Fans of the old X-Com games... (in Off-topic)

Sickone October 14 2012 10:06 AM EDT

... don't bother with the new one that came out a few days ago, at least not yet.
Played a really long session in the first two days, hoping it would get better, but now I'm fed up with it and can barely bring myself to play it again, even if I want to see the end of it happening.

It's been massively dumbed down for the console crowd, and not in a good way at all.
All the nice tricks you could pull in the first one, they're gone. All traces of (horror-infused) realism, also removed.
Team size, limited to a paltry 4 base, 6 with upgrades. Mission-time gear adjustments as good as doesn't exist.
Move/shoot liberty via time units, gone, replaced by fixed move/shoot phases and silly little skills.
Can't shoot mind-controlled opponents, they shoot you as soon as you lose control. Can't order mind-controlled unit to drop weapon. Enemy weapons self-destruct when enemy dies. No more enemy invading your base.
And so on and so forth.

It's also full of bugs and glitches, but at least those have a chance to get fixed eventually. Shoot through walls with 100% accuracy, roofs and floors clipping badly when most inconvenient, inaccurate ht chance displays, etc.
Its only vaguely redeeming quality is the graphics, but only compared to the old game. It's nothing to write home about when compared to currently existing titles, decent but not great.

All in all, you're better off dusting the decades-old one and playing that again instead.

Lochnivar October 14 2012 10:28 AM EDT

Wow... I actually remember Terror From the Deep... that game was a good bit of fun.

Demigod October 14 2012 2:13 PM EDT

Wow, that's disappointing. I sat through the demo at E3 and left with a very positive impression.

Sickone October 14 2012 10:56 PM EDT

Ayup, X-Com II - Terror from the Deep (a.k.a. "XCom 1.5") was a pretty harsh little game, even compared to the first, which was already harsh enough... but both were kind of harsh in a nice way. Almost hard to believe it's been 18 years from the first and over 17 from the second.

As for the demo impressions... depends.
I guess that if you do take it as a standalone game and not as a remake, completely forget about the original, then it's a fairly decent game by today's standards. And the bugs, well, what game today comes without bugs ? They'll get fixed eventually, almost surely.
It's only when you compare the delicious complexity and freedom of the original with that of the remake when you start to get disappointed like I do. And it's especially bad if you've replayed the original recently, which I have done.

My brother just finished the game on easy mode.
Took him just 33 missions (which, for non-old-fans, that's awfully few missions).
Final mission is mostly just a very long tunnel, minimal cover, no rooms, etc. As he said to me just a while ago: "so much for the tactical shooting aspect of it, eh?"

I also miss the huge maps. The maps on this one just feel way too small, and they don't get much larger as you progress.


I suppose playing it on the highest difficulty with "iron man" mode enabled (single save on autosave mode) would indeed be a nice challenge, but still, only after they fix all the glitches.

Demigod October 14 2012 11:05 PM EDT

It's not really 18 years if you count the unofficial "UFO" line of games.

Personally, I loved this one.

Sickone October 14 2012 11:27 PM EDT

I meant 18/17 years since they first came out ;)
Played those too, they were somewhat entertaining, but I was still playing the first two every now and then after I played those (also, never finished any of those newer ones, they did not manage to hold my attention for that long).

TH3 C0113CT0R October 15 2012 12:45 AM EDT

I would like to chime in here. As a hardcore gamer I'm sad to say I've never played the original, or any of them for that matter.

but I watched a 2hr interview/game play with the lead designer and he said that the game on classic should take you about 15-20 hour to complete and on iron man 20+ minimum. The maps and the difficulty increase in the harder modes.. ofcourse you breeze through on easy.. who plays games on easy anyway.. no a hardcore gamer that's for sure!

I also downloaded the steam demo today, and played it through, its not very long or include very much but the game seems like it will become very fun and require a lot of strategy on the higher difficulties...

Again, like others have said all games have bugs, and good developers fix them, and make patches and hot fixes, and the lead designer also mentioned DLC and map packs so I wouldn't be so hard on them.

Even the demo was entertaining, for a short as it was. Play it on a harder difficulty then come back and complain about how easy it was and how small the maps are..

The maps even have randomization to them! they made over 100 maps for this game. you can play the game through 2-3 times and never see a repeat, yes the map itself might be very similar to one you have seen but spawn locations, enemies locations and various other things in the map are different!

