XCOM: Enemy Unknown might be a poor choice for my gaming time as far as my real world health is concerned because I can actually feel my stress level increase while I am playing the new strategy title from Firaxis.
The tension is mostly linked to the great use of fog of war and the way the percentages play out when it comes to actually taking a shot or being the target of one.
Most if not all the alien units in XCOM see as far as the human soldiers do, but they also get a free set of evasion moves when they are detected.
This creates an interesting XCOM dilemma between setting up a trap and then triggering their detection in order to get some free shots and between simply spotting them with one operative in order to see how they spread out and then setting your team’s defense.
There’s tension for each movement I make with my team, especially when I chose to risk a long-range dash instead of simply moving cautiously.
And XCOM offers even more stress when shooting is involved because this is a game that makes sure you learn the difference between a good chance of something happening and a certainty.
I had 90 percent shots, a close range that ended in misses and then led to the death of my operative and the abandonment of an Ironman game.
I also had long-range sniper shots with severe penalties that managed to hit after the game told me that there was just a 10% success rate and actually won me a late game mission.
And each of these shots and many more were stressful, brought sweat to my brow and my palms and made me experience a tension that no other game of 2012 managed to deliver.