Author Topic: Detailed Critique of UFO 2012 Remake by Firaxis  (Read 6680 times)

Offline MKSheppard

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Detailed Critique of UFO 2012 Remake by Firaxis
« on: December 29, 2012, 03:44:22 am »
My brother passed me over his copy, and I just beat it after about 25 hours.

This game is a good example of how consoles have helped and hurt PC gaming over the last what, six years.

We've been helped because consoles have forced an oasis of stability into the PC gaming world for a long time -- I've been able to play a lot of A++ titles on my PC for the last couple of years, despite my PC having been built circa 2007.

[I splurged and got 8GB of RAM and a Core 2 Quad, paid a little bit more for long term sustainability]

The limited controllability of console gamepads compared to a Keyboard+Mouse has also forced game designers to simplify their schemes. This has been for the most part, somewhat useful.

Why?

Because it forces designers to consider what is important and what's not in terms of detail; something I approve of, now that I'm in my thirties, and I find my patience for irritating stuff much reduced over my teenage years.

Back then, I could put up with a lot of irritating clicky clicky stuff.

Now?

Putting up with that kind of stuff feels too much like work.

The problem is that 'consolitis' at times goes overboard and destroys useful options/stuff; and you see this issue throughout XCOM ENEMY UNKNOWN.

The most blatant example of 'consolitis' that appears in the game is the completely stupid geoscape base system and satellite system. There's no reason for it really to exist, when UFO/TFTD managed to do the job just fine nearly 20 years ago and allowed us to place our starting base exactly anywhere in the world that we wanted.

Area 51? Done.
Superman-like Fortress of Solitude in the Arctic? Done.
Hidden in the Swiss Alps? Done.

And it also let you place the base near your home, for added role playing 'involvement'.

So why is the XCOM EU base placement system the way it is, with much less functionality? Here's a hint -- because XCOM EU came out for 360 and PS3.

Try accurately placing a new base on a world map with a controller. It's really tricky and hard.

The new base selection screen and satellite system not coincidentally can be done with the restricted non-precision control that a console player with a gamepad has.

Onto more specific issues:

The streamlining of the inventory system into slots and other suchlike.

I liked the fact that you no longer needed to build storage space, or have to keep track of your initial starting stuff like Avalanche Missiles, LMGs, or rifle clips.

This made sense because an international unit of elite operatives funded by the entire world would not run out of warehouse space to store the Ark of the Covenant and they'd most certainly wouldn't run out of 7.62mm ammunition or machine guns.

I also liked some of the aspects of the inventory system streamlining related to your operatives themselves, in terms of reducing inventory to a bunch of slots; which were:

Slot 1: Main Weapon (Class Specific)
Slot 2: Sidearm
Slot 3: Class Specific Item (Rocket Launcher/Smoke Grenade)
Slot 4: Miscellaneous (Medkit, Grenade, etc)

The problem was the slot system was totally inflexible. It meant you couldn't carry a frag grenade and a medikit at the same time.

Shep: "Hey, Mr. Solomon, why can't we carry a grenade and medikit at the same time?"

Jake Solomon: "Because I want you to make hard decisions!"

Shep: "If making hard decisions is what you want, why can't we swap out other slots, such as the sidearm or class-specific items? Your character could carry a medikit and frag grenade at the same time, or up to three medikits, but you'd have to give up item slots -- like your heavy weapons soldier would have to give up his sidearm and rocket launcher?"

Jake Solomon: "Because I want you to make hard decisions!"

Shep: "Uh, you also do realize that there's all sorts of stuff like load-bearing vests in real life that integrate pouches and rings that you can clip stuff onto to increase your load carrying capability?"

Jake Solomon: "STFU, you'll get that single special item slot and you'll like it!"

With the new inventory system, a major gameplay element of the original was also removed. In the original, you could have your soldiers pick up items on the battlescape and equip them.

This led to many fun possibilities:

1.) You could actually execute a snatch and grab mission in UFO/TFTD that was not about recovering an UFO, but sending your men out to tag and bag an alien whose corpse/unconscious body would be picked up and humped onto the Skyranger and the mission aborted. You wouldn't get the full points value of recovering the UFO, but you'd get vitally needed researchable items.

