Game review: XCOM 2
XCOM 2's turn-based strategy elevates its engrossing gameplay with a strong storyline
A lot of people might not agree but XCOM: Enemy Unknown was a great turn-based strategy. Yes, the story was bland, but the gameplay was great. In fact, fans have been known to play the game several times over, just to try out all the options. Not something too many games in the last five years can boast about.
XCOM 2 happens 20 years after Enemy Unknown – the aliens have won and have suppressed local populations and assimilated them into the alien army by splicing human DNA with alien DNA. While splicing alien DNA into our soldiers two decades ago was okay in Enemy Unknown, it is a complete no-no right now. So instead, you have to research Alien tech to give your guys a leg up. You again take over the role of the commander. There is a backstory explaining how you are still around. Apparently, the aliens captured you and used your commanding capabilities to gain a foothold on Earth. The resistance has now freed you and they want you take over their base of operations to get it back to the glory days when humans had once defeated the invading aliens.
Everything works pretty much like it did in the last game – soldiers get promoted letting you choose between skills, you can research better weapons and have to clear out the base before installing new equipment and labs. There are some changes and they successfully transform XCOM by giving the game a new dimension. For example, now your troops are undetected from the beginning in most missions, unless you get flanked, or do something stupid like break some glass or step in their visual range. This element of surprise makes a huge difference to the gameplay. You can place your units in the right area and plan a nice, clean strike. Obviously there is no such thing, but the results would be better than going in guns blazing.
Another big game change is the generated maps. No more can you predict where the aliens are hiding on a particular map. A strategy that worked in one map may not work in the other. This gives the AI an edge and makes the game challenging even in the easiest mode.
There are some minor problems with XCOM 2 – the load times can be a little longer, especially on older PCs, and this is forgivable since a new map is generated before the every mission. The game also seems to drop FPS sometimes, not enough to dampen the overall experience, but it can get annoying. There is also no support for controllers, so you can’t relax on your couch and play this game on your TV.
Having played every XCOM out there, we can honestly say this one has to be the best. The game has elevated itself from a plain-old turn-based strategy, to a game with thought and emotion. Drawing you enough to form a connection, while explaining its limitations with nothing but a story. Not to be missed especially at this price.
Developer: Firaxis Games
Publisher: 2K Games
Price: Rs 999