XCOM: Enemy Unknown is a top-down, turn-based tactical battle game with strategic elements based on an alien invasion scenario and is a remake of the original XCOM game.
The game plays in the near future in which hostile aliens have made an appearance and started to openly abduct and terrorize civilians. The ensuing panic brought to life the so-called XCOM project, a tactical and strategic alien countermeasure in which you are in charge of coordinating. The project is funded by several nations from Asia to America, that together form a council, which has given you the job of making sure that the alien threat is neutralized in their countries. To do your job, the council provides you with a range of resources, ranging from manpower in the form of soldiers, engineers and scientists to financial aid. Should you fail at properly dealing with the alien threat, further panic in the affected countries is the result. If the panic level reaches a certain level, a nation may decide to leave the council, taking their resources with them. If enough nations leave the council, the XCOM project is disbanded and the game is over.
XCOM: Enemy Unknown's gameplay is made up of two parts: tactical battles and strategic choices. To successfully manage the alien threat, you need to be good in both of them. In the tactical battles, you lead a squad of some of the world's elite soldiers in battle against the aliens. The battles are turn-based, meaning first you do your moves and then the aliens make their moves. Each soldier and alien in the battle can perform two actions, which can be either moving, attacking, defending or supporting. Making proper decisions on how and when your soldiers do what and weighing rewards against risks, ultimately decides your chances of winning the day. If you do well, you can reap the spoils of battle. If you don't do well, you may even lose some of your best troops. This gives you a feeling of tension and urgency, and that your decisions matter, especially if you play on a harder difficulty with ironman enabled, which allows you to have only have one save.
In the strategic aspect of the game, you need to make decisions on how to best use the resources provided to you. You need to plan out what your scientists research, what your engineers produce, which soldiers to recruit and what they should specialize in, and what equipment to purchase. Additionally, you also need to plan out in which countries you want to set up alien counter measures. Setting these up in one country can help reduce panic levels, while failing to do so may increase panic levels. Often you have to fight on multiple fronts with limited resources, so you need to do some optimization. This further adds to the tension and urgency the player will experience.
The story of the game is well-paced and progresses according to the player's advancement against the alien threat. During the story's progression you will meet many different kinds of aliens. Most of which have vastly superior equipment compared to you. Disposing of them in successful battles due to proper preparation and superior tactics and strategy is very enjoyable.
While XCOM: Enemy Unknown is a very well-rounded package, it does have some bad sides to it. In my playthrough, the game had a few graphical and gameplay glitches and bugs. Luckily nothing game-breaking for me, but hopefully the developers will be able to provide patches to fix the problems.
Overall, XCOM: Enemy Unknown is very enjoyable and highly addicting. It's one of the best games I have played this year. I definitely want to see more games like this!