XCOM 2 is getting a free weekend as part of Xbox Live Free Play Days from this Thursday October 26th at around 5pm through to roughly 7am on Monday 30th October. Hey, clocks go back this weekend in the UK so time has no meaning for a few days while we get used to just how dark it is at 5pm.
XCOM 2 also currently has 60% off through the Xbox store, making it £18, and all progress can be continued should you wish to drop a few notes on it!
XCOM 2 is the sequel to the award-winning strategy game XCOM: Enemy Unknown. Earth has changed and is now under alien rule. Facing impossible odds you must rebuild XCOM, and ignite a global resistance to reclaim our world and save humanity.
2K and Firaxis Games announced at the E3 2017 PC Gaming Show that XCOM 2: War of the Chosen, a expansion pack to the terrific XCOM 2, will be coming to Xbox One on August 29 this year.
XCOM 2 Creative Director, Jake Solomon, revealed XCOM 2: War of the Chosen on stage at the PC Gaming Show, with the following trailer:
War of the Chosen focuses on ADVENT’s bid to recapture the Commander, with deadly alien heroes being deployed called the ‘Chosen’. XCOM must approach and win over three new resistance factions, each with their own Hero class, to help combat this new threat and liberate Earth.
Firaxis continues to redefine the award-winning XCOM franchise with XCOM 2: War of the Chosen,
said Matt Gorman, VP of Marketing at 2K.
XCOM 2 fans are going to love the all-new narrative and features, enhancing the XCOM experience and providing endless reasons to re-play through the campaign.
We’re thrilled to offer our fans an unprecedented amount of cool new toys and features in XCOM 2: War of the Chosen, challenging and empowering players in exciting new ways never seen before in the franchise,
added Jake Solomon, creative director of XCOM 2 at Firaxis Games.
The expansion also includes a bunch of new enemies, missions, environments and increased depth to the strategic gameplay. Your soldiers now bond with their teammates, adding new abilities and perks as that bond grows and they’re deployed together. Meanwhile, regular community challenges with a global leaderboard extend the replayability beyond the new story content.
Remember that alien invasion in 2012 and the creation of the XCOM organisation to fight back under your command? Well, as it turns out, you lost. However, this feels thematically spot on. Based on your average playthrough of XCOM Enemy Unknown, with the countless soldiers you lost and retires required to win, losing the war overall makes sense and sets up this sequel rather nicely.
Now with XCOM 2, the enemy is no longer unknown and 20 years have passed since Earth was conquered. Humanity now lives alongside the aliens, seemingly benefiting from their advanced technology, but of course the aliens have their own agenda. XCOM has been reduced to a small resistance force, but once they rescue you and place you back in command, as well as secure a power core, they have the means to fight back. This time around your resources are even more limited and engagements take up a guerrilla war style; flying all over the world in a modified alien ship to search out support and aid pockets of resistance, whilst gathering the evidence needed to prove to the rest of the world that the aliens are not as benevolent as they seem.
It feel pleasantly familiar. Your home base – the modified alien ship – acts very much like it did in the previous instalment, allowing you to research new technology, upgrade and promote your troops, and build new rooms to accommodate and fulfil the advancements you need to step up your fight against the aliens. Moreover, thanks to the passing 20 years, there’s now more history involved. It’s a more personal story this time around. In fact there’s a great deal more storytelling. There’s been logical improvements to base-technologies that are easier to accept. Meanwhile, the reason for your capture by the aliens makes the fight more emotional, enhanced further by any knowledge you have from the previous title.
Your engagements with the aliens are much different as well. You’re fighting a more tactical war this time. Rather than taking the alien menace straight on, you’re attacking strategically important targets and locations, striking from the shadows. This manifests itself in a new stealth mechanic. The majority of you missions start you concealed from the enemy, strongly encouraging you to sneak up on your targets, scope out the area as much as possible, and place your troops in the best position to attack. This is further driven home by just how effective the alien forces are.
Enemy AI is excellent. They’ll look for opportunities to flank you, they call in or wait for reinforcements so to face you with superior numbers, and their weaponry can decimate your troops in a shot or two. It’s staggeringly difficult at first, however, once you figure out all the mechanics and how to best use each class of soldier you have, things get a little easier.
