XCOM (Series) Review

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Posted: 6 months ago.

Author: Andy Robertson.


X-Com (which became XCOM) is a science fiction strategic battle game where you control units to stop an alien invasion. The long running series has come in many forms, but always has in common the finely tuned turn-based ground combat where you control a squad of soldiers to hunt the aliens.

Tactics are important, as you can’t see enemies until you have line of sight. You also need to carefully equip and use soldiers abilities to perform different duties. You can take cover behind walls and objects in the environment as well as save your movement for opportunity fire. Then between missions you can train, research and equip for the next challenge.
  • XCOM: Enemy Unknown (2012) on Android, iOS, PC, Mac, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, Xbox 360
  • The Bureau: XCOM Declassified (2013) on Mac, PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
  • XCOM: Enemy Within (2013) an expansion for XCOM: Enemy Unknown on Android, iOS, PC, Mac, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, Xbox 360
  • XCOM 2 (2016) on Mac, PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
  • XCOM 2: War of the Chosen (2017) an expansion for XCOM 2 on Mac, PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
  • XCOM: Chimera Squad (2020) a budget standalone game on PC.
The combination of turn based strategy and squad tactics spawned a genre of its own with many spin off games from the XCOM mould. These are worth noting if you are looking for this kind of experience on other systems:
  • Rebelstar Tactical Commander on GBA
  • Ghost Recon Shadow Wars on the 3DS
  • Mario vs Rabbids on Switch


Rating: PEGI 16+, ESRB TEEN

Release Date: 01/01/1994, updated in 2017

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Xbox 360, Xbox One and iOS.

Genres: Action, Fighting, Shooting, Strategy and Turn-Based.



Duration: This game will take between 30 hours and 45 hours to complete.
Players: You can play with 2 players in the same room and up to 2 players online. XCOM takes up to 45 hours to complete, although this doesn’t include the multiplayer option. There is a player vs player online and local challenge where each player equips their squad of soldiers or aliens.


Additional in-game purchases are offered for items that enhance the experience.

XCOM 2 offers paid expansions like the substantial "War of the Chosen" that add stories, missions and characters to the game. There are also smaller content packs that add outfits and accessories.

You will need PlayStation Plus to play online with PlayStation 3 or PlayStation Vita. You will need Xbox Live Gold (must be 18 to create, then configure family accounts for younger players) to play online with Xbox One. You will need Xbox Live Gold to play online with Xbox 360. You will need PlayStation Plus (must be 18 to create, then create sub-accounts for younger players who need be set as 13 or older) to play online with PlayStation 4.

Age RatingsAge Ratings

XCOM 2 Rated PEGI 16 for frequent moderate violence. Violence in the game is realistic in nature, with blood effects used frequently. Once killed, characters bodies remain on the battlefield until the end of the mission.

This game has been rated ESRB TEEN.

Users Interact: The game enables players to interact and communicate with each other, so may expose players to language usually associated with older rated games.


Newer XOMX games support accessibility in the following ways:
  • Difficulty: Turn-based gameplay and save anytime to reduce fatigue. Different difficulty levels are available.
  • Reading: There is considerable reading. Subtitles accompany any spoken elements of the story.
  • Controls: Fully playable with mouse and you can remap keys.
  • Image calibration: Visual cues to highlight audible events.
  • Audio calibration: Adjust audio individually for effects, music and ambience.
System Settings

Android has accessibility settings including ways to navigate and interact, although not all games support this. Windows has extensive accessibility features. Some, like colour correction, work with games. Lots of accessibility software can be used with PC games, from voice recognition to input device emulators. PlayStation 4 has a range of accessibility settings. Some are system only, some work in games (invert colours and button mapping). Xbox One has a system features, the excellent co-pilot share controls mode and adaptive controller support for all games. iOS has a very extensive suite of accessibility settings including ways to navigate with voice and comprehensive screen reading, though most of the features don't work with games... read more about system accessibility settings.


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