Imposters will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of GR law.
I think I'm gonna sue! Has the idea of truth in advertising gone the way of the Daikatana fan? Was I high and passed out from a Pez overdose when the geeks rallied together and voted that a game's title isn't required to have anything to do with the game that's in the box? Probably, but that's beside the point.
When you hear the word XCOM, you should think aliens, depth of gameplay and strategy. Infogrames' new XCOM: Enforcer has one of the three: aliens, and they are legion.
Somewhat in the vein of Serious Sam and Duke Nukem, XCOM Enforcer is a straightforward third-person shooter that pits players against a horde of unfortunate looking, AI-less extraterrestrials. After the shock wore off that this game has nothing to do with the XCOM mythos, I began judging it purely as a product in and of itself...which led to the inevitable conclusion that throngs of enemies are cool, but lame level design, an overly powerful main character, lackluster visuals, ear-wrenching sound and annoying gameplay make for a shooter that is anything but fun. It's just downhill from the start.
Don't expect much of a story. The game opens with a scientist (he wears a lab coat, so that qualifies him) telling you, the Enforcer robot, that he has no time to explain anything other than "You were created to save the world from these invading aliens!" The he dies, and the game starts. End of story. Wow. Didn't know they were hiring monkeys to write game plots these days.
While the story is most definitely substandard, the gameplay is just barely passable. Over Enforcer's 30 missions, players will traverse cliché areas such as a trailer park, shopping malls, industrial science facilities, a metropolis and more.
During your adventure you will spend all your time blasting through the game's 20 different enemies with a multitude of armaments, such as flamethowers, shotguns, bladed projectile guns, cannons, missile launchers and many others. Some of these weapons are cool and interesting, and you're sure to find a favorite. But Enforcer manages to make it irritating by only allowing you to carry one weapon at a time. I guess pockets weren't included with this model.
Confined to toting a single firearm in a game that has respawning weapons littered throughout every map sucks like a Kirby Vacuum on the highest setting. Just as soon as you snag the heat of your choice, you'll start fragging and dodging and inadvertently pick up another weapon. More often than not, it's something you really don't want, like the flamethrower (more like 'lamethrower'). This is really annoying. Why can't I carry more than one weapon? Or how about adopting the Counter-Strike way of storage? You can't pick up another weapon of a certain type (primary or secondary) unless you drop the current weapon you are carrying. No such luck in XCOM: Enforcer!
Upon their death, the otherworldly creatures leave behind little doohickeys called data chips. Yes, you heard me correctly - not blood, not lost limbs nor squishy alien bits - these aliens leave behind data chips. You use these stupid data chips to purchase weapon and item upgrades.
This would be a cool feature if it were needed, but you can go through the entire game with a first level weapon and still kick much ass. The Enforcer is just to damn powerful. Every weapon kills aliens with incredible ease. And since there is no AI to worry about, all you need are a few evasive maneuvers while mashing that left mouse button and it's victory lane. Way too simple!
Speaking of simple… I don't mind if developers use another game's engine. In fact, I prefer it. Rune, Deus Ex, Heavy Metal: FAKK 2 and many others have successfully tweaked established game engines into new forms. But if it's not done right, you disgrace the borrowed engine, its designers, yourself, your family and the Shaolin temple.
Enforcer has got to be the worst use of the Unreal engine that I have ever seen. The framerates are solid, but textures are not very detailed or vibrant and everything has this weird green tint to it. I guess it's an alien thing. I just wouldn't understand. This might be a decent console effort, but we expect more from PC games in the 21 century.
Enforcer's one redeeming quality is its multiplayer support. While not as much fun as playing Unreal Tournament, XE does offer a decent online experience (Cooperative or Deathmatch). Also, at the official XCOM website you can download maps and skins to help up the interest quotient.
Still, XCOM: Enforcer fails in too many ways. It's not an XCOM game by any means; at least, not in the way any veteran gamer has come to know XCOM. But what is worse is that it's not even an adequate shooter. You're much too powerful, rendering the action moot. The basic gameplay is rather annoying, the game looks shabby and to top it all off; the infernal thing is 30 whole dollars. Serious Sam, which is a much better game, is only $20. This might be a good example of what some teenager could do with the Unreal engine, a Commodore 64 and 2 sticks of chewing gum, but it's a poor example of a good game.