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for XCOM: The Advent Directive

9/21 c34 4Coment9
Bookmark number eleven.
9/17 c33 Coment9
Bookmark number nine
9/16 c32 Coment9
Bookmark number ten
9/10 c30 Coment9
Bookmark number eight.
9/9 c27 Coment9
Bookmark number seven.
9/5 c80 Ninjashot
This review is less chapter specific and more focused on the series as a whole, it's quite long but this is coming from someone who was really, really enthused about this series at some point so I hope it's worth the read.
To start with, going from Hades to Advent is one of the strangest writing shifts I've witnessed.
The first entry is quite serious and even with the whole XCOM aspect it's actually fairly down to earth and realistic. The characters are intriguing, intelligent and even if there is the occasional drama moment it all still feels genuine for the most part. When the Commander messes up it actually feels impactful to the reader, such as with the whole Saudi act with people getting cut up into slices. Even EXALT becomes an actually fairly scary element and really plays the part of a global world order well.
Atlas is obviously weaker because it hasn't been revised but it's still decently competent. We learn a bit more about the stakes, the world and the characters get developed a bit too.

But now here we are at Advent. I actually liked the turn around of flipping ADVENT around into the pro-human state, and in the beginning it was quite intriguing seeing how XCOM and EXALT could potentially influence the world. But as the story went on we went from fairly grounded military science fiction to Marvel movie leftovers.
The Ethereals are either quirky or epic cool mysterious badasses which remind me of Shadow the Hedgehog OCs. XCOM has gone from being a shadowy paramilitary organisation to an anime high school for superheroes and ADVENT higher ups start out as uncaring robots right up until the last few chapters where suddenly they all decided to collectively gain a conscience for seemingly no reason at all.
I can suspend my disbelief quite well but I have my limit and it's been reached roughly around the time where the most trope-y and generic self insert teenage girl character got introduced. I could have an separate rant for the character of Dawn if I could be bothered but I'll point out her biggest crime, which is getting an entire canon side story dedicated to her AND stealing all the interesting characters.

I was really, really interested in seeing how Caelior and all the others interacted with each other but apparently he's been relegated to the "I know he's bad but I can fix him!" subject for this particular series, and quite frankly I can't be bothered to read a whole story about a painfully, physically embarrassing character just so that I can get a few scenes with the few characters I like.

It's a compounding snowball of issues and the biggest one I can see is that the author is unwilling to let the story have an ending. Almost 2 million words in and it still doesn't feel like there's an end goal in sight and it's honestly frustrating. Every time the human side gets some sort of victory or a potential way to finally kill the Etherals or destroy the Collective or just finally move on, the dumb alien side gets a free McGuffin bullshit get out of jail free card pulled out of the ass of the universe so that the train can keep going. The power creep is absolutely awful, I'm pretty sure there were roughly half a dozen end-game weapons or technologies introduced and then either never used or used once and then forgotten about because hey, we can't have the story end! We can't have the Ethereals die!

The Gamma ray gun which can supposedly one shot the Battlemaster, the AI controlled nanite swarm, the flipping Pantheon. You're seriously going to go ahead and make an entire military division of psionic humans that are on the same level or better than pre-betrayal Patricia (which subdued almost an entire city by herself) and then have them completely and utterly fail any time something important happens? One Patricia (with some help) was enough to subdue Caelior, are you telling me that 8 of these jobbers can't take down a single Guardian? Of course they could, but we have now written ourselves into a corner where we don't have anymore expendable high profile enemy characters that we can kill, like Insomnum (except we do because there are still far too many Harbingers running around which seem to be perfect fodder but oh well).

None of the characters are consistent anymore. Why are all these hardened killers suddenly a bunch of emotional drama queens? Mass executions of aliens because they are le bad isn't interesting or cool, it's just weak. Especially when it's been established again and again that being pragmatic and not emotional is what differs XCOM from other human groups but I guess that got thrown out the window around the time when they started recruiting obnoxious stereotypical high school girls.

And then there are the endless crossovers and plot points that have been going on for a few hundred thousand words too many.
Magical Witcher galactic space elves should have NEVER been introduced and the longer that goes on the more boring and frustrating it is to read, to the point where I just skip past those sections. Just kill Betos and the SAS and be done with it. Volk should have gotten a satisfying death instead of the dumb solo adventure he's in now. Stop shuffling off interesting characters onto side stories that people will never read. Patricia should have been killed off long ago and letting her still live is just dumb, along with AT LEAST HALF of the current Harbingers.

