XCOM: Enemy Unknown - Strategy Game - Developed by Firaxis

Ratbelly wrote:

This game really was enjoyable. I put 35 hours or so into it. The ending and the fairly limited research path has kept me from replaying. That and my enormous backlog of games.

I think I said somewhere upthread, but I have a vision for an expanded XCOM design that uses a wider research path to enable greater narrative experiences. The existing mechanisms work great, they just need more emergent effects (so that story-points and the player's choice of missions matters more) and more callbacks to past events/choices (so that the player feels like there are ongoing B stories, and that stuff gets remembered).

Firaxis, you know where to call me.

Well, in a sense, it´s kind of like Civilization, only to a lesser scope. You can either choose to research Pottery or Mathematics or The Wheel. You´ll eventually need to research all three, but how you choose, it´s up to you, and the perks coming from them, and in what order you research them and the new techs they unlock, will greatly differentiate your playthrough.

I didn´t feel this mechanism in the game. This is something they definitely need to expand and explore. I feel the original did have this in spades. Might be a bit tricky though to implement with its corresponding cinematic, units, techtree options, etc, so might be worth diving into for a sequel, rather than an expansion and/or DLC of sorts.

To me the research felt like you were either doing weapons to equip your squad or alien stuff to advance the story.

I'm tempted to try a game where I avoid any of the live alien captures completely and see if stops giving you the options to advance the story. If I never capture an energy dude - will they stop appearing eventually? if so, then what?

Cayne wrote:

Get the OTS upgrade to automatically rank up your soldiers then hire a bunch then fire the undesirables.

Can't. I spent all my money on Satellites!

Actually I'm in a pretty good spot. I'm in month 3 and got A on both council reports so far. Just focussing on getting the satellites and engineers pumping, then I can upgrade my soldiers a bit more. On the plus side, my Sniper is beastly. She pretty much kills over half of the enemies for me.

Also, one thing bugged me last night. Multiple building rooms that are identical. Even the staff inside them. The same 3 guys standing around looking at a satellite dish. You'd think that if we're going to be building multiple of the same room then add some variance. Maybe make the people walk between the rooms or something.

Bruce wrote:

To me the research felt like you were either doing weapons to equip your squad or alien stuff to advance the story.

I'm tempted to try a game where I avoid any of the live alien captures completely and see if stops giving you the options to advance the story. If I never capture an energy dude - will they stop appearing eventually? if so, then what?

Nope, they'll keep appearing, only you'll get "the talk" from Dr whatshername every time you kill one. Same story if you capture one but don't do the research.

Stupid Panic. Like seriously people, just chill, the satellite's are coming. Idiots.

Also, really like the new armour customization options that come with the slingshot dlc.

BlackSabre wrote:

Stupid Panic. Like seriously people, just chill, the satellite's are coming. Idiots.

Also, really like the new armour customization options that come with the slingshot dlc.

I've (barely) managed to keep panic down to reasonable levels. I definitely had to pass up on come rewards I wanted so I could clear abductions from more panicked nations. I finally managed to get two satellites over South America and finish off all my interrogations and autopsies. Not a huge backlog, but it's nice to save a few days here and there. I think I need one more Nexus and I'll have all the capacity I need to cover the world. I feel like I need to get the Foundry working on Satellite cloaking (or whatever it's called) next.

I didn't even realize there was DLC. Anything that rates "must have"?

None of the DLC is must have. To be honest, it's damned expensive for what it is, but I figured it was $5 with the discount, and that was good enough for me since I wanted to start a new playthrough.

As for the panic, well I had to cancel my Nexus and build a normal satellite thingie (can't remember what it's called) since the nexus was going to finish the day after council report and I've got 2 countries in the red. But the normal satellite hub will be finished just before council report which means I can now save those two countries.

I figure once the next council report is done, fire up a nexus and some more satellites and I should have some nice coverage and a good bunch of funds coming in.

It's funny, I think the best part of the game is the first half where everything is a struggle and careful balancing act.

BlackSabre wrote:

It's funny, I think the best part of the game is the first half where everything is a struggle and careful balancing act.

