It sure does feel good, surviving then beating UFO AL at impossible difficulty. The game test my mettle in both tactics and strategy, making each fight a battle for survival even with (and especially with) save and reload.
v1.7; Impossible difficulty
Shortest review line: Impossible difficulty bring out the best in UFO AL and make players use all features designed in game.
+ Damage is low and hurting is high. My team always has trouble dealing enough damage to kill target fast, and trouble taking damage at all. Each fight with one to three target can potentially wipe out the whole team. It's necessary to pick terrain to fight, use TNT to kill or lower their HP, and pile on them multiple on one. Kicking door running in with gun blazing is a big no no. Ambush, shoot then run, is generally the tenor of the day. Fight smart and safe, not quick.
+ Weapon retain its use throughout the game, most of them. I use TNT at 700+, with 300+ of contact mines, ret and beastman combined, to the last fight. The ret pistol is valuable late game to deal laser damage to Matriarch. And yet the new guns still can have place: human plasma rifles replace martian version quickly enough, and the fully modded rifle cede its place since middle game, but not the sniper rifle.
+ A true scavenging campaign. You need to use Beastmen weapon as soon as possible so that your production can keep up with consumption. The workshop cant even make other type of weapons (other than TNT and ammo) much because of the need for efficiency. The few Ret ammo we can trade is used in ret rifle as sniping tool. A true experience of a weak Terran force in a hostile planet.
+ The suits can be made gradually and have its place in each stage, some longer than other: The transport suits can still be used in certain map due to its humongous inventory. 4 major suit handlers should make them fast enough even with Impossible modifier.
+ Take your fights carefully. It's necessary to take only what territory you need, not what you can. It's necessary to fight battle you can win nearly wound-free, or just walk away until you got better personel or weapons. Expand as fast as you can without the ability to defend is a recipe to suicide. On the other hand, expand as fast as you can so that later on when we have to withdraw/abandon some territories it wont hurt as much. The balance is razor edge~
+ Recognize the value of using drone or not. Not using them mean we can concentrate XP in human team, and dont have to waste precious research and production time. Using them mean freedom to take damage, because it's easy and quick to heal. To your own preference.
+ Utilize your toons to the last dreg. from optimizing science and technical trainings, to make full use of the allied personels. They are the reason you should delay exterminating them to the last possible moment in order to have enough people to research.
- impossible to have appearance mod. It's minor con to some, but a big one in my book.
- The cartoony look seems to offend most of players, though not to me. But if some appearance mod to change armour's look?
- The lack and loss of some minor functionality. Example: in production shop you can add 10 to a prod line, and use ctrl + to increase them at fast pace, which is very much appreciated. The second shop disable this and you can only use right click to add 10, one right click at a time. Annoying!
- The exchange of Harald retire for Olga's fast learning. While the perk is useful as it make Olga level up fast enough to play at end stages with no problem, Harald's kill count, generally at 3 digit, is a serious loss. I might have to get a Harald Last Stand in order to have Olga early. I would appreciate early Olga with Harald retire instead of death, as I dont like looking at dead guy in my inactive column. Minor problem, but problem nonetheless.
- Production time is too long in Impossible. While we can make do with scavenged weapons and a few tools like TNT and later on heavy bullet, it make for less desirable production techs. Until late game when they get trained major weaponsmith, when they can produce stuffs with reasonable speed, but then we are too strong for enemies anyway. Impossible is a game showcasing player's tactics and strategy, but to showcase all that the game has to offer, you need a lower difficulty, or just lower the production speed a tad.
--Once change from alliance to war, alien can not change back to alliance, meaning if you want to keep your aliens, you can only attack their faction at last possible moment. Though not Martians, as they got events dictate their policy. With Martians you might as well eradicate them when they turn.