Sickone October 15 2012 1:32 AM EDT

I'm sad to say I've never played the original

That line there is the key. As a standalone game it's pretty decent. It's only when you compare it to the original that it's woefully lacking. That was my point.

You can switch difficulty on the fly. Switching it to impossible before mission is discovered, keeping it on impossible until the first turn actually inside combat, then switching to whatever other difficulty you want - that makes you see exactly what would happen on that difficulty level (map type, enemy count, etc) without suffering from the outright CHEATING the game employs (i.e. on impossible, if an enemy has a 50% chance to hit, it's actually 70% or higher, but if you see 50% chance to hit it's actually 30% or lower - they don't even bother to tell you the actual chance to hit).
The maps do not feel noticeably larger on impossible. They might be a few percents larger (if they're at all larger, that is), but from THAT to at least double or even triple the size I would have liked more (and heck, even 10 times the size, you don't need to work with 486 era memory limitations), that's a very long way to go.

You can pick up the originals on Steam for 5 bucks each (get the first one if you get only one - "X-Com UFO Defense"), or for 15 bucks the entire series (the first two are the only ones worth playing though).

Sickone October 15 2012 1:43 AM EDT

P.P.S. I also watched the 2-hour thing before the game's launch (and all the other stuff before that) and I was pretty stoked about it back then, barely waiting to see it go live.
I also picked up the demo when it first came out and went "maybe the full game is much better" after I quickly finished it. I also tried to see if playing more of the full game will eventually make it better. It wasn't, and it didn't.
So that's when I made this thread. I guess if my expectations would not have been that high, I would have enjoyed it a lot more. But after so many promises of how awesome it's going to be and ignoring all the warning signs, eh...

TH3 C0113CT0R October 15 2012 2:14 AM EDT

But that's what I was trying to say with the randomization. You might have just got a couple bad combos, were the location of the destination and your spawn location ended up too close together.

I do understand your original to this comparison though, there has been a few games released that I played the originals and was disappointed with the remakes.

ScrObot October 15 2012 2:16 AM EDT

Xenonauts is supposed to be a much more true to the original X-COM successor:

I got in on the Kickstarter, I think they're going into beta this month or next, not sure on final release date.

Sickone October 15 2012 7:05 AM EDT

I read up on it a bit, not sure I have the full picture yet, but what I read seems to confirm my initial impressions without exception.
The maps are allegedly not randomized in size, just around 80 hand-crafted maps, with only a handful of things in them destructable stuff randomly placed.
The only really random things are supposedly types of enemies (number of groups, placement, types of aliens encountered), because the total number per map is also fixed based on chosen difficulty level.

Ok, let me tell you how the original worked to see what I mean about some other limitations in the new one I find annoying.

First off, anybody can use any weapon whatsoever, with the exception of the mind control device, which needs special training first.
There are no special skills or anything, everybody can do everything, there are just "time units" which determine how many things a unit can do per turn. You also had two hands to equip with either two one-handed weapons or one two-handed weapon. You also had an individual inventory for each soldier, with belt, leg and shoulder pouches, and a large backpack.
You could move, change facing (you would only see forward, not backward), kneel (for better aim and lower profile), stand up, drop or THROW anything from your hands, equip anything from the ground or your inventory, pick anything up from the ground (including dead bodies or unconscious bodies, be it of fellow soldiers or of aliens), switch ammo type (piercing, explosive, incendiary for most weapons), fire an aimed shot (more TU, more accuracy), a snap shot (less TU, lower accuracy) or an auto-shot (three quick shots, average accuracy, from weapons that have auto-fire capabilities). TU costs for shooting were a percentage of total TUs based on weapon type (pistols took the least, heavy weapons took the most), and not all weapons had all three firing modes. You also had guided missiles later on (as in, you selected waypoints before launch).

The only real limit to the stuff you could carry was encumbrance - if you put too much weight on a soldier, its TU would only partially refresh (so it could do less each turn).
You could still carry a truckload of stuff, just move a lot slower. And you could drop stuff on the ground at your feet, do your thing with full TU next few turns, then pick it all back up and slowly move away again.
Dropping stuff and picking stuff up uses up TU though. So unloading and repacking everything could take a while, especially on rookies who had very little TUs to begin with.