I feel that way about UFO Defense as well. While it's cool just to roll around and be awesome with the flying suits, getting them is also the point where the game simply turns into a coast to the finish line. In replays I generally quit not long after that point and start over. I will say, though, that there's nothing quite like dropping into the last mission absurdly over-armed and just laying waste to the entire map. In UFO Defense I'll just sit a guy in the drop ship with a huge pile of blaster bombs and send out a few teammates to paint targets. Not much salvage that way, but darn it's fun.

Heh, speaking of salvage, I still haven't got the "Kill 50 enemies with explosives" achievement because I don't get the weapon components. So I typically just go for a normal kill or a stun. One of these days I should just go crazy with a bunch of grenades.

Finally finished my first game after waiting for freaking ever for the game to DL on my slow ass connection. I bought it new, too. Also, reading up a 130+ page thread takes a long time.

Random thoughts:

Mutons in this game are not Mutons. I waste them with laser fire on Normal. In the original XCom, those things were built like tanks, and were near end-game opponents. My impression is that Mutons have replaced Snakemen, and Elite Mutons essentially play the role of the old Mutons.

It plays a lot like the original in that end-game weaponry makes your troops godlike. My solution to this in the old game was to never use any armor higher than alien alloy armor. It's an artifical constraint that maintains the game's challenge, IMO. For the same reason, I made a bunch of Ghost Armor, but didn't use them once I figured out what they did. Titan Armor is fine. Archangel is fine. Ghost is way too strong.

Both Gunslinger and Damn Good Ground are mainly early game benefits. They pair with the sniper role you have in mind. I usually pair Gunslinger with a Squad Sight sniper so he doesn't become useless and helpless when he's moving around or in tight spaces. A Snap Shot Sniper doesn't really benefit as much since he can usually just use his sniper rifle. Snap Shot is an okay ability, but I wasn't as much into it until it was too late. I'm going to try out a couple of Snap Shots with Disabling Shot and Damn Good Ground.

Pistols are way better here than they were in the original, due to the way weapons work. Shotgun line weapons are devastating up close, but useless at a good range. Changing a Rapid Fire Assault from shotgun to pistol works remarkably well even at end game when you need to dispatch of, say, drones at range. Plasma Pistols on Rapid Fire are powerful enough to deal with Mutons, and you can do it indefinitely since pistols never need to reload as an action. Conversely, I've noticed that sniper rifle accuracy drops dramatically at point-bank range. Gunslinger + Plasma Pistols + Double Tap allows a Squad Sight Sniper to deal with Crysallids that rush him, two at a time. At end-game, my Gunslingers were one-shotting Mutons with overwatch fire.

I tried switching out Shotguns for Assault Rifles in an Assault class soldier. It was pretty good having one with Assault Rifle and the other with Shotgun. One of the Things I Like To Do (but is probably stupid) is to advance an Assault with Run and Gun into the field and then Overwatch to form a defensive front. An Assault with an Assault Rifle accomplishes this function much better than one with a Shotgun.

I join Tamren in his disappointment with the strategic layer. Not having bases is one thing, not even having a coverage and interception game is another. In the original game, all UFOs were faster than conventional aircraft, so placement of aircraft bases with a mind to covering multiple incursions was a little game in and of itself. It added to the immersion. That entire thing has been cut from the new version. It didn't have to be. You can still make a game out of placing air bases and different aircraft types and speeds without allowing the player to make farming bases.

Stuff I'd have liked to be in the game:

1. Tactical loadouts

It drives me crazy to look for a scope in the Barracks. XCOM is not your personal weapons store people! Quit taking stuff home. I'd prefer for equipment to be distributed via loadout system where you can save loadouts and assign them to team members as they head out to missions. So instead of the game remembering which items a soldier has, it remembers which loadouts the soldier is paired with, and assigns that loadout to the soldier if the soldier is assigned to the active mission.

2. Look and feel

I don't like the look of the soldiers. It's nice enough. I like the Archangel and Ghost Armor look. Carapace and Titan, not so much. My core wish here is for the soldiers to have distinctive looks apart from the assigned armor. I shouldn't have to color them different just so I can tell which soldier is which.

