Monday, November 26, 2012

What I've been Playing

I've been playing quite a bit of XCOM lately.  I played the original as a child and so remember nothing from it except the sheer terror that is the Chryssalid and so I would qualify myself as "new" to the series.  The pacing is very effective, as I find myself ping-ponging back and forth between the strategy and tactical layers without missing a beat.  The game also does a good job of creating a sense of reverse time compression - let me explain.

When I play games like Civilization, I lose time.  I look up at the clock after a play session and more time has passed than I expected.  When I play XCOM, I gain time.  The clock shows that less time has passed than expected.  I suspect this is a result of the tension that XCOM creates during play.

XCOM is my current game that I recommend to my gamer friends.  It is an tight, focused experience that creates a deeply personal feeling of victory and defeat no matter which difficulty level you play on.

Due to the steam sale and recommendations from friends, I also picked up both Endless Space and Sword of the Stars II, two space-based 4x games.  I've not really had the time to dive into them in a serious manner, but have managed to clock the first hour or so in each title.  My first impression of Endless Space is one similar to a civilization game: a new player feels pretty comfortable diving in and just doing stuff.  Sword of the Stars II, however, feels much more like a traditional Paradox game: dense, meaty, and requiring a lot of reading and flailing about.