So, new x-com game. I was looking forward to this. I pre-ordered it, ran through a game of UFO:EU and part way through a game of XCOM:TFTD before it was released, so I have both games quite fresh in my mind.
The difference between them, I think, can be described thusly:
In the new game, you are a non-com, a sargeant; your concerns are squad tactics. Your area of operation is small and you have your objective right infront of you; you just have to worry about putting your men in good cover and flanking your opponents.
In the old game, you were a non-com too... but you were also an officer and a soldier. You had to determine your objectives (squad one sweep that building, squad two cover the outside, squad three hunt down that last bl**dy sectoid) on a map approximately four times the size, and also manage each individual soldier for best effect (manually count TUs to see precicely how far it could move, make sure that there was enough ammo, trade off between accuracy and having a stun rod ready).
I'm used to tackling a tactical mission with three squads of four soldiers each, and a couple of floating death machines playing scout. I'm used to running three or four tactical exercises - each the size of one of the new missions - at once, and having the added layer of strategy that is involved in making them all mesh and support each other. That and having a couple of guys with blaster launchers in the back of the skyranger standing on a pile of ammo providing long range fire support.
It's kinda the same with the geoscape too. In the new game you have to worry about one base and your research/engineering speed are largely dictated too you; sure you can build more laboratories, but they're expensive and there are requirements which artificially hold you back. In the old one I can go for the "we have the technology" strategy and have entire bases devoted to research or manufacture should I so choose, and the really fun bit is that when I have these huge numbers of engineers it actually gets things made quicker rather than cheaper! (I don't get the more engineers making it cheaper thing in the new game).
I guess what I am trying to say is that the new game doesn't let you dream up your own strategies from the myriad of posibilities; it presents an artificial hard choice between two or three routes to you, and what is more gauling is that if you were allowed to perform your own proper forward planning you would have sidestepped the problem entirely. That sort of thing grates on me about as much as a plot which requires characters to hold an idiot ball (google 'tvtropes idiot ball' if curious, I won't provide a link and doom you to a wiki-walk).
Having grumbled about all of that, I did enjoy playing through the new game; there are some rough edges smoothed off and some nice new shinies. I just find that the edges are smoothed off a little too much, discarding some of the interesting bits, and the shinies seem to have been focused on at the expense of some UI elements.
So, yeah, I like the new game, I just love the original more.
Oh, and: Hi everyone, it's been a while.