I want Heavies to be big, stocky men and women. I want snipers to be lanky dudes and dudettes. Assaults and Supports can sport the basic athletic body type. I find the current XCOM models to err a little too much on the Herculean side with respect to the men. I'm actually very partial to the superhero spandex look in the original XCOM for alloyed steel armor. It gave the game a very action-y look and feel, which was how it felt at that stage in the game when you're fighting with the enemy force at even odds.

I found the enemy unit design to be much more evocative and put-together. The Mutons and Thin Men look super-stylish.

Yes, giving soldiers body types coded to class would give away what they're suited for immediately on recruitment. It was that way in the original as well. A Soldier with crap Strength is just not going to be cut out to be a Heavy. A Soldier with low Will will never cut it as a Psi.

3. Environmental threat.

I don't mind the enemy spawn mechanic at all. I think it's brilliant. Except for one thing. It's just this one thing.

In the remake, the game tells you where unseen aliens are by directional sound alerts. In the original, you know what we got? Grenades, plasma fire, and missiles. Having random fire coming in at you from unseen portions of the map just added so much feelings of threat, even if most of them actually didn't hit anything. It's a feeling, not a death sentence. It's this that added so much to the atmosphere of dread to night missions.

Terror Missions in the original often lands you in the middle of a horde of aliens right as you leave the Skyranger. Clearing the landing field is often the first priority in a terror mission, which gave them a distinct feel from regular missions. They were intense from the get-go. We don't get this in the remake, which is a shame because it doesn't have to be this way. The design can accommodate these things.

LarryC wrote:

Terror Missions in the original often lands you in the middle of a horde of aliens right as you leave the Skyranger. Clearing the landing field is often the first priority in a terror mission, which gave them a distinct feel from regular missions. They were intense from the get-go. We don't get this in the remake, which is a shame because it doesn't have to be this way. The design can accommodate these things.

There is room in the design for many, many more scenarios and ways to change up the challenges you face, even with the exact same units. I'd love to see what a sequel or expansion pack could do for the game.

There are some maps in the game that don't show up at all outside of scripted council "story" missions. And sometimes those council missions will take you to familiar maps but also switch the map around so that you start in a different corner. Why they couldn't just add all of this stuff to the regular mission generator I have no idea.

Tamren wrote:

There are some maps in the game that don't show up at all outside of scripted council "story" missions. And sometimes those council missions will take you to familiar maps but also switch the map around so that you start in a different corner. Why they couldn't just add all of this stuff to the regular mission generator I have no idea.

Going off the the Rock Paper Shotgun interview a while back, before they released Jake Solomon thought they had enough content. Once they saw how many times people were replaying the game they learned better.

BlackSabre wrote:

As for the panic, well I had to cancel my Nexus and build a normal satellite thingie (can't remember what it's called) since the nexus was going to finish the day after council report and I've got 2 countries in the red. But the normal satellite hub will be finished just before council report which means I can now save those two countries.

Am I misunderstanding the game mechanics here? Even if you built the satellite uplink you still have to build the satellites themselves (which you can't without the added capacity - which I find very annoying as a mechanic, but, hey.. whatever) so there's no way you can meet that deadline and save those two red countries in what I know of this scenario.... Unless you have satellites holed up somewhere... but then why would you have to cancel the nexus?

I don't think it's that they couldn't. They chose not to. If it were me, I'd do it that way to differentiate the council missions in term of look and feel.

I'm supposing that this streamlining for feel and pacing purposes is behind a lot of the design decisions. It's definitely aware of its nature as a tactical game. For instance, I think it's plausible to have multiple Skyrangers. Distance doesn't matter since time isn't a factor in getting to the crash or terror site, so why not? I think it's because they want the player to have to choose between missions to do. If you increase the number of Skyrangers, the number of missions has to commensurately increase to preserve the hard choice aspect that gives the game some of its harder edge. Either way to go there has problems. If you increase by time, you're going to crush a lot of players who choose not to get many Skyrangers. It becomes a bar players are coerced to jump. If you scale it to XCOM strength, you make acquisition of many soldiers and Skyrangers a disadvantage rather than an advantage. Restricting the player to one Skyranger is the most elegant solution, if a little obvious.

