I finally got around to booting up XCOM tonight. I decided to give it a try on the living room TV to see how it worked. Turns out it works great.
I bought it via Steam and used Steam’s new “Big Picture” mode to launch the game. Unfortunately Steam can’t solve the issue of Windows User Account Control security pop-ups, but once in the game the only thing I couldn’t figure out how to do with a controller was rename my troops.
The folks at Firaxis went above and beyond the call of duty here. The UI is easily readable from across the room, even to someone with eyes as bad as mine. When you choose Controller as your Input Method, everything changes to support that controller. On-screen prompts match the buttons on your controller and a lot of floaty UI stuff goes away.
Later in the evening I booted up the game a second time on my office PC, using mouse and keyboard and honestly I felt like I was fighting the controls at that point. Maybe it was just because my first hour with the game was done via controller, but for me at least the gamepad controls are superior to mouse and keyboard; I really didn’t expect that.
Unfortunately I couldn’t figure out how to put my save game in the cloud, so I do have to manually copy saves between machines if I want to continue the same game as I move between living room and office. XCOM is supposed to be Steamcloud enabled but… it doesn’t seem to be. Oh well.
Anyway if this is the future of Big Picture gaming I’m all in. It gives you the best of both worlds; the sharp graphics and speed of a fast PC and the comfort of gaming on your couch. Well done, Firaxis!