Want to shoot at a wall ? Sure thing, shoot ahead !
Want to shoot your own team ? Sure, why not !
Bad accuracy on auto-shot in an area with an enemy and a lot of friendlies ? Almost guaranteed disaster waiting to happen !
EVERYBODY that still had TUs left whenever you finished turn was automatically set on "overwatch"-like behaviour. You could reserve TUs for either type of shot, for kneeling at the end of a move, etc. If you wanted (and had enough TU).
The more TUs left a unit has, the higher its "reaction" stat, and it would act sooner than any other when triggered.
Movement also consumes stamina/energy, not just TUs.

Damage was done to individual parts of the body (head, arms, legs, torso), there was a rather large HP pool (weapons also did pretty high amounts of HP of damage though, so it was more or less the same as this new one, but with much finer grain) and a separate "stun damage" meter (whenever stun HP > remaining HP, that unit fell unconscious, but the stunned HP slowly diminished, so a stunned unit could become conscious again if given time).

Damage could open up fatal wounds (which needed to be stitched/healed or else loss of HP continued, you got +3 HP per fatal wound closed, and having fatal wounds affected your soldier's abilities - to legs they would get less TU, to hands they would lose aim accuracy, to head they could become more easily confused, etc), morale could be improved with painkillers after HP loss (proportional to HP loss), and alertness/wakefulness (10 TU / 4 stun) regained with stimulants. Each medi-kit had 10 of each heal/stim/painkiller units.
If you wanted, you could have one unit carry more than a dozen medi-kits on itelf, one in each hand, and a lot more in the backpack. If that unit died, anybody else could go pick the medi-kits back (provided they were not destroyed by an explosion).

Each armor had different ratings (for protection vs damage) on each side (front, left, right, back, below), and could also be damaged (protecting less against subsequent attacks on the same side).
Each thing on the battlefield (including buildings, even the grass or any items on the ground, be it weapons, bodies or anything else) had its own armor rating and could be destroyed if a sufficiently high damage was applied to it. EVERYTHING (except the floor level bedrock) was destructable !!!

You could bring in as many grenades of any type as you wanted. Also, throwable light sources, smoke grenades, etc. You also had high explosive packs. And later on, also stun grenade launchers. On top of as much ammo for the rocket launchers as you would care to carry.
Yup, you had to BRING ammo. It wasn't infinite (well, except for the lasers, those had infinite ammo, no reloads necessary, but lasers were pretty weak later on).

Grenades and explosive packs could be primed (takes TUs) while in hand with different timers (from 0 turns to 30 turns, if memory serves right), which would start counting down the moment it was released from the hand. If the unit fell unconscious or died, the timer would start ticking and the charge would go off. You also had PROXIMITY MINES which would go off only when somebody passes nearby after they got armed.
You could even set up "grenade relays", where an unit in the back would prime a grenade, throw it to the next unit, then to the next, up to whichever unit needs to use it (throw accuracy was pretty decent even for rookies, but accidents COULD happen), and then that unit throws it where he wants it to go (ideally, at the feet of an enemy).

Each soldier gains experience based on WHAT HE DID on the battlefield., after the mission is over.
Its primary stats (Reactions, Firing Accuracy, Melee Accuracy, Throwing Accuracy, Psionic Skill, Bravery) go up if he does something directly related to that.
Secondary stats (Time Units, Health, Strength, Energy/Stamina) go up whenever ANY primary stat action has been made (with the exception of throwing accuracy).
The rank of the soldier has only a bit to do with actual combat ability. The highest "promotion score" soldier that's at least a squaddie (i.e. not a rookie, as in, he made at least one primary non-throw action in one mission) gets promoted to a higher rank whenever there's enough space in the command ranks. Bringing a higher-ranked soldier with you on a mission improves morale (soldiers less likely to panic, morale boosted more on each enemy killed, etc) but losing a higher-ranked soldier on the battlefield affects everybody's morale more (i.e. a commander, of which you can only have at most one at any given time in the entire game when you have at least 30 soldiers total across all bases - yup, you can have up to 8 bases - will hurt morale almost twice as much as losing a rookie ; you can have up to 10 captains when you have over 230 soldiers, etc).

Sure, the old one had a lot of bugs (many of which only got fixed by FANS many years later, not by the original devs), and some drastic memory limitations made for some silly stuff happening (for instance, there's an 80-item limit, and if an enemy battleship attacks your base, and your base is full of say, more than 80 smoke grenades, you might find yourself fighting aliens with nothing BUT smoke grenades, or some weapons without ammo, as you do not get to pick WHICH 80 items you will get - and the older/basic stuff takes priority usually).

