Great graphics, easy resource management, but too bad it's on Mars.
The graphics are a bit 'cartoony' for my taste, yet they are incredibly easy on the eyes. The sound is very nice, giving you a sense of 3d space and distance. UFO: Afterlight also presents a backdrop musical theme that is not one of those you end up turning off after half an hour. Very refreshing by today's standards!
I would have enjoyed being 'creeped-out' like I used to while playing with the lights out the DOS ancestors of Afterlight__but oh well, the anime graphics aren't a creepy element either.
Management, the X-com series has always made a firm base, pun not intended, on management. A basic requirement for games that involve management is an easy to read, easy to use interface. Al element where many games fail rotundly, UFO; Afterlight shines through... Um, pun not intended__again. The screens are very well designed, I should know, I'm a graphic designer. Easy to get to any part of the game with tabs everywhere you'd expect them. My only complaint is that although you get notices from the different department heads when things occur, the time the notices remain available to click "go-to" on them is very brief. It's easy to organize things, in particular something I love is the capability to remove items you no longer will be using once better equipment is developed. Although I do miss being able to sell off things one would pick up while out on missions, but that's the money-lover in me! Overall, management of both supplies and personnel is very well executed in UFO; Afterlight.
Battles, UFO: Afterlight is so well designed, that both old X-Com folks like myself and newcomers will find it very easy to deploy, organize and plan attack movement while out on missions. The downside, most maps look EXACTLY the same. The enemies come at you from the same places almost every time due to the fact that map design is very weak an non varied. Unfortunately this is one area the designers should have hired someone other than the janitor to cover map development and design. For this I drop my rating considerably. One of the best aspects of any RTS is the need to plan and maneuver a new map, an obstacle or a position. Not having originality in level design may just kill this game from becoming as good a hit as it may have otherwise.
The game play changes considerably if you're used to simply purchasing the services of new soldiers every month as in other X-Com games. In Afterlight you're limited to the guys you start off with, at least until you're way into the game and have formed alliances with others, I won't spoil this part for you... You'll need to find out for yourself!
The story line is based on a handful of humans striving to make a new life on Mars. Hence the new location.. I must say I do miss rotating the Earth around it's axis! But oh well, a terra-forming we will go! I have to say that although I like the story line, it does feel as if re-playability is quite limited.
I would have enjoyed an open-playground mode. Overall this game rocks baby... However I do look forward to MODS that will fill in the lack of map variety and sandbox mode. Perhaps a patch of some sort?
Get UFO: Afterlight, if you're an X-Com fan or not, there's something in this game for every gamer.