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Platform

PC, Xbox 360

 

Genre

Shooter

 

Publisher

2K Games

 

Developer

2K Marin

 

ETA

ETA March 2012

 

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XCOM

*UPDATED 6/16/11*

 

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Continuing a tradition that seems to be prevalent in the movie industry, 2K Marin is hard at work with an all new origins story for XCOM, a popular series from the mid 1990s. Set in the United States in 1962, you take the lead as Special Agent William

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Carter who will lead a team to try and take out the alien invasion that is spreading across the land.

Although it feels and looks more like a first person shooter than a strategy game, it has elements of the former and even a hint of RPG. There is a social space that you end up in between missions and it is there that you hand pick your

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team where only two agents can with you at any one given time.

Later during the core game you can decide how to handle situations using time units (which brings back some of the turn based play elements). For example, you can often take over alien technology and then decide whether you are going to use it right away for short term gain or save it and return it to headquarters to build overall better weapons over time. The fact that you have so many choices is nice.

 

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Graphically, the game looks amazing and you can look forward to trying it out on March 6, 2012 on Playstation 3, Xbox 360 and Windows PC.

 

- Syd Bolton

(June 16, 2011)

 


 

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Though it takes its thematic cues from the classic X-Com series, 2K Marin's XCOM looks like it will stand apart from the original games. So, players will still be dealing with aliens and using the alien technology against the invaders, but they'll be doing it in first-person.

 

Based on a 20-minute demo given by members of 2K Marin, I'm already far more interested in the title than I was going into the demo.

 

The "hub world" is located in XCOM's headquarters, where the player will choose a mission, any of which will affect different aspects of the game like Research (better weapons, for example) and Goodwill (how the populace feels how you're doing.

 

Choosing a mission might close off access to other missions; immediate or further down the line. That's about all the strategy I could see on display during the demo. There was a Research function demonstrated -- take a picture of something alien and the information goes back to HQ for anaylsis, which might have the side effect of better weapons being developed.

 

XCOM is more about shooting straight and possibly choosing the right weapon to take on a mission.

 

The combat portion of the game took up 90% of the demo, and was straightforward.

 

The player and two other XCOM agents -- armed with the best hats and horn-rimmed glasses of the 1950's -- arrive at a neighborhood where a distress call originated. The street is quiet. Too quiet. And an errant baseball bat, cap, and glove lying beside a squiggly black streak of some kind of ooze only lend more disquieting unease. Through quick exploration of the area, it becomes apparent that black balls of alien goo are consuming the locals. (I'm pretty sure this wasn't some kind of reference to the ongoing ecological disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, but that's what I was thinking.) The agents zero in on the house where the call originated.

 

The house is overrun by black blobs. The shotgun isn't getting the job done so the player switches to a lighting gun which does a great job of dispersing the immediate threat, but the onslaught continues. Out comes another piece of alien tech: the blobatov grenade. It sends up a wall of flame and makes very quick work of the remaining blobs.

 

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Upstairs, a hapless housewife is being attacked so the agents rush upstairs. More blobs, one of which attempts to attached itself to one of the XCOM agents. A volley of well-aimed buckshot and the blob dissipates.

 

There's a strange noise from outside so the agents exit the house. A oscillating piece of metal shape-shifts in the sky. It takes on the shape of a perfectly round eye, which volleys a ball of energy at your feet. One of the agents vaporizes in a blast of white static.

 

It's time to run!

 

Demo over.

 

No mention of a release date outside of "maybe, probably 2011." That's kind of infuriating but, I don't know, games are hard to make. I already like the sense of place and the details were impressive, like the furnishings of the house under siege by the blobs or the way the mission details are brought up from the bottom of the screen written on a notepad.

 

Coming off the high of BioShock 2, 2K Marin has a lot to live up to and from what I saw -- all 20 minutes of it -- it just might do it.

 

- Aaron Simmer

(June 23, 2010)

 

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