January Review, XCOM and ‘The Chicago Way’

January 2013, fairly quiet and not a lot to report apart from an unhealthy dose of XCOM. I do have to put my hand up and apologise for not getting around to playing Devil May Cry, but I can’t get XCOM out of the xbox. It’s a condition.
The Chicago Way.

Remember that classic scene in De Palma’s ‘Untouchables’ where Sean Connery is telling Kevin Costner how to tackle Capone? Stick with me.

“He pulls a knife, you pull a gun. He puts one of yours in the hospital, you put one of his in the morgue. That’s how you beat Capone, that’s the Chicago Way.” I can’t vouch for the authenticity of the quote, but I can say that’s how I feel when XCOM has me on the ropes. Except they’re the Untouchables and I’m the hapless gangster.

  • You level a trooper up, but they miss an 86% sitter and the alien puts them in the morgue.
  • You stride onto the battlefield adorned in the latest suit of armour and a Sectopod stomps all over them.
  • You stop spending money on satellites, research a Plasma Rifle and get blown away by a Plasma Heavy.
  • A shotgun wielding Assault Trooper misses the barn-door sized Muton right in front of him, then gets mushed.
  • The ‘easy as’ rocket that could take out 3 wounded Chysalids in one shot veers off and kills a civilian, leaving the Heavy open to zombification.
  • The list goes on, the scenarios are endless and all of them generally end in tears.

The Aliens bring their ‘A’ game every single time, and even though I am learning to be patient and adapting to their strategy they still have me shaking my head in disgust. This is part of the addictive quality, again and again I am tortured by the game’s ability to best me, to take advantage of a rash mistake and punish me. To make me regret my foolishness, dig deep to repair the damage and grieve over characters that should have grown old in a peaceful world.

Maybe I shouldn’t be playing at Classic Ironman mode, but I can’t help it, I certainly can’t go back to a lower difficulty  it would feel like cheating and I don’t want to know how it feels to be a cheating Alien scumbag.

So January gaming has pretty much been consumed by five failed campaigns. Thankfully a reprieve is in sight as new titles like DeadSpace3 and Sniper2 hove into view, as long as I don’t try the old ‘one quick mission before I put the new game in…’ chestnut, we all know how that ends.

It is now June 2015 in campaign number six, I have a bit more confidence, I can still see the plaster on the memorial wall. Things are looking up, for now.