Experienced Points

Experienced Points
E3 Killjoy 2010

Shamus Young | 18 Jun 2010 17:00
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There are legions of marketing people out there who go to work every day with the goal of finding new ways to separate you from your money. Their job is to tell you that a game is going to be awesome and that you should not only buy it, but you should pre-order the collector's edition.

And yet for some reason people often take offense when I tell them that the one game they're looking forward to is going to be terrible. I don't know why this is. Whatever my faults are as a professional doomsayer, at least I'm not the one asking you for sixty American dollars. (Or if you're Australian, double that, and you have to wait six months.)

So now the marketing folks have had their E3 sideshow. It's been a week of booze and loud music and screenshots and trailers and circus performers. But now it's time to sober up and take a good hard look at the hype before we run off to launch fan sites and start pre-ordering things we'll be ashamed of later. Brace yourself, because I'm going to say mean things about stuff you might have been planning to buy.

It's for your own good.


A lot of people are praising this game for the stylized 50's setting. But I want to note that the original was neither retro-50's or done in that art style. It was near future, and anime styled. It had nothing to do with the FBI and your team wasn't (necessarily) American. You didn't even have an in-game avatar. The aliens weren't oil blobs and the weapons weren't retro zap guns.

There is nothing of the original series in the new XCOM game. Not one shred of style, art direction, gameplay, or premise has survived beyond "aliens invade, do something about it". This isn't "updating" the gameplay any more than making an Animal Crossing clone would be making an update of the Halo gameplay. If it's to be an update, there has to be something of the original left.

Of course, this doesn't mean the game has to suck. It might still be fun. But you should be extremely suspicious whenever anyone hollows out an IP and stuffs something completely different into the old name. This is a game begun by marketing, not by a team of die-hard X-com fans who want to bring an old favorite to a new generation. If they couldn't even be bothered to borrow the broadest conventions of the series or familiarize themselves with the setting, then you should not count on this team for attention to detail.

I predict the gameplay will be repetitive and the strategy will have roughly the same depth as the fiver they expect you to put down for pre-order.

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