Gaming Game Play & Streaming Best X-COM Video Games By Michael Klappenbach Writer Former Lifewire writer Michael Klappenbach is an IT professional and an expert on games and gaming equipment. our editorial process Michael Klappenbach Updated July 01, 2019 Game Play & Streaming Consoles & PCs Cheats & Codes Gaming Services Game Play & Streaming Mobile Gaming Tweet Share Email X-COM is a series of sci-fi video games surrounding an Extraterrestrial Combat Unit set up by the nations of Earth to combat an alien invasion. The invasion was first thought to have started in 1999 as documented in the first title, UFO Enemy Unknown, although in 2013 the release of The Bureau X-COM Declassified it was unveiled that the invasion actually began during the 1960s. There are a total of nine games in the series, five of which use a mix of turn-based strategy tactics and real-time base/resource management also happen to be the most popular and successful games in the series. There are also two third-person shooters in the series, one space/flight combat simulator and one play by email game in the series. Each game in the X-COM series is detailed below starting with the most recently released. XCOM 2 Release Date: Feb 5, 2016Developer: Firaxis GamesPublisher: 2K GamesGenre: Turn-Based StrategyTheme: Sci-FiGame Modes: Single player, multiplayer Buy From Amazon XCOM 2 is the follow up to the XCOM reboot from 2012, XCOM: Enemy Unknown. The storyline in XCOM 2 takes place 15 years after the events of the previous title where humans have lost the battle and Earth is now controlled by the Aliens. The game focuses on the attempts to re-establish XCOM in secret so that man can rid the earth of their new alien rulers. One of the most anticipated PC games for 2016, XCOM 2 was released in February 2016 and saw favorable reviews with high marks for the new (at the time) concealment feature. This feature introduced some new gameplay elements and strategy to the game over the previous installment. XCOM: Enemy Within XCOM Enemy Within Logo. © 2K Games Release Date: Nov 12, 2013Developer: Firaxis GamesPublisher: 2K GamesGenre: Turn-Based StrategyTheme: Sci-FiGame Modes: Single player, multiplayer Buy From Amazon X-COM: Enemy Within was released in late 2013 as a stand-alone expansion pack and direct follow up to X-COM: Enemy Unknown that was released in 2012. X-COM Enemy Within follows the same main storyline but does include some minor tweaks and enhancements. For the most part, gameplay is no different than that of Enemy Unknown, players will manage the X-COM base, budgeting R&D, manufacturing as well as sending troops out to defend earth from the alien invasion. It includes a new resource, new enemy faction, new missions and 47 new maps. The Bureau: XCOM Declassified The Bureau: XCOM Declassified Screenshot. © 2K Games Release Date: Aug 20, 2013Developer: 2K MarinPublisher: 2K GamesGenre: Action, Third-Person Tactical ShooterTheme: Sci-FiGame Modes: Single player Buy From Amazon The Bureau: X-COM Declassified is a sci-fi game set in the X-COM universe that tells the story of the first contact with aliens in the 1960s and the founding of the X-COM. Set in 1962 players take on the role of CIA Agent William Carter as he leads a team of agents to gather intelligence and protect the US and Earth from a recently discovered alien invasion. It is considered the first game in the timeline of the X-COM series or a prequel to the original X-COM: UFO Defense and its reboot, X-COM Enemy Unknown. XCOM: Enemy Unknown XCOM: Enemy Unknown Screenshot. © 2K Games Release Date: Oct 9, 2012Developer: Firaxis GamesPublisher: 2K GamesGenre: Turn-Based StrategyTheme: Sc-FiGame Modes: Single player, multiplayer Buy From Amazon X-COM: Enemy Unknown is a remake of the original X-COM: UFO Defense (also known as UFO: Enemy Unknown) and is set in the near future in the midst of an alien invasion of earth. Players take control of X-COM which is Earth's last line of defense against the aliens, managing budgets, research and troop deployments. Gameplay is split into two distinct phases, operations of X-COM base and finances, and turn-based tactical missions. During the turn-based tactical missions, players control a squad of troops as they try to eliminate alien forces and discover alien artifacts and technology. X-COM: Enforcer X-COM: Enforcer. © 2K Games Release Date: Apr 18, 2001Developer: MicroProsePublisher: Hasbro