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
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
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!
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
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.