Been searching for a good strategy game on the consoles for quite some time? Consider the search over.
Graphically speaking, this game is nothing spectacular. It doesn't look extremely realistic, it's somewhat cartoony, and suffers from visual hiccups from time to time. That being said, there's a lot to enjoy about the presentation. Environments are well varied, even if the settings are somewhat similar at times, and offer a slew of options for tackling missions. Alien design is spectacular and each type of alien ultimately ends up being something you come to know and fear, or in the rare case scoff at. Yet the real high point of XCOM's presentation is the destructable environments. Not only is this a nice visual touch, it adds a very serious strategic element that has to be kept in consideration. Bottom line: XCOM's presentation is flawed, there's no denying that fact; however, there's some real high points that keep the presentation from being detrimental towards the game's overall quality.
The soundtrack of XCOM is good. Nothing that will blow your mind away or have you mercilessly humming its tunes all day; but nevertheless, the soundtrack is good. A thing worthy of note, however, is the tempo and style of music when the s*** is about to hit the fan. It changes and picks up providing a rather tense atmosphere to the mission that has you wary of what's about to happen. Another solid area is the sound of weapons. Again, nothing mind blowing or revolutionary, but nevertheless very solid and identifiable. There is a little bit of an issue with sound delay at times such as when someone jumps through a window or runs through a door, but more often than not, it's not even noticable. Another nice little touch is the commentary provided throughout missions from time to time, with a few exceptions (I'm looking at you Dr. Valen!). Bottom line: XCOM's sound won't blow you away, but with very minor hiccups and an overall solid performance, it does an admirable job.
Alright now for the good part. Gameplay is awesome. The controls work excellently on a PS3 controller as does the entire interface. Whether you're working in the field or working at headquarters XCOM is smooth and streamlined providing optimal controls. It often times feels that you hit the ground running from the start as the game keeps you busy and gives weight to your actions, though it works. Instead of just being a slew of meaningless tasks, missions have consequences and can either save a nation on the brink or send them into utter disarray. Normally when I play games I never even consider how my actions could affect someone else because in most games they don't. While nothing groundbreaking or new about this concept, it is a fantastic touch that is most fitting. Another nice touch is the option to customize soldiers. Often times in strategy games units are just numbers, but in XCOM they feel like people. I can't even express the level of frustration and despair of being at a critical point in a playthrough only to lose a squad of highly ranked soldiers (RIP Prophet). Bottom line: Gameplay is fantastic. It can be somewhat overwhelming while you're attempting to learn the game; but once you get a hang of things, it is an extremely enjoyable ride.
XCOM is good, really good. I often consider myself very hard to please as I often seem to be disappointed with most games that come out. XCOM is an exception to that however. It's fun, it's hard, it's entertaining, and it's worth every last dollar I spent on it. While there are a few areas that could use a little tweaking, the game is nevertheless a winner. If you enjoy strategy games and don't have the means of enjoying the plethora of strategy games for the PC, check out XCOM as it is the best strategy game, as well as one of the best games period, that I've played for the PS3. This is XCOM commander Tennies signing off, good hunting.