I have decided to review each game individually so that each one has a fair trial, with a small cumulative review at the end.
A giant Spacecraft appears out of nowhere and starts to release spores of some kind into the atmosphere. These then blot out the sun, this was called the Twilight. After clogging up the atmosphere the spores rain down onto the planet earth over a period of days most of the higher life forms were wiped out, this was called Nightfall.
A few members who were sealed underground in various places around the world at the time of this survived, now a few weeks after Nightfall the spores seemed to have lost their effectiveness in killing off the inhabitants of our planet. Now is the time to take back our planet, unite the people and take revenge on the alien race that did this.
UFO: Aftermath combines global strategy with small squad tactical combat in the fight against an alien invasion. It contains RPG elements that help your squad evolve into a highly trained group that has all the necessary skills to deal with the alien threat. Much of the game is spent researching and manufacturing items that you have salvaged from corpses, lost human bases or researched and created your own human alien hybrid technology. The other most significant part of the game is squad management, dealing with what skills to increase, training to give and weapons to equip to get the job done with minimal losses to your team. You also build new bases and have to choose whether to have a military base, research base or a manufacturing base. If you have no research bases then you can do no research and the more you have the quicker it gets done. Military bases are where your team is housed and it's from here that your team is sent on its savaging hunt.
Everything you need to control your troops or maintain and upgrade your bases with new technology is all done by clicking on various icons on the HUD that are located around the outskirts of the screen. Moving involves clicking on who you would like to move and then clicking on where you want to move them to. You set up plans on where you would like your team to move off to and then hit the play button on the top left of the screen and watch the actions pan out. If something significant happens such as spotting an enemy the game automatically pauses to allow you to modify your plans to incorporate the new information.
The graphics do a fantastic job and considering that this game is actually 4 years old it certainly doesn't look that dated. They are very good for this genre, even though graphics do not matter for this game it certainly adds to the atmosphere. A vast majority of this game is actually manipulating the things on your bases and as such there is not really the emphasis on the graphics compared to some of the other titles that are on the market today. But even then when you are actually involved in a tactical mission the post apocalyptic setting is really shown in the empty cities that are full of old cars and rubbish on the streets. The UFO's themselves are nothing like what you would expect they are so.... Alien. There is none of that shiny metal that could almost be a square aircraft that was in the X-com series, these craft are organic in nature and certainly the developers did a good job of showing this whilst still keeping the designs of the craft believable.
There is no multiplayer option for this game.
The game lasts a long time as you try to research all the available technology to give your squad the edge they need to deal with the alien menace. I could happily sit here for weeks and play the game on its various difficulties that really make you change the way you play each time. For instance I prefer to research and develop the best technology I can before going on a single mission just so that I have a fighting chance. This may be bad as you may miss out on some of the easier tactical missions.
I award this game 8/10. I really enjoyed playing this game and only a few minor camera issues stopped this from scoring higher.
The Game takes place 50 years after one of the endings to UFO: Aftermath. You made a deal with the reticulans to let them have the earth for their needs in exchange for a large orbital Space station called the Laputa. A small Segment of mankind is living on this station whilst the aliens are conducting research on the planet. A small revolt threatened the harmony of those on the Laputa and it was decided to retake the earth back. The only problem is most of the knowledge gained has been lost so you must research the lost technology so you can take on the reticulans and gain back your original home... Earth.
The Gameplay is the same as the above game but a few new elements have been implemented. Now the game seems to be a more CTF affair, where you capture territories in a bid to expand your bases, you have at your disposal a mobile satellite from where you conduct your business. Your bases from Earth come from one of the factions on earth, Humans, Cyborgs and Psionics. There are also reports of another faction the Cultists who are openly hostile to your activities. This has turned the game into a diplomatic mission where you have to maintain high relationships with the various groups on earth in exchange for bases in their territories, resources from the mines and volunteers to expand your ranks. All of your bases and territories are connected together by what is simply a railway system, if a railway system is attacked then you may lose access to the resources that were connected to that base without even realizing it. The bugs that seemed to have plagued early versions of this game seem to have been fixed in this edition and I had no problems running it on my medium range P.C.
