XCOM 2 is a game of ups and downs. But that’s the same as every game in existence, I hear you shout. Well, not quite like XCOM. Its a constant balancing act, the player must engage tactically and strategically with every aspect of the game to try and get the best outcome. But because a lot of the content is randomised and procedurally-generated, things can take extreme turns for the worst…or for the better. Here’s our five ways in which XCOM 2 can make you fist-bump your bewildered household pet in triumph, or turn your bewildered household pet blue with your constant swearing. Disclaimer: no animals were harmed in the writing of this blog.
10% hits and 90% misses
Over a campaign of XCOM 2 you’ll order your soldiers to fire countless times at the oncoming alien menace. Meaning that statistically, you’ll miss a small amount of high-chance hits, and hit a small amount of low-chance hits. This logic does not seem reasonable in the heat of battle. Sometimes you are really counting on that 85-95% to just hit. Its practically guaranteed. Conversely you will rarely take 10% shots unless you’re really desperate, but when they hit, it feels amazing.
Putting your soldiers into overwatch position means they will fire on the next enemy that comes into their range. This is an excellent way to set up your team to do some free damage when you know the enemy will be wondering towards you, none the wiser. There is nothing more depressing then following the camera jumping from your captain to your major to your lieutenant, all in slow-motion, all firing, and all missing the one alien making a break for it. For Christ’s sake, Major John Luther. However, when your soldiers do their damn job and all hit their targets, you can take out multiple enemies without having to lift a single finger.
No doubt your soldiers will get wounded from time to time, its a natural occurance of their occupation. Until you get certain upgrades to your base though, recovery time can last up to three in-game weeks. Three weeks without your best soldier is a bother, that time without your best four? Game-breaking. In a bad way. If your mission goes bad and your A-team is out of action or worse, dead, you will not be feeling good. Resist the urge to uninstall.
Base Power Management
Your base, the Avenger ship, needs you to build power stations to power its various rooms, including comms, which are needed for establishing rebel bases, which give you money and coverage, that stops aliens from completing their Avatar project (if they do, you lose). So, power is quite important. It also takes time to mine out more space for new rooms. If you time all your base-building right, getting exactly the right amount of power, you can be very smug. If you completely forget power was a thing and have to wait for up to an in game month for more comms…you can’t.
Getting ahead of the Aliens
Your level of technology is down to you, as you choose which research projects to complete first and in what order. This means that it is possible to rush for certain items such as plasma weaponry, stronger armour and gadgets that completely counter enemy types. You can therefore accelerate your squad’s strength ahead of the aliens being thrown at you. If its not your first play through you’ll know what enemies are coming up too so you’ll be ready. Beware though that this has a flip side, and that is being woefully underpowered for your current enemy level. This can happen if your best squad gets wiped out, so make sure you regularly bring a rookie along to get some training. Call him ‘Intern Bob’.
There are many more best and worst moments in XCOM 2, some I’ve probably never come across. What are yours?