Design Thoughts - XCOM Enemy Unknown

Talking about some stuff I liked and didn't like about XCOM. When bad I try to say how I think they would fix it and when good I try to suggest improvements. Note that this is not a review. I'm just sharing my thoughts on the game.

When playing the demo for this game I was really much interested, even though I like turn based games it just didn't click with me. I ended up getting it for a pretty sweet deal and man it really got me then. I just played non stop like every play session would go from 3-5 hours non stop. Really addictive gameplay!

So before reading my thoughts on it keep in mind I have no knowledge of the old games so bare with my ignorance on the franchise will ya? :P

The Good: Soldiers wounded after battle, random missions help increase the tension, you feel weaker the then the aliens, destructible terrain, when you miss you really miss.

The Bad: Few customization options, you change the race of a persona but not their country, no attack range displayed, troops are blind, soldiers take a reaction shot at same enemy, no way to speed up game speed.

Soldiers Wounded After Battle

  • This is good. Why? This makes you not only be afraid to lose your soldier in battle but also be more careful with him since if he's baddly injured he might not make to the next mission and you might just need him. Improvements: None, this works like a charm.

Few Customization Options

  • This is bad. Why? The game gave few options to customize your characters. Few hairs, few bodies, few voices. If you're giving the option of customization then it better be plenty. Solutions: More voices or giving the option to make it sound older/younger. Option to change body size. It's weird every man/woman having the same body build/height.

Random Mission Increase Tension

  • This is good. Why? The fact that (most) missions are on random maps make you stay on your toes and never underestimate the enemy. Improvements: None I can think of.

Able To Change Race But Not Country

  • This is bad. Why? If being able to change a soldier race's make sense, then why not his country? I don't see why the constrain is there. Solutions: Simple, give the option to change the country. I think it's important because people might want to choose someone from a certain country that hasn't shown up yet for you. So again, options.

You Feel Weaker Then The Aliens

  • This is good. Why? It makes sense. If they are this super advanced race why not they have better weapons and technology? So it's great to see that in game you're always trying to learn the aliens technology as trying to caught up to them. Improvements: None.

No Attack Range Displayed

  • This is bad. Why? You kinda know how far the gun will be able to reach after a while but every once in a while you'll will fail at it and put someone in a bad position for no reason. Solutions: Add an indicator of how far that equipped gun can reach.

Destructible Terrain

  • This is good. Why? Again, it makes sense. The game defines it's world rules and keeps true to that. So shooting rocket launchers or throwing grenades will blow stuff near it and destroy someone's cover. Improvement: None.

Troops are Blind

  • This is bad. Why? This was one of the biggest issues with me. I mean, at most times it makes sense the hit change but others it's just ridiculous. You can be very close to an enemy and still be something like 80% when there's nothing visual between the two. At the end of the game it shows that the average hit percentage is about 60~70%. That's too low and just slows down the game making it depend on luck too much. Solutions: Increase the hit percentage base by 10~15% or so to see if the works better. Rework hit mechanic.

When You Miss You Really Miss

  • This is good. Why? While in most games missing is just a difference of not hitting the enemy here there's more at stake. If you try to shoot someone near a car and miss it you might hit the car and that will make him explode. That adds more strategy to it since taking a shot requires to take that in consideration at times. Improvements: None.

Soldiers take a reaction shot same time, same enemy

  • This is bad. Why? I think this was made intentional so as to make overwatch not so overpowered, but still. Solutions: Make each soldier take a shot in a order, not at the same time, so if the enemy dies he'll shot the next one instead of shoot a already dead enemy.

No Way To Speed Up The Game

  • This is bad. Why? After a few missions and few like a pro sending your troop to raid UFOs the tension just drops a bit and you want to get it done faster. Solutions: Add option to make the game play 2x, 3x faster so everything happens faster. Add option to skip enemy turn so you don't have to see him move it's troops and attack you.

That's it all. Sorry if some of my thoughts didn't hit with yours but that's what make it all great, to have different views and experiences when playing. Overall I loved the game, I honestly can't wait for more! I'll definitely keep an eye for the franchise.

[Originally posted on my devblog]

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