470 XCOM Gets Real

I love strategy games like the XCOM series. I like that I get to pause and think about my options and craft a strategy based on every piece of information that’s available to me. But I also love real-time games, like Warcraft. They are improvisational and reactionary, and ask the player to be quick-thinking. It’s book smarts versus street smarts.

I’ve been playing XCOM: Enemy Within lately. In the game (as well as in XCOM: Enemy Unknown and XCOM 2), there are two main states of play: base management and missions. Or, simulation and turn-based strategy. You spend 10 or more minutes in simulation, managing your team and their abilities, and maintaining your base of operations. Then, you choose (or are given) a mission, and embark. Rinse and repeat. It’s a nice gameplay loop, though, and helps to avoid any stale gameplay.

I wonder if there’s a way to integrate the simulation into the turn-based gameplay. I love games that take time seriously. Too many games live in a fictional dimension where time passes multiple times faster-than-normal. I’m always curious what’s happening at my base during the (in-game) hours I’m spending out on a mission. The game already gives you unlimited time between turns and decisions, so why not allow me to also manage my base during that.

This could create an interesting opportunity for a multi-leveled tactical experience. Maybe during a mission I have the ability to deploy new soldiers, or recall active ones. Or, sometimes a soldier is involuntarily recalled because they are needed for some other purpose somewhere else. In later levels, the game could have you running two missions simultaneously (for whatever story-related reason!), asking the player to manage two completely separately located missions, but with a single common goal. Additionally, if the base were more grounded (not just a glorified simulation menu), it could also itself become a mission or battlefield potentially.

[ Today I Was Playing: XCOM: Enemy Within ]

April 14, 2016

#game-modification, #strategy-game, #turn-based-game