... it's an opportunity to reflect on what it is that causes us to form emotional attachments to each other: Analyzing XCOM: Enemy Unknown’s soldier progression with producer Garth DeAngelis
My X-Com soldiers earn their “abilities” while I grant such perks to my troops in XCOM. That contrast in agency of character growth makes all the difference between a real sense of attachment and playing with action figures. So I asked DeAngelis how the skill system develops a feeling of affection toward your troops.
“Because your soldiers experience combat before they level up,” he said, “… it’s easy to create a story where soldiers use the experience they just went through to help them define their skills. Maybe that Heavy was just in a fight where nobody was making their shots — it’s easy to choose Holo-Targeting [editor's note: a skill that increases aim] at that point and say, ‘Alessandro “Crater” Guzman is not going to go through that again!’”
Oh, and by the way: I've finished the first base mission, and have almost built the holodeck beacon.
Meanwhile, if you can stomach strong language, I'd have to say that Ben Croshaw's review in The Escapist pretty much hits the nail on the head: Zero Punctuation reviews XCOM: Enemy Unknown..