In May 2004, humans achieved alien contact. Or rather, aliens, named Reticulans, came to Earth. Ignoring all attempts to make contact, the aliens unleashed a massive cloud of spores that completely covered the skies. One week later, the spores, having rapidly multiplied, fell en masse to the surface, choking the life out of the planet. The few survivors of the devastation gathered together with one purpose in mind: revenge.Thus begins the story of UFO: Aftermath, the first game in the UFO: After Blank series by Altar Interactive (officially, it's known as the "UFO" series, but you know the Internet). Considered the Spiritual Successor to the X-COM series, the UFO: After Blank games combine a geoscape-like view of the planet for strategic planning, and tactical squad-based action for missions. Research and development are extremely important for advancement. In many respects, the game is similar to X-COM, but the addition of real-time tactical missions, as well as a unique strategic game focused more on territory than resources and a complex story, sets the game apart from X-COM. Unfortunately, the series does not break from the X-COM tradition of crippling bugs and glitches. This got worse with the sequels, which were often rendered unwinnable.UFO: Aftermath was followed up by the sequel UFO: Aftershock, which actually continues from the bad ending of the previous game. The sequel then produced a sequel/simultaneous-quel of its own, UFO: Afterlight, set on Mars as brave colonists attempt to terraform the planet into a new Earth while defending against a multitude of aggressors.Despite the bugs, the games are probably the most dignified competitors for the title of "Spiritual Successor to X-COM", with Afterlight being often praised for approaching X-COM's level of complexity and depth. Note, however, that compared to other strategy games, all three are Nintendo Hard, at least during the first stages.Afterlight can be bought on Steam. The whole trilogy can be bought and downloaded without DRM from GOG.com.
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