Okay, so you've been warned - this will be a thread to discuss the end of the game, but in case you didn't see the mention of spoilers in the title I'm going to insert a massive space below this sentence - scroll down if you have completed it or can't wait to see what happens.
So... I rushed the last terror mission before the Gollop Chamber was ready, losing a good Psi soldier who could have used the device - that sucked but I had another guy and was determined not to re-load so I carried on and beat the terror site (good thing I only saw one terror site with Chrysalids, Sectopods and Mutons - that was tricky!).
The final mission... I don't know, it was a bit of an anticlimax for me if I'm honest. I was doing really well up until the Sectopods - placed in an area where it's extremely difficult to kill them without losing someone. I ended up losing too many and after I'd killed them I got mowed down at the end - the last area is just plain silly for a number of reasons.
Everything before the Sectopods was a breeze, and had a bit of fun with the mind control. The Sectopods were tricky, but on my reload (first of the game - not bad!) I had them beat.
The last room is insane. I tried it half a dozen times - first one I ran in and tried gunning down the main Ethereal and got MC's a lot. Reload. Second one I tried to lure them all out of the room - that ended in failure as they won't come to you.
Several failed attempts later, I enter the room but head immediately for the back corners on either side. One person is used as a spotter, running out and ducking back into cover. My main man uses the Rift ability several times in a row when aliens are spotted. When I realised that was working - hiding at the back of the room using Rift, I kept doing it until the Uber Ethereal walked right through it and topped himself.
That was a massive anti-climax, but I didn't see another way of beating that room - 3 Ethereals all at once is just a bit much on Normal
Add to that the fact that the voice of the high Ethereal was hard to hear and that there didn't appear to be a build-up to a cliffhanger... I dunno... I was hoping for maybe a hint at what's next in a sequel, but the ship just flies off into space and blows up rather than creating a black hole in Earth's atmosphere. I did think it would have been amusing if one of the pieces of debris took out the Skyranger in a morbidly amusing sort of way though
That said, there was talk of an alien dimension in the research earlier, and we didn't get to go off-world, so my hopes are for a sequel - perhaps they do the whole "Elerium doesn't work any more" that they did in TFTD and you could start with laser tech? Set it in the future a bit and Psionic powers could be reduced over generations.
Anyway, I did enjoy the game a lot. I'm glad they made it, glad it's scored so highly by reviewers and is already in a few top ten lists at the moment, but not so sure I'd score it 89/100 (Metacritic) myself. There was a lot of linearity, and as Vet has said there is an issue over whether these are Schroedinger's UFOs - are they there before you spot them or do they just pop into existence? In the original UFO's could be tracked across the globe and you knew they were there in the background whether you detected them or not (or at least you had the distinct feeling they were there but invisible until you went looking for them).
I think I'm leaning towards 8/10 (more like the average user reviews on MetaCritic) because what there is there is done well - it's just that it lacks the depth of the original. To me, the research tree in this game is wonderful and rich, as are the engineering projects, but the rest is a bit light sadly. The Geoscape strategies are toned down, interceptions are toned down (no multi-interceptors on one target), aspects of tactical are toned down (though on the whole I love that side of it) and as mentioned I didn't much care for the linearity once I realised UFOs weren't popping up in the same manner they do in the original - an average game of the original can end up with over 100 crash sites, and I certainly hadn't had that many UFO missions by the end.
The bits I do like make up for the rest, and it's certainly replayable and it's the first game in a long time that had me glued to my seat with a "on more turn" feeling that I've missed for so long. I doubt I'll replay it so much that I'll get that last achievement any time soon, but some of the new stuff is great - it's just falling short in a few areas that mean I can't give it more than an 8/10 personally.
Very well done to the team for working so hard to revive the franchise though - you've had a cracking go at it and it's a great game, it's just that if you put your sceptical had on it feels like it's been streamlined a bit too much for the console audience and for accessibility whereas many people who have played the original know that it could have been so much more than it is, and it really does pain me to say that.
I love the game, it's just that I love the original more still.
Going to jump on multiplayer over the weekend if I get a chance, but now I need to do some work that I've been putting off
FA is working on an official review as we speak by the way
I want to see the inside of the UFO in my avatar.