Using the terrain to protect yourself and draw the enemy to you is a big part of the strategy, with elevation playing an even bigger part than in Enemy Unknown. Setting a Sharpshooter up on overwatch a fair distance from the battlefield whist your Grenadier flushes enemies out of cover can be a recipe for success. Meanwhile, Staying hidden but allowing your Ranger to get in close and slit some throats whilst your Specialist is flying a drone around to scope the area and complete the primary objective, is another sound strategy. However, XCOM 2 uses procedural map and objective generation to provide a different mission each time you leave the dropship, meaning no campaign playthrough is the same, extending XCOM 2’s longevity a great deal and putting the ownness on you to devise the best strategies. The terrain, your available units and their upgrades, your mission object, how long you can stay concealed, and the countless choices you make each turn can all add up to very different encounters with your enemy; figuring out how to deal with the hand your draw is part of the fun.
And it is fun, hugely so. Much like its predecessor it’s tactically compelling and rewarding to figure out the puzzle that is the battlefield. This is also the case for upgrading your soldiers. Each class has two upgrade paths that benefit different styles of play, and developing enough soldiers with a diverse set of skills to help in different missions is a criticle and involved consideration. It involves you sending rookies out to gain experience, giving you the risk/reward consideration for mission success verses soldier experience. And of course, XCOM 2 is hugely challenging and your will lose countless troops, but often this is an inevitable cost to complete the objective, making the story even more personal and gripping and gives the risk/reward even more weight.
Fortunately, you can opt to retreat if an objective is too risky or difficult to complete, saving your precious squad. You can also save anywhere and reload to your heart’s content, but with no checkpoints in-mission you better remember to do so. Unfortunately, however, loading times when reloading a save are a little on the long side, which isn’t much of a surprise when you see how beautiful XCOM 2 looks.
A varied colour palette and densely packed environments makes each mission a visual treat. Meanwhile, cinematic camera angles during the action phase of a turn builds the tension whilst superb sound effects from the weapons makes a critical shot all the more exciting and rewarding, if it hits. Of course actually hitting a target is sometimes unfair, with occasions where point blank shots on enemies miss and unobstructed lines of fire have an entirely arbitrary percentage to hit. Incidentally the aliens will also sometimes shoot straight through walls and nail impossible shots on your soldiers. Further bugs also hamper the experience slightly, with characters sometimes freezing in place and not executing commands for 10-15 seconds, and cutscenes occasionally hit frame rate problems.
Fortunately, the fun outweighs the occasional frustration; no matter how often you fail a mission there’s always plenty of alternative actions you can take to try and find success, and exploring them is joyous. Despite its steep difficulty this is a turn-based strategy masterpiece with a wonderfully engaging story to compliment it, although it is a shame that the DLC from the PC version isn’t bundled with it as standard and is instead available separately.
XCOM 2, the sequel to the Game of the Year award-winning strategy title has landed today on the Xbox One. Announced by 2K and Firaxis Games, XCOM 2 allows you to take control of the Avenger, an alien supply craft converted into XCOM’s mobile headquarters. From here guide your strike force and build support as you fight to reclaim the Earth from the alien threat. Check out the official Console Launch Trailer below.
Earth has changed. Twenty years have passed since world leaders offered an unconditional surrender to alien forces. XCOM, the planet’s last line of defense, was left decimated and scattered. Now, in XCOM 2, the aliens rule Earth, building shining cities that promise a brilliant future for humanity on the surface, while concealing a sinister agenda and eliminating all who dissent from their new order.
Only those who live at the edges of the world have a margin of freedom. Here, a force gathers once again to stand up for humanity. Always on the run, and facing impossible odds, the remnant XCOM forces must find a way to ignite a global resistance, and eliminate the alien threat once and for all.
Now I’m not calling myself a genius for predicting this, but then again everyone at TiX Towers are bowing down to me and calling me such, so maybe I am a genius. If you also want to be in the know about all things Xbox then be sure to regularly listen to the podcast, hosted by me, the genius.
Join Greg Giddens, Steve Peacock and special guest Steve’s squeaky chair, for a new episode of the This is Xbox Podcast – episode 22 2.0. In this episode we say goodbye to Neale Jarrett and hello to Steve Peacock, who is joining the podcast family. The new duo discuss Bethesda’s announced E3 conference, the potential for XCOM 2 to come to consoles, as well Rise of the Tomb Raider, Pneuma Breath of Life, Had of Fate, Factotum 90 and a bunch more games amongst the usual silly banter you’d expect.