2.) Reallocating weapons amongst the squad due to losses. This enabled you to keep specialist weapons even if the person originally carrying them was killed.

This was highly useful during alien capture missions because if your 'stunner' was killed, you could pick up the weapon and continue on with the mission.

In XCOM EU if your Arc Thrower equipped squaddie is killed; you're screwed. Reload the game or just accept that you've failed the mission objectives.

It's a major suspension of disbelief breaker to believe that a highly trained operative can't pick up items on the ground. It also leads to unnecessary mission deaths which could be avoided in the original -- e.g. a soldier picks up a medikit that a bleeding-out fallen soldier was carrying, and applies it to keep them from bleeding out -- something you can't do in the remake due to the locked inventory.

The Class System for Soldiers.

At first glance, the class based system has a lot to recommend it. It enables you to keep all the weapons useful throughout the game, instead of everyone going for the Heavy Plasma and ignoring everything else.

The problem is, like the inventory slot system, the class-system is so inflexible.

Snipers are the only ones who can fire a sniper rifle,
Heavies are the only ones who can fire a rocket launcher or LMG/Heavy Laser/Heavy Plasma, etc.

In real life, there's a lot of cross-training between special forces operators (which is what XCOM would be drawing its soldiers from); in order to accomodate possible mission losses -- if your mission was to blow a bridge on a river up, you wouldn't want to abort the mission because your demolitions guy's parachute didn't open during insertion.

If your only sniper gets killed early on in a mission, that's it. There's no flexibility in the system that allows you to have a heavy weapons soldier pick up the dropped sniper rifle and fire it (albet with a penalty).

Also, there's too many classes -- while it's easy to find a plausible explanation for the Sniper and Heavy classes, due to the specialized training/physical skills needed (fine motor control to snipe and physical strength to lug a 20+ pound LMG across a field)...

...why are Assault and Support separate classes?

Wouldn't it be better to combine them into a "Standard" class that can do either role, depending on their equipment?

The new movement/fire system

After a lot of initial irritation, I actually got used to it and it worked pretty well, particularly once I remapped the "overwatch" button to be the spacebar.

The problem was that it was so limited. You were always limited to two actions, no matter what. You couldn't gain a perk that gave you three actions, or powered armor that boosted your movement.

----------------------------

Major Issues I Had

Squaddies having to gain experience to get a class assigned

This was something that was kind of cool at the beginning of the game, then quickly became irritating, moreso when you send out four rookies on a mission to get experience and find out their classes...and ALL FOUR BECOME SNIPERS.

This is kind of tied into the trope of 'XCOM hires rookies'.

As director of XCOM, you should be able to send out requests for personnel and get a monthly roster of people from contributing countries to pick from -- like this month, the USA has Lt. Schmuckatelli available, he's a SEAL Team Six trained sniper, blah blah blah.

Player no longer has freedom to hire/fire scientists/engineers

This reduces your free will and forces even more pre-planning onto the player; since a lot of stuff now has minimum requirements to be built/researched, etc.

You must choose from three abduction/terror sites at a time, and can only complete one mission at a time

This basically means no matter what happens, even on the easiest mode, countries start dropping out fairly early. This is pretty irritating, because it's not due to your actions, but due to game design decisions.

I mean, I could understand it if I couldn't complete a terror site mission because I didn't budget for a second skyranger to handle simultaneous raids, or because I was so wasteful with my soldiers that I didn't have enough men left to fight a terror mission, but this? This is punching me in the face!

Nerfed AI

This is a major issue I have. Apparently on the easiest level (which is still pretty damned hard), they turn off a lot of the AI, and disable most grenade use and special attacks like Chyssalid Implantations.

Meanwhile, it appears they still keep the same amount of aliens in a crashed ship as they do on the harder difficulty levels.

So...yeah.