The control system is just a refined version of the one that was in UFO: Aftermath and as such is very successful in the way it handles. There is still no way to form up squads so each member has to be moved individually, this can be annoying but in a way can also give you the freedom to move your units that is lacking in games of this type.
The graphics have been overhauled and everything seems more colorful than it was in UFO: Aftermath. The effects are nice but the actual areas seem a little dull. There doesn't seem to be enough variety in the areas that you play the buildings are all built in the same way and for me it just seems wrong that the three main factions who happen to fear each other and try to have no connection to the others all seem to have built the buildings exactly the same way using the same materials. Maybe I am just being tough.
There is no multiplayer option for this game.
The Story of this game just seems to drag on and on, and playing through it in one sitting can just get repetitive and a tad boring, but this is like a double edged sword as on the hardest difficulties this game can take an age to complete, which is not necessarily a bad thing if you like to get more gaming hours for your money.
I award this game 7.5/10
The story of UFO: Aftermath takes place during the UFO: Aftershock game but this happens on Mars and not Earth. Whilst some people were moved to the Laputa others were taken to Mars. Approximately 30 people live on Mars whilst lots more are cryogenically frozen until Mars has been terraformed and can sustain the lives of all those people. Terraforming is very close now and can soon be started. On an archaeological dig situated not far from the main base something has been disturbed, something which should have been left buried.
In this game things have changed again you only have one main base and have to train up the colonists to multitask such as scientist/ soldier. The other outposts that you eventually get are automated and don't rely on you having staff posted at them so it is easier to look after everything. The series has even more role-playing elements as the scientists get better they can specialize into certain areas. Some pieces of equipment are available only to those in the right area, e.g. mine disabling kit is only available to engineers. So you must take a well rounded team with you instead of just having generic soldiers. This adds a very interesting option as you must think more about your squad's components.
The control system is pretty standard and all options are available on screen if you play these games in order then you will all ready know what to expect from this title. There have been a few minor adjustments and the game seems to control a lot smoother now than the older games.
The graphics for this game were more than I was expecting to see and everything looked smoother. The Base actually looked like a colony rather than a mishmash of random buildings. The robots could have done with a bit more effort as the coloration seemed to be off slightly, maybe it's just not the way I would have colored them and I'm seeing faults where there are none.
There is no multiplayer option for this game. This is a shame as I think the series is starting to age now and something in this way could have pushed it in a new direction and gave it something fresh to add to the mix.
I award this game 6.5/10. This game doesn't feel as tightly polished as the other two games in the series did.
The Whole Package
The total package has enough gameplay time to keep everyone going at least for the foreseeable future especially on the harder difficulties.
I award the whole package 7.5/10. This package contains the closest set of games that you can get to the X-com series.
• A solid collection of strategy games.
• Good value for money.
• Few mods out for the games that will increase playability.
• All the different difficulty settings really add to the longevity of this pack.
• A Change of pace from most games.
• UFO: Afterlight could have done with more time spent on the control system.
• The games feel dated.
• After so much time X-com still plays and feels better.
• No multiplayer. It would have been nice to pit your wits against a real opponent trying to hold on to as much territory as possible and making alliances.
Who would enjoy these games?
These games would be an essential purchase for any strategy gamer that would like a trip down memory lane to how games used to be. Any X-com Fan would also get a kick out of blowing away alien scum one last time for old time's sake.
• X-Com: Enemy Unknown (PC, PSone)
• X-Com: Terror From The Deep (PC, PSone)
• X-Com: Apocalypse (PC)
• X-Com: Interceptor (PC)
• X-Com: Enforcer (PC)
• Silent Storm (PC)
• UFO: Extraterrestrials (PC) (separate series from the trilogy)
• UFO: Alien Invasion (PC) (separate series from the trilogy)
• Commandos 3 (PC)
• Company of Heroes (PC)
• Warhammer Dawn of War (PC)
• Warhammer Dawn of War Winter Assault (PC)
• Warhammer Dawn of War Dark Crusade (PC)