XCOM: Enemy Unknown represents the revival of a cult classic PC game series, originally spanning for 6 games over 7 years. The older games were known for their isometric turn based gameplay, where you act as the commander of a government organization tasked with defending the planet from a mysterious alien invasion. The setting of this series is sometime in the near future, and takes place at random places over the world. Alien attacks are sudden, and swift, so you are responsible for quickly neutralizing impending threats and saving civilians by guiding your squad of military combatants.
Your enemies in the game are relatively straightforward and represent what people typically expect aliens in media to look like. But even so, each alien encounter is different and can be approached a number of different ways. Your squad can consist of snipers, heavies, assaults, and supports, which each have their own roles to play out in the field. You can choose what members make up your squad so that you may choose the right skills for any operation. Out on the field, you can use snipers, machine guns, shotguns, and assault rifles to take out hostiles. But there are also special weapons, such as grenades, rocket launchers, and stun guns to use when the time is right. Having so many paths to choose from rewards you for thinking out situations in advance so that you don’t charge blindly into a bad situation.
By killing and/or capturing hostile aliens, you receive important items and information that will enable you to access more sophisticated (often alien) technology. Using this technology, you add in new rooms and manpower to your home base, which researches everything you need to know about aliens. Players are rewarded for taking back aliens and equipment alive, which can enable alien interrogation for other special bonuses.
XCOM: Enemy Unknown is a great example of a Series that has been successfully revived after more than 10 years, to the success of multiple game of the year awards. It’s very heartening to think that the average gamer is moving on from consuming only first person shooters, because this opens up the video game market to more adventurous titles that won’t be forgotten when the sequel comes out a year later.