Terror From The Details: XCOM’s Amazing Long War Mod

By Alec Meer on May 16th, 2014 at 5:00 pm.

“Why am I playing XCOM through for the sixth time?” is a question I’ve asked myself several times over the last week. There are so many other games I should and would like to play, yet I find myself once again knee-deep in something I by this point know every aspect of. One of the answers to that question is that the game just had a belated Android release, so I found my way to it in waiting rooms and bathroom breaks. Much as it’s a surprisingly natural fit for phone play, the combination of camera control issues, not being able to change the colours of my soldiers’ armour and no Enemy Within expansion drew me to firing up the PC version yet again instead.

Only this time, I switched things up, and have had a completely different experience. A rather more Gollopy experience, one might say.

I’ve been keeping a remote eye on the Long War mod for a while, but to be perfectly honest I’d written it off as joyless ultra-hardcore tweaks for a very particular type of strategy gonk. That it didn’t work with Enemy Within, requiring instead that XCOM was manually rolled back to an earlier patch, had only put me off more. While my eye was off the ball, a beta Enemy Within version was released (with several updates since), and hearing that it got even further into the game’s innards than before, I decided now was the time to investigate it despite my reservations.

I regret it entirely. I regret it because it is so good, which means I have been sucked into yet another full-length XCOM campaign, and the attendant consequences on both my work and personal lives.

I’d figured previously that The Long War was focused primarily on more random numbers and more unforgiving difficulty, but what it really does is both re-introduce a number of discarded-in-translation X-COM elements and expand upon XCOM’s own variety. It’s not at all accurate to say it’s X-COM remade within XCOM, but it does reinstate some of the Gollop game’s core values – more stats, more specialisms, the need for a B-team, more ways to both piss off and mollify funding nations, more brittle aircraft and the need for far more Interceptors, soldier fatigue, more enemies with earlier access to more devastating abilities, satellites focused on global coverage rather than global happiness, terror missions freed from the arbitrary choice of which nation to cheer up and which to annoy…

It’s an extremely different game – perhaps a little less in the missions themselves, although squad sizes up to eight, more variability in accuracy, damage, movement and morale, and tweaks like Sectoids having psychic powers from the off and Outsiders capable of health regeneration, definitely means a remix. But where the changes really focus is on soldier management.

Your squad evolve in less predictable ways, with sub-classes and wildly varying stats as well as a raft of new tech and more equipment slots. They also get pretty badly chewed up out there – not only the inevitable woundings (which result in far longer recovery times) and deaths, but also left fatigued by missions and thus hamstrung if they go back out immediately.

While smart players tended to have a b-team in vanilla XCOM anyway, here it’s absolutely mandatory. A C-team too, to be honest – you don’t want to be left with a handful of fragile, easily-spooked rookies because everyone else is either in hospital or sleeping it off. The downside of this is that I feel I don’t know my team as well – there’s a bit more squinting at stats and thinking “what did you do again?” when someone returns to duty. Perhaps a couple of cast-iron favourites will emerge over the full length of the campaign, as was the case with X-COM.

On top of that, everyone winds up being a little different, thanks to hybridising of the classes and more scope to equip people with a wider range of weapons than XCOM’s mostly class-locked arsenal. So giving someone a shotgun is less about their being the right class, and more about whether their stats and other equipped gear gives them enough movement bonus to reliably get up close to xenos, for instance. And then survive the experience, of course.

The name is apt, too. Not that XCOM was ever a short war, but I’ve put hours into this mod and am still making do with mostly entry-level gear and abilities, am still facing off against primarily Sectoids and Drones, have a dozen people in hospital and have lost five Interceptors. This latter is what’s most complicating things – keeping nations and their precious funding onboard the XCOM project is now more about shooting down any UFOs with approach them than it is throwing up satellites or the Terror Mission roulette wheel.

UFOs escape interception easily, and bigger, badder types arrive almost immediately, so I need multiple ships housed in each continent and plenty of spare cash to order new ones. It’s a dramatically different approach to resource management – a more stressful one, and one that places a new emphasis on the base rather than just the soldiers.

There’s much I haven’t seen yet, because if I spend any more working RPS days playing XCOM I suspect someone’s going to forcibly deactivate my Steam account, but funder-mollifying base missions, tweaks to alien types and a new endgame are apparently in there. I will get there, and it’s going to be a hell of a slog, the road littered with my squad’s corpses, to do so, but my goodness – this is a collection of profound and surprisingly careful changes. They make for a massively more involved and changeable game, even if it’s no longer quite so elegant a design. It’s like a free expansion pack, dragging XCOM in the opposite direction from Enemy Within’s gonzo superheroics.

