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XCOM: Adversary Unascertained
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The Final Dakar
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Dec 3, 2012, 06:17 AM
 
Saw a video for this about a month ago and was semi-impressed. The combat itself was interesting (cover system), but more alluring was the off-mission depth – the base, facilities, soldier customization. After watching some Yogcast videos this past week, my semi-impression finally evolved into full-on desire. To flank and kill and upgrade.

Imagine my surprise that the game is available on consoles. The irony being, if it was available on Mac I'd much much rather play a turn based strategy game on my computer than with a freakin' controller (This is rare). Alas, it is not to be. I dl'ed the demo and the console controls are as... unwieldy as is to be expected, but actually taking control of the game versus watching a video just grew the hunger.

So, any Master Racers around here playing this? Consolites? I'm debating whether to order it off amazon and save $10 versus just going to Walmart tonight and picking it up. The urge is that strong. Also, if this is as good as it seems, I could see myself double-dipping if this were to come out on Mac later on.
     
The Final Dakar  (op)
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Dec 3, 2012, 06:23 AM
 
     
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Dec 3, 2012, 09:47 AM
 
I played a smattering of the original XCOM whenever it came out, mid-nineties some time. I have been eyeing this and hoping for a Mac version, which seems likely given that it is Firaxis making it, and all their games have come to the Mac eventually, but one never knows. It is a genre that has been almost forgotten, and I think they view the XCOM remake as a trial balloon.

Playing a game like this on a console seems about as awesome as that Starcraft version for the N64, where the two-player game was split screen.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
The Final Dakar  (op)
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Dec 3, 2012, 09:56 AM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
I played a smattering of the original XCOM whenever it came out, mid-nineties some time. I have been eyeing this and hoping for a Mac version, which seems likely given that it is Firaxis making it, and all their games have come to the Mac eventually, but one never knows. It is a genre that has been almost forgotten, and I think they view the XCOM remake as a trial balloon.
Playing a game like this on a console seems about as awesome as that Starcraft version for the N64, where the two-player game was split screen.
Well the timeline was 2k announced they were making an XCOM shooter, internet boos, 2k announces, here ****ers, have your shitty XCOM turn based shooter then, it'll just fail. XCOM comes out gets rave reviews, everyone loves it. Up yours 2k.

I hope you're right. I'm big on consoles and minimal on PC gaming, but this is the epitome of something I'd rather play on my mac. I hope you're right in the ling run (assuming I'm still playing).
     
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Dec 3, 2012, 10:23 AM
 
If my brother can get me a free copy I'll give it a try.

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The Final Dakar  (op)
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Dec 5, 2012, 06:06 AM
 
Managed to finally get this last night. The customization appears nerfed compared to the PC videos I saw but not the big stuff I was worried about (Name and Head).

Had some trouble deciding what difficulty to do it on. I can't recall doing much turn-based strategy, but I'm not a video game noob and consider myself rather sharp. Second, I have decent knowledge of the game going in thanks to watching some videos. On the other hand I didn't crush the demo and I have to assume it was probably on easy or normal.

They patch made easy easier, but I decided that since I'm new to the genre and this game is supposed to be notoriously hard I'd go with easy. Not regretting it in the early going and apparently I can change the difficulty later on.
     
The Final Dakar  (op)
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Dec 6, 2012, 09:01 AM
 
Hooboy. So I had a few close calls last night. Was semi-reckless with a character and he got critically wounded (instead of killed) the next turn. I had three turns to revive him. I get someone there on the last tun and I remember that they can't revive with a medpack, they need a specific skill. So I'm ****ed. Then the last person on the turn kills the last alien, ending the mission and saving the character. Wow.

So I'm playing on easy, and the battles aren't impossible, but I'm certainly impressed that the amount of enemies doesn't seem very low. If anything, I'm guessing easy just means they're slightly less aggressive or accurate.

In the end, while I'm holding my own in battles, I've completely effectively botched the management portion of the game. I had read about how you should make satellite building a priority in the NeoGAF thread, and while I took that to heart by clearing space that was the wrong route. I'm already pretty ****ed two months in. Satellites take forever to build (two weeks, along with the facilities), so you really need to start building them Day 1. This kind of feels flawed as a game mechanic.

