During the Twilight, all human responses were futile. Choosing caution over aggression, the governments of the world didn't realize how quickly the end could come, and were buried alongside those that they governed. A few, however, did survive, sealed in underground bases with stocks of food and oxygen. After several weeks, the spores seemed to have disintegrated, decomposing and settling into the soil. The world seemed safe again, for a time. This is where you come in: you must gather together the remaining peoples of the planet, find out what has happened, and, if possible, get your revenge.
Age requirements: ESRB Rating: TEEN with Blood and Gore, Violence. PEGI Rating: 12+ with Violence.
Minimum system requirements: Windows XP or Windows Vista, 1 GHz Processor (1.4 GHz recommended), 256MB RAM (512 recommended), NVidia or ATI/AMD 3D graphics card compatible with DirectX 9, Mouse, Keyboard. Patched to version 1.4
Posted on 2009-11-26 14:39:43 byCollie:
Ah, UFO:Aftermath, a spiritual successor to the X-Com games, yet lacking much of the atmosphere that made the original games so good. Like the original games, you play the part of an organisation that is fighting to rid the Earth of an alien menace. The aliens want to take over the planet and kill us all, as Aliens tend to want to when they run out of decent sport on their own homeread more worlds, and they've resorted to bio warfare! Over the course of a 100 or more real time battles (with semi-turn based elements) you must build up a team of elite troopers, capture territories, uncover hidden caches of supplies, rescue downed pilots, assault UFOs, capture technology etc etc much like the old games. Only it has all been simplified. Too much.
Base building has been removed. Instead of building up a base gradually over time with different facilities for different tasks - eg laboratories, workshops etc, each territory is allocated one task, eg: military, science or manufacturing, and later anti-bio mass. The more territories allocated in a certain field, the more efficient that task will be. So that is one part of the original game removed and simplified.
Next, we have the military aspect. You no longer recruit and fire men when you like. You gradually receive new recruits, and it's in your best interest to keep them alive as you won't be receiving many more! After successful missions your troops gain experience and you skill points you can spend in improving their stats. You can turn them into specialised troops such as medics or snipers etc which is an interesting feature, but it makes your experienced troops even less expendable and you’ll be even more loath to lose one in a battle so you’ll reload if they die. You can only take a handful of troops on a mission and you only have one troop transport which automatically launches from the nearest military station. You don't even have to buy Interceptors to take down the UFOs as each military base has their own detachment to use.
Regarding the battles, well they are a bit disappointing, especially the visuals. Originally Mythos games (the original creators of the X-Com games) were making a 3D turned based game called the Dreamland Chronicles, which was a bit like an unofficial follow-up to X-Com, however, it looked amazing. When the project folded due to lack of funding, it was bought up by Altar and reworked until we ended up with UFO Aftermath. Seemingly during development, someone erased the original code and what was left was a game that was severely beaten over the head with an ugly stick. The 3D textures are bland and the design of the levels uninspiring, especially the UFOs themselves which are shockingly bad, not just in look, but in design, with corridors almost impossible to navigate. What makes the battlescape worse, is that despite this being the first proper 3D game in the franchise, it is probably the least '3 Dimensional' of all the games. Everything takes place on one level so there's no sniping from buildings etc. The only exception is the entrance to the UFO bases which are partially 3D but it's a nightmare to work out what is going on. The landscapes are also indestructible compared to the glorious fun of levelling entire buildings in say X-Com Apocalypse.
The mission types are limited in number and soon repeat over and over with very little variation. Each time you send your plucky band of Alien killers out with a variety of weapons and seek to wipe out the alien menace. It plays as a real time game, with pause mode to issue new orders which is a must. Early on you are limited to a handful of short range weapons which requires you to use hit and run tactics, but as you capture more territories, you'll scavenge better equipment which is probably the most fun part of the game. You'll find sniper rifles, assault rifles, heavy machine guns etc which increase your firepower no end. However, regardless of the equipment you capture, 90% of the missions end up with you clustering your men together and all firing at the enemy at once to wipe them out as soon as they appear. This is the least tactical UFO/X-Com game by FAR. There are no actual projectiles so you don't need to worry about hitting your other men, so you can all burst fire in tight corridors and never hit your fellow trooper (unless it's an explosive weapon).
