XCOM: Enemy Unknown, the just launched strategy game from developer Firaxis and publisher 2K Games, stands out because it is available on the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3 home consoles as well as on the PC.
The game is a pretty complex experience that blends resource management with a tactical approach to combat and one of the biggest questions is how effective the control scheme can be when adapted to modern consoles.
I played XCOM: Enemy Unknown on the Microsoft Xbox 360 and I have to say that it is surprising easy to control and navigate using the standard gamepad.
The best idea that Firaxis had was to make the cursor controlled via the left thumbstick stick to cover spots, which makes it easy to move characters to the best positions as long as you spend a few seconds to make sure that you don’t accidentally click on a space that lacks cover.
The developers have also made it easy to select weapons and abilities after squeezing the Right Trigger and it also makes sense to have Y always mapped to Overwatch.
Still the game feels much more natural on the PC, even if some of the compromises that Firaxis has made are a little annoying.
The game tends to autocycle through the various characters on a map, which makes me feel like I lost control at times and usually results in careful backtracking to make sure I did not issue a stray order at some point.
Basically the changes the developers make are solid and necessary considering the dual nature of the game but they tend to clash with my long engrained PC strategy reflexes in ways that tend to annoy me.
I will choose to play the PC version of XCOM: Enemy Unknown but I must admit that I see myself playing the home console versions of the game in the future, as long as Sony and Microsoft stay competitive when it comes to graphics and usability.
Take a look at how XCOM: Enemy Unknown plays on the Xbox 360: