Saturday Morning Gaming: An X-Com Game from Out of Nowhere
X-Com Chimera Squad was announced on April 14th. Like, this year, April 14th. That was less than two weeks ago.
It was released yesterday on the 24th. That’s 10 days between announcement and release! How did they keep this thing under wraps?
Anyway, it’s out. And… yeah, I haven’t really played it much.
So, instead, I’ll talk about X-Com and X-Com 2 for a bit. We talked about X-Com: Enemy Unknown all the way back in 2012. A remake of a game from the 90’s, it’s two games in one. In one half of the game, you’re fighting the aliens and they’re fighting back. Use cover, use explosives to blow up the aliens’ cover, use snipers to take them out from a distance, use shotguns to get up close and personal. Finish the mission and go to the other half of the game where you’re running a base. You’re researching the aliens, you’re researching their weapons, and you’re training your soldiers. The story progresses, you find out what’s REALLY going on and you fight the big bad and, if you’re good, you win.
X-Com 2 was one of those magical sequels that gives you the feeling that “Holy cow… the first game was little more than a tutorial for the REAL game.” New aliens, new tactics, new weapons, new missions, new base, new tech… but it all feels really familiar anyway. And then it had DLC that wasn’t merely “new missions” but added a level to the game that was so good and so rich and so deep that it was what we used to call an “Expansion”.
So when I heard that there was a new X-Com game coming out, I freaked out with excitement. I downloaded it yesterday (when it came out) but had to work and last night I had to cook and do stuff and I really didn’t get a chance to play it much. So I can’t review it yet.
But I CAN say a handful of things about it. First off: X-Com Chimera Squad is not X-Com 3. Don’t go into it thinking “Oh! I hope it’s X-Com 3!” It’s not X-Com 3.
That said, it introduces a number of new mechanics. In the old game, you had your turn with all of your soldiers, then the aliens had their turn with all of their aliens. And back and forth. In this one, one of your soldiers goes, then one of their aliens goes, then another of your soldiers, then another of theirs. It alternates and that changes the way you have to think about things. There’s also a new “breaching” mechanic. When you start any given room, you kick in the door and you’ve got a quick turn to shoot at anyone you have line of sight to in the first second of the altercation.
When it comes to the base, well, you’re no longer in charge of protecting the whole planet, you’re in charge of protecting your city. Your base is still your base though.
So I’d say that that is the main difference here. The scope of the game went from “Planet-wide” to “City-wide”. It’s not X-Com 3.
As for the game’s story? Well, the setting takes place 5 years after X-Com 2 ends with the humans winning, and we now have a society where we’ve integrated the aliens who were turning humans into enslaved alien hybrids, and we’ve all put that behind us and several places have put the aliens in positions of government. There are a handful of humans, aliens, and hybrids who resent this sort of thing and they’re terrorists and you are the head of Chimera Squad: a police force that has humans and aliens and hybrids working together to take out the terrorists who haven’t gotten over the events from 5 years ago.
Anyway, I enjoy the little of the game I’ve played so far and I really like the new combat mechanics and city mechanics. If you’ve been starving for a new X-Com game, you’re in luck.
Just don’t go into it expecting X-Com 3. It’s not X-Com 3.
So… what are you playing?
(Featured image is a screenshot from the Armory, where you can see my starting group of Chimera Agents.)