Sloooow speed of movement

There's no option for "fast movement" or "Fast combat", particularly important if you want to make a methodical advance to avoid casualties. I guess Firaxis had to find their "25+ hour gameplay" metric somewhere, and this was it....watching people walk over and over and over....ugh.
« Last Edit: December 29, 2012, 03:47:39 am by MKSheppard »

Offline MKSheppard

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Re: Detailed Critique of UFO 2012 Remake by Firaxis
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2012, 04:02:08 am »
Oh god, I can't believe I completely forgot the aerial interception business.

You can't gang up on a battleship with more than one craft anymore!

You instead, have to send interceptor after interceptor piecemeal each one slowly whittling away at the enemy craft; until you down it, with all of the interceptors sustaining heavy damage as a result, instead of sending multiple interceptors to split the enemy fire so that each one takes less damage.

HWP/SHIV

I'm kind of mixed on this. I like the fact that your SHIVs get upgraded with the latest weaponry automatically, once you research that -- e.g. no having to re-buy or re-build your SHIVs from mini guns to lasers when they come out -- but they really should be available from the start of the game, particularly since XCOM EU is set in 2015; and we've had all sorts of drones deployed in the various wars in the middle east in real life, and a lot of countries are experimenting right now with armed ground vehicles for installation defense.
« Last Edit: December 29, 2012, 04:20:59 am by MKSheppard »

Offline Warboy1982

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Re: Detailed Critique of UFO 2012 Remake by Firaxis
« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2012, 05:23:20 am »
Grumpy old man time!

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This game is a good example of how consoles have helped and hurt PC gaming over the last what, six years.

wasn't the XBox was released in 2001?

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The limited controllability of console gamepads compared to a Keyboard+Mouse has also forced game designers to simplify their schemes. This has been for the most part, somewhat useful.

yay and nay, i'd say it's done more harm than good. while it has forced developers to "simplify" their control schemes, it has also forced them to do the same to the interface. as you pointed out, the inventory screen is severely lacking, probably because it was simply "too hard" for your average gamer (read: drooling imbecile) to navigate with a D-pad.

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The new movement/fire system

2 actions per turn is a concept any idiot can comprehend, 30 time units and percentage calculations are completely abstract concepts that you'd need some sort of education to grasp.
30 is a big number.

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Player no longer has freedom to hire/fire scientists/engineers

do you have any idea how many numbers are involved there? lots of them, really big ones too. you'd have to be some kind of rocket scientist to make any sense of them all, and besides, that's WAY too much text to put on one screen. you'd have to make the font smaller, and since everyone will be sitting on the couch on the other side of the room when they play this, that's clearly not an option.

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on the easiest level, they turn off a lot of the AI, and disable most grenade use and special attacks like Chyssalid Implantations.

Meanwhile, it appears they still keep the same amount of aliens in a crashed ship as they do on the harder difficulty levels.

the reason for the enemy numbers is expressible as a formula:

Code: [Select]
fun = ( body count + achievements unlocked + praise recieved ) / ( time played + lives used + ( locked achievements * 2 ));
the chryssalids? ok, now i'm mad. grenades, sure, but neutering Chryssalids? unforgivable, even if it's for "beginner" level. without the zombie element, they're just crappy melee units. i'd have been more ok with not having them at all, but this is like censoring out breasts because they're "unsuitable for young children". it defies all logic.
« Last Edit: December 29, 2012, 05:27:59 am by Warboy1982 »

Offline SupSuper

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Re: Detailed Critique of UFO 2012 Remake by Firaxis
« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2012, 06:59:15 pm »
The problem was the slot system was totally inflexible. It meant you couldn't carry a frag grenade and a medikit at the same time.

Shep: "Hey, Mr. Solomon, why can't we carry a grenade and medikit at the same time?"

Jake Solomon: "Because I want you to make hard decisions!"

Shep: "If making hard decisions is what you want, why can't we swap out other slots, such as the sidearm or class-specific items? Your character could carry a medikit and frag grenade at the same time, or up to three medikits, but you'd have to give up item slots -- like your heavy weapons soldier would have to give up his sidearm and rocket launcher?"

Jake Solomon: "Because I want you to make hard decisions!"