So it looks like I'll be sadly abandoning quite a few great characters to start from scratch. On the bright side I now have a crash course on part of the classes and abilities to strengthen my next playthrough.
     
The Final Dakar  (op)
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Dec 10, 2012, 06:52 AM
 
Obviously my game plays aren't riveting reading so a few remarks.

• I like the game, but I'm playing it very strangely thanks to the customization aspect. Not looking forward to beating the game at which point I assume I will no longer be able to go on outings with the crew I've become attached to. Strange situation.

• At some point I put 5 people on overwatch because I spotted some aliens on the other side of the door. Alien makes his move and because of the layout, all 5 soldiers all pop up in unison and blast the little bugger into the finest of vapors. I was laughing for a while.

• The variety of weapons and armor is somewhat surprising, even if some clearly outrank others.
     
subego
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Dec 10, 2012, 07:24 AM
 
Did you play the original?
     
The Final Dakar  (op)
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Dec 10, 2012, 07:30 AM
 
No.
     
subego
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Dec 10, 2012, 07:36 AM
 
I'm getting tempted by your comments, but the original X-COM was like a "thing".

I'm not sure if I'm so much interested in a modern take than I am in nostalgia.
     
The Final Dakar  (op)
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Dec 10, 2012, 07:37 AM
 
Read the reviews. It's distilled, the new focus is on cover, but it's an excellent game.
     
subego
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Dec 10, 2012, 08:00 AM
 
I have. That's kind of what's turning me off.

I know this will sound dumb, but the new game seems like too much fun.

The old game wasn't fun. It could be very satisfying, but wasn't really fun.

I liked that about it.
     
The Final Dakar  (op)
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Dec 10, 2012, 08:02 AM
 
Since I'm a noon, I'm playing on easy. I've read several horror stories about the game on Classic difficulty, plus there's ironman mode. This game can be downright cruel, all you need to do is adjust the setting to your desired experience.
     
subego
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Dec 10, 2012, 08:31 AM
 
There's difficulty, and there's difficulty.

I'd say what made the game difficult was how rigorous of a simulation it was.

In one sense, it's actually pretty easy. All you need to do is apply coherent small-unit tactics.

What makes that difficult in the game is the same thing which makes it difficult in real life. You need to keep your cool and be patient when someone is trying to kill you. It's even worse during terror attacks because the longer you take the more civilians who get bagged.
     
The Final Dakar  (op)
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Dec 10, 2012, 08:41 AM
 
Like I said, it's been streamlined. Rigorous is not a term I'd use.

I've run into many a "Why did I do that" from rushing into an area I felt certain was clear only to find the Army of the Damned waiting for me. Or had to slow pace to make sure everyone could keep up or could get to tactical cover in case of an encounter.

Trying to capture live specimens adds another level unto itself. You need to wound/weaken the alien but not kill them. Then, someone is likely going to get wounded (and be out of commission for a short while) in the time it takes. I had to kill several aliens I was trying to capture because they kept turning members of my team against me.

I think another important aspect is target priority.
     
subego
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Dec 10, 2012, 08:49 AM
 
When I was a boy, if you were wounded by alien technology, it was a race to see if you bled out before the medic could get to you.

And we liked it!
     
The Final Dakar  (op)
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Dec 10, 2012, 08:52 AM
 
From my understanding you had far more soldiers in the past. Not plausible in the current incarnation. However now you can be critically wounded (instead of killed) and bleed out in three turns.
     
subego
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Dec 10, 2012, 09:12 AM
 
IIRC, it was 16, however that balanced perfectly with the tech tree and the adversary level.

In the early stages it's 16-on-one, and you need them all.
As they ramp up the numbers, you have more effective weapons.
As they make the aliens more dangerous, it should be at the time you get armor... for some people.
When the aliens are one-hit-kill, you should have flying armor... for some people.

This is just basic game balance, but where that came out in each stage was the perfect point. Do it right and you won't get slaughtered, but you will lose one or two squaddies you were attached to.
     
The Final Dakar  (op)
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Dec 10, 2012, 09:15 AM
 
It similar here. Early missions were two or three encounters with small groups of weak aliens. I had a mission last night where they all appeared at once and there were in the teens.
     
subego
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Dec 10, 2012, 09:22 AM
 
How many people do you get and how often do you lose them?
     