InteractiveGenre: Action, Third-Person ShooterTheme: Sci-FiGame Modes: Single player, multiplayer Buy From Amazon X-COM: Enforcer is the fifth game in the X-COM series and the first game that was strictly a shooter and did not contain any tactical or strategic elements found in other X-COM titles. The storyline is not considered canon to the X-COM series and is set in 1999 in a "first alien war" which is not portrayed in any other game in the series. Players take on the role of the Enforcer, a combat robot as battles aliens and rescue hostages. While it does not include tactical elements it does have research paths that allow for different weapons and armor for players to use. X-COM: First Alien Invasion (Email Game) XCOM First Alien Invasion (email game). © Hasbro Interactive Release Date: Sep 30, 1999Developer: Hasbro InteractivePublisher: Hasbro InteractiveGenre: Turn-Based StrategyTheme: Sci-FiGame Modes: Play by mail X-COM: First Alien Invasion was a play by email game developed by Hasbro Interactive that was set in the X-COM universe, based on the original X-COM game. In it, each player controls a squad of soldiers with the objective to eliminate the other player's squad. There is no real storyline or campaign, no research, and no resource management. X-COM: Interceptor X-COM: Interceptor. © Atari Release Date: May 31, 1998Developer: MicroProsePublisher: AtariGenre: SimulationTheme: Sci-FiGame Modes: Single player, multiplayer Buy From Amazon X-COM: Interceptor is the fourth title in the X-COM series of games that was a departure, at the time of release, from the core turn-based tactical strategy gameplay of the previous titles. Interceptor is a space/flight combat simulator game that has players taking on the X-COM aliens in space as they pilot starfighters and managed resources and money. While it is the fourth game of the series, in chronological order it is third, set between the Terror of the Deep and Apocalypse. X-COM: Apocalypse X-COM: Apocalypse. © 2K Games Release Date: Jun 30, 1997Developer: Mythos GamesPublisher: MicroProseGenre: Turn-Based StrategyTheme: Sci-FiGame Modes: Single player Buy From Amazon X-COM: Apocalypse is the third game in the X-COM series and has players once again controlling troops in turn-based tactics, managing resources and more. Set some time after the Terror From the Deep, humanity now exists in megacities which the players must defend from a new alien threat. X-COM: Terror from the Deep X-COM: Terror from the Deep. © 2K Games Release Date: Jun 1, 1995Developer: MicroProsePublisher: MicroProseGenre: Turn-Base StrategyTheme: Sci-FiGame Modes: Single player Buy From Amazon X-COM: Terror from the Deep is the second game in the series and sequel to UFO Defense. After the alien are repulsed from their first invasion, they try again but this time from the depths of the Earth's oceans. The game's two phases, both the base building/resource management and tactical troop combat phase are set underwater. All of the weaponry discovered in the first game is useless underwater and thus requires new research and development. The gameplay is identical to that of X-COM: UFO Defense. Make sure to check out X-COM Complete which is a bundle pack that includes all of the early X-COM games. X-COM: UFO Defense (aka UFO: Enemy Unknown) UFO: Enemy Unknown. © MicroProse Release Date: Mar 1994Developer: Mythos GamesPublisher: MicroProseGenre: Turn-Based StrategyTheme: Sci-FiGame Modes: Single player Buy From Amazon UFO: Enemy Unknown, known as X-COM: UFO Defense in North America, is a turn-based strategy game set in the near future, 1998, with reports of UFO sightings and alien abductions. Soon the nations of the world come together and create X-COM to protect and defend Earth. The game contains two distinct phases of play, the Geoscape, and Battlescape. In the Geoscape mode, players manage their base, research, manufacture, and troops, while in Battlescape they control a squad of troops sent out to a UFO Crash site or to protect a city from alien invasion. The game received very favorable reviews and was quite successful at tie time. It has since inspired many similar games and spawned a series that currently stands at nine games. In addition to a freeware remake titled UFO 2000, X-COM: UFO Defense/UFO: Enemy Unknown and many of the other early X-COM games are available in an X-COM bundle through digital distributors Steam and GamersGate.