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Published on June 13th, 2011 | by simeon


X-COM 2011 E3 Overview

In 1994 I fondly remember spending numerous hours battling alien invaders in the classic X-COM. The highly addictive and award-winning turn based strategy game placed players in command of Earth’s last line of defense against alien invaders. Having to manage and develop new technologies as well as defend bases and the local populace was just the tip of the iceberg as the game always had a new twist to throw at you.
The sequel X-Com Terror from the Deep continued the award winning formula of the first game and up challenge by introducing a threat from deep within the Earth’s oceans.

Sadly subsequent games in the series abandoned the real-time strategy format and with two games in development the series appeared dead when the publisher was abruptly shut down.

While other companies attempted to fill the void with titles such as Laser Squad, they never were able to come close to the winning combination that made X-COM such a hit.

2K Marin who made a name for themselves with Bioshock 2 have taken up the challenge to and create a new X-COM game that is not only fun to play but is worthy of the games rich legacy.

Opting out of the turn-based gameplay 2K Marin has instead decided to make this new X-COM a first-person shooter into a reimagining of the game.

While sitting in my seat at the cleverly designed bunker/bungalow booth at E3 I was trea the ted to an overview of the game and some gameplay footage by some of the creative talent behind the game.

The game is set in 1960s America which was chosen as it was a time of social and politi and cal change in America. The aliens have invaded and players are tasked with forming units to combat the alien threat.

The gameplay footage began with a scenic look through the town complete with well-manicured lawns and sparkling cars out front. The alien’s arrival brings destruction and chaos to this suburbia and upon reporting to the office players must recruit from a pool of agents each with their own strengths and weaknesses.
Once a team is assembled, they are able to see various crises on a map of the states and select which mission they wish to undertake.

They were opportunities to interact with several NPC characters and choose the dialogue a tree to select the best responses to the questions and statements.

For a demonstration the team headed to Georgia to locate a scientist who has been instrumental in reverse engineering the alien technology. Since he possesses such vital skills it stands to reason that the enemy will attempt to locate and neutralize him at any cost.

Upon arrival it is clear that something is amiss as military checkpoints are unguarded and a closer examination reveals dead soldiers and command tents in chaos.

One individual is seen searching the files and when confronted changes his appearance and attacks the group. After being dispatched it is revealed, that this was an enemy infiltration unit and that the location of the Dr. is likely known to the enemy.

A fierce battle ensued and we were given a look at the command system of the game which allows players to command the other members of their team during combat and other situations. It was explained that should a player attempt to run and gun their way through the game they would not be very successful as delegating tasks and using your team is essential for survival.

After successfully flanking and disabling the enemy forces and gun turret, we were given a demonstration of how to capture alien technology.

As in the original game, capturing and reverse engineering alien technology is essential to your survival. The game allows players the choice of whether to capture and use the alien technology in the mission or to return it to the lab for further study which will unlock research points and allow you more technology options in the future.

For our demonstration the player opted to use the technology against the aliens and decimated an oncoming army in a few seconds.

The demo then cut to a very impressive courtyard where prolonged battle was interrupted by the appearance of an alien dreadnought. This too was eventually captured even though it required reviving an injured member of the team who was the only one who possesses the capture ability. Once captured the deadly beam weapons of the dreadnought made short work of the enemy horde.

The demo ended shortly after this as the player followed the scientist who been captured by the aliens through an energy portal which resulted in a view of the earth through broken parquet floor.

Graphically the game was impressive though it did take me some time to get used to the new look of the aliens as I had become used to seeing aliens in the series looking a certain the way.

The ability to play the game in co-op fashion does seem like an interesting option as does the ability to research and develop weapons technology.

I think the squad command function will take some getting used to because as a veteran of first-person shooters it did seem to me to slow down the flow when action of the game to constantly stop and have to micromanage the other agents on the team.

While it is not the X-COM that we came to love it does appear to be the most enjoyable and worthy follow-up since Terror from the Deep and disappear to maintain the spirit of the series as well is provide gamers with numerous gameplay options.

I look forward to seeing the finished game and dishing out some alien payback

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