The Final Dakar  (op)
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Dec 10, 2012, 09:32 AM
 
4 to start, upgradeable to 6.
     
subego
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Dec 10, 2012, 09:37 AM
 
That... that... that's not X-COM!

You're supposed to die!
     
The Final Dakar  (op)
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Dec 10, 2012, 09:41 AM
 
Once again, all I hear about from the higher difficulties is horror stories. They've been described as "F U, I'm not going to let you win" A.I.
     
subego
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Dec 10, 2012, 10:26 AM
 
I don't think this is really difficulty related, at least directly.

Part of normal play is your squaddies getting killed. They're not all supposed to get back. That's a big part of the attachment. The ones who do get back survived the crucible, which makes it even more heart-wrenching when their number comes up on a later mission. It's especially brutal if one of your favorites turns out to be susceptible to mind-control. At best, you discharge them. At worst, they're sitting in the middle of one of your fire-teams and open up on full-auto at close range.

The cherry on top is you have to capture a mind-control alien to get the tech which lets you see a squaddie's susceptibility. If you don't get your hands on that, then there's always the chance it would just happen.
     
The Final Dakar  (op)
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Dec 10, 2012, 10:35 AM
 
Difficulty = HIgh rate of churn.
     
subego
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Dec 10, 2012, 10:51 AM
 
Isn't that relative?

Let's assume you play the game well, and have 16 squaddies per mission.

It seems to me high churn would be coming back with 6. The average in the game I'd say was closer to 13-14.
     
The Final Dakar  (op)
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Dec 10, 2012, 11:08 AM
 
Jesus, do you seriously expect that kind of specificity both within the range of AI difficulty and personal tactical skill?
     
subego
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Dec 10, 2012, 11:11 AM
 
Jumping back quickly to the "rigorous" aspect, how the churn affects you is based on how much of your resources you apply to your military. You can't have just 16 squaddies and hope for the best. You had at least another 16 in reserve. Hopefully more to cover for wounded squaddies recuperating, or if your base got attacked while you had a squad out on a mission. You'd rotate squads so they'd each build up skills.

To be clear, I really dig this sort of shit. It's not everyone's cuppa.
     
subego
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Dec 10, 2012, 11:15 AM
 
Originally Posted by The Final Dakar View Post
Jesus, do you seriously expect that kind of specificity both within the range of AI difficulty and personal tactical skill?
Well, yeah. That's why I'm being such a jag.

If you have a basic idea of small unit tactics, the original hit that 13-14 spot perfectly, across the whole arc of the game. It was pretty amazing.


Look. I know I'm a dinosaur.
     
subego
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Dec 10, 2012, 11:48 AM
 
I didn't intentionally make this discussion like the Tom Chick review I read, but it turned out that way.

In the review, he was talking with 1995 Tom Chick about the new X-COM.

1995 Tom was appalled.

2012 Tom ultimately said "look man, gaming isn't the same thing it was 17 years ago". He also thought the game was awesome.
     
The Final Dakar  (op)
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Mar 25, 2013, 12:09 PM
 
The PA Report - XCOM : Enemy Unknown coming to iOS, will be (mostly) the full game

There you go, subego, you can bitch while actually knowing what you're talking about.
     
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Mar 25, 2013, 12:13 PM
 
     
The Final Dakar  (op)
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Mar 25, 2013, 12:14 PM
 
Good for Mac users. However subego's cat uses his laptop so he won't have access.
     
subego
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Apr 2, 2013, 10:27 AM
 
Originally Posted by The Final Dakar View Post
There you go, subego, you can bitch while actually knowing what you're talking about.
Damn kids... Harriet? Get me the rifle.
     
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Oct 11, 2017, 12:46 PM
 
Zombie thread: Arise!
     
subego
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Oct 11, 2017, 12:56 PM
 
Thank you so much!

I finally gave in and started. Commentary to follow.
     
subego
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Oct 11, 2017, 01:38 PM
 
Okay, gotta get this out of the way... the voice acting suuuuuuucks.