I have the same idea about the item/loadout system. The original XCOM, and many game-alikes gave us the inventory-as-simulation concept which is how CRPGs designed after pen-and-paper RPGs traditionally did it, for the sake of simulationism. It works after a fashion, but its main problem has always been medkits and grenades. Rocket Launchers, too. These items are so powerful, they really count as a power, and giving them out to every soldier makes everyone uniformly powerful. Lots of powers everyone has, less uniqueness, less flavor. Everyone is an Assault/Medic/Heavy near the endgame.

Enemy Unknown has decided that all items are going to be super-awesome. They're all configurable powers. It gives them out correspondingly. Soldiers in Enemy Unknown do not carry backpacks into battle.

Duoae:

I can build Satellites without having the Uplink capacity. You should be able to, as well. It'll red out and stuff if you don't have the capacity, but you can build them anyway.

Duoae wrote:
BlackSabre wrote:

As for the panic, well I had to cancel my Nexus and build a normal satellite thingie (can't remember what it's called) since the nexus was going to finish the day after council report and I've got 2 countries in the red. But the normal satellite hub will be finished just before council report which means I can now save those two countries.

Am I misunderstanding the game mechanics here? Even if you built the satellite uplink you still have to build the satellites themselves (which you can't without the added capacity - which I find very annoying as a mechanic, but, hey.. whatever) so there's no way you can meet that deadline and save those two red countries in what I know of this scenario.... Unless you have satellites holed up somewhere... but then why would you have to cancel the nexus?

There is nothing stopping you from building satellites, even if you don't have capacity from the Uplink or Nexus. Essentially, I had 4 satellites being built, 8 already deployed and was at max capacity. So I couldn't deploy the satellites I was building until I had either built a nexus or an uplink. The reason why I had to cancel the Nexus was because it was going to take 21 days to build, vs the uplink which only takes 14 days. Essentially, the satellites finished a good 4 or 5 days before the uplink was ready, then as soon as the uplink came online, I deployed the satellites and saved the countries that were at the full 5 bars. I'm now building my nexus and the last 4 satellites to give me full global coverage.

BlackSabre wrote:

I'm now building my nexus and the last 4 satellites to give me full global coverage.

Do you have to deploy a satellite to every country to get full coverage, or can there be space between them?

mrtomaytohead wrote:
BlackSabre wrote:

I'm now building my nexus and the last 4 satellites to give me full global coverage.

Do you have to deploy a satellite to every country to get full coverage, or can there be space between them?

I'm not sure what you mean by "space between them". If you want the bonus for a continent, you have to deploy a satellite to every country in that continent. [By every country I mean every country that started out as part of the XCOM project.]

Double post

Tkyl wrote:
mrtomaytohead wrote:
BlackSabre wrote:

I'm now building my nexus and the last 4 satellites to give me full global coverage.

Do you have to deploy a satellite to every country to get full coverage, or can there be space between them?

I'm not sure what you mean by "space between them". If you want the bonus for a continent, you have to deploy a satellite to every country in that continent. [By every country I mean every country that started out as part of the XCOM project.]

Meaning, I'm a complete noob at the game (and haven't loaded it in 2 weeks) and can't even recall how many countries there are that can have satellites launched for them, so I'm wondering how many total satellites need to go up to avoid gaps in coverage (wasn't even worrying about bonuses). Like can I put up a satellite for USA and get coverage for the adjacent countries of Canada and Mexico? My guess is no, and that I'm just asking a question out of ignorance and it'll become clear when I look in game.

mrtomaytohead wrote:
Tkyl wrote:
mrtomaytohead wrote:
BlackSabre wrote:

I'm now building my nexus and the last 4 satellites to give me full global coverage.

Do you have to deploy a satellite to every country to get full coverage, or can there be space between them?

I'm not sure what you mean by "space between them". If you want the bonus for a continent, you have to deploy a satellite to every country in that continent. [By every country I mean every country that started out as part of the XCOM project.]

Meaning, I'm a complete noob at the game (and haven't loaded it in 2 weeks) and can't even recall how many countries there are that can have satellites launched for them, so I'm wondering how many total satellites need to go up to avoid gaps in coverage (wasn't even worrying about bonuses). Like can I put up a satellite for USA and get coverage for the adjacent countries of Canada and Mexico? My guess is no, and that I'm just asking a question out of ignorance and it'll become clear when I look in game.

