to confused with the original X-COM: UFO Defense/UFO: Enemy Unknown (circa 1994) or the currently under development XCOM FPS that we all know is going to be a flop, this reimagining of the seminal series promises to retain the fun and customization of the original while providing modern day design conventions.
You can jump on Steam now and start downloading the svelte 5.5 GB demo.
I loved it!
Firaxis has managed to capture the feel of the original while streamlining the gameplay.
Instead of spending Action Points to move your troops around, each soldier can move twice in a turn or sacrifice their second move to make a dramatic long distance dash across the map. This allows you to more quickly place your team in advantageous locations without spending the first six rounds just getting them all out of the drop ship.
Controls are very tight. Almost every action in the game can be performed with an intuitive hotkey press or by manually using your mouse and interacting with the GUI.
While the demo did not provide individual soldier customization or base building, both appear to be features in the full retail product.
I’d like to give a special shoutout to the way they handled grenades. When you choose to use a grenade (by pressing 4) you are presented with a “dome” that indicates the grenade’s blast radius.
Tethered to this dome is a thread of light that indicates the trajectory of the grenade. With this interface you are able to organically execute amazing throws which have you throwing a grenade through a broken window across an empty room, ricocheting it off another window sill and having it roll to a perfect stop between two alien enemies.
My only concern so far is that in their bid to make the gameplay more accessible they may have sacrificed some of the original’s deeper complexities.
Hopefully when the game launches next month these concerns will be alleviated.