From: Vermont, USA
Allright, I just loaded it up again to make sure I had my facts right. First of all, I don't have any information regarding why certain decisions were made, I can only comment on them from a gameplay standpoint as an end-user. Secondly, I have also not yet played through the whole game. With that said...
It plays like X-Com, it feels like X-Com and it's as addictive as X-Com. The issues mentioned here really do NOT yank me out of the game or change the feel of the game from the original in any significant way. For example, let's take trooper mortality.
The UFO Pedia explains that the medical bays on this world at this time are advanced enough that if enough of the brain is left intact, they can regrow a team member. However, this is a time-consuming process and is not always successful. The worst case scenario results in a patient with significantly impaired capacities. After playing for a while again this evening, I can confirm this. Soldiers still go down quickly when hit by Alien weaponry and I've had them show up after the mission requiring 40+ days to heal. I don't find it unrealistic that every time one of my soldiers is taken down, it's not an instant or unrecoverable kill given this technology. Your vehicles don't recover, but given how they explode when destroyed, it's not a stretch to imagine there's not much to recover in there. You buy another vehicle and move on.
I was doing well with missions on downed scouts, but my first mission to a downed fighter was quite an education. Between an alien melee-monster and some other nasties, I lost my entire team. As noted here, once that happens, they are gone. There's no one to bring the wounded or even just the remains back, so it's permanent. I should also mention that the way wounds are handled in combat is, IIRC, more detailed than the original X-Com as far as their effects and their ongoing need for stabilization.
This game is not easy (and I'm playing on the Easy level). New soldiers arrive as the nations of the world send them to you and this contributes frankly to the sense of trepidation whenever one of your existing soldiers is wounded (or in the case of losing an entire team, killed). Each recovering soldier is unavailable for duty and may be permanently impaired. Each dead soldier is gone and your remaining team is significantly smaller until the next recruit(s) arrive. I have felt pretty constantly a feeling of needing to conserve my men and avoid throwing them away. As they gain experience and improve, as with the original X-Com, your attachment to them grows.
I don't find the change in the design actually changes the gameplay experience. They tweaked it in one direction, but then tweaked a few other things to bring us back to much the same place we started in terms of the feel of mortality, danger and limited resources.
Moving on... I researched a new weapon technology and built some in my workshop and was able to sell them to gain more funds for my budget. I'm not sure where the idea that you can't sell what you build came from, but it seems to be false.
I would not be as concerned about this as you guys are, every time you hear about something that's a bit different. As far as I can tell, the developers had a very good understanding of what made X-Com outstanding. My $.02 from playing this, after playing the heck out of the original X-Com back in the day, is that it's the real deal.