Resurrecting a cherished old games franchise for a modern audience appears like a tough, thankless task. Even if you succeed in making something wonderful, you run the danger of pushing away existing fans if you stray too far from the initial formula. When the alien-fighting method revival XCOM: Opponent Unidentified was released last year on PC and systems, nonetheless, it achieved something we thought was impossible: It made pretty much everyone pleased.

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Marking the first time the age-old strategy franchise has actually appeared on Mac, XCOM jobs players with running a clandestine, international anti-UFO firm at the dawn of a full-scale alien attack of Earth. Your time is divided between XCOM’s underground head office, where you’ll manage the agency’s finances, direct research into unusual innovations, and manufacture cool tools and gadgets based on those technologies, and in the industry, where you’ll direct teams of soldiers through turn-based, semi-randomly generated calculated fights against unusual death squads. That might seem complicated, however XCOM manages to make itself entirely obtainable to players of all stripes, with plenty of hand-holding for those who desire it, choices that can make the game hugely challenging for those who don’t, and the freedom to advance the game’s storyline at your own speed.

While the managerial stuff is essential (and surprisingly involving), it’s the struggles that are the real meat of the game, and XCOM stands out at producing tense, high-stakes confrontations. Your opponents– which vary from stunted, ‘grey’-like creatures and mindless insectoid things to hulking brutes and mechanical scaries– are greatly concealed by a fog of war, making cautious penetrating of your surroundings a significant component of fight. Your agents are delicate, especially in the beginning, so any miscalculation (like choosing to sprint throughout an open field and end a turn without cover nearby, say) can result in quick, demoralizing deaths.

As an incentive, the Mac variation comes full with every one of the downloadable material launched for various other versions, consisting of Slingshot, a three-mission mini-campaign you can choose to play in lieu of the randomized special objectives bied far regularly by the shadowy ‘Council.’ In all, it’s a superb plan, although there’s one remarkable caution: Multiplayer. Unquestionably a small component of the game, XCOM’s multiplayer is a fun departure that lets players construct a blended human/alien squad and pit it against a challenger’s. Playing online requires a separate app, GameRanger, which you mightn’t discover unless you review the game’s included FAQ. Coupled with multiplayer’s one-on-one structure, this suggests it can be hard to discover an opponent, although hopefully that will improve as the game’s user base grows.

The bottom line. Deeply including, satisfyingly intense, and remarkably emotional, XCOM: Adversary Unidentified is superb whether you are a hardcore strategy fan or just dipping your toes in for the first time.

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