Shep: "Uh, you also do realize that there's all sorts of stuff like load-bearing vests in real life that integrate pouches and rings that you can clip stuff onto to increase your load carrying capability?"

Jake Solomon: "STFU, you'll get that single special item slot and you'll like it!"
I think this is less "I want you to make hard decisions!" and more "I want you to use classes!". Supports get perks to carry extra medkits, Heavies get perks to carry extra grenades, etc. I think there's even an "extra item slot" perk, so once your rookies level up the inventory system isn't limiting at all, you just have to put the right equipment on the right class.

The problem is, like the inventory slot system, the class-system is so inflexible.

Snipers are the only ones who can fire a sniper rifle,
Heavies are the only ones who can fire a rocket launcher or LMG/Heavy Laser/Heavy Plasma, etc.

In real life, there's a lot of cross-training between special forces operators (which is what XCOM would be drawing its soldiers from); in order to accomodate possible mission losses -- if your mission was to blow a bridge on a river up, you wouldn't want to abort the mission because your demolitions guy's parachute didn't open during insertion.
This is exactly what happens in all games with classes. :P I think it's a gameplay vs. realism thing. If you don't force players to value particular classes by making them clearly distinct, they will just start min-maxing the hell out of their average classes into the one-size-fits-all perfect builds, instead of actually choosing depending on the situation and dealing with opportunity costs.

I have the opposite problem though. I understand only the Heavy can hold heavy weapons and only the Sniper can properly aim sniper weapons. What I don't get is why they can't hold anything else. It should be "this weapon can only be used by this class", not "this class can only use this weapon". Why can't my Heavy use a regular rifle? Are his arms too bulky and musclar to be able to hold a regular rifle without snapping it in two? Using a worse weapon should be penalty enough.

This problem rears its ugly head when you're researching new weapons, because you need to research every type individually. This means when you get Laser Rifles, which are by all means better than old dusty human weapons, only 50% of your classes can actually use them, and the other 50% will just sit on their shitty weapons until they get their particular brand of Heavy Laser or Laser Sniper or whatever. It's even worse because aliens don't have classes, so you'll never find snipers or shotguns out on the field, you have to bear their cost all by yourself. And when you reach the endgame you find yourself still carrying old starting game Rocket Launchers because their only replacement has a 1:1000000000000000000000 chance of showing up at all.

The problem was that it was so limited. You were always limited to two actions, no matter what. You couldn't gain a perk that gave you three actions, or powered armor that boosted your movement.
Um, there's plenty of perks that give you more actions (shoot twice, shoot after dash, reaction fire twice, snipe twice, etc). And lighter armors let you move more.

You must choose from three abduction/terror sites at a time, and can only complete one mission at a time

This basically means no matter what happens, even on the easiest mode, countries start dropping out fairly early. This is pretty irritating, because it's not due to your actions, but due to game design decisions.

I mean, I could understand it if I couldn't complete a terror site mission because I didn't budget for a second skyranger to handle simultaneous raids, or because I was so wasteful with my soldiers that I didn't have enough men left to fight a terror mission, but this? This is punching me in the face!
Again I have the opposite problem, I played through the whole game on Normal and only lost one country, because they are incredibly easy to please.

Despite the performance screen you get at the end of the month, the only thing that makes countries panic in the new XCOM is ignored/failed missions. You don't need to worry about doing poorly, they're not even bothered about UFOs, as long as you beat every mission you will please them all. If it weren't for abduction missions (and only abduction missions force you to choose) there'd be no pressure, because there's no longer restrictions on crafts or distance or whatever stopping you.

Nerfed AI

This is a major issue I have. Apparently on the easiest level (which is still pretty damned hard), they turn off a lot of the AI, and disable most grenade use and special attacks like Chyssalid Implantations.

Meanwhile, it appears they still keep the same amount of aliens in a crashed ship as they do on the harder difficulty levels.
Ok I don't get this one, you're complaining that the Easy difficulty is easy? Reducing numbers wouldn't make it easier since they still depend on that loot to progress in the game.

