@all: VoodooV mention X-COM, and think it's amazing that no one topped it. I agree, and even though Silent Storm was good, it's no X-COM. But this isn't so only with X-COM. Look at Fallout! Fallout 2 was good as well, but after that no one has topped that one either. And as Riker says, how about Deus Ex? So many classics that still hasn't been topped. I think too much focus on graphics, and the lack of innovation due to RTS and FPS, is the primary reason.
@Malakai: There are sure things in Aftershock that is worth criticising, but I don't agree with all your points. Hope you don't mind I comment a few of them
The diplomatic side of things is quite nice. Being able to get fresh recruits (cyborgs, humans or psionics) is handy especially during the earlier part of the game when sometimes you end up fighting a lot of enemies much tougher than you. The only problem is that say if you're trying to attack a province over in North America and a faction asks for help over in Northern Africa sometimes it can be hard getting back in time to help them. And that causes a huge drop is relations between the player and the faction asking for the help.
This problem is there intentionally. Because it takes some time to move the Laputa over the globe, where to place it is part of the strategy. You can also improve the Laputa through research.
The actual combat side of things reminds me a lot of JA1/2 except it's real-time with a smart-stop system. Now the smart-stop system is quite good, but jesus can it be annoying. Sometimes it stops for no real valid reason, and then sometimes it doesnt stop at all. The number of times i've come out of the landing craft with about 6 enemies walking around in plain sight without the game pausing to let you know an enemy has been spotted is bpast my own counting.
You can control the automatic pauses in the options screen. This goes for both the strategic pauses and the tactical pauses. I set it so that the game pauses and camera moves ONLY when I spot a new enemy. No other events makes the game pause by itself.
Now the most annoying part of the game i find is the research. Everything that is important (any armour, general weapon plans and other such necessities) can take literally 5 days to complete ingame. Now it doesnt sound much, but when you're attacking almost every other hour it takes forever to get anything. There is one way to combat this, and that is to build more research facilities but when you have say a limit of 4 building spaces in one base and a required knowledge level of 5 to build a lab that leaves you able to only build 2 labs (2 slots taken to get the knowledge level in that base up to what is needed). Ok it halves the time required to research things with 2 labs, but even so that's still 2 and a half days and when you require something within 9 hours, it gets rather annoying.
Again, this is to make it harder. Research takes time after all, and because it takes time you have to carefully choose what to research.
One thing though they have done extremely well is the character growth side of things. Instead of numbers they use words (awful, poor, average, good, excellent, heroic, super heroic) to describe a characters ability in a certain area. Now although you can only influence 6 major areas, these major ones influence the smaller areas. It works well indeed, especially when coupled with the ability to train your soldiers. The training obviously gives characters extra traits as it were, like troopers being able to dodge bullets at lvl 2. If you play it long enough you can get a character trained in as many disciplines as you want. I have a guy fully trained as a commando and trooper and he is almost god-like in his abilities. Tis very handy.
There is a limit of three trainings per soldier. I am sure they get really nasty with three full trainings as you describe however :). But for the most case the trainings makes it so that you have to specialize snipers, stalkers and so on. That's an improvement over Aftermath.
Greetings from Olav (Staff at http://www.strategycore.co.uk