This may be better on a PC, but the cutscenes are ugly. I get the impulse to do them in-engine, but I would have vetoed that idea.

They use what seems like the exact same sound effect for "footstep on metal", which pleasantly tapped the nostalgia button. In the original, the squaddies were deployed from inside the Skyranger, so you (ideally) had 16 sets of boots walking across the exit ramp at the beginning of every mission. That sound got burned into your brain.

While the engine isn't up to snuff to pull of a cutscene, I think it looks great for the game itself, however on the iPad, the UI for zooming feels really janky. It also likes to interpret attempts to drag the view around as dragging a move around.

I'm only a few missions in to my "official" game (had to do two or three dry runs to get the hang of it), but there seems to be acceptable levels of difficulty on normal. Part of the difficulty is coming from more aliens, which is fine, but part of it is coming from the wonky action point system. I don't like the lack of a "shoot and move" option.

Good to know I need to concentrate on satellites for the management portion.
     
subego
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Oct 11, 2017, 01:42 PM
 
I'm sure a lot don't, but I really miss this part from the original...

     
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Oct 11, 2017, 06:04 PM
 
XCOM was good, but XCOM 2 was absolutely fantastic.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
subego
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Oct 11, 2017, 07:50 PM
 
Without getting to spoilery, what makes it so good?
     
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Oct 12, 2017, 03:45 AM
 
No spoilers. XCOM 2 is a sequel to the most common result of playing XCOM - that you failed miserably after about five missions or so and ragequit. The aliens take over, and now you're the resistance.

XCOM 2 is great because they have tweaked everything that needs tweaking from the original, while tension keeps going up in the campaign. Every new alien introduced is there to trash your most likely strategy up to that point, and as soon as you've figured them out, here comes another. IT never gets boring the way these games tend to get after a while. I have not played the new expansion yet, but what I played before was great.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
subego
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Oct 12, 2017, 01:35 PM
 
I'm actually a touch taken aback by how hard XCOM is. I wasn't expecting a cakewalk, but I also didn't expect to lose someone every two to three missions.

Something's not sitting right, though. I feel less like I'm successfuly applying small-unit tactics and more like I'm solving procedurally generated (i.e. randomly crappy), cover system puzzles.
     
subego
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Oct 12, 2017, 05:06 PM
 
The management game seems enormously difficult.
     
subego
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Oct 13, 2017, 01:13 PM
 
Had a heart-to-heart with the squaddies. They pointed out collecting Meld is getting people killed, and maybe it should stop.
     
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Oct 15, 2017, 04:27 PM
 
The trick about XCOM is that you are generally never under time pressure. Take it slow, move people up together before you send someone forward to trigger the next pod. XCOM 2 changes this so you are frequently on a timer, but as I recall, you can usually take it slow in XCOM.

The strategy side of it I hardly remember. Get the squad size upgrades, get the armor upgrades, keep checking in at the OTS for nifty upgrades.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
subego
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Oct 15, 2017, 11:49 PM
 
On the tactics side, I've embraced it being more of a puzzle. I've deprioritized Meld, and am fine taking my sweet time. I'm pretty much only getting tagged now by unexpected overwatch.

Strategy-side, everything is being fully dedicated to churning out satellites, and I still can't keep up.

I can't really afford upgrades with the hamster wheel of uplinks, satellites, workshops, and power... plus Interceptors, which I only can afford one per zone.

At the end of the day it's like "whoo-hoo, can buy a medkit and have three shiny credits to spare!"

In the current game I'm playing, I have the extra squaddie slot available for purchase, but it will be at least next month before I can afford it. Haven't even touched getting Alien Containment.

My mistake this time seemed to be holding out for a thermal reactor. That caused a gap in the hamster wheel I may not recover from.
( Last edited by subego; Oct 15, 2017 at 11:59 PM. )
     
subego
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Oct 16, 2017, 12:17 AM
 
However, game gets points for dialogue with an ALF reference.
     
subego
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Oct 17, 2017, 03:16 AM
 
I'll admit, it's been hard to pick it back up thinking I'm going to play through a couple months just to get clobbered.

In the original, the game would generally take you out by slaughtering your squad, not a slow-motion train wreck in the finances department.
     
   
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