Definitely feeling the first half of the game is stronger, and by a good margin too. The game has the same XCOM inverse difficulty curve going on, and by the end it's mechanically going through the motions. The plot interactions also feel a fair bit sparser in Mexico, where I could go for weeks at a time essentially doing nothing and not interacting with any of my crew.
I guess the main complaint I can make mechanically is that the character level progression is pretty flat. The passive feats are mostly barely noticable, things such as +5 defense or +10% damage when flanking are, while not terrible, not particularly interesting either. The active abilities are also a bit inconsistent, some I can barely see much use for (such as the veteran scout's throwing knife and the soldier's active defensive skills since hp pools are so small compared to damage that attacking is almost always the better option), and there's no choice at all about them.
I didn't start out meaning to keep comparing this to XCOM, but despite that game's missteps with some of them, most of the character levelling choices were genuine "interesting decisions" in Sid-speak, where the choices were both significant in impact and had a real effect on how the game was played depending on which choice was taken. In E:C it's mainly just a case of upgrading all your recruits to veteran so that each has +10% attack and defense, a couple of minor passive skills, plus another potential 5% attack/defense from extra equipment slots that open up. Not a fatal flaw by any means, but while I'll certainly replay the game at least once more, it's only for the RP aspects and not any significantly differing mechanical approach.
The other issue I'm having is that it's incredibly hard so far to justify investing in ranged combat to any significant degree. Finding typically that it requires 2-3 hits of melee to get a kill, as opposed to 4-5 for ranged, and that's before accounting for the guaranteed damage versus gambling with chance to hit. Further, it seems while all but the scout get to wield ranged damage, the hit chances for anyone but hunters are so absurdly low (30% in broad daylight while a few tiles away?) that it's the last resort of the desperate rather than a meaningful option. And yes, I'm comparing characters with equivalent (maxed out) equipment in their relevant weapon category.
Edited by Humanoid, 03 June 2013 - 07:04 AM.