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The X-Com Files / X-Com Files feedback
« on: October 08, 2018, 07:41:01 pm »
Some thoughts after my second X-Com files campaign. The first was to get a feel for the mod and see what might work or not. The second - I hoped to finish it up, a Veteran game with some liberal saving and loading to explore the mod.

First the good impressions.

The atmosphere is simply awesome. The mod does give a sense of starting as a bunch of more or less civilian investigators stumbling in the dark and the suspense and feeling of exploration is great. A lot of the new equipment is neat, though I in my two games I found myself simply not using a great deal of it. I'm not sure if it was because of luck or not, however my agents were simply useless when I tried to field test most of it. That said, it's nice that usually the gear you get in this mod lasts for more than a few weeks without being made obsolete.

Now for some so-so items.

Weapon balance. Pistols rule early game and rifles, baring sniper ones... I'm not sure if it was the ranges I ended up fighting at during most of my missions however up until the first couple of months of the alien invasion I found myself carrying pistols, shotguns and snipers/hunting rifles. Sniper/regular rifles and that include the Black Ops ones simply didn't perform as expected. Damage wise, shots per turn and hit chance - almost always it was better to carry either magnum, shotguns/CAWS or sniper rifles. The same goes for SMGs - the way I see them the only time they would be useful would be in basically point blank range when auto fire could actually hit something multiple times, however at that range shotguns are better and with AP ammo they were more effective in medium to even longer range.

I've noticed that the enemy, especially Red Dawn suffered less from such issues, however that once again might have been luck and the volume of auto-fire sent my way.

Level design next. I do like the new levels, however... I found myself avoiding a lot of the maps once I've explored them once. Simply put, I found that sticking my agents in most built up map/jungle maps was a recipe for losing people for no good enough gain. They simply aren't places that I would willingly do missions without power armour and weapons that could one-shot most of the opposition. On the other hand, a few of the missions I tried in such maps were tense, with me feeling how my agents were being hunted all over the places. A notable memory is the first time I encountered those green dogs employed by the Cult of Dagon. I spent close to thirty turns crawling all over the map hoping that when one of those show my people would be able to take them out with reaction fire before the beastie could close and eat their faces. So very much mixed feelings.

Now, for what ended my campaign - the alien invasion came and I was ready - I got interceptors ready, managed to shoot down a few UFOs, got lucky in my first small lander and got live captures of soldiers, engineers and a navigator. Come next month, and cue a base attack on my primary base. Even save-scumming like a champion the best outcome I got was push the aliens to the hangars. I was hoping that I had it into the bag, when I actually found what was waiting for me in the first one - two cyberdiscs and five or six sectoids. Two turns in and my few remaining soldiers got shredded.

That's another thing range related - as it turned out when I completed the research that showed psi strength of my people, all but a handful got scores from zero to thirty something. That in turn forced me to face the base defense while bringing only a handful of heavy weapons because otherwise by people gleefully blew themselves and any friendlies around when they either panicked or got mind controlled.

And here comes another issue I'm torn on. The X-Com Files is a great long mod... and after investing a lot of my spare time over the last couple of weeks in in, I find myself unwiling to grind through it again. By the time this campaign ended - I had close to two hundred completed missions and a significant part of those were frankly tedious zombie and other alien lifeforms hunts that I used to train rookies. Even if I won that base defense, after loosing so many people I simply wouldn't have been willing to subject myself to the grind necessary to rebuild my troop roster if the enemy actually let me do it.

Is there any chance that we would get an option to recruit better soldiers after gaining each promotion for example? More expensive of course. That's something I liked about Firexis Enemy Unknown/Within - even if you fucked up late game, thanks to certain missions you could rebuilt your roster in a reasonable time.

By the way, how many soldiers do you expect someone to have by the time the second year is over? How many bases? Speaking about that - something else that comes to mind - mission distribution. A great deal of missions in my two games were centered in Eurasia with Africa coming close third. The Americas had a relative dry spell with the odd Exalt/alien lifeforms/Dagon Attack. I simply had no incentives of building more than couple of bases over the first two years - one in Europe and another in the US. Once I got the Dragonfly transport, the range and time to get to a target became non-issues with only two, perhaps three missions I couldn't reach from my starting bases; no incentive at all to built a third at that time. That's an issue for me because it was roughly at the second half of year two that I began to regularly hit HQ and high level cult compounds and ofter I lost a few people on those missions. Training replacements was simply more and more tedious even if I had a more or less solid roster of thirty plus people by that point.

How do you see losing and training people when the alien invasion approaches? Especially when just the bloody sectoids regularly one-shot people with allien alloy vest and shields.

Speaking about missions... I found myself basically ignoring the cover operations after experiencing one of each type. Once again I found them too dangerous for my agents for no real gain. As far as money was concerned, fighting cults, selling corpses, etc and building what I can for profit was more than enough to keep me in the green. While thinking about building things, did I miss something or is the durathreed not really useful beyond a moneymaker if you don't have anything better? I found the X-Com jumpsuits underwhelming and kept using the armours offering the best protection even if that meant my agents were overweight.

Now, Cults. I've seen around this forum claims that you should strive to remove at least one, possibly two before the first year... How the hell? I found the two HQ missions I did a pain in the ass with eight people delivered by Dragonfly - and thinking about it that would have been an incentive of building a logistics base with a hagar, living quarters and storage to base an Osprey in range of where certain HQs appears. That in fact was the reason why I had to skip the first two times the Red Dawn one popped up - my Osprey couldn't get to it, and it was a suicide trying it with five people. However, I did get the Dragonfly researched and available before I could get the money for a third base so it became a moot point.

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