Itís a game about slowly moving your frontline forwards, meticulously ordering a squad of six1 from cover to cover and making a stream of tactical decisions in order to overcome an enemy that always, always outnumbers them. Youíre directing a SWAT team that needs to stick relatively close together (not too close mind, unless watching a grenade liquidate four people at once turns you on), carefully clean out an area and move on, not the spread-out search and destroy agents of 1993. Itís faster and more furious than its 90s ancestor, but it is no less strategic for it.
It works. It better than works. XCOM is muscular, tense, thoughtful, mutable turn-based strategy with the dramatic, explosive presentation of a contemporary all-action game. Also, the environments get unavoidably trashed on a grand-scale, in a fashion all too rarely seen in either strategy or action games: these are true battlegrounds. No matter how well you do in a mission, youíll leave a bombsite behind you. Frankly, youíre probably doing more harm than good to the world.