Overall XCOM is a great game. If you like strategy It’s worth your time and money (but try to get it for less than $50). With that said I had a few gripes that caused me to be unhappy, in the last 1/3rd of the game.
Stats on Rails
There were very few hard choices when it came to your soldier stat/gear makeup. Only once did I consider using X or Y piece of gear on a particular class. The class specialties were never difficult choices either. It was almost as if some stat upgrades were added for fluff so it appeared like you had a choice.
After playing through a number of missions you’ll find that sometimes groups of enemies will inexplicably spawn, often right next to your squad. This really broke the “simulation” facade that turn-based strategy games provide. It made the game often play like a shooting gallery, where I would progress through a level waiting to “trigger” a mob spawn/reveal to bring those enemies into play. This made missions repetitive and not challenging.
Shadow Council are Jerks
The game sets you up to make hard choices on where to focus your global efforts in an a attempt to make the meta-game feel like an “impossible war”. I love this. The thing is, especially on harder difficulties, near the end of the game you’re going to lose countries. When this happens you’ll often get a poor rating, forcing you to listen to a long diatribe from the council about how you suck so much. It really just felt like a heavy handed approach. I could win every battle with flying colors and still be chastised.
Again, great game, but a bit more focus on the “simulation” in this strategy title would have made it a must-have.