XCOM: Enemy Unknown - Slingshot Review

Slingshot adds three good missions to XCOM: Enemy Unknown, but too easily blends into the dozens of hours that surround it.

XCOM: Enemy Unknown - Slingshot asks the question: is more of the same enough to satisfy you? If so, and if you don't mind starting a new game from scratch, then you already know what you need to know about the first major downloadable content for this great turn-based strategy game. For $6.99, you get three smartly designed levels, the latter two of which keep tensions appropriately high as you encounter the same horrifying aliens that hovered ominously over the original game. The DLC also provides certain tweaks that open up powerful technology, such as the fusion core, earlier than you would normally expect, and it also adds some cosmetic customization options to fiddle with. But ultimately, Slingshot is an hour's worth of "more," and it struggles to find a worthwile place in the XCOM project.

Fire or overwatch? Decisions, decisions.

That isn't to say that these three missions aren't up to Enemy Unknown's high standards. The first, a rescue task that you face early in the game, introduces you to Shaojie Zhang, whose poker-faced expression and dramatic vocal tone contribute to the game's amusing campiness. His stoic presence is a continuation of XCOM's entertaining mix of pop-culture-inspired nuttiness and earnest characters that take each event with such dreadful seriousness. The mission itself is a standard rescue, but the map fits the setting--a detail the original game occasionally missed. The softly glowing lanterns, Chinese characters on signs overhead, blooming cherry blossom trees: these features impress upon you that you are, indeed, in China.

Aesthetics aside, the mission plays out exactly as you would expect for an early-game Enemy Unknown mission; you lead your squad through the mission, fending off almond-eyed sectoids, facing a spiderlike chrysalid, and ultimately escorting Zhang to safety. The central mission is structurally the most interesting of the three, having squad members sprint down the corridor of a passenger train and activating transponders while protecting their flanks--and taking position above, if you prefer. Why the hurry? The objective is timed, so you must perform the necessary activations before you reach your turn limit, an aspect that adds additional tension to an otherwise straightforward mission.

Zhang fails to see the humor of the situation.

The final mission has you assaulting a rotating alien ship that hovers over a brightly lit cityscape. This is the lengthiest and most challenging level of the three, and as well it should be, since you encounter it once you're deep into the main game. Like many of Enemy Unknown's similar assaults, verticality is a concern here, though like in similar XCOM levels, the symmetrical layout prohibits the action from becoming too chaotic. Like the others, this is a good mission, yet in context, amid the dozens of surrounding missions, it doesn't greatly elevate the overall course of the game. After that initial mission, Zhang enters your barracks and makes for a powerful heavy in the few hours that follow his introduction. Yet even with his formidable presence, the Slingshot objectives blend into the rest, as do the slight attempts at storytelling.

The price might seem reasonable at first glance, but as nice as these missions are, they don't heighten Enemy Unknown in any significant manner--and you certainly wouldn't want to start a new game for the explicit purpose of experiencing them. If a new playthrough is already in your upcoming plans, then you might appreciate a few fresh objectives. Yet without an identity to call its own, Slingshot is too similar to the many hours that surround it to be considered a must-play to anyone but the most fervent XCOM fans.

The Good
Three new fun, atmospheric missions
Enemy placement and timed objectives lead to tense strategizing
The Bad
You have to start a new game to see the content
Adds too little, and is too unmemorable, to justify the cost
6
Fair
About GameSpot's Reviews
Other Platform Reviews for XCOM: Enemy Unknown

About the Author

Kevin VanOrd is a lifelong RPG lover and violin player. When he isn't busy building PCs and composing symphonies, he watches American Dad reruns with his fat cat, Ollie.

Discussion

11 comments
TentacleMayor
TentacleMayor

Great game, but now remake TFTD. firxaxs pls

Cristhian_Cobas
Cristhian_Cobas

Not playing a new game until there's at least an expansion worth 6 hours more of gameplay

Its greatly noticeable that it was developed for consoles, since the gameplay is quite fast paced, I ended one new game in normal difficulty in one afternoon (about 5 hours playing)

Hopefully companies will keep in mind PC players... 

ajac09
ajac09

great game but dumbed down. Wish they added more with this expansion and in the original game. Id love t see:

UFO crashes into cities

aliens attack your base

Orbital battles

an XCOM warship

More XCOM non human units. Like Helicopters maybe even close air support.

Planetary defenses. They can shoot down a UFO and allow you to send in a sky ranger

more then one sky ranger. 


Die-Hard
Die-Hard

I'll stick to the old xcom 1994  thanks.

simon1812
simon1812

the game is great , but if you havent tried it already, then yes, wait for the bundle to come up, or for the price to shrink a little. X-Com delivers what it offers.

my only complain is that many aspect of the game were dumbed down which results in the game being overall short and fast passed.

PinchySkree
PinchySkree

Already milking this instantly forgettable dumbed down console shite.

 

It won't even last till the end of the year unlike the 18 years the original has.

