- Manufacturer: Firaxis Games
- Publisher: 2K Games
- Genre: Turn Based Tactics
- Release Date: 30.09.2016
- Platforms: Xbox One, Playstation 4, Windows, Linux
- Game Supplied by: Xbox
Set in 2035, 20 years after the events of the previous game, XCOM Enemy Within, we continue the fight against an alien invasion which has taken a strong foothold over Earth. Beginning the game with an introduction mission which gets us used to basic controls, enemies and weapons, we begin another chapter in the battle to save the human race.
If you have played any previous XCOM game then this one will feel very familiar and comfortable. It is the same turn based style of gameplay, and I was quite happy to see that nothing much on this level has changed, and once the first few missions were complete the game opens out with quite a lot of diversity within different areas. The soldiers are very customisable, allowing us to change each one of them from the style of their uniforms to the colour of their eyes. This nice feature gave me a bit of empathy towards certain team members who served me well and I was a bit gutted when I lost them.
Instead of having a base in a static location, this time we’re actually in a massive flying aircraft, able to house number rooms which need to be cleared out before utilised. It doesn’t look all that different from the ships in the Marvel films, and uncannily the devs have named the in-game ship the Avenger. As I progressed I had to choose which missions to do next, sometime sacrificing the loss of a rebel group for something which would be more beneficial to the fight, because XCOM is no longer the big organisation with massive resources, instead we’ve been driven back to become a rebel group flying around the planet organising and bringing together other groups in order to drive back the alien invasion and unveil to the rest of humanity they are not the benevolent saviours they believe them to be.
There are a lot of cutscenes between missions, constant chatter from your lead scientist, engineer or Central, your right hand guy. Thanks to this the game continues to flow nicely into a mission where there are typically several objectives and back out to the next scene where you need to assign staff to complete research jobs, or spend materials in building new technologies. Again this will seem familiar, corpses need to be autopsied to learn how to build better equipment, and the engineers who build new facilities to progress our technology ever more. I enjoyed the story which is often delivered by key staff around the base talking to you, it kept the game going and as the missions were not too long, it didn’t feel like I had to wait long to find out what happens next. Each time something has been discovered or researched there’s even more lore to read up on to give added depth to the game.
The soldiers begin with a standard array of weapons but as the technology grows you’re soon able to outfit much better gear, and even grow your squad size. Good success will come from equipping the right gear to the right characters, and bringing the right soldiers for the right job.
The gameplay feels almost spot on, however I’m guessing since the developers have had quite a lot of time refining it I shouldn’t be surprised. My only niggle at times is the path a soldier might take to get to a location could go through a window, breaking the concealment bonus where instead they could gone around the building instead. The graphics may not quite be the cutting edge we see from other recent titles, as most of the time there isn’t loads to be rendered on screen so I’m not sure why the animations and detail couldn’t be a little better, fortunately this doesn’t ruin the gameplay. Yet the sounds and effects are very nice, the soldiers will call out if they’re under fire or perhaps standing too close to a fire and is likely to take burn damage. Even the distinct weapon noises helps make this into a full bodied game.
There is also a multiplayer option, allowing you to go head to head against another opponent however I will admit to not trying out this feature as I concentrated on the storyline.
XCOM 2 is another gem from a line of very well performing games. From the customising of the characters, to the cutscenes and enjoyable missions, I’m eagerly hoping there are more XCOM games to come.