I have to admit, I love this game. I'll admit it has faults - you do get terror missions, which is the only time you see civillians. Who consist of two models only, apprently, and seem unable to run away in terror, no matter how many aliens are chasing them down the street. (instead, they walk. slowly, calmy, and frequently right towards the hordes baying for their blood. The game throwing away 2/3 of my newly manufactured heavy laser ammo because each soldier fired one shot from each clip was also ...frustrating.
But the flavor of the game is there. Alien ships and bases are full of mysterious machines and weird scenery, I can blow my way through walls instead of walking to the door, and there is always something new to research. And you will lose more than one soldier to the shot in the back, as something slithers out a darkened room.
(The research is a big plus for me - in the orginal X-Com, once you had the heavy plasma and third level armor, that was it. In this game, I had heavy plasma's, brand spanking new armor only just researched and manufactured, and I was killing aliens with ease. I also had a brand new marque of interceptor built, armed with new shields, cannons and missiles, capable of eating three of my old interceptors for lunch. I thought it was pretty much game over at that point. Then a new, BIG UFO appeared, blew up my new interceptors in half a dozen shots, captured one of my bases and then landed. I attacked it with my tooled up soldiers, only to find the aliens had new combat robots, new guns and new personal armor. Wiped out 2/3 of my squad and left the last three nearly dead before I brought the last one down, but boy did it feel good. I've since learnt that the new UFO is only in the middle ranks of the alien hierarchy, and the aliens crewing it are still only foot soldiers. And the shiny new guns that wiped me out are likely to be obsolete by the time I can get them deployed to my soldiers, or finish trying to come up with better armor to counter them. There's some 120-odd items to research. Lovely..
The graphics don't really bother me - in fact, I like them. the only ones that look really spritey are your soldiers themselves - aliens, tanks, ships and landscape all look tasty, and layouts make sense. The visual style of the game is distinctive enough that it can feel interesting, and the levels feel differant from each other.
For the biggest faults, esp. for the X-COM purist, the game can be modded easily enough, bringing in everything from gaining exp. simply for participating in a mission, to soldiers dying and being hired - and to get rid of the problem with ammo clips I mentioned earlier. The UFOpedia text is a little unwieldy, but given the game was developed by an entirely non-English, small-size team, that is understandable. Bottom line, if you liked X-COM, you'll find a lot to like here. It even has the snakemen. complete with giant rodent teeth. Enjoy.