Given how deep into XCOM’s innards the Long War has managed to worm, I think we can expect all sorts of big things yet. That early talk of XCOM modding support came to so little was very disappointing, but it seems the doors are open at last.

Long War is out now, for both Enemy Unknown vanilla and Enemy Within. It is still in beta, however, and there is a strong chance that savegames won’t work with future versions, so be wary of how much you commit to it at this stage. Whoops.

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61 Comments »

  1. Dunbine says:

    I have been playing The Long War this week, too. And getting my ass handed to me; I was keeping my head above water for a long time, but I can definitely feel the tide has turned against me decisively now. Plus, Council Missions are like suicide runs.

    I’m going down swinging, though… Well, more like flailing, slapping and covering up, actually.

  2. Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

    I could actually do with a touch less involvement with the squad. I get so attached to my Squad that when they all die in the same mission I am overwhelmed with grief and simply have to stop playing. I have never progressed further than capturing one of the energy beings, because my lemming-soldiers wear anti-armour.

    • Graves says:

      I’m following Ocelot Squad now. Wonderful idea.

    • 12inchPlasticToy says:

      After reading this comment I suddenly felt the urge to build a word in my mashed potatoes. It reads “Storium”… but what does it mean?!

  3. DerAva says:

    Just a quick heads up for anyone tryiing out this mod: while the article says it “is out now” it’s actually still in beta/development. The mod authors already announced that the next upcoming version, which will be Beta 10, will not be compatible with any savegames from previous beta versions. Something to keep in mind if you want to grab Long War now after reading this one.

    • Graves says:

      This is something to keep in mind. I too have just started playing Long War recently. While it is excellent, there are some bugs that are annoying me so much that I am considering abandoning this save (which would be a shame, because I have gotten attached to my squad) and waiting for Beta 10. The bugs aren’t that bad- a bugged council escort mission, some armor decos (they added a bunch) not working, seekers re-strangling instead of running and trying to cloak constantly when they can’t, and psi soldiers can’t equip some items they should be able to use.

      Don’t get me wrong- those bugs don’t make the game unplayable, not by a long shot. I’m having a great time. But Beta 10 is looking to fix all of those, and add a bunch of new weapons and weapon classes. It makes me wish I had waited. No idea on the eta though.

  4. Jericho says:

    I’ve been playing around with Long War since it started its Enemy Within beta phase, and I can’t get enough! There’s literally so much different about the game when compared to un-modded XCOM that to do so would be a multi-thousand word essay. The mod’s website has pretty extensive change logs, but until it gets out of beta it’s probably going to be quite difficult to track all of the changes.

    If anyone is interested to see what the game is actually like when being played, here is a multi-hour long Twitch stream recording of its latest version with the developers in the chat conversing with the streamer/player. They go over many of the most pertinent changes in the first hour or so of the stream.

    http://www.twitch.tv/miss_jamball/b/527087009

    Cheers!

    • Reapy says:

      Excellent, thank you! I didn’t get the expansion because it didn’t do what this mod is basically doing… I love people!

  5. NotToBeLiked says:

    To the people that have been playing this: do the existing difficulty levels also apply to the mod? I’d love to play a more complex and longer XCOM game, but if it’s a lot harder than the original my interest wanes. I enjoyed both the Normal & Classic modes in the vanilla game but I’m not good enough to play anything above that.

    • abremms says:

      Long war has all 4 difficulty modes integrated. Frankly, I don’t know what kind of masochistic madman would play anything harder than classic. I’m getting kicked up and down the block by Normal right now Normal is probably comparable to the original game’s Classic, but less forgiving of carelessness and complacency. The body count in my memorial is prodigious.

      There is a reason rookies wear red.

      • Llewyn says:

        Is there still the same ridiculous gap between the difficulty levels? I enjoyed normal first time through EU despite it not being hugely challenging, but what I learned from it was enough to make normal trivial while being insufficient to make classic rewarding at all. I suspect I might have the same feeling about easy & normal in this.

        Otherwise it does sound very much my cup of tea and looming failure though.

