Falling Skies: The Game hopes you liked XCOM

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Falling Skies: The Game hopes you liked XCOM
Falling Skies: The Game from Little Orbit may be based on TNT's sci-fi drama television series of the same name, but you'd be forgiven for thinking it was a spin-off of XCOM: Enemy Unknown from 2K Games and Firaxis. Human squads vs. aliens in turn-based battles and a base from which to manage your units and resources?

"Deja vu" would be an understatement.
For those not familiar, Falling Skies takes place in a post-alien invasion world where rag-tag bands of survivors fight to survive and rebuild their lives. In the video game, which takes place between seasons three and four, these milita-men and women form four-person squads that face down the alien menace in turn-based firefights.

Selecting a unit brings up a grid-based interface showing how far they can move during their turn. Blue and yellow outlines show how far a soldier can travel; move within the blue range and you can take an action as well, move into the yellow range and you'll end that character's turn. It's a good idea to move units behind areas that provide cover - human flesh is only so resistant to alien mechs, and once a squad member dies, they're gone for good.

Should your soldiers survive their assault, they'll return to home base, where you can customize their gear and level them up. Returning victorious will also net you valuable resources, which can be used to strengthen your forces, keeping them fed and healthy. Resources also can be used to give your soldiers a leg up on their next battle by stocking their inventory with consumable items such as medkits.

These concepts are all present in Firaxis' 2012 reboot of the XCOM franchise, down to the blue-and-yellow color scheme of the user interface. In light of this, I asked Little Orbit how they planned to make Falling Skies: The Game stand apart in players' eyes.

A Little Orbit representative told me that, where XCOM restricted sidearms to a pistol for all classes but the Heavies, Falling Skies will allow a soldier to wield a shotgun as a secondary armament. I was also told that soldiers in Falling Skies can level up more than soldiers in XCOM. Little Orbit's game also features Dispatch missions; Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood-style sidequests that players can send a unit on when they need additional resources.

Little Orbit touted these features as examples of how the game has "expanded" on what XCOM: Enemy Unknown offered two years ago, but based on what I saw at E3, their inclusion looks shallow and uninspired.
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