And to clarify, easier difficulties do reduce the amount of aliens you can simultaneously engage, just not the total. And Chrysalids do not lose their Implantation ability on easier difficulties, they just have a reduced chance of zombifying off-screen (eg. terror missions). The reason they often seem to just "walk up to you" is just because they love to dash, but they will still happily zombify you if you give them the chance.

Offline Mr. Quiet

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Re: Detailed Critique of UFO 2012 Remake by Firaxis
« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2012, 08:13:39 pm »
Quote from: Wikipedia
The game went into development in early 2008 as a "very, very big budget" project with about 50-60 team members led by Jake Solomon. Its prototype was actually a quite straightforward remake of the original 1994 game UFO: Enemy Unknown with all the classic gameplay features. The game subsequently went through many revisions, with adding, testing and removing features to create the final result. XCOM: Enemy Unknown was officially revealed on January 5, 2012 by Game Informer.

Those motherfuckering suits in the motherfucking industry!!

Offline papamaanbeer

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Re: Detailed Critique of UFO 2012 Remake by Firaxis
« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2012, 02:48:31 am »
after reading this im glad i did not buy it yet
i wil buy it when its in the budget bin

Offline luke83

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Re: Detailed Critique of UFO 2012 Remake by Firaxis
« Reply #6 on: December 31, 2012, 03:21:53 am »
i too am waiting for the budget bin ;D

Offline MKSheppard

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Re: Detailed Critique of UFO 2012 Remake by Firaxis
« Reply #7 on: December 31, 2012, 07:44:56 am »
wasn't the XBox was released in 2001?

Yes, the original XBrick was released then. But it's with the XBrick 360 that things got pretty insane. I tend to date the XBrick 360 as when consolization became mainstream, due to the enormous costs required up front to develop for a next-gen console.

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yay and nay, i'd say it's done more harm than good. while it has forced developers to "simplify" their control schemes, it has also forced them to do the same to the interface.

It's actually quite painful to try to change large amounts of troop equipment out, due to the way they do it like this (see attachment).

There's no way to bring up a spreadsheet like screen where you can rapidly use drop down menus to change equipment over large amounts of personnel; important if you have 30 men, and just 5 high end suits of armor, which you need to reallocate between people as people get wounded.

BTW; if you look at the second attached JPEG, you'll see why I got so pissed off by the inflexibility of the slot system -- it's clear that she's got a frag grenade strapped to her left leg, and a pistol strapped to her right leg; so why can't I leave the pistol at home for another frag grenade or medikit?????

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2 actions per turn is a concept any idiot can comprehend, 30 time units and percentage calculations are completely abstract concepts that you'd need some sort of education to grasp.

Actually, simplifying the actions worked out pretty well and they integrated it well with the user interface -- when you select a unit, you see two radiuses of tiles around them -- BLUE and YELLOW. Blue represents how far you can move in one action point -- yellow is if you use all two APs.

So if you want to stop and do overwatch, move within the inner blue radius. If you want to dash as fast as you can, move in the outer yellow radius.

They just needed to work on the system a little bit more to add a touch more granularity to the system, such as maybe one more action point or going to a four AP system (based off the 25% TU per shot for the original XCOM1 rifle) and adjusting things around that.

I also liked the new cover system, where people automatically knelt down and took cover when they were next to something, without you having to click on a "kneel" button.

Now that I think about it, my big gripe about the new movement system is that overwatch was not the default state if you didn't issue an order.

It should have been rekeyed so that overwatch was the default state, and you had to push a button/key to do nothing. This would represent the actual use of the commands more; because you'll use overwatch ALL the time, whereas you won't want your guys to do anything only a few times -- like when you want them to hold fire so that they don't kill a critically wounded alien, so that you can stun it with an arc thrower.

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do you have any idea how many numbers are involved there? lots of them, really big ones too.

To be honest, I never actually counted TUs. I just set my 'reserve TU counter' to 'reserve TUs for snapshot' and moved my units.

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besides, that's WAY too much text to put on one screen. you'd have to make the font smaller, and since everyone will be sitting on the couch on the other side of the room when they play this, that's clearly not an option.