        • abremms says:

          I couldn’t say as to the gaps in difficulty, I’m finding all the challenge I could want in normal, so I haven’t tried any of the others.

    • DerAva says:

      They got rid of easy difficulty and added a new “Brutal” difficulty between Classic and Impossible. The general advise is to drop down one level from the difficulty you normally play on until you get used to the new mechanics in the game.

  6. Jockie says:

    Does it remove any of the focus on getting as many satellites up as quickly as possible to avoid being totally screwed? I feel like I’d love to do another Enemy Within playthrough and this mod sounds great, but that aspect of the game really annoys the hell out of me.

    • DerAva says:

      Yes, the whole panic system has been completely reworked. Additionally it’s much harder to get sattelites up, so you wouldn’t be able to sattelite rush anyway. The game is only lost if you lose all the countries, not just 8, and you are able to liberate countries from the alien control by assaulting an alien base in that country.

  7. Horg says:

    If ever there was a game that could benefit from modding to realise its full potential, its XCOM. Thanks for bringing this to my attention, a new play through is on the horizon as soon as they get a final version out.

  8. Smoof says:

    Christ, I’m not sure I can handle this. I’ve been trying to make a successful Classic Ironman run (with all second wave options, sans red fog, turned on) since I initially beat Enemy Within on normal and I typically fail into my second month. I can’t even imagine making the game more difficult and intimidating.

    That said, this mod sounds very interesting. It seems to add a lot of the features I like from Xenonauts (never played the original X-COM), but keep the more interesting game that is XCOM.

  9. Pharos says:

    The big thing to remember about Long War is that it’s all about brutally punishing complacent XCOM players. You really can’t go about doing things just because you did them in vanilla.

    That means don’t satellite rush. Workshop rush instead. Covering the globe in satellites is a late-game-if-ever strategy.

    Don’t bother trying to preserve your interceptors unless they have experience. If they need more than 3 days to repair, stash them on another continent and buy a new one.

    Sectoids are a pain to deal with now, but Thin Mints are both more and less terrifying: they have 6 health but you can hunker down to avoid taking their poison damage.

    Rockets and grenades are no longer “free” damage–rockets can miss and grenade damage is randomised (though they do more in the centre of the explosion).

    Be prepared for the game to throw you lots of missions in quick succession. Even a C team may not be enough. I have an active roster of 40 people.

    Don’t play on Ironman. There are a few bugs, and there’s nothing more disheartening then losing your assault because Run and Gun decided it wasn’t going to work properly.

    Other than that, there are a few quality-of-life improvements. I do recommend this mod. I also recommend you play on the lowest difficulty setting regardless of how good you were at the original.

  10. abremms says:

    one tip from my tear wrenching time in The Long War. In the beginning (before you have carapace armor, lasers/gauss weapons, and 7-8 man teams), if you see a Large UFO, ignore it. you will only lose interceptors and you won’t be able to shoot it down. If it lands, IGNORE IT, It’s a suicide mission. The best you can hope for is to kill a few aliens and get half your squad back to the skyranger before things really get sideways. Assuming you don’t spot of surprise waiting for you in the ship’s bridge.

    I’ve tried 3 or 4 of these missions with my 6 rank 2-3 soldiers in basic gear, even once in phalanx armor, that try was better, but still lost the squad.

    Also! SHIVs are much more useful now! I never used them in vanilla XCOM EU or EW after an initial try out. In Long war, they are a godsend. Alloy SHIVS especialy will be more combat capable than the soldiers you are likely to have available when you first get access to the little goliath.

  11. Polifemo says:

    As much as I loved the new X-COM (even after playing the original) and am Interested in this, Im kinda saving my “man I sure wanna play some X-COM right about now” energy, time, and enthusiasm for when Xenonauts is fully finished. Last I heard they were just about done and Im kinda itching to return ever since I closed the game after finding 10 Androns right outside my ship in a terror Mission. Dogfighting is pretty neato.

    • SillyWizard says:

      Yes, Xenonauts definitely does some things that XCom would have benefited from emulating. Been a good long while since I booted up Xenonauts, though.

  12. Drake Sigar says:

    Sounds interesting. I was trying to have at least three squads in the vanilla X-Com, but the game doesn’t really support that approach. I’m looking for a middle-ground between those small squads where every death is a huge blow, and the meaningless cannon fodder deaths of the old X-Com. Perhaps leaning towards the former a bit.

