Are you ready to defend earth from the Alien invaders yet again in XCOM2? Regardless of your answer, tough, because it’s too late. Remember that first play through of XCOM: Enemy Unknown when you didn’t get enough satellites, all your men died and the council expressed their disappointment in your rather shoddy tactical performance, before withdrawing one by one and making you lose the game? That’s canon now.

Not your triumphant second go where only a few men died. Forget that one. In XCOM 2, you lost. You were driven underground, downgraded from an elite multinational task force to a guerrilla resistance movement. Now, the aliens rule Earth, and in typical evil villain fashion have found some weak willed humans known as ADVENT to act as their goons alongside both returning and new alien enemies for you to point-blank miss at (That’s XCOM Baby) and who will make worm food out of that solider you just spent half an hour customising.

“Being the underdog is much stronger now; your base is a refitted mobile alien craft, your facilities lack full manpower, Chryssalids are now able to burrow and Berserkers look like death-dealing hulks of meat rather than just a Muton that forgot its gun”

Changes promised from the first XCOM sound promising; as a guerrilla movement striking from the shadows, you’re able to sneak around, position your troops perfectly, and then execute an ambush. This wonderful touch should make positioning feel more strategic, rather than the decision of hiding behind a tall rock instead of a little one. The addition of new classes including the machete wielding Ranger (I’m pretty sure that name is a contradiction to its weaponry, but machetes are cool so I’ll let it slide) and the drone controlling Specialist should also alter the tactical positioning and set up of firefights significantly, making XCOM 2 more than merely more of the same.

“Soldiers will be lost, and with increased emphasis on both solider and base customisation, each death and failure will feel more personal than ever”

The idea of being the underdog is much stronger now; your base is a refitted mobile alien craft, your facilities lack full manpower, Chryssalids are now able to burrow and Berserkers look like death-dealing hulks of meat rather than just a Muton that forgot its gun. The changes all sound both brutal and satisfying. Soldiers will be lost, and with increased emphasis on both solider and base customisation, each death and failure will feel more personal than ever. The promise of proper mod support and randomly generated maps will also give the game even more replayability than the first, and being a Firaxis game, no doubt a game changing expansions will be in the works.

XCOM 2 will be released on February 5th, so prepare for save scumming, and have tissues ready to mourn you soldiers’ deaths. Good Luck Commander.

Johnny Cammish

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