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Review of UFO:Extraterrestrials Gold Edition with Grayfiends MOD

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  • Review of UFO:Extraterrestrials Gold Edition with Grayfiends MOD

    UFO: Extraterrestrials Gold Enhanced with Grayfiends Mod

    The Good:
    * Closest thing to capturing X-Com in a game I've seen
    * Good mix between base building and tactical missions
    * Lots of bang for you buck (easily put in 50hrs into a campaign)
    * Very customizable to suit your preferred gamestlye
    * Lots of re playability by ramping up the difficulty

    The Bad:
    * Steep learning curve
    * Very difficult
    * Dealing with PSI weapons are frustrating at the beginning
    * Randomness of games can go against you
    * Civilian AI is horrible, doesn't really effect the game but is a pet peeve

    As with most people that played games in the 90's I took a fancy to the X-COM series, even though at the time I was just a young teenager who had almost no tactical sense
    I still enjoyed the mix of base building, research, and missions the X-COM games offered. Reading about the upcoming XCOM game (which is sadly very different from the games I knew and loved) I got the craving to play that style of game again and stumbled upon the UFO: Extraterrestrials game. By itself is an alright, but not a great game, thankfully several modders have taking upon themselves essentially strip the game down to its skeleton and build it back up in a more X-COM fashion.

    The similarities to X-COM are everywhere, lets see if this sounds familiar. You are in charge of running a muti-goverment organization to defend the earth from an alien threat. The governments of the world give you a budget to do this based on how well you intercept and destroy UFO's that fly over their territory and deal with aliens that terrorize their population. You hire soldiers, build bases, research alien technology to manufacture state of the art weapons and equipmentto aid your cause.

    The significant differences to X-COM are less noticeable but still important. One major difference is that you can only build most buildings at your main base, although every territory can have a base they are limited to hangers, radar and defenses. It is a little disappointing but I managed the game with 3 types of bases, my main base held my research and manufacturing, while the support bases were either listening posts with beefed up radar or airbases with extra fighters, I found it worked well. Another subtle difference is the way PSI combat is handled, in previous XCOM games you could research PSI combat for your troops and turn the tables on the aliens but in this game you are limited to PSI protection research only. Also the alien ships all come with cloaking devices which make them appear and disappear on the map (though you can guess in the general flight path), this can be frustrating since in order to shoot down alien craft at the beginning (when you are slower then they are) you have to use two fighters, one to engage and one to to cut off their escape, it does make things more interesting though.

    The graphics are decent, while nowhere near current tech they are a great improvement from the XCOM games (which isn't hard) and I feel it captures the mood well.
    Night missions and base missions especially really show off the lighting and gives a nice atmosphere to the game.

    Tactical missions are challenging, especially until you research the medkit which will allow you to stabilize critically wounded soldiers before they bleed out. Tactical
    missions run very similar to XCOM missions, its turn based and actions points are assigned to all tasks from firing a weapon to grabbing equipment out of your pack.

    All in all the game is a lot of fun and I would recommend it to anyone who liked the XCOM series. It is well worth the $10 on steam and I got a lot of hour out of it (and I still haven't finished the game yet so I'll get lots more). That said there are some issues with it, first is that it has a very steep learning curve and is unforgiving, (if you are used to the XCOM games you will fair better but I highly suggest reading through this guide ( before starting the game) some of the information is not accurate because the author talks about the vanilla game but the basics are there to help you have a better start. The game is old school hard so I recommend starting the game on the 2nd lowest difficulty. Also the randomness of the games can be frustrating, for example you need to shoot down a couple alien ships in the first month or two in order to get a good start on research since your starting equipment is pretty horrible, but if you shoot them down over water (or they explode in mid-air) you can't salvage any tech from them. The funding mechanics are a bit wonky as well and its not uncommon to get very low scores for the first few months despite shooting down all the UFO's you can see (this is because you don't see most of them because your radar is poor, it gets better) that is why it is better to rely on manufacturing for income then government money.

    Speaking of manufacturing, there are a number of settings you should change before you start the game (they are found under the mod settings in the main menu).
    Manufacturing speed should be set to 50%, this allows you to actually make profit on manufactured goods which is essential. I would also recommend turning the AI
    to devious and the soldiers mortality to vital. There are a ton of setting to tinker with here so you can adjust the game to your liking.

    Installing the mod was fairly easy for me, you need to go here to get the mod and it comes in several parts, just follow the instructions and you should be fine, though for Win7 or XP users you'll need to right click it and select "run as administrator" when installing even if you have admin privileges enabled (silly I know but I needed to do this for it to work). Lastly I bumped up the accuracy of new recruits because they can't hit the broadside of a barn at the beginning which is in my opinion unrealistic for military personal. Its not the end of the world because they get better as they get more missions in (and you get better recruits eventually as well) but I found it a bit too frustrating for the first couple missions so I edited the mod a bit. Follow the path I bolded below and open the file in notepad and scroll down to the following section and copy/paste or change the values as I did:

    > data/gamesystem/base/sectionrecruitment

    //------------------------------------------------------- gfCreateNewRecruit -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    object ResourceBundle = getGlobalVariable("ResourceBundle");

    object newRecruit = gfCreateRecruitTemplate();

    object photoInfo = gf_unitPhotoRnd(""); //any sex
    newRecruit.foto = photoInfo.textureName; = generateSoldierName(photoInfo.usage == "man");

    if (photoInfo.usage == "man") {
    newRecruit.height = normRand(175, 8, NULL);
    newRecruit.weight = normRand((newRecruit.height - 100)*10, 50, NULL);
    } else {
    newRecruit.height = normRand(170, 8, NULL);
    newRecruit.weight = normRand((newRecruit.height - 110)*10, 40, NULL);

    newRecruit.trainingType = kl_getRandomTrainingType( NULL );

    newRecruit.strengthACT = normRand((0.5*tof(newRecruit.weight)/7.0), (0.05*tof(newRecruit.weight)/7.0), NULL);
    newRecruit.strengthMAX = min(MAX_VALUE_STATS, newRecruit.strengthACT + 72);
    newRecruit.strengthSTA = newRecruit.strengthACT;

    newRecruit.braveryMAX = 100 + uniRand(20, NULL); // 80..100 points
    newRecruit.vitalityMAX = normRand(100, 5.7, NULL); // 60..100 points
    newRecruit.perceptionMAX= normRand(100, 5.7, NULL);
    newRecruit.agilityMAX = normRand(100, 4.5, NULL);
    newRecruit.throwingMAX = normRand(100, 4.5, NULL); // 70..100 points
    newRecruit.shootingMAX = normRand(100, 4.5, NULL);

    newRecruit.braverySTA = newRecruit.braveryACT = 25 + uniRand(35, NULL);
    newRecruit.agilitySTA = newRecruit.agilityACT = normRand(0.55, 0.05, NULL) * newRecruit.agilityMAX;
    newRecruit.vitalitySTA = newRecruit.vitalityACT = normRand(0.45, 0.05, NULL) * newRecruit.vitalityMAX;
    newRecruit.perceptionSTA = newRecruit.perceptionACT = normRand(0.45, 0.05, NULL) * newRecruit.perceptionMAX;
    newRecruit.throwingSTA = newRecruit.throwingACT = normRand(0.45, 0.05, NULL) * newRecruit.throwingMAX;
    newRecruit.shootingSTA = newRecruit.shootingACT = normRand(0.40, 0.05, NULL) * newRecruit.shootingMAX;

    return gfImproveRecruit(newRecruit, CURRENT_ERA);



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