When Firaxis announced that they were getting ready to do a remake of the classic strategy title X-Com, it came at a rather peculiar time, as 2k Marin was working on its own reboot of the series, X-Com Declassified. Declassified was going to be a re-imagining of the game as a third-person squad based shooter set in the 1950s. Naturally this didn’t sit well with longtime fans of the franchise. They hit a snag in the project, and it was unknown if the project would be released at all. All of a sudden, Firaxis (Civilization, Alpha Centurai) announced that they would be doing a turn-based strategy-style reboot, and X-Com fans the world over rejoiced. Even after Declassified was released (to mediocre ratings), Enemy Unknown became a classic title in its own right, worthy of the X-Com name. Now that the sequel is here, now is a good time to look at this masterpiece.
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Like its predecessor, you are tasked with recruiting a team of (expendable) soldiers to fend off the alien invasion. You must intercept alien spacecraft, defend civilians from abduction attempts, and capture samples to bring back to base. Your base is a hidden underground bunker made up of several modules. As you are successful in your missions, the funding from the Council of Nations increases, and you gain more money to expand your base. You’ll recruit several soldiers, train them, outfit them with weapons, and if you don’t plan your moves carefully enough, lose them. It’s devastation when you have a squad of veteran soldiers make it through several missions only to be killed in one. A memorial wall with the names of fallen soldiers really hammers this home. If you got a little extra to spare, the Enemy Within expansion adds in tons of new content.

Like Jagged Alliance and Fire Emblem, X-Com is one of many classic turn-based strategy games that gives players real rewards and real consequences for taking real risks. It’s also a modern-day revival of one of the greatest PC games of the past 2 decades, and it’s the reason why PC gamers are so hyped for the sequel.