I should focus on some of the good points. The music, although limited, is incredibly atmospheric, especially during the geoscape screens etc. I could listen to it for ages. Having to scavenge weapons and having a limited amount of ammo is great. The first time you equip a Gatling gun is a moment to treasure! Taking on the Reticulans for the first time with their advanced alien weaponry with just a bunch of shotguns and M-16s makes for tense moments. And there is still something satisfying about gradually taking back the Earth, one region of a time whilst researching the alien technology to turn it against their creators.
Sadly after a time, you'll find any enjoyment you are having with UFO Aftermath reaches a critical moment where the game becomes painfully difficult, and very, very repetitive. The Reticulans, the masterminds behind the alien attacks show up more and more frequently with a collection of incredibly advanced and powerful weapons that can take out your entire team in the space of a couple of seconds. This is not fun, nor clever. Having to reload constantly becomes a necessity and an annoyance. There is, however, a solution to the problem which involves the deployment of a specific type of weapon, which once you've sussed out what it is, makes every mission a piece of cake, and it's then you realise just how limited the game is and how nearly every map looks and plays the same.
In conclusion, UFO is a good attempt to reinvigorate people's interest in the whole UFO/X-Com genre, but it fails on many levels to be a truly great game like the original X-Com games. It is ultimately shallow and repetitive, and yet, amongst the mess, there is a playable game in there which occasionally draws me back for another play. There are also a number of mods out there that improve the game further so if UFO style games are your thing, it’s worth a look. It’s just a shame Aftermath feels somewhat unpolished and incomplete, as if a few more months of development could have made this a classic.
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Posted on 2009-11-26 10:47:08 byzebber:
This game takes several notes from X-COM. Turn-based fans, however, should consider carefully based on the gameplay, rather than just the setting.
First, some things that were done very well:
The graphics are well done. It's not the prettiest game in the world, but everything is pretty clear, well presented, and fits well with the games themes of conspiracies and alien mysteries.
There'sread more plenty of equipment to use, though many of the "standard" human weapons (assault rifles and such) are a bit the same. Some are clearly better, but there's also many that don't stand out from each other. The alien weapons are more distinctive, though.
The setting is rather intriguing: you start as a lone soldier amidst a ruined world, teaming up with others and eventually forming a force to fight back the alien encroachment that seems to be in the works. Nobody really knows what happened exactly, and its your job to figure out. There are several set-piece missions that will come up gradually, allowing you to find details of what went wrong and what's going on.
The game is also split up into a strategic and a tactical portion (sound familiar?), with you controlling a number of bases and resources, trying to get a handle on the world while also having the opportunity to lead your squads in action.
But then there's the things that I, personally, didn't like. Be your own judge:
First, the game is not turn-based in the tactical portion like X-COM and Jagged Alliance. I knew this going in, but still found it a bit distasteful. You have the option (and you'll need it) of pausing the action at any time and changing your soldiers' orders. Otherwise, there's no grid-based, turn-based action to be found. Hope you got this far into the review if you were counting on it.
Secondly, I found the game's AI extremely disappointing. Your soldiers do not have ANY. Anything they do has to be ordered by you. Movement, firing, using equipment, the whole thing. Now, I wouldn't mind this except the game is in real-time. Which means I'm pausing quite a bit since your soldiers can't even so much as switch to a second, in-range target after a first one goes down. And your enemies don't have very impressive AI. The game has a fairly dumb approach, basically rushing your men as soon as they are spotted, constantly moving forward and shooting. If an alien happens to run out of ammo, it will just continue moving forward, with no change to its pattern. The game compensates by making the aliens extremely cheap in their attacks. Expect a constant rain of grenades, mortar fire, and rockets as the game compensates for bad AI with sheer firepower.
