Could XCOM be One of the Finest Translations of a Game From PC to Console?

14 Oct 2012

The editors at EDGE have been obviously impressed by Firaxis' adaptation of the classic X-COM gameplay to consoles, and have written as much in a recent editorial, in which they wonder whether it's the best adaptation of classic PC gameplay to console period.

Here's a snip from it:
Its pad controls are as intuitive as mouse and keyboard. When administering your base, the management interfaces are elegantly streamlined into just a few main sets of options, each with only a few submenus, making it clear to navigate. Information screens, like notifications of the completion of research, smartly send you on to the next logical step, like choosing a new artefact to study. Advancing time is a case of hitting Y, on 360, to visit the Geoscape, and then hitting A to watch your queue of important events and construction times count down. The result is that the game keeps your attention on what’s important: choices and strategy, and watching your bustling base expand.

During missions, the interface is just as honed. The left stick sets your units moving; the right stick pans the view. The levels are laid out in such a way that you won’t even find yourself having to swing the view around with the direction buttons very often. Overlaid contextual details, like cover or the limits of your unit’s range, provide the information you need when you need it, without cluttering the screen. Pressing the right trigger opens up your selected soldier’s action menu, which only allows you to access those actions it’s able to execute at the time. Again, it’s so simple and logical that your mind’s fixed on tactics and atmosphere, not wrestling with trying to make things work.

If I had anything to add to this editorial, it would only be that the folks at Firaxis forgot to give the interface and control scheme some extra polish for the PC version, as they feel somewhat clumsy when compared to their console counterparts.