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10 reasons to get excited about XCOM: Enemy Unknown

Civilization ceators Firaxis resurrect the classic turn-based strategy series

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6. ALTER EGO

By far our favourite feature during our hands-on was the odd but compelling attachment we felt to our six-strong team of squadies. Before we had arrived at Firaxis' studio in Baltimore the devs had kindly entered our details into the game so we were greeted with our own cheery mugs staring back from the team selection screen. Out in combat we had the role of Sniper and every shot fired by our personal squad member had us mentally high five-ing.

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7. SPACE INVADERS

In single-player, your game plays out thusly. Earth is under attack and your highly covert XCOM corps is tasked with batting back the oppressive appendages of the invading aliens. From your base's mission control room you can scan the Earth's surface for activity, reacting to UFO attacks and helping to protect citizens, while taking the fight all the way to the ETs.

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8. SHAKE YOUR TACTICS

If you're intrigued by the cinematic action of XCOM's battles, but put off by the possibility of spending hours tinkering in menus, don't be afraid. The depth in XCOM:EU appears, from our initial hands-on, to be craftily layered to ensure that players of either school of strategic thought can prosper. That said there are both Impossible Difficulty and Iron Man auto-save modes for those of a sadistic bent. Think of XCOM:EU as a cross between the tactics of Final Fantasy Tactics, but with the camaraderie of a paint-balling weekend.

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9. VETERAN DEVELOPER

Enemy Unknown is the first game to emerge from Firaxis to not sport the moniker of said company's most famed and prolific figures. Sid Meier, legendary game design genius behind Civilisation, has been involved creatively, however. He helped lead designer Jake Solomon nail down the game's strategic elements.

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10. HEAD TO HEAD

We had a riotous time in multiplayer, exchanging tactics and banter with our fellow players. A points system means that you might not be free to choose every unit you would want, lending the load-out selection screen a touch more tactical weight however. Unfortunately, we spent an awful lot of time during multiplayer twiddling our thumbs waiting for our opposite number to take their go. Surely this time could be spent better?

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