Ah, ok. The answer is indeed 'no'. A satellite covers the country is was put up in and nothing more. This changed from the original X-Com where a satellite had a radius of coverage.

16 countries. You need 16 satellites.

IF you cover all the countries in one continent, you get that continent's added bonus.

Aliens will eventually find your satellites and shoot them down if you don't a)shoot down their spacecrafts, or b)you can eventually:

Spoiler:

research a tech that allows for invisible satellites, keeping them safe.

Once a country has a satellite over it, you can launch no more. You cannot destroy it and relaunch a new one. You launch, that's it. If panic levels rise dramatically in a satellite-covered country, tough luck. Gotta find other means to lower the panic level.

Yup. I have all 16 countries covered and every country is at level 1 panic. All is good in the world.

Spoiler:

Just finished the first alien base assault decked out in Titan and Archangel Armour. So much easier than the first time I did it ;)

BlackSabre wrote:

Yup. I have all 16 countries covered and every country is at level 1 panic. All is good in the world.

Spoiler:

Just finished the first alien base assault decked out in Titan and Archangel Armour. So much easier than the first time I did it ;)

Your spoiler is just reinforcing the feeling that I jumped ahead in the progress critical research too fast in the 4-5hrs I've played since I now have the option to go after a base and have only seen a single new armor type.

Is it just a good idea to let the 'important' research sit around until you are ready to move on to bigger stuff?

That's the way I typically play i've been sitting at the alien base assault mission till i finished off all my research. Now i've got 6 man squads in archangel and titan armor with full plasma equipment (including fusion blasters) However downside is now their facing off against Elite Mutons and Sectopods with regularity.

Side note reaction shots against Berserkers are the way to go! I hate giving them like 4 extra moves as they get right into the heart of my squad that way. 5 overwatch and one shot to provoke a move then 5 reaction shots practically guarantee that it's going down in one turn.

I've been playing "Superhero" at Normal, keeping myself from finishing the game so I can keep going on missions and killing aliens. My bank and stores are ridiculous. I have nearly 2 full psionic squads.

Snap Shot can become good later in the game, but it sucks in the short term because it's hard to hit anything with it, let alone make any use of the Overwatch shot. Snap Shot Snipers gain the most benefit from Opportunist and In The Zone because they can shoot from different vantage points. At one point, I had a Snap Shot Sniper wax three opponents from his position, then move around to flank to wax two more, and then Overwatch (which killed another). It's not as useful for a Squad Sight Sniper since that style of fighting doesn't care about cover; and it'd be hard to move around to negate it from that distance anyway.

Damn Good Ground is ace for Snap Shotters, since they can take advantage of ledges and roofs when presented. They can grapple up, and shoot in one turn, taking advantage of DGG to offset the Snap Shot penalty. So long as you can get up somewhere, a grapple line or flight is a Snap Shot Sniper's friend. Archangel Armor is good as well, for the same reason. Fly up, start killing the same turn and just roll on like an angel of death. Chryssalids do not like flying Snap Shot Snipers.

Squad Sighters like Battle Scanner, Gunslinger (so they won't get chomped by Chryssalids), and Double Tap.

On the Assault side, I've been experimenting with ability combos as well. Flush vs. Rapid Fire seems weighted in favor of Rapid Fire. Flush is nice for the +30 Aim, but I don't need an Assault guy impersonating a sniper. I have snipers for that.

Cayne wrote:

That's the way I typically play i've been sitting at the alien base assault mission till i finished off all my research. Now i've got 6 man squads in archangel and titan armor with full plasma equipment (including fusion blasters) However downside is now their facing off against Elite Mutons and Sectopods with regularity.

I've unlocked the alien base mission after capturing my first outsider as well, is that the end if I win it? I feel very under researched for this point.

Not the end, but you can call it a semi half-way point of sorts.

kexx wrote:

Not the end, but you can call it a semi half-way point of sorts.

Which is why I feel like I messed up having finished that research int he first game month (possibly 1 week after the 1 month report).