Well I did it despite my misgivings. I downloaded the XCom enemy unknown Demo and played through it a few times. My initial reactions were just meh. The original XCom enemy unknown is quite possibly my favorite game of all time and without a doubt it is my most played game of all time so I went into this game with very high expectations. Its very similar to how people went into the prequels of Star Wars while the original movies had a place in their heart.
That said, I am not an average gamer to say whether XCom is good or not. Im far to biased by the very existence of the original Xcom enemy unknown.
Still I went in to this game trying to like it, I really did. I wanted it to be Xcom on a new engine and with better graphics but its not. That said I still want to talk about the stuff I liked and didnt like
The very first thing I noticed was that soldiers had classes which kind of made me raise an eyebrow about how well Firaxis understands what made Xcom so good. A class system by itself is not a bad thing but when compared with the last game where you could make anyone anything you wanted just by the equipment they carried makes it paradoxically an outdated mechanic. The fact that your special weapons are linked to classes instead of just the gear and equipment you carry is IMO a major step backwards. For example the heavy assault has a 1 use rocket launcher ability but in the original game I could pack a rocket launcher and 4 rockets, even more if I didnt mind my other soldiers packing extra ammo. So immediately I see the class system as at best outdated and makes me question if the game is going to turn into ability spamming later on rather then strategic tactical combat
The movement system while less stringent isnt bad at all, its just different. In some cases I like how it works but in many I dont. I cant move into a room, scout whats there, and then quickly run out while another soldier tosses a grenade inside or opens fire. The whole thing takes away the risk/reward ideas that were so thoroughly ingrained in the original game. Its just so...limiting. Although the idea of hunkering down, making the cover your using more effective then it otherwise would be, is an idea I really like.
The lack of an inventory is what really sealed the deal for me and made me start to feel a bit alienated as a die hard fan of Xcom. One of the major things about XCom was micromanaging inventory. You were the commander of an international defense agency and that meant proper management of everything from building bases to managing individual soldier loadouts.
The ground combat is ok. The problem I had with both missions was there was no tension. You didnt have shots from the dark or from a flank/behind coming out of nowhere which created a kind of tension and required greater tactical combat. In this new one it just seems like the aliens want to jump out into the light, stopping just before doing a little song and dance. Its possible that this was just a problem for the first missions so if the later missions of the actual games makes it so the aliens are flanking and ambushing you Ill be a lot happier.
Now with the base building I dislike the idea of only having one base which is what i think they were going for. I didnt notice a build additional bases option while playing the game but the fact that putting your base in different areas gives you different bonuses is an interesting one. Not only does it give some extra meta game potential it creates some interesting replayability and challenge options as well. However I have one major problem with it, you cant build a base in Antarctica. This is a double edged sword choice for design though. On one hand I like the idea of bonuses based around your continent of choice but on the other hand if youre building a certain way it screws with the freedom of putting your base anywhere.
The geoscape allows for your unit to search out missions and get certain bonuses from doing them. I like the idea of searching more then waiting for something to happen which is what happened in the original a lot.
So heres my problem with the whole game. Who is it for? Its not for me, a hardcore Xcom fan. Is it for new people to get involved in the franchise? I just dont get it I guess. They had a classic game with clear and well defined gameplay but they changed so many things that I find it similar but different enough that its not recognizably Xcom. Its more like an Xcom rip off. I think the game itself is mediocre at best but it doesnt change the fact that I am still disappointed by it and perhaps that was going to happen no matter what they did