  13. pupsikaso says:

    It’s really sad for the XCOM vanilla when saying that you’re playing it for the 6th time is someting astonishing or absurd.
    I remember that the older X-COM game, I had played it perhaps hundreds of times. And hundreds more after I learned about Open X-COM recently.

    • Ich Will says:

      Ah, but you don’t work as a freelance writer who has to play thousands of games a year to make a living!

  14. sinister agent says:

    Does it take away that bloody irritating “aliens get a free turn when you see them” thing? That was a major annoyance for me.

    • SillyWizard says:

      Please stop.

      • sinister agent says:

        I don’t even know what you’re talking about, but my answer is still “no”.

        • SillyWizard says:

          A) The thing you’re talking about is an intended mechanic and will never change.

          B) The enemy doesn’t get a free turn, they move in to cover when you spot them. It’s intended to encourage players to move forward intelligently, and to be careful not to potentially expose attackers just before they end their turn.

          C) Every time an Xcom article is posted, people start whinging about this perfectly functional game feature, ad nauseum and sans sense. That’s a major annoyance.

          D) Please stop.

          • sinister agent says:

            It means that aliens always get a free turn when they’re spotted, because regardless of where they are, when they are spotted, they are free to move somewhere else. Regardless of how careful you are, you are forced to have a soldier blunder cretinously forwards to trigger the cut scene, instead of naturally spotting or being surprised by enemies as you would in any comparable turn based strategy game.

            If you have to crowbar artificial and patently unfair shit like this in to punish bad play, it’s clear something’s gone wrong. And just because something’s intended, that doesn’t mean it’s good. PLENTY of mods remove or alter “intended mechanics”, and in fact doing so is the entire point of many, many mods. This very mod removes other “intended” things, so what the hell is the difference? Don’t be so daft.

            D) No.

          • Ich Will says:

            I worked on a mod to get rid of this for over a year but it defeated me sadly, it’s hardwired into the engine and you are correct, it is ludicrous and only necessary because the engine does not calculate where the aliens really are before revealed, only where there is a chance they can be revealed*.

            What would be nice is if every alien was loaded at the start and moved from cover to cover naturally, then there wouldn’t be any need for this.

            * It’s not really this simple, but the statement is accurate enough as makes no difference

          • SillyWizard says:

            Move to cover =/= free turn. They cannot attack. They simply move to a location which you’re free to think of as their spawn point (which effectively it is) if that helps.

            You are not forced to “blunder cretinously” into the enemy — if you’re utilizing pretty basic movement tactics, you will discover the enemy while you yourself are in cover, and get a good few shots off on them, to boot.

            I’m not daft (at least, not about this one thing), and while I’m sorry you have such difficulty with a pretty simple and effective design decision, it is not “clear something’s gone wrong” — otherwise people wouldn’t argue about it.

            I can’t say it wouldn’t be neat to see what it’s like to have actual roving squads of enemy units to deal with, instead, but I also have found the current mechanic to be perfectly serviceable.

            Thinking about the potential alternatives — roving enemy units either grouping together to form an impossible-to-face phalanx of plasma-death; enemy units uselessly sitting in a corner of the map that you never find resulting in a cake-walk; having to worry about enemy units getting a lucky multi-sided flank on your squad, rolling over your men before you have a chance to readjust — I really expect that the current situation is the best option Firaxis had.

          • sinister agent says:

            Alternative: when you see enemies, that’s where they are. They don’t get to move to somewhere else, guaranteed, with no risk.

            This has worked for basically every other turn based shooter ever.

          • SillyWizard says:

            Yes, because the things that work for one game in a made-up genre (wtf is a turn-based shooter?) should work in every other game sort of also in that made up genre.

            Or, to give you more credit than the statement is due — yes, because the things that work for one game in a genre should necessarily work for any other game in that genre.

          • aepervius says:

            “Move to cover =/= free turn. They cannot attack.” But they move into cover. Which is the very definition of the “free turn”. Because that also mean you cannot *ever* sneak on them and take them without cover by surprise. And that cut a LOT of the tactical gameplay.

          • SillyWizard says:

            You certainly can still sneak up on them. You simply have to know where they are, to do so. Once the enemy has spawned and moved in to cover, nothing beyond your own limitations prevents you from having a cleverly placed unit flank for an easy kill.

            The game prevents you from accidentally sneaking up on an enemy while blundering blindly. It does nothing to stop a smart player from deploying his units effectively to take advantage of enemy positioning once those positions have been revealed.

