I got the short end of the stick with XCOM's psionic soldiers. I sent every soldier I had into it and came out with one. The game compared my stats to the rest of the world, averaging between 3 and 4. My 'one' soldier however was the lone soldier that survived the game's tutorial. It was a Heavy from Argentina, a rookie who was promoted to Squaddie after every member of his team died.
And I let some soldiers die. But for whatever reason, whatever slight chance, Sergio Ramirez kept surviving. And as he ranked up the more valuable I viewed him. Yeah, others were promoted too, but it was Sergio who not only went on the most missions, but also racked up the most kills. And he was the lone soldier who was gifted with psionic powers. A badass Argentinian man with a short mohawk and a heavy plasma rifle, and I went to town man.
And when that final cinematic played out I was glad that Sergio Ramirez was with me from the start, until the end. It made the journey feel kind of personal in that 'tell your own story' kind of way. He literally became the face of MY XCOM experience. There's no real forced narrative in XCOM, it's almost entirely focused on gameplay, but you start to tell yourself a story, and seeing that rookie who was panicking and unable to shoot straight become the most valuable asset of humanity felt cool. It could have been any soldier. I could have lost Sergio in an earlier portion of the game and just moved on. But he was the only constant for me in XCOM, a game that's essentially based on randomization and the unexpected. And if I were to play again, I won't have Sergio there with me, leading the squad to victory. It'd be some other guy or girl. Hell, I'll probably skip the tutorial if I play again, and that would mean there won't be a lone survivor to have to begin with.
But after 34.4 hours folks, XCOM: Enemy Unknown is complete on the first playthrough. And what a fine game it turned out to be!
I find amazing how progressive strategy games give room for emerging stories. X-COM gives an experience similar to what I got in Tom Clancy End War the first time I played. I got a pretty badass unit of helicopters that would serve as my main recon and hit and run unit. And I would HAUL ASS to evacuate them if they ever got shot down.
That's exactly how I felt about my A-team in XCOM. There was one mission that went straight to hell. Everyone survived, but with critical injuries and they were essentially removed from the game for weeks (in-game time, obviously, not real-time) and so I had to play with a sort of B-team. And I took on a devil may care attitude with that team. I didn't play as methodically and some of them died in the following missions. As soon as I got my A-team back, it was back to business.
I wonder if the game is designed to do that? Say you lose that guy in an earlier mission or something, what happens? Or if you skip the tutorial what happens? Because the end-game stats showed me that people were averaging about 3.5 psionic soldiers.
@NeonNinja I think it's supposed to be based on the morale skill or whatever it is. The skill that upgrades as they level up that you can buy the upgrade to make characters gain more as they level (which is ****** stupid), so your later soldiers should be better than your first ones and have a better chance to become psionic soldiers. I played on normal and the game was pretty easy so no one in my usual squad ever died (after the tutorial), I think I only lost two replacements when normal members were recovering so I probably got one because they had lower stats then if I had used new soldiers.
Emergent. The beauty of emergent narrative -- the only form of narration that is truly borne out of the medium. Everything else -- text and cutscenes we've taken on loan from other mediums.
XCOM's final level was meh but the ending was special in that sense.
Now, have I ever told you about another brilliant game with emergent narrative -- a little game called CKII and how it is... *blah blah*
*an hour later*
.....and then I forced him to kill his own son and marry his wife. AWESOME,RIGHT!?
*looks around* Hey, don't take it out of context, there was MEANING to what I did. :-S
A salute to Col.Ramirez. May his turn never end!
Aye! May his turn never end, brother.
*ignores remainder of CKII rant to go play actual, good games :D*
I've been very interested in XCOM: EU for a while now, seeing as I own the blithering, confusing original titles on Steam and yet this entry by Firaxis, the development team for Civilization, looks like a straight-forward, nicely paced game. Would you recommend at full price or wait for a special, O' mighty Neon?