Shooting Down UFOs

While everyone around me are increasingly getting stressed over the Holidays, my engines are actually cooling down. Winter break in school has just started and –as a cheapskate who doesn’t have a long list of people to gift– I’m also done with my Christmas shopping. So, this leaves me time to play all some of the games I’ve bought during Black Friday but haven’t played since then.

Don't die on me. Even if you're just a squaddie.

Don’t die on me. Even if you’re just a squaddie.

The first game on my list is XCOM: Enemy Unknown. I played the original XCOM back in the 90’s. Although I couldn’t say if I really liked the game. On one hand, it was an excellent game that absorbed most of my time. On the other, I found the game too difficult and punishing that I was unable to finish it. But I’m a sucker for everything that Firaxis develops. Over the years, their strategy games (Civilization and Pirates!) have robbed me of time and sleep. So, I’m sure they’re not going to stop at ‘Enemy Unknown’.

One of the many things I love about ‘Enemy Unknown’ is that its easy mode is much easier than the easy mode of the original XCOM. So, finishing the game doesn’t seem to be impossible this time as it was for me back then. Nonetheless, even at easy, the game can still be brutal if you’re not careful with your strategies. Make one wrong move and you’ll pay with the life/lives of your favorite soldier(s). If this happens often on missions, then you’ll end up without experienced soldiers in your barracks, making the game more difficult.

That’s the other thing I love about this game, your choices have consequences. Not just in the battlefield but also in managing your base and finances. Your budget in ‘Enemy Unknown’ is limited, and wasting what little money you have on unessential upgrades could cost you in a variety of ways –be it the lack of funds to replace a downed satellite or hiring a new sniper for your team.

XCOM: Enemy Unknown is a deep, challenging and satisfying strategy game. It’s quite refreshing to play a much headier, tactical turn-based game right now, when the market is filled with nothing but gun-pumping action games like Dishonored, Far Cry 3, Halo 4 or Borderlands 2. It’s quite lengthy too. So, if you’re looking for a game to combat winter blues or insomnia, look no further. ‘Enemy Unknown’ will keep you glued to your seat and rob you of both time and sleep.


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