Hearing that there’s a new XCOM game in development wasn’t a surprise, but it was welcome news regardless. As a gigantic fan of the original, I’m extremely hopeful and was very much looking forward to taking its appointment at this year’s E3.
The demo presented at 2K’s booth, which since then has hit YouTube in its entirety, was set in an unique scenario within the XCOM universe. In it, the humans have lost the struggle to the aliens, and now the invaders control the world. The XCOM unit is basically relegated to guerrilla tactics to combat the invaders, with a bigger focus on the need for stealth, because they’re basically outnumbered at all times.
As seen in that demo, the XCOM: Enemy Unknown gameplay is intact in XCOM 2, and all things considered, that’s absolutely the best part of the sequel getting announced and shown to the public. Yeah, there’s the annoying bits with the engine, one of many the comical accuracy of shots even at 100% hit chance that hopefully will get ironed out, but the base seems to have been left intact, which is by far the thing that has me most excited for in XCOM 2.
We got to get acquainted with the notion that the XCOM forces are the ones playing the invaders this time, in a way, so their tactics are played in a much more subversive style than ever before. The demo’s mission was one of one of sabotage of an obelisk during what the world that’s set twenty or so years from Enemy Unknown now refers to as Unification Day.
The battles play out in a similar fashion as they did in the previous game and its expansion, but the player controlled troops feel much more mobile and capable this time around. Even though one of them was incapacitated, unlike before, when you were forced to either heal them up with another unit or leave them behind at the end of a mission, you can now order a troop left alive to carry them out of battle, for evac. It’s a tiny aspect of the game to comment on, but it’s one that will probably play a huge roll in my time with the game once it’s out, as I’m one of those XCOM players that absolutely hates letting anyone go.
Like the demo played out, the overwhelming odds were in full effect, but the mission was successful. We did not get to see what your success meant in the overall game, but we could easily assume that the global panic levels from Enemy Unknown will make a return in XCOM 2, in how you could liberate regions from the aliens’ grasp and keep them happy by performing missions. Granted, that’s pure speculation on my part, taking into account what the XCOM metagame is all about.
As for the aliens, I was pretty into the new units shown. The human/alien combines looked just creepy enough, but the standout unit I took away as most disconcerting were the huge vipers that sadly got little screen time thanks to a few nasty sword chops that came from one of the XCOM soldiers. That was also a neat little new thing that I’ll have to try on my own campaign.
There’s just so many aspects of the game that I personally want to know more about after sitting through that presentation. How else will we be able to subvert the aliens is one. Will we do that through a set of repeatable missions like in Enemy Unknown? I would be slightly disappointed if that came to be the case, since these “random” missions became very repetitive towards the second half of that game.
So far, though, Firaxis is playing close to their vest, after all, the game was just announced, even though it’s been in development since the last game went out the door, according to 2K. Considering how close it already is to its November release on PC, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see more of the game relatively soon.