Messing with the aliens
Posted by Tobold's Blog [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 29 October 2012, 4:13 am
I've been playing through XCOM: Enemy Unknown several times. There aren't many games I'm willing to play more than once these days, so this is a sign of quality. But when you play the game repeatedly, there are inevitably parts you like less and others you like more. The part I like the most is the tactical battles on various maps. The urban maps are varied and well done. The rural maps not so much, there is basically just one map with different colors but the same elevation and tree features. Different UFOs landing make a bit of a difference, but there aren't all that many types of those either. But in general the tactical combat is why I play XCOM.

That leaves the strategic / story part of the game as the weaker part. The story is strictly linear and always the same, but as you can skip the cut scenes, I can ignore that. What I can't ignore is the structure of the strategic game in which you start with a severe lack of resources. If you lose XCOM on higher difficulty levels it is almost certainly on the strategic level, where a certain randomness means you can't be sure whether your attribution of limited resources is the right one.

So I decided to mess with that part. Using a program called ArtMoney I cheated to get a few thousand dollars at the start, instead of a few hundred. That doesn't turn XCOM into an insta-win game, but it removes a lot of risk from the strategic part of the game. Basically I'm making the strategic part of the game easier, so as to enable me to play the tactical part of the game at a higher difficulty level, against more and cleverer aliens.

That is working out fine for now, so I'm currently considering how I can mess with the game structure some more. I am deliberately *not* doing story missions, so that I can see what happens if I'm not ending the game by beating the aliens. I really don't like the Temple Ship ending anyway. I wonder if I can somehow turn the game into an endless series of tactical battles, or whether something is built into the game which prevents that.

Playing a game is fun. Messing with a game can be even more fun, as long as it is a single-player game.
Tobold's Blog



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