            I think you’re confusing blind-luck/lol-tactics with “tactical gameplay.”

          • Pharos says:

            But they move into cover. Which is the very definition of the “free turn”.

            If you want the definition of “free turn”, play an EXALT mission and shut off their weapons. The engagement becomes trivial with low ranked soldiers and a joke with high ranked ones.

            Also, the enemies don’t react when you spot them, they react when they spot YOU. Soldiers have one square more view range than the aliens, which you can exploit for scripted missions but otherwise shouldn’t rely on. Otherwise, Battle Scanner can be great for revealing enemies for your sniper (ITZ means they get a free shot) or just making sure an area is clear to dash into.

            Wanting them to move from cover to cover has two problems: 1) the AI is going to have to know how to construct perimeters that can defend from any angle (because you don’t want it knowing where your soldiers are if it can’t see them); 2) making the AI move every single soldier during its turn would take AGES. Try playing Civ 5 with unit animations turned off and see what a difference it makes.

          • Ich Will says:

            @Silly Wizard – I understand what you are saying, but I’m going to try and explain why people still have a problem with it – you said that with clever flanking play, you can still surprise the enemy. Take one of those maps with a block of buildings surrounded by roads – imagine all but one soldier have entered the buildings and you know the last remaining group of enemies are in the final building. That one soldier, your sniper who did not enter the buildings sneaks down the back and is on the opposite side of the enemies to your other soldiers. Critically, he has never been seen by any enemy on the map. All the aliens know is that there are some soldiers approaching through the buildings. With your sniper in position you open the door and activate the aliens in that building.

            What should they do, bearing in mind they do get a free move to cover? They should, if the computer is playing fair take cover against the soldiers approaching through the other building, leaving them wide open to your sniper.

            What they do in reality though is calculate the optimum cover position based on all of your soldiers and they will most likely move out of the building and take cover behind cars so that your sniper cannot flank them in his move.

            This demonstrates three crucial cheats:

            1) the computer knows how many soldiers you have on the field – maybe that’s OK, I mean, if you’ve always sent 4 against them, why should they expect this mission to be different. But if you allow them that knowledge, you should gain a tactical advantage by suddenly sending a different number of soldiers, either making them behave more cautiously because they believe there is another soldier hidden somewhere OR not expecting the 5th soldier you just unlocked and letting you keep him hidden until you surprise flank them.

            2) The computer knows where overwatch zones are, even if they have not seen the soldier go into overwatch and will only move through them is this is the optimal strategy.

            3) The computer knows which soldiers have moved and which have not. Had your sniper already moved, they would take cover without worrying about her. If she has move left, they will take cover against her as well.

            Basically, this free move to cover is a cheat move (you don’t get the same move) and is made with cheat knowledge. AI cheating is nothing new but it is always BS.

          • fingerboxes says:

            Apparently 3 levels is as deep as RPS’s comment system goes!

            @Ich Will

            Yea, everything you just said is false. The AI’s re-positioning upon discovery only takes into account what *that alien* can see, and only triggers when that alien sees one of your soldiers. I routinely set up ambushes by having soldiers waiting behind doors or out of sight, but in range to move into flanking positions for probable movements.

    • pupsikaso says:

      None of the mods I’ve seen for XCom were able to do that, and believe you me there are plenty of people that would love a mod that removes that.
      So I assume it’s probably not possible to do at the moment.

      • JamesTheNumberless says:

        Oh yes, how we would all love that authentic X-com experience of scouring the map for hours, looking behind every blade of grass for that one final sectoid who’s somehow managed to lodge himself half way up a cow’s arse and who takes out 5 of my soldiers with a plasma pistol at the end of an otherwise perfect mission because I was too frustrated by this point to approach him carefully.

        • sinister agent says:

          Gosh, you’re right! There are literally only two possibilities. It is impossible for anyone in the world to ever think of anything other than these two things.

          It’s a good thing you’re here, man.

    • Highstorm says:

      These people can’t have looked terribly hard, given this is on the front page of the XCOM Nexus.

      XCOM ToolBoks also had options for this, and was a fantastic little tool to customize the game how you want in various ways. Sadly the updates to it have stopped since the latest Firaxis sneak-patch punched it in the gut.

      • sinister agent says:

        Well seeing as it’s only been there for two weeks, it’s hardly fair to make out that anyone who disliked that aspect of an 18 month old game has nothing to complain about.

