Things have slowed down for me in WOW and SWTOR, and while I’ve enjoyed my dabbling in GW2 I am pretty much soloing there as well.  TSW Mondays are still going strong.  At this point I think they would survive an Apocolypse, which only makes sense really.  But with no intentions yet to jump into the new MMOs all the cool kids are playing, I decided to check out some games truly designed for me to “solo”.

After picking up Mass Effect 3 on a massive sale, my interest in playing through that series is reinvigorated and I’ve been plowing through the first one with regularity.

One game that has caught my interest in the last year or two is XCOM: UFO defense.  I previously mentioned that Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness was basically my introduction to PC games in college.  2 other classic titles deserve credit for making me waste vast amounts of time in college and securing my future in this community: Master of Orion and Microprose’s original XCOM: UFO defense.  So it was more than curiosity that drew me to this remake.

I must say, nostalgia-induced rose tinted glasses and all, the remake compares very favorably from what I’ve seeen so far.  Naturally graphics are improved, but I like how you interact with the heads of research & engineering.  Little moments, like the whole comm center breaking out in cheers the first time your interceptors shoot down a UFO, really add life and immersion to the game’s atmosphere for me.

Of course, XCOM is ultimately about tactics, and this is where I worried a remake would fall short.  Thankfully that is not the case.  The new game manages to be different, and yet every bit as deep and engaging as the old one.  The early game feeling of being outmatched every time you face the aliens is intact, as are the moments of panic when you realize the enemies are not where you thought they were when you so cleverly positioned your squad behind cover.  The fact that you share most “oh, ****” moments with other characters is more enjoyable than I would have expected.  The vocal feedback from the squad members is nice, although the interactions with other characters have me wishing the soldiers had more personality back at base.  Overall though, I am very glad I picked XCOM up, even though it is a remake of a beloved classic.

After weeks of swearing I would be good and had way too many games to try to play anyway, I gave in and had a look at the steam sale.  I promptly found 4 games I’ve been wanting to play for 5 bucks each: Skyrim, Tomb Raider, Batman:Arkham Asylum and Arkham City.  Yeah, I’m in trouble.