XCOM 2 Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger

April 5, 2016


XCOM resurfaced a few years back with praise for the turn based strategy game that stuck close to its roots of its classic predecessors.


Now XCOM 2 comes along hoping to please fans, both old and new. With new enemies to face, more tactical options being offered, and modding available from day one, XCOM 2 sets out not to disappoint.


XCOM 2 brings plenty of improvements, and changes to the table to keep the game fresh and players on their toes, but is plagued by some problems both old and new. As with the previous XCOM you’ll be managing your own base, and making decisions that can benefit your soldiers by keeping them alive longer.


While the XCOM 2 has same basic fundamentals of base management as the previous game, a few changes have been made.


Building rooms often take longer than they previously did, but build time can be reduced provided you have some engineers to help out.


Missions are offered to you just as similarly as in the previous XCOM, but with a small twist. Missions that previously offered rewards and reduced panic, now have Dark Events that replace panic.


Dark Events are events that will allow the aliens to upgrade their defenses, or advance towards their endgame goal.


You’ll also be scanning the world map for supplies, which can often be annoying at times due to the possibility of one to three missions interrupting you during process.


XCOM 2 offers a few twists when it comes to taking the Earth back from the aliens. On some missions when you first start out, you’ll be invisible to detections unless you enter an enemy’s or a civilian’s sight radius.


This allows you to setup ambushes or possibly reach your mission goal first before eliminating enemy forces.


Timed missions are also more frequent in XCOM 2, meaning that previous strategies from previous XCOM, such as ending every turn on over watch for all your soldiers isn’t going to cut it every mission.


While the increased amount of timed missions forces players to adopt new tactics against the aliens, it can sometimes be very annoying at times to lose a soldier from trying to rush to the goal, and possibly encountering a new enemy type that can throw everything off.


The enemies that you’ll be facing in XCOM 2 are more dangerous than ever.


Aliens from the previous game return heavily upgraded in this sequel with new abilities making them deadlier than their previous incarnations. 


Brand new enemies are all too ready to keep both novices and veterans on their toes. Sadly aliens still work somewhat similar to previous XCOM where upon discovery, they get free turn to scamper into hiding.


The aliens also have their own personal army this time, and just like your forces, their always improving and upgrading their weaponry and armor just like your own forces.


While you get new abilities, and items to tackle the ever encroaching alien threat, some items lack a sense of balance.

Certain items such as the mimic grenade, make missions a total breeze. While other items such as EMP based weapons feel useless, or not worth using up your soldiers limited inventory for.


Abilities such as the Sharpshooter class’s Standoff, or a good amount of psionic abilities feel overpowered.


Other abilities such as hacking, or the Ranger class’s sword are awfully underpowered.


Hacking takes a big hit since using it on enemies risks the chance of making them stronger, in a game about minimizing risks, and the Ranger’s sword either leaves the soldier out far away from your team, or could possibly trigger another group of aliens into action.


Also similar to its predecessor, near the end of the game, most missions become a breeze. While XCOM 2 improves in some areas it falters in others.


Performance issues have been plaguing players from day one, and a patch still hasn’t been released.


Given time some of the issues I’ve mentioned in this review will be taken care of by Firaxis, or the modding community.


If you enjoyed the previous game, or just a fan of turn based strategies you’re in for a treat. I give XCOM 2 an 8/10.


XCOM 2 is currently only available on PC on Steam, but there is a chance that it will come to PS4.

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