        • Highstorm says:

          Ah sorry, I didn’t mean to imply that. I rather agree with you about that aspect of the game and have played an entire run with it disabled (thanks to ToolBoks). It certainly makes for a different experience! On the surface it seems to make the game easier as you get free flanking shots on aliens the first time you spot them. But the mod doesn’t completely remove the free-move aliens get.

          Instead of moving when you first see them, they move at the end of your turn. Then they get their full turn, with a full 2 actions, in effect having 3 potential actions in one “turn”. It can actually make things more difficult in some situations, and requires a different approach to the usual tactics once higher HP enemies appear.

        • BioSnark says:

          By 2 weeks maybe you are referring to the time that mod was on the front page? That feature has been in that particular mod for a while, and that’s an old mod/tool.

        • fingerboxes says:

          Toolboks has been around a LONG time. That being said, it doesn’t work with current versions of EW, and especially not with LW.

          There is a version that works currently, which is derived from Toolbox. Totally a cheat though. People who complain about this mechanic and just want the game to be easier should go play a different game.

          http://www.nexusmods.com/xcom/mods/477/?

    • BioSnark says:

      If you don’t like the forward creeping that dominates the early XCOM gameplay (Enemy Within offers more scouting solutions later on), you might want to consider making the game read the INI files and changing the view distances of lower level enemies so you can see where enemy packs are, plan accordingly, and be able to actually flank/rush (without getting swarmed under more packs) but not have a chance to gun down helplessly exposed alien packs with their pants down.

      How to enable the INI file:
      http://wiki.tesnexus.com/index.php/Basic_Guide_to_installing_mods#Enabling_INI_loading

      The .ini file you’ll want to edit (with anything like notepad or notepad++ [there are different versions of this file depending on if you're running Enemy Within or Enemy Unknown]):
      DefaultGameCore.ini

      Then scroll down to the Characters section (it’s near the top) and change the different alien’s “SightRadius” to whatever you like (or you can change that value for your guys). You can also do other cool stuff like making Chryssalids into super tough, slow moving tanks or removing the crit bonuses aliens get on harder difficulties. XCom isn’t the best game for modding but it’s easy at this level. PC gaming is awesome because players can take a degree of agency if they don’t like a specific feature :)

  15. SillyWizard says:

    So this sounds pretty awesome. The only thing that I can think of that would make it better (for me) would be if each continent required its own squads to handle local threats. Or maybe let squads reach as far as adjacent continents, to allow for some strategery.

    Having all of your mans squatting in one place, apparently able to reach combat zones literally on the opposite side of the planet in time to do something about it has always rubbed me the wrong way.

  16. DompR says:

    Does this mod change anything about those EW choking-flyin-teamkilling c*cksuckers? Those were the main reasons I didn’t finish the expansion even though I’d have loved me some more XCOM .

  17. mlaskus says:

    I remember bouncing off of Long War a few months back because it required spending so much time and resources managing interceptors which I simply do not find fun in this game.
    Is there any way to install it with lessened changes to the interceptor combat or is there a way to simplify it a bit by myself?

  18. Haphaz77 says:

    For anyone who wants to see Long War in practice (and be thoroughly entertained), see Beaglerush’s new video series which uses it.

    https://www.youtube.com/user/Beaglerush/videos

    Between that and Alec’s recommendation, I’m tempted to give it a go. When a stable version comes out.

    • mlaskus says:

      Beaglerush’s Ironman Impossible series is awesome, I would recommend anyone to watch it.
      Here’s the link to the first episode of the first series, he played unmodded Enemy Unknown back then.
      http://goo.gl/X64Fq8

      Edit: automatic youtube embedding is irritating, I’ve changed the link to a shortened one

  19. huldu says:

    I’m going to keep an eye on this mod. I didn’t like xcom remake at all. I felt it was too weak and linear. This mod seems to have moved more towards the original x-com game which sounds great, on paper at least. I couldn’t play through the new xcom more than once, it just had no replay value at all. Anyone else felt like that? Maybe the problem was that I played the original x-com(93) far too much back when it was new. It might have clouded my eyes for any “remake” to actually work, but honestly the new just felt so shallow, like no more than a shell of its former self.

    When this mod is complete, I’ll probably try it out and see how it is. I’m not really interested in just getting my “arse” handed to me in a game. I want a challenge but more than anything I want to ENJOY playing the game. That’s the only thing that matters to me.