That's actually a serious point to be made about the UI. It was clearly designed to be visible on 720p resolution from across the room, and as such, wastes a lot of valuable interface space for that.

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the chryssalids? ok, now i'm mad. grenades, sure, but neutering Chryssalids? unforgivable

I know!
« Last Edit: December 31, 2012, 07:51:24 am by MKSheppard »

Offline MKSheppard

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Re: Detailed Critique of UFO 2012 Remake by Firaxis
« Reply #8 on: December 31, 2012, 08:22:19 am »
I think this is less "I want you to make hard decisions!" and more "I want you to use classes!". Supports get perks to carry extra medkits, Heavies get perks to carry extra grenades, etc.

That makes no sense. It would make more logical sense to have it so that everyone has the option to carry extra grenades or medikits at the cost of less weapons -- and concentrate the classes/perks on actual skills; like there being a perk for the 'General' class that goes:

I'm a Doctor, not a... in which medikits heal 2-3x the HP of normal use.

etc.

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I think there's even an "extra item slot" perk, so once your rookies level up the inventory system isn't limiting at all, you just have to put the right equipment on the right class.

Checking the UFOPedia; the extra item slot perk is found only on the Support Class, and you have to reach Major rank to unlock it.

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This is exactly what happens in all games with classes. :P I think it's a gameplay vs. realism thing. If you don't force players to value particular classes by making them clearly distinct, they will just start min-maxing the hell out of their average classes into the one-size-fits-all perfect builds, instead of actually choosing depending on the situation and dealing with opportunity costs.

That's why you make the obvious classes have obvious perks, like the heavy weapons class has 30% accuracy to firing heavy weapons and 30% more damage with heavy weapons from the start.

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I understand only the Heavy can hold heavy weapons and only the Sniper can properly aim sniper weapons. What I don't get is why they can't hold anything else. It should be "this weapon can only be used by this class", not "this class can only use this weapon". Why can't my Heavy use a regular rifle? Are his arms too bulky and musclar to be able to hold a regular rifle without snapping it in two? Using a worse weapon should be penalty enough.

This is actually pretty bad, because I once had a mission where everyone but my sniper died during an UFO assault, and I couldn't have him drop his scoped rifle for something more appropriate for close quarters combat inside the UFO.

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This problem rears its ugly head when you're researching new weapons, because you need to research every type individually. This means when you get Laser Rifles, which are by all means better than old dusty human weapons, only 50% of your classes can actually use them, and the other 50% will just sit on their shitty weapons until they get their particular brand of Heavy Laser or Laser Sniper or whatever.

I actually had this problem to an extent. I was able to equip everyone with plasma weapons (Pistol, rifle, light rifle, heavy plasma, Plasma Cannon for fighters), but my Snipers continued to use laser rifles because I didn't have enough weapon fragments to research the sniper rifle!

Uhhh....I'd think after researching 90% of the Plasma tech tree, my researchers would seem to know how to design a plasma sniper rifle!

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And when you reach the endgame you find yourself still carrying old starting game Rocket Launchers because their only replacement has a 1:1000000000000000000000 chance of showing up at all.

Or might not even show up at all I think if you're playing on easy.

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Um, there's plenty of perks that give you more actions (shoot twice, shoot after dash, reaction fire twice, snipe twice, etc).

Those are fairly late-soldier perks. Which basically leave you screwed if you lose your high ranking classed-up troops.

This is what I hate the most in the game -- that they didn't listen to eighteen years of suggestions for X-COM regarding soldier management -- like adding a barracks management menu screen where I could have set up a rotation pattern, so that everyone would be moving ahead in the ranks fairly uniformly, instead of five guys getting all the kills because it was too much work to manually change out your squad before each mission.

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And lighter armors let you move more.

So that stupid 'grapple hook' armor is actually useful for more than a grapple hook? I never researched it because I didn't need that dumb gimmick that I saw in the Research blurb.

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Despite the performance screen you get at the end of the month, the only thing that makes countries panic in the new XCOM is ignored/failed missions.

With Alien Abductions, etc. you get given a choice of three missions. You can only do one; and thus lower panic in that country/continent. Panic then rises in the other two countries/continents that you didn't save.

