Hail Overlords

Xcom has been around for over 20 years. Probably 30. They’ve been pretty successful when you think about it as there haven’t been any alien incursions to my knowledge in that time. Nobody has been probed since the 70s so job well done all around. 

Xcom 2 arrived a few months back on the PC and I was hesitant to buy it. Surely I had done my bit for world security but like always just when I thought I was out they pulled me right back In

The new Xcom (which the board game is based on) was a good reboot. The enemy within was a much better version. It felt like an Xcom 1.5 and was far superior to its predecessor. Xcom 2 is good but it doesn’t feel like a new game it feels like a very well improved version of the enemy within. A 1.8 if you will. That’s ok. It’s still a really good game and worth your hard earned to buy it

A few things have changed and some extras have been added. The story is a big one. This is set 30 years after the events of the last Xcom and the aliens rule earth all friendly like the lizards from V. They’re bad but they control things now and they have a sinister plan. 

You play the commander of a rag tag group of rebels trying to raise support and stop the aliens. It’s a new slant (if you discount Xcom apocalypse) and it works really well. You feel like a proper rebel when you play, constantly scraping resources together to achieve your goals, always waiting for the hammer to fall and always the underdog. The theme is strong
Gone are the mini games of shooting down enemy UFOs. Instead you react to situations as they occur you take on missions and gather resources. Gone is the globe map, you now start in North Africa and try and take more of the risk style map by completing missions. Getting more support means more precious resources. Time is the enemy here. I’m not going go give the plot away but as time progresses the aliens deploy bigger and nastier aliens to stop you. 

The earth is a different place, the collaborating humans now act as a security force with the exotic aliens hiding in the background to maintain a veneer of normality for the hoi polloi. Gone are the weak aliens. They’ve all been working out for the last thirty years and all of them are dangerous. The sectoids you encounter early on are way way tougher than before and sport nasty psi abilities as well as plasma weapons. You spend a lot of time saying “what the <expletive> is that?” When you first encounter new aliens and reuse the expletives again and again when they run roughshod over you in double quick time. The battles are considerably tougher than previous xcoms and you will not progress without multiple returns to earlier saves mid battle. Play this game hardcore and I wish you the best getting even a few missions done. 

There’s a number of extra features in there I like. You start with your squad concealed and a vital tactic is to slip into a good position first (Kelly’s heroes style) before the shooting starts. The stealth mechanic is welcome but I would have liked to see more. I can’t see a way of completing a mission stealthily. It’s guns blazing every time.  

Weapons can be customized by scavenged add ons dropped by killed aliens. Wounded operatives can be carried to safety. The new aliens are all interesting and a there’s a nice bit of strategy required to defeat them. Taking out certain ones that support others first is key. Missions often see you up against a deadline so there’s no hanging about. Sometimes there is. Some missions are snatch and grabs, some are straight out firefights. To be honest you’ve seen most of these before and more variety would have been nice, but it’s still all good 

Battles are much the same as before. The tactics and weapons will be familiar. Almost too familiar. This is why it feels like Xcom 1.8 rather than 2.0. 

The graphics are really good if a little laggy on higher settings which surprised me. This is more to do with coding than complexity. 
The game is VERY compelling. It’s got the Xcom just one more turn thing switched on to max. It’s hard. You do not want to lose your experienced operatives but it happens. It’s a much tougher challenge than its predecessor and that’s just fine. It is above all a fun fun game to play. 

I haven’t touched on multiplayer but I will 
For now I recommend it and I’m sure the price is going to tumble in time so keep and eye out

Great game well worth a play


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