Alright, I Beat XCOM

X-Com Fan Art from Androidarts

It’s rare for me to get a game and then immediately play through it (hence the embarrassing backlog I often refer to).  It pulled some pathetically long marathon sessions over the last week.  I didn’t play through the game in the most hardcore fashion; I was perfectly willing to load up a save file and retry a situation to keep a soldier from dying.  According to the gaming elites, this is a pathetic, scrubby way to play.  That may be true, but I also think it’s a behavior somewhat encouraged by the developers (unless you’re playing in “Iron Man” mode, which doesn’t allow you to save and reload.)  The way it’s done, each action is not “rolled” upon being performed.  If you have a 60% chance of hitting an enemy with a shot, the computer won’t virtually roll a ten-sided die to determine whether you succeed upon your choice to fire.  Instead, it’s basically generated a random number table at the start of the mission and as actions occur the game just proceeds along the table. So if you miss a shot, you will always miss that shot at that point in the mission.  When you reload the game you will need to do something different to move along the random number table.  It’s no longer a matter of playing percentages but of finding the optimal order of actions and positions for characters in a given situation to ensure the best outcome.  Playing the game in this scrub fashion isn’t necessarily cheating, it’s just choosing to play a different game altogether.  It’s become a puzzle game versus a strategy game.

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