XCOM 2, Hard to the Core

Viper entangles a human character

Respawning is a device that’s normal, expected. It’s what makes so many video games playable, re-playable, accessible and fun. However, it can also serve to cheaper a game, to dull the gravity of the situation at hand or the story being told. Firaxis Games and their XCOM series, do not believe in do-overs.

XCOM 2 is set twenty years after its predecessor. Two decades have gone by since the leaders of humanity threw in the towel, offering an unconditional surrender to the alien invaders. The aliens have flourished since the surrender, “building cities that promise a brilliant future for humanity on the surface, while concealing a sinister agenda below and eliminating all who dissent from their new order,” as explained on XCOM 2’s website. Worse still, the remnants of humanity have banded together to form a new group called the Advent, a paramilitary organization that serves as a police force for the alien occupiers. Traitors!

The few members of the original XCOM that remain have commandeered an alien ship and turned into a mobile HQ. From here the resistance must strike back. Popular support must be gained and the truth behind what those dirty invaders are up to must be disclosed. Time to get to work, gamers.

There’s not a whole lot more to say about this turn-based, top-down, action RPG. As Gamespot noted, the biggest change between the two titles is the narrative, not the actual gameplay. Of course the graphics will be updated and some tweaks made to correct past mistakes, but Firaxis knows they’ve struck a winning formula and they’re in no hurry to change it. Who can blame them?

Here are a few of the changes:

For the resistance, there will be at least two character classes added; the Psi Operative and the Ranger, plus new equipment and customization options. The alien ship serving as your HQ will be modular and upgradable as before, but with more choices this time around. Don’t let all of this fool you though, Firaxis wants to be sure the humans (that’s you) still feel outclassed and poorly equipped compared to their enemies.

Players will encounter a whole series of new enemy types. Sectoids, Vipers, Adromedons, and others will create tough new challenges using their strange abilities and weapons.

For all the gamers out there who just can’t wait to get their hands on the one of the prettiest ways to hastily induce monitor-smashing rage on themselves, XCOM 2 officially launches on February 5th, 2016. For now, PC gamers will be the only ones allowed this exclusive, masochistic privilege.

About Mike Pearce 54 Articles
Born and raised in the greater Seattle area, I love the written word and have a passion for travel, video games, sports (go Sounders, go Hawks), food and people. When I’m not writing about one of my aforementioned passions, I’m spending time with my lovely wife, my friends, or my crazy Mexican street dog, Carlos.
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