XCOM Enemy Unknown iOS Review - www.impulsegamer.com -

Gameplay 9.3
Graphics 8.9
Sound 9.0
Value 8.5
Distributor: iTunes
Review Date:
July 2013
Reviewer:
Ho Wong

9.1


XCOM Enemy Unknown

 

Long time strategy fans would a have a soft spot for the XCOM franchise.  The first Enemy Unknown and its sequel, Terror from the Deep showed the world that there was still a place for challenging, cerebral strategy games.  The franchise then took a bit of dip and then a spiral.  Nineteen years after the original and twelve years after the last game, a new game in the series has emerged, XCOM : Enemy Unknown.  It was with great trepidation that I approached the iOS version.  For one,  it was released several months after the console versions, indicating possible major changes when compared to its critically acclaimed brethren. Secondly, it has to be compared to its predecessors such as Terror and after all these years, can it recapture the magic and stay true?

 

 

The plot and gameplay will sound familiar to previous players of XCOM.  Earth is gripped by panic as a spate of abductions and attacks by aliens compel our nations into action, XCOM.  XCOM is a multinational force whose mission is protect Earth and you are its commander.  The game plays in essentially two ways.  At your base, you will be responsible for assigning research, engineering, promoting and fitting out your squad as well and expanding your base. Working out the best way to use your resources is key here. It is here that you will slowly find out more about the aliens and their technology and using it against them. While on your away missions, the game uses an isometric, turn based system.  Aliens will be hiding out in the environment intent on your destruction.   The fog of war and cover can be your best friend (and your worst enemy) so careful troop movement is essential.

 

 

Having played the PS3 version too, I am quite surprised at how close the iOS version is to the PS3.  I can see what has been cut out (most notably some cut-scenes, predominantly to do with the away-missions, some dynamic combat closeups and the graphics have been toned down) but otherwise, itís all here.  Thereís the excellent voice-acting, the game plays exactly the same and all the essential cutscenes are here.  The controls are actually better, in some respects to the PS3 version, although during the away missions, the absence of a d-pad is greatly missed.  Being able to accurately select the square you want to move your unit is difficult without multiple taps and zooms.  On the flipside, selecting options with just a tap or a swipe is so intuitive that you donít even need to think (which your brain will thank you for, as the game is difficult in a good way)

 

 

For an iOS game, it certainly looks like one of the better games out there and follows the consoles as best it can.  Sound utilises the excellent music and voicing already available.  The game has an intricate plot that effectively conveys the in-game panic and terror and develops nicely.  I am glad to say that the game is true to its roots.  The base management is deep and involving whilst the missions show turn-based strategy at its best. One warning I must give is that the game uses up 3.2GB and that is fully installed.  It also is at probably one of the heftiest price points.  Many ports turn out to be dumbed-down, stripped-of-spirit versions of the console versions.  Luckily, XCOM is different.  It is excellent. 

 

 






 
 



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