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randombullseye avatar 6:55 AM on 04.09.2012  (server time)
From Randombullseye at PAX East: My version of an X-Com Preview

Just as my one and done Sunday adventure at PAX was closing, I walk by the giant X-Com - Enemy Unknown booth, right when the door closed and I felt super bummed about that. I became a huge fan of X-Com a couple years ago, this was the one that was actually a strategy game not the first person shooter. I can only assume that is canceled or pushed back another year, no one mentioned it as far as I can remember. A vaguely asian public relations lady asked me "Do you want to go see X-Com?" I said excitedly, "Sure." She responded, "Well go right through that door!" A nice blonde lady opened up the door for me, and I got to sit in this little theatre that was set up to show off a live demo, not a playable public demo.

They explained that I wasn't supposed to take pictures or anything like that, so I didn't make any attempts to snap pictures. This was a live demo, so a guy who was faux-excited about X-Com began by asking if everyone had played X-Com before, so me and about ten other dudes raised our hands, there were maybe a dozen people in this little booth. He said, "How about any of the X-Com sequels?" So a couple people raised there other hand, so did I. He nodded, then the demo began on what I would guess was a projector screen in front of us.

The demo shows off a cinematic of your big space ship landing at a gas station, he calls out your four person squad: Support, Sniper, Heavy, and Combat. Each of which had their own strengths and weaknesses, the support guy could lay down suppressing fire and pin an alien, which happened within the first minute. A group of the nasty grey aliens were scrounging around, the person playing moved his squad around as the PR gentleman described what he was doing.

This looked like a scenario these guys had ran over and over, they had it down to a hard science.

Your squad can either do half a move and attack, do a full move, or just do an attack. The sniper had a really neat grappling hook that let him get on top of the gas pumps, positioning himself a couple times before he was able to do anything useful. It was said that the sniper is unable to attack on a half move, since he's such a badass and can usually kill things in one hit. One sectoid grey alien went inside a building and did a mind meld with another, which was some sort of buff for the both of them.

The combat soldier came up behind them with a shotgun, pretty well devastating them. The support guy threw a grenade, at a gas pump, which resulted in an amount of destruction that satisfied even me. The third sectoid was splattered inside his building by the sniper who after several turns finally was in a spot to use his rifle. It was then that they positioned their guys around again, when three larger enemies appeared over inside a building.

I imagine it was just to show off the destructible environments, but he had one soldier walk right in front of a door where these big red mutoid, which is what they were called, not muton's like in the old x-com, and there was a third with blades called a "beserker." Why is that the catch all name for big melee dudes in video games? Anyway, as expected, they blast the dog shit out of the guy standing by the door, which exploded very nicely leaving this big gaping hole in this building.

His next turn he showed off an ability that shotgun soldier had called "run and gun," where they could do a full move and attack, why this wasn't being used the entire time on every turn I should have asked. One blast to the back with a shotgun took out a red muton. The heavy pulls out a rocket launcher, and makes the hole at the door of the building even larger, killing the beserker. Finally, this new hole allowed the sniper to see the last alien alive, whom he one shotted as well. Every attack played out a very action-movie like attack, which I thought was really dope. Even reaction attacks showed a soldier running past the sectoids dinky laser gun in slow motion as they run from cover to cover.

Then we're shown what he called "the ant hill." This was our home base. PR Guy described it as a GI Joy carrier toy that our rich friend had when we were kids. I don't think anyone understood the, I got the idea. As I look it up now, the toy he wanted to say was the GI Joe headquarters, which looks pretty much identical to what I saw. Each section inside the X-Com base seemed to have characters doing things, which you could zoom in and see, such as soldiers in the infirmly or over in a gym working out. Things then switch to a research lab where, as in the original, you have scientists study things you recover from previous combat missions. He then switched over to the engineers part of the base, where they used that research to build armor for our troops. Done deal.

Our demo ended with some sort of alert playing from the mission control part of the base, where then a cinematic played. Seemed like the type of game I want to play.

We then asked questions:

- The PR guy said this was a full retail release. That shocked the shit out of me. Coming to PC, Xbox 360, and PS3, as a full retail release.

- Ship to ship combat hasn't been implimented yet, "back at the office" they're working on how to resolve that now. They did show the interceptor in the X-Com base, where he claimed it would be "fully customizable."

- Game would be coming out "Fall 2012." I would not expect it until later in the year, hopefully by Christmas we'll be blasting aliens in X-Com.

- I would have asked the guy about capturing aliens alive, had I not tripped on the metal stairs on my way out and felt like stupid.

- This video Samit posted from last month, has footage snippets from the gas station demo.

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