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XCOM E3 preview

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Posted by: Steven Hopper

2K Marin has shown that they have the chops to create a solid retro sci-fi world, proven with the solid production of Bioshock 2 earlier this year. Now, the developer is hard at work on their next title, a current-gen update of the classic XCOM franchise. The game does away with the standard RTS mechanics of its forbearers, instead opting for a more action-oriented approach with some strategic elements in the gameplay. However, the classic XCOM universe is well represented here, and fans of Bioshock and other shooters with solid art direction will not be disappointed.

XCOM is set in an idyllic 1950’s world pulled out of a Norman Rockwell painting. However, there is something dark lurking underneath, as alien invaders have been trying to take over good-natured people for their own means. You have found an alien artifact that is capable of giving humanity the means to fight against the alien invaders, as well as allowing you to create your own awesome weaponry through reverse engineering. Having formed the XCOM organization for that sole purpose, you lead the team to victory against nefarious forces while trying to save human lives one mission at a time.

The E3 demo walkthrough of XCOM began by showcasing the XCOM headquarters, complete with a mission board for selecting your next job, a place to create and test new weapons, and all of those working under you within the XCOM organization.

You and two of your cohorts leave and embark on a mission to check out a report of alien blobs in a suburban neighborhood. Once there, you realize that all is not right, as the scene is far too quiet. You see traces of alien residue on a corpse and realize that something is severely FUBAR. Soon, you’re being attacked by a several hordes of these blob creatures, requiring you to use quick reflexes and a trusty shotgun to take them out.

However, when they prove to be too much for conventional means, you have to whip out your lightning gun (reverse engineered from alien tech) to depose them quickly. Once you’ve dealt with the blobs, a bigger threat rears its head (the monolithic Titan), requiring you to run from its powerful attacks instead of attack it head on.

While the demo wasn’t playable, the combat looked frantic and tightly-paced, and the art direction looked great, effectively capturing the atmosphere if the 1950’s and adding in the alien element for something truly unique. Look for XCOM to turn a few heads when it’s released next year.

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