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Alien conspiracies and government cover-ups shrouded in mystery, what’s not to like?  Producers Drew Smith and Harvey Whitney took me into a back room where it was set up like a 1950′s kitchen.

The stainless steal sink; the red, plastic, and metal chairs; and the vase ornaments mantled on the shelves gave the room a distinct feeling.  It was vintage, but it was uncomfortable and very eerie – A pristine environment that mirrors XCOM’s world.

The hands-off demonstration opens up with the player roaming around in a secret government facility.  It looks like an airplane hangar, but really it’s a central headquarters that deals directly with the extraterrestrial.

The player moves through the environment conversing with various NPCs, acquiring new weapons from a Q-like character named Mal, and selecting from three missions.  As someone who has only heard minimal details about the original, the game moves away from a RTS format into a first-person shooter.

While the game differs in type, many of the strategy qualities stay the same.  When selecting your mission, you have to consider which one you want to play.  Choosing one mission over another may mean that too much time has elapsed for it to still be relevant to the story; thus, it’ll disappear.

In the demonstration, the producers chose to showcase a rescue mission in California.  On the player’s way to California, he is accompanied by two other agents.  It’s imperative to the player to do his best to keep them alive, because if they die in the game, there is no way to bring them back.

Enter California – the three agents step out of their vehicle into a suburban neighborhood.  Everything looks normal, except for the fact that no one in the neighborhood is around – it’s completely dead.  The initial investigation shows small remnants of a black goo smeared in random areas.

And then the intensity begins to stir.  A shrill cry rings out behind a house.  The agents rush to his aid, but upon arriving, all is left is the body of a man covered in the same black goo.

What really grabbed my attention about the demo is that the game starts out very mysterious and quiet, and then it slowly begins to ramp up.  It has a progressive tempo that maintains the mystery behind the game, but gives enough information to keep players on edge.

From there another loud cry is emitted from the house across the street.  Upon reaching the woman, a player is met with a small black blob that’s trying to take over the individual in classic alien fashion.

That’s when all hell breaks loose.  Black blobs from all over begin attacking the three agents from everywhere.  Armed with a shotgun, a molotov-like grenade, and a lightning gun, the agents begin to destroy every black blob that gets close to them.

What adds to the strategy aspect of the game is being able to understand the weaknesses of the aliens.  The player can take pictures of the blobs for evidence.  That evidence is then analyzed by Hal and is used to make stronger and better weapons to use against the aliens.

After the mayhem ends, the agents proceed to head back to their vehicle where they’re met with a giant rectangle that appears out of the sky in some extraordinary black hole.  It begins to fire off a beam that pretty much vaporizes everything in its path, including the other two agents – gone in a blink of an eye.

The player tries to use every weapon in his arsenal to slow it down, but nothing seems to work.  The demonstration fades to black and it’s all over.

What XCOM has going for it is the terrestrial mysticism.   You don’t know why the aliens are visiting earth and you’re fairly puzzled by them in general.

Similarly, the 1950s vibe creates a great atmosphere that makes players feel slightly uncomfortable.  Everything is the same as we know it, but it feels… different.  Everything is cold and normal, yet it conflicts with the alien presence.

The producers declined to comment, but what really has my curiosity piqued is if the game will be three player co-op.  I guess we’ll just have to wait and see until 2011.

  1. This seems really, really cool. I LOVE the entropic intro – that really got my attention.

  2. avatar ForumTroll

    This isn’t xcom and it sounds like it’s a linear fps shooter that will wind up only having “replay” value if you really want to go back to complete those mission you might have “missed”. Really I got my hopes up for this? What a joke.

    • Sure it isn’t the same gameplay as the original XCOM, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be a good game. Don’t write it off before you know more about it.

  3. avatar El Bordo

    Let’s see: FBI agents investigating mysterious alien activity in a small town… So far this game seems to have more in common with the X-Files than XCOM. It’s hard to look at the trailer and not think that this is BioShock 3, given the XCOM brand to generate interest. I’m not against an XCOM FPS, but the fun of XCOM was in growing your organization and leading your teams of agents. I hope they manage to capture this element more than they have revealed so far.

  4. avatar Jake

    I have to agree with Forum Troll. I was excited when I heard XCOM was back, because I liked the build it up, turn based strategy game. I wish they would just re-do XCOM 1 and 2 into one game with better graffix and release that.

    • I’ve never played any of the original games, nor do I know much about them, but from the demonstration, I was actually impressed by what they showed. This could be attributed to the fact that 2K overall had a very polished demonstration with all their games, but I mean, it definitely got me interested.

  5. avatar ForumTroll

    In response to Jason Anton I’m not writing the game off but they need to stop attempting to generate PR by calling it an X-COM sequel and tell people it’s simply a linear shooter set in the 50′s which X-COM was not set in. Not only have the completely changed the timeline they have also decided to make it involve the FBI which has nothing to do with X-COM which was an multinational force made up of the best from all branches of government and military. The game might be good or it might not be the only problem I have is attaching the name brand of a game I loved and hope would be remade to something that seems very likely to stumble or fail due to the PR or Marketing department even if the Development team manages to make a good game.

  6. I just don’t see why a good franchise needs to be “re-invented”. Just make a new strategy title – the original Xcom was called one of the best games in history for a reason!

    • avatar Soheil

      jared0379 on June 24, 2011 @SuperHomeBrewer ok, tkhnas Jeff! You seem like a really honest guy. I am going to friend you and message you. Thanks again and talk to you soon!

  7. avatar CapnKill

    At least be thankful that the franchise is alive again and if this game is successful then perhaps it might open the door for the true sequel we’ve all been waiting for, but until then, this is most certainly better than nothing.

  8. Seems like an interesting story-line, but I am not going to buy it. Looks like it lacks replay value. We shall see…

  9. avatar 60mm

    If you, like me, feel this game has no right to call itself X-Com then check out http://www.xenonauts.com A small game team called Goldhawk is doing it right.

  10. avatar Barrick

    Forumtroll hit the nail on the head…

    This may be a good game, but calling it X-Com is wrong. Its a marketing ploy to try and rope in the hardcore fans of the series, those who played and who remember what X-Com is. Those who never played, won’t matter since they may get the game anyway. There is absolutely no element of X-Com at all in this game, not one bit, nothing remotely even relates to it being X-Com.

    They should have called it something else because the hardcore fans will most likely just simply ignore it. What they tried to do, which was to rope in the fans, ended in failure due to the amount of people who are shunning this game…

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