Simplythebest12
Simplythebest12

There will be also a second DLC for XCOM according to Firaxis but they have not said what it will include.

666NightsInHell
666NightsInHell

Waiting for more addons with more equipment ,weapons aircrafts etc

Kayweg
Kayweg

X-COM definitely still on my radar. Gonna wait until the nickle and diming is over and a complete edition is released.

pr0teu5
pr0teu5

am I the only one that find our reviewer forget one important thing? You will get a alien BATTLESHIP(and it's weapon to research) after you finish this DLC. Which mean you get many item much sooner, without the fear the a battleship blowing up your fighters.

snoos
snoos

I think i'll wait until they bundle this with more dlc

nephili232
nephili232

That's disappointing but any excuse for my fifth playthrough of Xcom!

TheGreatPhoenix
TheGreatPhoenix

This review is, like the grade given, fair, the missions are but few but very wel designed, however even the addition of cosmetics skins cannot justicefy this price for merely 3 missions. I will by it though, because I don't care about price. Restarting a game in X-com is also rather normal, so that won't be a bother for me. Lets see if Zhang is Ironman material!

Cristhian_Cobas
Cristhian_Cobas

@ajac09 agree with most points, though planetary defenses and orbital battles would defeat the purpose of an "undercover" alien infiltration... remember that in this game it's not an all out war, neither was 1994's original X-COM... it was about doing specific infiltration so you would lose funding from the council... 

Anyways, I also wish they added more features to this already wonderful strategy tactical game...

Act_Chill
Act_Chill

@Die-Hard The original is still the best by far. Terror from the deep was brutal hard but possible I thought. Apocalypse missions were easy but the UFOs would rape my interceptors so the city would get over run by them...I thought psi abilities came too late in the new one and not enough random in the maps. Overall a good update though. 

Act_Chill
Act_Chill

@Die-Hard  The original is still the best by far. Terror from the deep was brutal hard but possible I thought. Apocalypse missions were easy but the UFOs would rape my interceptors so the city would get over run by them...I thought psi abilities came too late in the new one and not enough random in the maps. Overall a good update though.

Smintar
Smintar

@pr0teu5 Wasnt hard to take dn the battleship not going to spoil it for you but u might try advancing your weapons for u fighters or even research the new fighter 

Robo-Ky
Robo-Ky

 @Suikogaiden So you've never actually played UFO Defense then? Because the original soldiers were somehow even worse. X-COM has never had the cognative ability to supress a hotdog stand, much less an alien. That's why the series is so beautiful.

Cristhian_Cobas
Cristhian_Cobas

@nephili232 @c_rake @Orgil220 you should definitely play the original, as long as graphics are not an issue... it's deeper and more connected... and you do get a feeling that even your most trusted soldiers are still one or two shots away from certain death... 

Orgil220
Orgil220

@nephili232 @c_rake then i should get me one, although never played previous xcom, enemy unknown is definetly on my radar

Smintar
Smintar

@pr0teu5 @Suikogaiden What?? I found there wasnt much difference from Ironman or classic except HP's and a few more aliens to kill.  I used the same strategy and tactics in both modes thats all I did 

Act_Chill
Act_Chill

@sargjaeger @Suikogaiden @Robo-Ky New recruits with base weapons miss alot. If you level troops and also psi train them they get to the point were they never miss. I hired 100 soldiers once just to get higher ranks on current ones (# of soldiers at X rank based on total soldiers). Also, stats are random and I would only use soldiers with good stats. Some have horrible base aim...

sargjaeger
sargjaeger

 @Suikogaiden  @Robo-Ky well then you must have played a different game than me. Both in X-Com and X-Com Terror from the deep I had new recruits missing shots at point blank. So either your memory isn't that good or you actually didn't play the original.

pr0teu5
pr0teu5

 @Suikogaiden First, you are right about these two game is not the same. But you are wrong about the new one is not strategy base. The counsil(with all those countrys) is as strategy base then the original one. And in this one game FORCE you to choose. The old one, in some point of the game, you just simple can't loose anymore(will good grear and good base and ALOT of money). The new one is the one with challenge, and Ironman-mode will make a man cry his eye out XD. Maybe you need to stop playing it at normal level? Second, you are wrong about "missing a shot". If u play alot xcom(original),you would know the soldiers WILL missed a shot even it says 99%. I once had a Colonel that was on his kneel, missed a 95% shoot on 1 step away from a muton. It's these type of WTF-moment that bring me back for more. :p And yes, that muton ofc didn't missed.

MindlessTeef
MindlessTeef

 @cyal8rpig  @Suikogaiden  @Robo-Ky That is a funny comic, and I could except that if not for the fact that if the alien would throw that same piece of paper in the same bin he would get it in... from his homeworld.... with his eyes closed and hands tied behind its back... while the bin is in a smoke screen and the alien himself under suppression fire... 

XCOM: Enemy Unknown More Info

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    The developer of the Civilization franchise takes a shot at another cherished strategy series.
    8.3
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    Developed by:
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