So first off the game is actually great fun when it works. I really enjoy the world and story, the npcs are fun and convey the plot in an interesting manner. The gameplay overall has some nice elements to it, with a great deal of freedom and exploration for the different tactics you can use. At its heart, it captures many of the things that made me love Xcom style game in the first place.
What lets this game down is, unfortunately, a large number of bugs and just silly/annoying things that just slow the game down unnecessarily.
From this point on here is a spoiler warning, you have been told!
I will break this down into three sections, those things that are plainly broken such as bugs and whatnot and the second area as things that in my opinion could be improved upon but that is just my view and not anything game-breaking. Finally general suggestions for things that could be added to improve the game.
Bugs I have found:
- Several maps are just a mess. The worst offender was by far the Synedrion mission to defend the rocket. Several tiles are empty but your units cannot enter/use them.
- Several of the map tiles that should be enterable on the said map and others do not allow for special actions to be used (Such as sprint or vanish) They can be entered normally but there is no option to finish units move on them when using any special kind of movement.
- When units are launched (such as spider drones of alien worms) they often land inside pieces of set terrain (barrels etc) They cannot move or be hit and if you are trying to play a mission where you must clear the map of enemies it can prevent you from doing so.
- There were several times during the final palace mission where the gates would open but the tiles would still be blocked for entry. (Although reloading the level did often cleared that up)
- Ammo glitches: Often empty ammo clips would remain in your unit’s inventory, taking up space and making you believe they had more rounds than was true.
- Terrible stability issues, several times the mission would be completed only to then sit there. This seemed especially prominent when it was moving on to a cut scene. (Had it happen when I finished the synerdion final mission and I was not pleased to let me tell you!)
- A few animations aren’t working properly, the engineer’s repair arms for example, a small point but these little things could be fixed.
8 Units dying because of standing on a place holder. Only happened once but a unit was standing on a small box on ground level. When the turn started they fell through it and instantly died (Were at full health ect)
Okay, on to general balance issues and pointless time wasters:
- Sirens oh how I hate them. I feel the accursed things are just too strong. When they can mind control a max WP unit with a fully invested WP stat it just feels too powerful. They don’t even need their viral injection or any WP damaging powers. - Another side note on Sirens, I feel they should automatically lose their control over any mind-controlled units when the Siren is themself totally paralyzed/and or mind-controlled in turn by you own units (Unlikely as that is)
- Virus weapons just seem useless. Pretty much all the enemies have such a massive WP pool that the amounts of WP done just don’t make them viable. The enemy doesn’t need them and they pretty much don’t care if you use it on them.
- Chirons, they almost deserve a full section by themselves:
-The explosive blast variation is far too destructive- They far too accurate for an indirect weapon and their damage is far too high
-They always know where you are- This point is by far the most infuriating thing about Chirons, they pretty much ignore any stealth. Your unit can be hidden, even have used the “vanish” power that makes you invisible when standing right next to an enemy unit and those flippin Chirons will pin-point bombard you from across the map even when there are no other units that can even directly see you.
- Lairs are just awful. You cannot take any of your heavy armour/vehicle units in as they with almost certainty get stuck. This coupled with the constant reinforcements, sentry units that can spot even stealthed units and an inevitable couple of Chirons hitting you from the word go its pretty much the least favourite mission in the whole game. Boring and a heavy slog.
- Never even found an alien “Citadel” so cannot comment on that despite one the main objectives listed it to take one down.
- Please make the “you about to be invaded” warning for your bases more obvious! Three times I found that was under attack and failed to notice it despite keeping an eye on the reports.
- Ammo - this is such an annoyance. By all means have ammo, I can understand it and like the feeling of having to conserve bullets but please just have them be full or totally empty clips between missions. Having to stop and make sure all your units have full clips between missions is infuriating. If you insist on having us have to count every single bullet in our guns then please make the option to save the optimal loadout for each of your units and press one button to auto-refill them.
- When you are obviously safe in ambush missions - When you have defeated every enemy and all your units are in good health (i.e not bleeding out or poisoned) please don’t make us slog all the way to exit to complete the mission. If there is no actual threat anymore just let the mission end, please.
- Vehicles, though cool, are redundant: - The trade off of three operatives for one scarab or mutog ect just isn’t worth it. They have underwhelming attacks and often get stuck/cannot progress on many maps. They can’t level up and quickly become obsolite past the first couple of missions.
- Capturing aliens: If an alien is under mind control at the end of a mission please let it just be captured. Being forced to use the paralsis system as your only option when you could just mentally force them to appears counter productive.
- Why a total of only 9 slots for missions? There is no combination of transports that meets this number.
Okay rant done, now onto point three - Things to be added- There already a ton of stuff in the game which a good thing most of the time, here are some things add to the game that would make the game better:
- A WP boost for each civilian that you actually evacuate during a defence mission.
- An option to choose which extra skills a unit can have access to rather than randomizing.
- Base defense rooms. They were teased in some of the art and concepts but never made it which saddened me.
- An aura/indicator of when your stealthed units will be spotted when they move.
- Weapon loadout options for your vehicles
- A return fire reaction range option, just like overwatch.
- Option to pause/menu access during the computer’s turn
That’s about it for now. Thanks for reading and now I’ve beaten the game once I think I’ll give it a break for a while and come back to it if/when things have imporved.