Xenonauts attempts to remain faithful to the original 1994 X-COM. However, Xenonauts attempts to update and alter the game to enhance the experience and rework disliked or broken features from the original game.
This page will detail all the main differences between the two games, on both the Geoscape and Battlescape perspectives.
(This page is a work in progress)
- Xenonauts takes place near the end of 1979 and uses weaponry and equipment from that era, ranging from NATO to Soviet equipment. X-COM takes place in the (at the time) near future, using this to have futuristic equipment and weapons.
- Unlike X-Com, Xenonaut soldiers are unable to use psionic powers.
- Ways to obtain money are different. You can't produce items for profits or rob the same alien base multiple times. Funding depends primarily on destroying UFO's, not on research or mission performance. Xenonauts can airstrike a crashed UFO, instead of only performing a ground assault. It is instant, safe and gives some amount of money.
- Xenonauts replaces the 16 funding nations with 10 funding blocs. While essentially they fulfill the same role, the funding blocs occupy entire regions and continents of the world, instead of only individual nations. This means alien activity in any part of the world will negatively affect a funding region. Moreover, there is a lot alien activity in the ocean so you need to protect the waters too.
- The earth model is cylindrical, not spherical. So the Soviet Union, Canada and Antarctica are very large and require multiple bases to cover.
- Building a base costs the same amount of money ($500,000) no matter where it is placed, unlike X-COM where different areas of the world have different construction costs.
- Inventory management is more streamlined. Instead of having to purchase or manufacture ballistic weapons, ammunition, grenades and miscellaneous equipment, it is instead provided in unlimited quantities. The player still has to manufacture more advanced weapons and armour however.
- In addition, there is a loadout system allowing the player to save preferred loadouts. This is not only to easily distinguish between the roles of your soldiers during missions, since it also allows the player to quickly set up equipment for soldiers instead of having to equip every soldier manually.
- The player has greater control over hiring new soldiers. Instead of giving newly recruited soldiers random stats after you've hired them, the player is instead presented with a list of potential recruits along with their stats. This way the player can examine them beforehand to select soldiers with preferred (high) stats.
- Weapons research and upgrading is handled differently. In X-Com you could research laser weapons relativity early on whereas with Xenonauts lasers come in later, in the late early game.
- In addition, unlike X-Com you cannot research and use alien plasma weapons the aliens use. Instead, you have to research these weapons and construct your own versions. Also new weapon types (Laser, Plasma or MAG) only see a increase in damage, unlike in X-Com where different weapon types had unique differences to them.
- UFOs spawn in waves and in groups, meaning you'll encounter multiple UFOs during a wave and not a single UFO.
- Air combat in Xenonauts is massively overhauled in comparison to X-COM. Unlike X-COM where air combat takes place in real time, the player directly controls their interceptors in a RTS mini game.
- The maximum Xenonauts attack force is limited to 3 machines (unlike original 4), while an Alien squadron can consist of 3 ships (instead of 1).
- Auto-resolve option is not present in original X-COM.
- In X-COM it is possible to fully destroy an enemy ship if extremely heavy weapons are used against the smallest vessels. In Xenonauts some types of ship will never create a crash site, and one (late-game) aircraft type is outfitted with a weapon, unique to its class, able to fully destroy any aircraft.
- Xenonaut pilots should always stay alert and be aware that they can be actually be attacked by enemy interceptors (unlike X-COM). That includes troop carriers.
- Despite circumstances mentioned above, Xenonaut transport ships cannot be armed.
- Your aircraft is never fully destroyed in combat. It crash lands, is retrieved and repaired for free. But it takes quite a while.
- Aircraft can be used while partially repaired/rearmed/refueled. Aircraft transfer between bases is a real pleasure!
- Xenonauts features a fully fleshed out cover system, where Xenonauts soldiers and aliens can take cover behind objects (or eachother), fire over it and have the cover absorb damage and explosive damage.
- Xenonauts cannot use infantry weapons to break through alien exterior walls.
- In X-COM a minimap is present allowing commander to better plan his/her actions.
- X-COM troopers cannot perform precision shots or full-auto bursts (more than 3 bullets). They are capable of throwing all kinds of items, Xenonauts can only throw explosives.
- Xenonauts can jump through openings in small terrain obstacles (e.g. fences).
- All civilians in X-COM series are unarmed and present in terror missions only, where Xenonauts features local forces and has civilians in most maps.