    • Crazy Horse says:

      Yea, that’s pretty much how I feel. X-com is a true grand strategy game and that’s what made it a classic. I still remember some of those tense battles taking out a base or defending a vital installation with only a horde of rookies wielding grenades. Ah, and bringing down an intact battleship full of nasty Snakemen.. good times.

      I enjoyed the first few hours of Xcom since I came into it knowing it was not any sort of remake despite the misleading title. It was cute and tightly focused on balancing a small number of variables. Not a bad little game all told. I used a controller for it because that’s what it was designed for anyway.

    • AyeBraine says:

      Well, if you believe in such things, I’ve clocked about 600 hours in XCOM EU and EW, and it certainly offers a lot of variability and nuances, not unlike chess. Sure, the openings are often standard, but the outcome is always decided by your actions. To take your own mental image of rookies defending a base – I once defended the XCOM base with a handful of Colonels and Rookie security guards… all using start equipment. In the mid-to-late portion of the game, against the second-toughest tier of enemies in great numbers. (These folks were caught unaware by the attack, and good gear was on other people). It was gruelling, but doable – by utilizing 3 to 5-man tactical combos and no less than a dozen different special abilities my ill-equipped but experienced troops had at that time (like disabling enemy weapons, moving before firing, intercepting shots, skillful healing, good explosives and so on). I would venture to say this is not entirely unlike the original X-COM’s tactical complexity.

  20. archiebunker says:

    Still waiting for the official Linux/SteamOS release before I dive in and play Enemy Within… although it sounds like I’ll have to couple it with this mod in order to really throw countless hours of my life into the abyss. Finished a Classic Ironman run with a number of second wave options back in my Windows days. Any news on whether or not the linux release is any closer?

    • AimHere says:

      The steamdb history page regularly shows updates, but AFAIK, there’s been no official announcement that there’s a pending linux version.

  21. Kaisha says:

    I was very disappointed with XCom:EU and so I never got the DLC/xpac/whatever. Picked it up to play with this mod (on the recommendation of this site) and I have to say, I’m still disappointed. This mod fixes nothing. And it many cases makes things worse.

    The fundamental problem with XCom:EU was the endless bugs. LOS and cover are broken, there are ‘dead zones’ in most of the maps (leading to all sorts of LOS problems), and the aliens don’t have a proper AI and so just teleport randomly around the map.

    In Long War in order to compensate for the additional soldiers you bring, they pack the maps with more aliens. A TON of aliens. Which means when XCom goes buggy, its not 1 soldier you lose, its your entire game. When 2 chysalids teleport in the middle of your group, its annoying. When 5, its insta-death. This also leads to my second largest complaint. These maps are too small for the number of aliens on them. Its almost impossible to flank anything because the second you move anywhere you hit another spawn. Your assaults are pretty much useless in Long War, to attempt a flank is just suicide. On top of that rockets have been nerfed into oblivion. Of the 20 rockets I fired before giving up on them 1 actually hit the target I was aiming at.

    XCom:EU was pretty 1 dimensional. Each encounter you either let your snipers take them out, used some explosives, or flanked the enemy. In the Long War, all you do is pretty much hunker down and trade gunfire while wave after wave of aliens runs at you. They took an already tactically simple game and made it even simpler.

    I don’t fault the mod authors, there is only so much you can do with a mod. The problem is XCOM:EU is just a horrible game. Its too bad because some of the ideas are quite clever. Fatigue really works well. 2 inventory slots right away adds alot of interesting options. The way satellites and UFOs work is much nicer in the Long War. But it just does not come together to form a more enjoyable whole.

    • Sleepy Will says:

      Sorry to hear that – I think with mods, they are never going to change the overall experience – I found, you can mod skyrim till your system is creaking and on the brink of dying but, at the end of the day, you’re still playing skyrim. It’s just not feasible to fundamentally change a game so drastically without it turning into a project beyond modders and the tools available.

      • Kaisha says:

        I understand. I wrote some pretty complex mods for WC3 back in the day, so I have a general idea on what it takes. I was just posting to warn others. This and many other sites seem to endlessly praise the Long War as the fix to XCom it needed. If you already have XCom:EW, then by all means, its free have fun (or don’t, nothing lost). If you actually plan to spend cash though my suggestion is to skip it.