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SummaryTactical game which can be played both in real time and turn based mode
The GoodThe game is extremely immersive. The world of the game just draws you in. The loading screens are quite moody and the kitchy 50's look of the vehicles is great. The aliens are very diverse and they provide plenty of challenge. The building of bases and researching new technologies is keeping you busy. And the music is great.
The BadThe graphics are too bright and this ruins the atmosphere. The older X-COM games had a great atmosphere primarily due to some great music and some really moody graphics. Apocalypse has got the music but the graphics lets it down.
The Bottom LineThose old-school die hards who were actually playing games on their PC or Amiga back in 1993 will probably remember a nice little tactical strategy game called UFO: Enemy Unknown or in the US X-COM: UFO Defense. This game let you battle invading aliens in a struggle to dominate both through military might and technological dominance. This struggle is started all over again in X-COM Apocalypse. It is the REAL sequel to UFO Defense as the first sequel seemed more like an expansion pack both because of a very similar look and feel and because it was so much more difficult that you would have a hard time playing it unless you had been playing the first game before.
Where the first two games had you fighting aliens all over the world the third game of the series has you fighting them in a city which the aliens are invading from a different dimension. The story of the game world is somewhat goofy reminding of a 50's science fiction comic. And some of the graphics, especially the look of the vehicles in the game, supports this notion.
In general the graphics are very disappointing. The aliens don't seem the least bit scary and this certainly hampers the atmosphere compared to X-COM: UFO Defense. The color palette is simply too bright to be any frightening. However the sounds are awesome. The effects do what they need to but what the graphics sort of hampers the music more than makes up for. So if any geeks out there with a bit too much time were to make a graphics mod which is a bit dark we would be back to the scary world of the first game.
The gameplay is just as solid as in the first games. For the purists turn-based gameplay is available in the missions and for the new-comers the option of playing it in real time is certainly a welcome opportunity. Whichever option you choose you will find yourself sufficiently challenged by the game.
To conclude this review X-COM: Apocalypse is in many ways a natural step forward from X-COM: UFO Defense. The addition of optional real time I think is a good idea. The only thing weighing down on this game is its graphics. Normally I don't have anything against ugly graphics. But here the graphics are counterproductive to the atmosphere of the game and this is a real shame.