There are no stakes here, the bad guys never take a huge loss and the good guys never get a good win, not anymore. It's just a bunch of faceless soldier drones getting into massive huge battles but those are also boring now.
At the start of the story I was caught on every word and with the latest chapters I find myself skipping entire scenes because they're about characters or plot points I have zero interest in.

What began as a very compelling sci fi story set in a fairly niche setting just turned into another dime a dozen fanfic about a bunch of annoying caricatures of real people with zero consequences for their actions with a plot that goes nowhere and gets a complication on top of twists on top of Deus Ex Machinas just to keep the story going.
I do not care for inter galactic space elf wizards, I do not care about emotional quirky shy teenage girls in a military setting, I don't care to read paragraph after paragraph of dialogue and slice of life of characters that I don't like.
Patricia isn't an interesting long term villain and should have died to the sun beam. Yang isn't an interesting side villain and should have been killed in that Florida battle. The Commander of XCOM got shuffled into being a tertiary character in a story about XCOM. Half of the Ethereals should be dead by now. You introduced two entirely separate AIs and they're not doing anything, JULIAN himself has been relegated to the occasional one liner.

Instead we get multiple chapter long scenes about a vegetable psion woman, Volk fucking about in a forest doing jack and some rando Admiral who got one battle and also is now sitting around on his ass.
The Imperator getting completely smacked by Mosrimor was interesting, the Commander and JULIAN having an emotional moment was really interesting and good but these moments are too far and few. All that's left now are obnoxious OCs, bizarre character personality shifts, power creep that most MMORPGs can't match and an absolute lack of stakes or engaging plot.
Just throw together an ending, sit back and revise the whole thing before it gets even more out of hand. I really, really enjoyed Hades Contingency, Atlas was still okay and a decent read and while Advent started out quite well it's just been going downhill for a while now.

I hope to come back in a year or two and see that things have improved. XCOM as a video game series is pretty much on a forever hiatus and there aren't really any good stories in this setting outside of yours.
This isn't meant as an attack but more of a plea to change things for the better because quite frankly there is no competition or alternative for an interesting and well written fanfiction about XCOM.
7/20 c1 icrawler
This fic has unmarked crossovers, severe story bloat, and no character development to (arguably) what should've been the most important character in this X-Com universe: The Commander.

There is absolutely no character development for the Commander beyond him living his fascist dream wank. A better plot line would've been having the Commander finally realize that as he is right now he's actively retreading the path he took when he was (still is) a heinous war criminal after KILLING THE UNITED NATIONS, only he's pulling everyone on Earth along for the ride. Simple _acknowledgement_ that he's done wrong is _not equivalent_ to actually doing right. He repeatedly chooses expediency over all and it reflects on everyone.

It would be a harder path for him to hunt down his moral blind spots and actively "be good", but that would make a much more compelling story than slam-dunking politicians and rights activists because alien invasion. Seriously, it was absolutely comical how they were so into their police state wankfest that they completely forgot to justify their actions by showing actual improvements to commerce, safety, and technology until thousands of words later.

The quirky Ethereals and pseudo-Mass Effect plot line (and further crossovers) should've been strangled in the cradle, or at least been placed in different fics. This feels like the author wrote a huge world-building document and somehow had to justify it with a story.

As of now, this reads like the author desperately trying to splice together dozens of story ideas built for different fandoms into a Frankesteinian abomination.
6/18 c25 Coment9
Bookmark number nine.
6/16 c23 Coment9
Bookmark number nine.
6/8 c21 Coment9
Bookmark number eight.
6/8 c80 HyperHypocrite
I wonder how Aegis is feeling about all this. I don't think he knows about the ground level conditions but I'm also just as unsure about how much he has changed since the beginning. It's possible that he considers it similar to how we consider animal farming. That is to say most try not to think about it too hard or do understand but are uncaring.

Also to guy creating bookmarks in the comments. There is a bookmark function you know? On the app you just have to hold your finger on the page. I'm unsure about how it's done on the computer site though. Just thinking that it would be easier for you.
6/7 c18 Coment9
Bookmark number seven.
6/6 c16 Coment9
Bookmark number six
6/3 c13 Coment9
Bookmark number five.
6/2 c80 spartanzerg
Ever think of using the walkers from universe at war earth assault I think it'd suit the collective quite well make it the ground equivalent of a sectoid hive ship.
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