The second part of the final mission is an alien base that shares a lot of similarities with the other bases we’ve taken out, though two things make it different. First, there’s the central area with the ‘mother brain’ that X-COM needs to take out, no doubt heavily guarded though potentially not difficult to reach; the alien base is randomly generated in the PC version unlike the PSOne mission where the map is set. Secondly, this is the only mission in the game with a mixture of alien races, presenting a unique challenge that pits some of the most difficult opponents against you all at once. While you may want to take it slow and carefully, remember that the aliens will have some potent psionic skills to throw at you, throwing all your carefully thought out plans out the window. It’s here more then anywhere where a playthrough can go horribly wrong, just before the point of victory.
Will X-COM prevail? Will the aliens finally be defeated and the Earth saved? Will Barry survive the mission? And will BroWren486 make it back to Earth in time for the prom? Almost all these questions will be answered as we determine the future of mankind.
What can I say about X-COM that I haven’t already? It’s a game I love and one that’s only been made better with OpenXCOM, providing loads of quality-of-life changes and customisation that allowed me to tweak the game to exactly my liking, all without drastically altering what makes X-COM so great. The gameplay is solid, the music atmospheric and the challenge ever-present, making you truly feel that you’re up against a terrifying and overwhelming opposition. You have so much freedom in how you choose to play; how many bases you set up, if they’re fully independent or monitoring stations for a main base or any other combination and that’s not even beginning to mention how you set up your squad. You become attached to your soldiers as they struggle and fight, as you watch them grow and as you sadly watch some of them perish, a narrative unfolding before you in a way that makes X-COM so enjoyable. The missions never get repetitive due to the random battlescape maps and from the beginning to the end, I was having loads of fun. Some people may find the control scheme archaic compared to the newer games and the way the aliens fight unfair, but the former I’m used to and the latter I expect from the game; it does a good job to painting the alien force as a superior and dangerous opponent that you’re lagging behind from the word go, playing catch-up as you try to discover what’s going on and why. The game has its flaws and can be cruel in how badly missions can go but they won’t stop me loving this game. I encourage anyone who likes squad-based strategy games to give this one a try, either with or without OpenXCOM dependant on your preference. OpenXCOM makes the game that much more playable on modern systems however that I’d seriously recommend using that over the base game, if only for the resolution options and the game speed being correct.
So what’s next? I think after such a long replay I feel like playing something shorter and less complicated, but no less fun. I’ve known what game I want to return to after this for some time, one near and dear to my heart and of a genre that I don’t often play or enjoy. If it actually will end up being short is another matter. That depends on my ability to play the game and as we all know, I’m brilliant at every game I play and for those who don’t know, that previous statement was sarcasm. Either way, I feel that the X-COM squad deserve a much-needed break to bask in their achievements and consider all those who fought and lost their lives to save the world.
See you next let’s play!