XCOM: Enemy Unknown Preview

Rock, Paper, Shotgun's Adam Smith has penned a hands-on preview for XCOM: Enemy Unknown, based on his forty hours spent so far with the game. In short, he's ecstatic about it, and looks like he believes we should be too.

While the preview as a whole deserves a read from anyone interested in the game, I'm going to quote a part about base management, since to my memory we haven't heard much about it so far:
Before zooming back into the tactical level, here's how base and squad management works. There's just the one base, XCOM HQ, although you do get to choose which continent it's located in. There's a geographical bonus for the placement. These include Asia's '˜Future War' boost that reduces the cost of advanced weaponry and training, and South America's efficient questioning and dissection techniques, which allow the player to complete autopsies and interrogations instantly.

Being based in one location doesn't mean it's not important to expand coverage though and this happens in two different ways. First of all, new satellites and uplink facilities must be constructed. The satellites can then be launched over different countries, which reduces the panic level in that part of the world and provides a bonus from the ruling government. Any UFOs in the nearby skies will also now be detected and this is where the second part of geographical coverage comes in to play. Detecting UFOs is all well and good, but to bring them down you'll need to station Interceptors, or more advanced fighters, on that continent as well. They can be transferred or purchased, and to stop the world from turning its back on XCOM, it's necessary to expand coverage frequently and intelligently.

The single base doesn't dumb down the strategic side of the game and it has the advantage of looking utterly stunning, the side-on ant-farm design a perfect introduction to the game's chunkily believable B-movie aesthetic. An alien containment chamber is instantly recognisable because it has a massive transparent chamber in the centre, with science bods prodding clipboards all around. Engineering workshops are full of automated machinery, robotic arms ready to build massive guns. And the guns really are massive a heavy weapons squaddie can't be mistaken for anything else because he is toting a bloody great machine gun, a rocket launcher strapped to his back.