Oh, and a fairly typical landing party has at least 12 soldiers, and you can even go up to 26.
And you don't even need to equip them all with weapons, they can simply scavenge from the field from the enemies - their weapons don't self-destruct when the wielder dies. And ammo can be also scavenged from the field. And the enemy uses up the ammo he has, so if you take too long to kill them, they might be almost out of ammo.

And that's just scratching the surface.
Do you see any of that in the new game ? I sure as heck don't.

Sickone October 15 2012 7:34 AM EDT

Also fun stuff to do in the originals:
- have an "ammo mule" (be it gun ammo or just grenades/explosives) character, that just goes around throwing consumables wherever they may be needed (use a pistol on him to make at least one shot per mission to get its stats up)
- same as above but with loaded/unloaded weapons ; or same, but with fetching of enemy weapons from dead aliens in dangerous areas (use rookies, they're somewhat expendable, you still get a combat morale penalty and a council review penalty though, so try not to do it too often)
- stunner / suicide bomber guy - one hand carrying a primed grenade with a 0 timer, the other a stun rod ; if the enemy does not fall down after being stunned initially and kills your guy, then he either gets stunned or killed when the grenade goes off as soon as his turn is about to start (same story with the penalties, but if you really NEED a live alien early on, it's worth it - and you DO on higher difficulty levels ; by the way, you need a fan-made patch to actually enable them for good)
- firing squad welcome committee - the aliens had a knack for getting out the front door of their downed UFOs only a few turns in in certain types of missions, so if you locate the UFO fast enough, you can set up a nice killzone in front of the doors, with a proximity mine in front of it and loads of soldiers just outside the blast range with full TU/stamina waiting to make a power-breach after the first few get eliminated by the mine and reaction fire
- later on in the game, constantly mind-controlling last few remaining aliens and using them as target practice for your soldiers (using low-damage weapons to deal less damage, and if it's a nicely armored one, no damage at all - you cap out in XP at 11 actions per soldier though), or even more hilariously, healing the aliens constantly after you shoot them)
- "smash-and-grab" alien base ops, killing all but the last few enemies, picking up all the goodies from the base (weapons, ammo, maybe some stunned aliens too) and bugging out, only to come back some time later when they've repaired/repopulated everything
- intentionally letting one of your bases be discovered (one that you have set up in such a way as to make it very easily defensible, with a single access point and optimized inventory for maximal combat effectiveness), luring in wave after wave of invaders only to massively boost your weapon/ammo stockpiles and chances to capture live higher-ranking aliens (they generally hold a bit back, and are weaker in direct combat, so after you peel off all escorts, they can be captured a lot easier than in an alien base raid)

...and so much more.

TH3 C0113CT0R October 15 2012 12:30 PM EDT

I understand what your saying, and yes that game sounds fun. But like I said a lot of game dev's change things from difficulty to difficulty and they aren't going to tell you everything..

try it on classic iron man or just classic, play it through all the way and see how much more stuff you get to do. how much bigger the maps get, what else to get to try out, etc

if you really hate it that much or don't want to play it anymore :P I'd love to try it.. gift it to my steam account :P the demo is just a tease :P


Sickone October 15 2012 5:11 PM EDT

The maps don't get bigger. All the maps that exist are a fixed size. The only thing that changes is number of enemies and the artificial chance to hit penalties for you and boosts to the AI.
And I'm kind of still hoping they will eventually come up with some mods that change it a lot towards the original was. Maybe not the devs directly, but if they give us all the needed tools, maybe the fans will do it.
Also, I was unaware you can gift away a game you already played on Steam to other people. Or did you mean buy it for you fresh ? :p

TH3 C0113CT0R October 15 2012 5:15 PM EDT

I thought you can gift your games to people. Maybe not. I would never ask you to purchase me the game :P It was more of a joke anyway, I don't and didn't expect you to purchase or give me your copy.

Im not sure But I thought I heard him say that they didn't plan on releasing any mod tools, but I could be wrong on that tool.

TH3 C0113CT0R October 15 2012 5:18 PM EDT

too* not tool (last word above).

Sickone October 16 2012 6:35 PM EDT

Sickone October 21 2012 4:56 AM EDT

"Unlocked after successfully completing the campaign, they would allow players to tweak various aspects of single-player gameplay. [...] Second Wave itself was cut from the release version of the game due to time constraints."

First round of player-made mods already fixing PARTS of what's most egregiously wrong with it.
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