previewed on PC
As I mentioned before, the battles are turn-based squad combat. You control each of your units and decide whether you want to move, attack, take cover, etc, with each action taking a certain amount of time, specified in time units. Once a unit has run out of time units, it will have to wait until the next turn to take an action. Once all your units have completed their moves you end your turn. The aliens will not sit still and will spend their turn to kill all of your units. At least that's the way it works when I'm playing. This is your basic turn-based strategy gameplay and if you have played any other turn-based game, it will feel very familiar. If you haven't, you are likely to pick it up quickly. Some people may complain that UFO: Extraterrestrials doesn't bring anything new to the table in term of gameplay. However, I think this is a great decision as these are time-tested gameplay mechanics, both familiar to veterans and easily learnable by beginners.
Was that door always there?
In its current state the graphics are just OK, not particularly good but not noticeably poor either. The view, as you can see from the accompanying screenshots, is your classic isometric viewpoint that is unfortunately locked. There is no panning or rotating. While a 3D interface would have been nice, it definitely would have changed the 'feel' of the game and the developers have tried to keep the X-COM experience intact. As it is, the creature models are good and there are some nice weapon effects; I particularly like the smoke effects you get from some of the missiles. Another feature that deserves mentioning and should be fun to play with, is the ability to destroy the environment. Chaos Concept calls this feature 'Free Movement Standard' or FMS. With the FMS you will be able to blow out a wall if you use a powerful enough weapon or blow up a gas tank right next to an alien. This will hopefully add some interesting strategic options for both players and AI alike. And speaking of AI, it has supposedly been developed by experts in cybernetics, which I guess means that I will likely be even worse at UFO: Extraterrestrials than I was at any of the X-COM series (I shudder to think...).
So what you're saying is...?
When it comes right down to it I am really excited about UFO: Extraterrestrials. It seems to have nailed the look and atmosphere of the original X-COM games while updating it enough to make it interesting in today's gaming world. The gameplay looks to be great and while the graphics are only average, they don't make a strategy game good (particularly turn-based strategy games); gameplay, AI, and the story are what keep gamers interested. The Chaos Concept developers seem to know this and that bodes well for UFO: Extraterrestrials.