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As an old fan of the X-Com series, I was pretty excited by the prospect of new games in the spirit of the franchise the first time I heard rumors about UFO: Aftermath. When I finally got to playing it, I had mixed feelings about it. There were a few interesting ideas, like the tactical combat system and the soldier development, and some that I did not like outright - like the minimal base management that seemed slapped together. At that time, I was hoping that Altar could make a sequel that would improve on Aftermath and bring more of the old X-Com gameplay features back. UFO: Aftershock was that sequel, and for me, it did not disappoint.

The story continues years after the events in UFO: AM. The Earth is covered in biomass, and the few surviving people start on board a huge Reticulan spaceship in Earth orbit, trying to reclaim their planet. The gameplay is again divided in two major parts, strategical and tactical. On the strategical map, the whole planet is viewed, bases and tracks can be constructed, and diplomacy, research, manufacturing and soldiers are managed. This is also where tactical missions are initiated. In the tactical part you command a squad of soldiers that must complete some mission objective, fighting various enemies.
So, the good stuff first:
There is far greater variety on the strategical level. Particularly base management, bases can finally be micromanaged, with each base having free "slots" where buildings can be placed. Resource management is added, with 3 resource types with various availability (sometimes I had to go out of my way to capture a territory for a stash that provides me with a needed resource).
Also added are a few fractions, with diplomacy options for trading and recruitment.
A soldier can now only take three "professions", but each profession can have 3 levels. This allows (and requires) you to create a versatile squad of specialists, that match your preferred tactics (like, for instance, a dual SMG wielding ultra fast commando who is great at close fighting). Also, soldiers from two more factions can be recruited, each faction with unique capabilities.
The tactical missions now have greater variety, and I personally have no problems with the SAS system. While I do prefer pure turn-based tactical combat, real-time/pause anytime gives enough control on your soldiers. The engine is improved a lot compared to UFO: AM with better graphics, and buildings can now be entered (and sometimes partially destroyed) which again provides more interesting tactical combat.
And the bad...
At midgame/endgame base management becomes a chore. Unlike X-Com, where one can finish the game just fine with 4-5 bases, in AS there are a LOT of bases that can only hold few buildings each, so I was often forced to click like mad in order to upgrade one of my laboratory types in a few bases.
Bases have to be connected by "tracks", and each track requires resource upkeep. Managing these tracks is sometimes rather unpleasant, and having one of them destroyed can cut off an entire continent. On the other hand, support for redundant tracks is rather costly.
Weapons are varied, true, but in the end you only end up using a few "best choice" weapons. ShadoWarrior's mod (there is a link in Epsilon's review) fixes this, however.
There are also moments when the game just goes slowly, with large number of random tactical missions and no story advancement whatsoever. This inevitably leads to the moment where you have seen all variations of tactical maps and they start to repeat themselves.
Stability - there were some serious problems on my PC at the time, including random crashes to the desktop and major slowdowns. More of them were due to Starforce (I am fairly sure, since removing it greatly improved the game's stability) and should not occur with the GOG version.
All in all, this is a good game that I recommend to fans of turn based tactical combat games. It is not X-Com, but comes with enough own goodness to be worth playing.