X-COM 2 : War of the Chosen

XCOM is one of my top games, ever. The old, original punishing one. One of the cool things about having a blog is going back over your own words – it’s scary to think I don’t remember writing those posts, yet they exist. The mind is an interesting thing and I’m going to stop now before going down that rabbit hole.

Back in 2014 it made my Influential 15 list. I played the sequel in 2014 and wrote about it too. I played the sequel to the reboot (X-COM 2) in 2016 and enthused it was the best game I had played in 5 years. I finished it with about 45 hours in, thought of doing an ironman mode, but moved on (for whatever reason) and didn’t even go back when they did DLC.

Until recently. I saw it was on sale, forgot I had loved it, and bought it.

After missions you can customize posters to rally the revolution. You can see some of these same posters plastered in alleys during missions

40 hours later. I do not regret that choice, as I am on the precipice of finishing the game a second time.

War of the Chosen added several fun features – there are “hero classes” from three different factions that you integrate with and manage requests from. A new mini game where you send off soldiers to do covert missions (ie: you don’t control them) that have impact on the game world. And the big one is that the enemies have three heroes as well – and they have a chance (increasingly, depending on where you are and how you are managing game conditions) to pop into your regular missions and really mess things up. It has been a lot of fun to navigate these new parts.

What, no heads of your enemies?

The downside to all of this, is that the new features tend to make things easier (not harder) – at least through my play through. The Avatar project – which is the big, mysterious event you are trying to slow down can be easily thwarted without destroying a single discovered facility – there are covert missions that drop it 30%. And the balance was messed up with all the DLC enabled – I forgot to research a specific thing to move the main plot forward, but still went forward and levelled my base and soldiers – so when I finally realized my mistake I had a crew of super soldiers who are ignoring what is going on in the broader game piece world but at little risk of “losing” the game.

Still, it was fun. And going to the home base of each of the chosen, and killing them, was very satisfying. They all died spectacular deaths with memorable lines that reflected their personalities – and for a bonus you can then equip their overpowered weapons with your squads as they go on other missions.

Good times.

As always, for me, one of the best part is the permanence of your soldiers and how you connect with them. When they die (well, some always do), they are gone. And you get favorites. Mine, Jane Kelly, was introduced in the first mission. A ball cap wearing, ass kicking Irish woman. And the game is great to insert them front on center even on loading screens, with the gear they were last equipped with.

Ladies and Gentlemen.. my kick ass Ranger.

So while the balance is off the game was a fun and the 40 hours flew by. The new challenges and management pieces were not hard to manage (or sort out). The graphics are feeling their age a bit, but all in all, time well spent.

The big question is now, 4 years later, where in the hell is XCOM 3? XCOM (reboot), XCOM 2 and the corresponding DLC were huge commercial and critical successes, and it is strange we haven’t heard anything about XCOM 3. That surprises me. 2K games, please fix.

Great news is, I have more turn based glory to play – the Battletech series is out with tons of DLC, and I already own the base game. So that is where my next adventure will take me – until the XCOM aliens decide to attack earth once again. (Please be from the deep.. please…)

2 comments / Add your comment below

  1. If I recall, the Alien Hunters DLC really put the balance out of whack. Last time I played, I am pretty sure I disabled those and installed some player mods instead. That last mission… I lost everyone but 2.

    Phoenix Point addresses my largest XCOM gripe – aim chance. It’s much more tactical than strategic, as there aren’t really too many enemies you can 1-shot. A merger of PP’s combat mechanics and XCOM’s polish would be a dream.

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