XCOM 2: Review

Ah, XCOM.

The turn-based strategy and base-management game fit for those looking for a challenge.

Enemy Unknown, released in 2012, revamped the series into the modern era, with a stylised look, and some really cool management stuff, where the focus was on having to keep countries happy and keeping your soldiers healthy and ready to smackdown with some aliens.

XCOM 2 changes things a bit.

Basically, the message of the game is quite simply: YOU LOST!

Yes, after what was probably years of game time, you simply lost. What you fought in the first game was only a fraction of the alien force. From Mutons to Sectopods, to the insanely dangerous Ethereal, it was all just the first wave.

In XCOM 2 you take up the role of the Commander once again. But the XCOM project is not what it once was. Now being run from a converted alien ship called the Avenger, you must make contact with other countries of the world, and keep in touch with the resistance movements all over the globe.

So far, I personally haven’t experienced much of the story, however, what I can see look to be something really interesting. The aliens have taken over Earth, and control the humans through mind control and manipulation.

The mechanics are very similar to those in the first game – the cover works the same, as do movement and shot percentage.

However, some of the best changes have come from scrapping the old classes, and putting new ones in their place. Instead of Heavy troops, you have Grenadiers. Instead of Assault units you have Rangers, able to use a sword to slash down enemies. Supports are now called Specialists, and Snipers are called Sharpshooters.

Specialists have a combat drone which you can upgrade through research and can become the medic of a team, being able to carry up to four medkits for one mission. You can also upgrade your GREMLIN drone to become more of an offensive unit, being able to deal with damage and debuff robotic units, they’re very useful for finishing off enemies.

Sharpshooters have been completely redone. From the offset, you have Squadsight, an ability that allows you to see enemies that your team mates can see, allowing you to have a broader view of the battlefield. And instead of having to switch to a pistol when moving, it’s now an ability, allowing for seamless switching between your rifle and your side arm.

You can blend and customise your soldiers with their uniform colours, synergise abilities, and if you’re smart, you can get some decent weapons and upgrades early on.

There are a few bugs which can be infuriating at times, but Firaxis assures players there will be a patch soon.

XCOM 2 delivers a tense and almost thriller-like game, turning the tables so you are the aggressors. You are the threat.

Good luck… Commander.