Finally, the base management in this game was simplified a bit from what an X-COM fan might expect. Rather than being able to build your own bases anywhere, with certain layouts, facilities, etc, you occasionally come across bases that you can seize control of and use. As for controlling them, you can choose which kind of base you want it to be (for example, research or military deployment), and that is the extent of your choices there.
While I did beat the game, and I found it interesting at first, enough so to go to the end, I wouldn't try it again. Realize that this review is being written from a fairly big X-COM and TBS fan, so take it with a grain of salt as necessary. But if you can live without the TBS in your X-COM-like action, then this game might be a good match for you. Also, if your really not into turn-based action, this might be the alien-fighting game just for you.
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Posted on 2009-11-26 09:14:35 byFenixp:
...Not quite so. Even thou this game WAS developed as a spirtual succerssor to UFO games, it has ended up as a very different game. World was attacked by aliens (again!?), and the whole humanity was annihilated by spores. Now, aliens are taking the planet over, with their own agenda, which is, of course, unknown to us. But let's split this thing up a bit, shall we?
First of all,read more I'll talk a bit about gameplay, after all that IS the most important thing about a game, isn't it? Well... I'd say 'medicore' at best.
The game, as well as X-Coms, is divided into two parts - world map and tactical missions. Since there's almost no base management, except possibility to change what said base does (research, military, ingeneering or ... Well, I'd be spoiling the story if I said the last thing :D ). No, you don't build buildings, however you DO research and manufacture stuff - how fast you do so is dependant on how many bases of said type you have. Oh, and what do military bases do? Their purpose is to station interceptor jets and a helicopter with your team, so it basically gives you a military coverage over the map. And, of course the last thing - your team! I'll say more about these guys in the next paragraph. It's same ol' otherwise - you shoot down alien ships, you search wreckages, you research dead or living alien beings and their equipement and if alien ship manages to land, you're infiltrating alien base. Fun, eh?
Well, not so much. 'Tactical' gameplay of this game consists of running with a bunch of soldiers around the map, shooting whatever moves until objectives are complete. Yes, sometimes you get into challenging situations, mostly in shot-down alien ships, which WILL force you to plan ahead and think about what are you doing a bit, but mostly ... you'll just run around and click. More interesting part of this is that you CAN capture live aliens, or just bring bodies back home. Objectives of missions ARE diverse enough to keep you entertained. And your soldiers level-up and you can upgrade their statistics - that adds a bit to 'fun' value as well. But, overall, in-mission gameplay is pretty monotoneus and you'll get into memorable situation just on a few occassions.
Now let's look at the obvious. Graphics. Yes, as far as I know they were outdated even when the game was released, but they fit the whole thing perfectly and I really like their diversity - based on a place of planet on which mission is taking place, design of cities/villages/plains changes and... Well, it's actually pretty atmospheric that way. But that's the only good thing I can say about them, really. They're nothing memorable, nothing unique, aliens may sometimes be gross (especially after you find out something about them), but that's about it.
Doesn't look like a game that would deserve 70%, does it? It'll get better from now on, I promise. That's because I'm about to talk about story and atmosphere. Both are simply... Fantastic. Story is well-written post-apocalyptic scenario about people who are trying to survive and eventually counter alien attack. How comes survivors of human race can kick assess of hi-tech alien force? Don't worry, it doesn't go unexplained. Game goes really deep as far as it's own lore goes, with everything alien explained by the believable sci-fi blabbering and you WILL be craving for more. Actually, I think story is good enough to keep anyone who likes alien invasions, post-apo or sci-fi in general going, and eventually force them to finish the damn game.
There you have it. Game itself is average and I'd give it 50%. But very good story, setting and atmosphere won't let me give it less than 70%. Yes, it's not exactly objective, game may deserve just 60%, but fact is: I've finished it 2 times and it keeps luring me back. There has to be reason for that, right? So, if you like things that are good about this game, you'll like it and it WILL be your money's worth. If you are looking for tactical gameplay... You'll be better off waiting for second and third part of the series, which are focused on it.
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