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My Review

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#1 jtgibson



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Posted 03 August 2005 - 02:38 AM

It's looking great so far! Though I'd love a modern game with X-COM intellectual property, it's a pipe dream: Atari has no inclination to do so, or will screw it up somehow, and they'd sue the pants off of anyone who tried it themselves. ;-) As long as Xenocide captures the feel of X-COM, it should be more than enough. And it's well on its way so far.

The music is absolutely incredible. Kudos to ATeX for his amazing work. It sounds even better played outside of the game in Winamp, which I've been playing off and on over the day. It captures the intrigue and horror of X-COM while adding an epic feel. And the instruments are astoundingly clear and crisp. Here's hoping that the finished release will contain at least an hour of music... I can't wait to hear his take on the Cydonian Mission theme. =)

I hardly noticed the blurring texture at maximum zoom -- in my opinion, people in general are too focused on graphics, and like to nitpick silly details.* The graphics that are there are clean and functional, though I'm not sure I like the "tent" appearance of the hangars. While I do believe to a point that the concept art looks almost silly at times, I also know that concept art is not at all similar to the finished product, and what's already implemented in the public demo looks more than adequate. A little spit shine and some good dedicated work from the art team, and it'll look industry competitive -- the interface is already there.

Aside from the obviously unimplemented features, which aren't an issue, I did encounter a couple of quirks which bothered me slightly:

# The rotation rate of the globe was much too fast using the buttons on the HUD without using the click-and-drag method. If the rotation speed is framerate-based, it should be clock-based; if it's already clock-based, it needs to be decreased a bit. A slider or input within the gameplay options menu would be nice, allowing users to slow down or speed up the globe rotation (and a lower default should probably be chosen as well) to their preference.

# The zoom in/out arrows, despite being faithful to the original, seemed a little cumbersome. A mouse-wheel shortcut would be very welcome. [edit]And not two seconds after making this post, I discover the right-click function... ;-)[/edit]

Stability of earlier Xenocide alpha versions was an issue, but this latest version seems to have no problems. The program ran without a hitch using the DirectX renderer, and the whole process was smooth from installation, to startup, to "gameplay", and finally to exit.

Overall, Xenocide has the potential to be good, and more potential to be great. Here's hoping that it captures the bated breath, the pounding heart, and the shrieks of dismay that came from my direction when I played the original X-COM, faced crashed terror ships, and lost half of my team to a chrysalid or cyberdisc... and felt pangs of anger and anguish at losing simulated teammates that I had grown to like. Few games can capture this sensation, and Xenocide looks like it might be one to step into that exclusive hall of fame as a faithful improvement over its ancestor.

[edit]Whoa, I was way off on the version...[/edit]

* X-COM was 320x200 and 256 colours (though with some nifty features like pallette shifting), and you don't see many people complaining about that. Heck, the planet textures weren't even 3D -- they were 2D simulations... you could see as the world scrolled at maximum zoom that the textures would stay in the same place, just being masked onto the triangles... ;-)

Edited by jtgibson, 03 August 2005 - 03:01 AM.