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And to clarify, easier difficulties do reduce the amount of aliens you can simultaneously engage, just not the total.

I don't seem to think it's working that way; not with the enormous number of targets that got thrown at me in the late game phase on easy.

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And Chrysalids do not lose their Implantation ability on easier difficulties, they just have a reduced chance of zombifying off-screen (eg. terror missions).

In the old original series; Chryssalids in a terror site would result in a lot of chryssalid zombies, which would then spawn. I got the zombies, but not the "burst free of zombie corpse when you kill it."

Who knows, it might be a bug or something.

Offline moriarty

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Re: Detailed Critique of UFO 2012 Remake by Firaxis
« Reply #9 on: December 31, 2012, 10:57:37 am »
I'm in the final stages of my first XCOM:EU game (I think), and I partially agree. A lot of stuff in the game has obviously been designed to make sense from a game-design perspective instead of from a "realism"/"immersion" perspective.

In some cases, this works well, but in others it totally doesn't.

I don't mind the "two actions per soldier"-principle. the game has a faster pace because of it. I can live with the fact that only certain soldiers can "shoot-move" while the rest can only "move-shoot".

the inventory system:
- I think that sidearms and items should be completely interchangeable.
- picking up items from teammates should be allowed. not being able to revive the medic who is bleeding to death at my feet because he's the one who's got the medkit on his belt and I can't reach it? that's unacceptable. you could always restrict it to "exchanging stuff for other stuff costs a full turn", but in those desperate moments, it should be at least possible.
- not allowing snipers to use the assault rifle they used to carry when they were rookies? why? you could always give them a penalty (because they are so used to their scoped rifles), but at least give us the choice
- as for important equipment: after a soldier is wounded, he is stripped of all stuff when admitted to the sick bay. so if he's still down when the next mission starts, you can assign his stuff to the replacement squad member. but when you send a soldier into psi training, his stuff will go with him for 10 full days... I think they missed that. yeah, a spreadsheet-like equipment management would be cool.


as for the abduction missions, I think those make sense in that the aliens try to strike simultaneously. to prevent those, you have to get satellite coverage fast. but yeah, only one transport craft... well, again, that's a game-design decision. just like having only one base.

all in all, I like the game. a lot. but it's a completely different game, in a way.

Offline pmprog

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Re: Detailed Critique of UFO 2012 Remake by Firaxis
« Reply #10 on: December 31, 2012, 11:03:39 am »
Now that I think about it, my big gripe about the new movement system is that overwatch was not the default state if you didn't issue an order.

It should have been rekeyed so that overwatch was the default state, and you had to push a button/key to do nothing. This would represent the actual use of the commands more; because you'll use overwatch ALL the time, whereas you won't want your guys to do anything only a few times -- like when you want them to hold fire so that they don't kill a critically wounded alien, so that you can stun it with an arc thrower.
I kind of agree, but at the same time, I didn't exactly find it taxing hitting the overwatch key 10 times (My squad size is still 5, because I can't be bothered)


I'm a Doctor, not a... in which medikits heal 2-3x the HP of normal use.
Does sprayed mist work better when sprayed by a doctor? I know what you're saying but still.

I do agree with picking up from the ground and using "any" weapon, even at a cost. Let's face it, they are all guns which you hold and pull triggers.

This is actually pretty bad, because I once had a mission where everyone but my sniper died during an UFO assault, and I couldn't have him drop his scoped rifle for something more appropriate for close quarters combat inside the UFO.
Meh, I had 80% heavy in my game. Very annoying, and useless.

