REVIEW – The XCOM series has indeed grown into a classic. We waited for the new sequel like a Messiah, but unfortunately, we had to hold on a bit longer than we wanted to. The delay to 2016 was a bit of a disappointment to the fans, who had to hibernate themselves until release. Let us see if it was worth.
According to the sequel, Humanity has failed against the aliens. The Council in the previous game decided to switch sides after suffering too many defeats and dismantled the organization. The world that we see in the sequel is almost perfect. There are no more diseases, gene therapy is daily to fix problems, and we can safely say that our future is brighter than ever thanks to the unification with the aliens. However, there is a point where the good things end for Humanity.
The other side of the coin
If the world described above would exist in the game, then XCOM 2 would be the most pointless video game of all time…. as what would do in such a world? Of course, a threat is alive and well called the ADVENT coalition. The happy world is just a farce, and they are siphoning off the native population, and once they are done with them…..
Luckily the coin has two sides. A beacon of hope appears a group that has decided to take up arms against the ADVENT. Of course, because of this they will become terrorists in the eye of the world so that everyone will hunt them. We end up fighting for the ”wrong” (=difficult) side, aka the rebels. Our goal is to defeat the evil alien government, and stop the Avatar project.
Our base of operations will be the AVENGER a stolen Xeno supply ship where we can build and upgrade our „buildings”. We’ll also need new recruits and scientists. The gameplay is still turn based, and not much has changed in that regard.
Get your medkits, and ammo ready! No retreat!
The game’s main part is the combat which goes by the usual numbers. We select a character that we wish to move, tell him or her where to go, and what to attack, etc. The level design is perfect! Every level allows the player to complete the objective in multiple ways. We can try to be stealthy, and to avoid bigger confrontations, but this is not always the best way. The other way is to go in guns blazing, which can be a good way to finish a mission, and also to finish off some of your soldiers. As if a soldier dies during the mission they will not come back (unless we reload a save of course).
The other part of XCOM 2 is the (fuck’n) micromanagement! We have reached the game’s core! I am not exaggerating when I say that in this game you can customize everything in your base. We can upgrade, develop and repurpose everything. From our fighter’s clothing to the tiniest accessory we can add or mod our characters in any way we want to do so in this game. Most of the times will be spent in our base, where we will click around like a maniac trying to upgrade different buildings, and to outfit our unit before combating the alien threat.
Unfortunately, the required customization is too much in XCOM 2 , so if we ignore it too much, we will end up getting smashed in later encounters. However there will be people (such as me) that like to micromanage things, but even that is within a limit for me. Not only does XCOM 2 step over that line, but also runs over the line for miles at this point! There are so many things that we have to check, modify, and research that the average gamer will not be able to keep up. Unfortunately, this makes the meat of the game take the back seat which is the turn based combat. This was highly disappointing, and furthermore, for the player to be successful they would need to spend fifteen minutes or half an hour ( if not more ) at the base, building stuff, and developing it.
Going through the map, we liberate sectors on different continents. Of course, it is not enough to simply kill off the local enemies, we also have to navigate our ship to the location (otherwise we might get bored). Oh, and we are not the only ones who are looking for new technology. Every minute the enemy is moving forward with its research. Of course, if we act quick enough we can sabotage their efforts.
You could write a whole novel as to what is featured in the game. The events on the map are regularly updated, so there is always something to do. Luckily the locations are much more varied compared to the prequel, where repetition was a bit too much when it came to the level design. We still see similarities, and even might get the same type of level with a bit of randomization.
The graphics of XCOM 2 are great. The Unreal engine is doing its best once again, and a screenshot of the game at times could be an official poster that would be good to see on our walls. The levels are well detailed: The cities look clean and eerily sterile while the rebel’s bases provide a stark contrast with their dirty makeshift secret locations. The ambiance feels great, and it is a fun experience.
Our characters are now less cartoonish, and the aliens are now varied compared to the original game. Everything is highly detailed which strengthens the game’s sterile (almost bleach like) ambiance.
If you got bored of your life…
The game is pretty good, and it has advanced a lot compared to the original XCOM. XCOM 2 from the weapons to the aliens, and even the story is better, and we would be here for a few hours listing all the new things, and it goes beyond X-Com Enemy Within.
XCOM 2 is for those who love to mess around, micromanage, and will not lose their mind spending half an hours on the base. Those who however like action games more should stay away from this game as it would be the most brutal torture they would experience if they played this game.
+ Great ambiance
+ Interesting game world
+ Combat is fun
– Gets boring real quick
– A bit too monotonous
– Annoyingly complex micromanagement
Publisher: 2K Games
Developer: Firaxis Games
Genre: Turn-based tactical
Publication: 5. February 2016