I actually had this problem to an extent. I was able to equip everyone with plasma weapons (Pistol, rifle, light rifle, heavy plasma, Plasma Cannon for fighters), but my Snipers continued to use laser rifles because I didn't have enough weapon fragments to research the sniper rifle!
I suffered with Alien Alloys for a loooong time... No UFOs (that I could shoot down), and all the missions were "rescue this VIP", so I couldn't build *anything* :(

This is what I hate the most in the game -- that they didn't listen to eighteen years of suggestions for X-COM regarding soldier management -- like adding a barracks management menu screen where I could have set up a rotation pattern, so that everyone would be moving ahead in the ranks fairly uniformly, instead of five guys getting all the kills because it was too much work to manually change out your squad before each mission.
Apocalypse was exactly the same - you armed your soliders, and not the craft, which was listening to people saying "I want people to retain their weapons". Quit being a cheapskate and arm every soldier  :D

For me, despite the hardcore features, it's still pretty fun. I'd love more people here to join us on Steam for more regular multiplayer, that might be more fun. Maybe a ladder or tournament?

I've not picked this (or many other games) up in a while, might give it another go soon. Maybe start again without using the "tutorial" which seems to lead you into a bad start.


Offline Nickolaidas

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Re: Detailed Critique of UFO 2012 Remake by Firaxis
« Reply #11 on: December 31, 2012, 01:23:41 pm »
I freakin' loved Enemy Unknown, it's my favourite X-COM game of all time. And seriously, playing games like X-COM Apocalypse today is very hard. I never really played it when it was originally released -- the alienating U.I., and the silly alien design seriously put me off. It was only after playing Enemy Unknown that I became a devoted X-COM fan and was more willing to give APOC a playing chance.

Think of X-COM Enemy Unknown as a game which has the purpose to flock new gamers to the X-COM franchise. Think of it as Street Fighter 1, and imagine how improved its mechanics will be in the sequel.

Offline pmprog

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Re: Detailed Critique of UFO 2012 Remake by Firaxis
« Reply #12 on: December 31, 2012, 02:35:40 pm »
I freakin' loved Enemy Unknown, it's my favourite X-COM game of all time. And seriously, playing games like X-COM Apocalypse today is very hard. I never really played it when it was originally released -- the alienating U.I., and the silly alien design seriously put me off. It was only after playing Enemy Unknown that I became a devoted X-COM fan and was more willing to give APOC a playing chance.
Apoc was hard anyway, much harder than the original and TFTD - not in terms of difficulty, but complexity. You had politics, resources would fluctuate unless you manufactured most of your own stuff. However, it did add a lot of nice features that made the game amazing such as raiding buildings even if they weren't under alien control, equipping units rather than craft (though this is kind of double edged, I prefer equipping units) etc.

The alien design, well, yeah, what can we say about that... I'm sure the SciFi Channel was involved - and if that's the "SyFy" channel now, well, just watch what films they broadcast, and you'll see why they're a bit demented ;)

The nice thing about all the XCOM games is the mix of both micro (tactical) and macro (economy), and each game has a slightly different shift. The new XCOM almost removes the economy side, in favour of the tactical, UFO/TFTD are in the middle, and APOC, I would argue, favours economy. So you can almost select which one is most appealing to you based upon which aspect of the game you like more.

Offline Nickolaidas

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Re: Detailed Critique of UFO 2012 Remake by Firaxis
« Reply #13 on: December 31, 2012, 03:07:17 pm »
I agree, although I prefer to play them all, instead of "choosing sides".

I understand the concerns that the hardcore strategists have, but in this day and age, an AAA title cannot depend on a niche minority. It must have a broader appeal.

Hardcores can still get their fix through indie titles like Xenonauts and X-COM A.I. These are totally intended for that niche market.

I *would* however, expect more maturity from 30-40 year old gamers who are so quick to call vicious names to the game and the developers. Take a look at the X-COM Enemy Unknown Forums on Steam -- it's a nightmare. But I suppose, fanboys will be fanboys.

Offline pmprog

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Re: Detailed Critique of UFO 2012 Remake by Firaxis
« Reply #14 on: December 31, 2012, 04:59:38 pm »
I agree, although I prefer to play them all, instead of "choosing sides".
You don't need to "choose sides". Every game has the same components, just to varying depths. The new XCOM is quite light on the economics of the game, but they are not gone completely; likewise, despite the crazy amount of economics in Apoc, it's still the smaller half of the game, it's just way more than the other games :)

All I was saying was if one seemed too "light" or too "heavy" in the series, one of the others might suit you better. Still a good idea to play them all though  ;D