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XCOM: Diary Of A Wimpy Squad #4: The Grilling

Stone Cold Dead

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The story of my Classic difficulty, Iron Man mode XCOM campaign so far is here. As a result, we’ve got a pretty solid team forming now, which means only one thing: let’s go get someone killed.

Our Interceptor successfully shoots down a UFO, so we’re off to comb the wreckage for things to kill and, hopefully, an Outsider to capture and reveal more of the aliens’ masterplan.

Battle Report #5

Hello? Where is everybody? This is one of those faintly creepy sneaking-forwards missions, the crash site forever agonisingly just out of sight but the sure knowledge that it everyone dashed forwards to it some horror would pop up and mow us all down on the spot.

What feels like days later, we make it to the perimeter of the crash site, and set eyes on two sheltering Sectoids. Sectoids? I eat Sectoids for breakfast (they tase of old tuna).

For for four consecutive turns everyone misses every shot. Including the Sectoids, mercifully.

Eventually, Meer headshots one. That’s a Promotion for him and an opportunity for everyone else to creep a little closer.

Going in first is Gril, who takes a immediate hit from the Overwatching Sectoid. He makes us for this carelessness by scoring getting a fatal shot on a 25% chance. Take him with you if you ever go to Vegas.

Ellison heads in next to patch him up with her medkit. She calls him a wimp in the process, which doesn’t sound like team solidarity to me.

We spot movement – The Outsider who captains this ship. Gril’s the man on point again, trying to get in close for a stun. Unwittingly, he wakes another pack of Sectoids in the process, and fails to hit either.

One Sectoid hits, not fatally, then the other two miss. Phew! But the Outsider’s having none of it.

Farewell, RPS’ only Grecian contributer. Farwell, Oxford-educated lover of philosophy and The Tiger Lilies. The important thing is that you managed to kill just one of the game’s puniest enemies.

Rossignol silently ambles up, silently lobs a grenade and not terribly silently kills two of the three Sectoids. Ellison picks off the third, while stood on Gril’s corpse. Classy, Cara, real classy.

There then follows another bout of everyone missing. For God’s sake, everyone. With Rossignol the only one yet to fire this turn, and the sure knowledge that the Outsider’s Light Plasma Rifle will insta-kill anyone it hits, our longest-serving Heavy lets loose his rocket.

Not only is it absurd overkill (and costing us valuable UFO loot), but it bloody misses. And hits Procter.

Procter remains alive, but panics and runs away. I swear The Outsider sniggers.

Meanwhile, more bloody Sectoids arrive, one of whom scores a non-fatal hit on Ellison. For once, the team acts like professionals and mows down all three in short order, plus The Outsider, who by this point we’ve abandoned all hope of stunning.

Mission over, then.

The mission doesn’t end. On no. Someone else is out there. One of us dead and three of us are wounded and now there’s a new enemy on the scene: Floaters.

The most unfortunately-named member of XCOM’s rogues gallery immediately takes out Cara, just after she’s killed one of the three. She’s down but alive – though in three turns she’ll have bled out, and the only other team member with a medkit (Procter) just used his on self-healing. We need to kill 3 Floaters in three turns or we’ll have lost our most capable Rookie.

Rossignol and Meer both panic, as though Adam and John both took sick days at once. They’re out for the turn. Nooo.

Procter misses.

Rossignol, still freaking out, takes a hit, but is still with us.

Next turn, Rossignol grenades one Floater, but it’s still just alive.

Meer’s too far away to fire. Meer! I hate you.

Procter hits on a 45% chance. We’ve made it.

But we left Gril behind. I’m running out of freelancers here, dammit.

We return home with a bag full of corpses alien and human, and mixed feelings indeed. It’s promotion for Meer and Rossignol, while Ellison becomes support. Everyone is wounded except Meer. Heroic Meer.

Okay, enough fannying about with popguns. It’s time to research beam weapons.

Battle Report #6

We’re off to a graveyard in France to stop some Abductions. Fortunately, hiding behind the last resting place of people’s loved ones proves an effective way to deal with the threat. Sorry that your husband’s headstone got blown into pieces by our rockets, Madame.

With both of our Support guys wounded in the last mission, Stone (finally recovered) and Smith, Q are on Medkit duty. It’s also the first mission for Smith, A (aka DJ), who I stupidly forgot to add to the team last time.

It’s a textbook mission this around. Rossignol excels himself with reaction shots and speculative rocketfire, while everyone gets kills except Stone.

As a result, Rossignol makes Sergeant, earning him the acne-evoking nickname ‘Crater’, while Smith, Q becomes Sergeant Quntin ‘Moose’ Smith. I don’t think anyone wants to be called ‘Moose’, surely?

While we’re busy celebrating, we complete research on Beam Weapons. In short order, everyone except the Heavies and Sniper is equipped with frickin’ lasers. Sure, we’ve lost a few, but I reckon we might over the early-game hump. We’ve got more officers than rookies, which means less insta-death. Maybe?

Battle Report #7

It’s UFO landing site in Canada. We didn’t shoot it down, so it’ll be fielding a full force.

Stone finally gets his first kill, and the attendant promotion. About damn time, tankboy. Meanwhile, Meer misses three consecutive 75% chance shots.

Due to this incompetence, the following happens:

Ellison gets shot
Rossignol gets shot
A. Smith gets shot
Stone gets shot. And killed. Oh, man. You’ll never know the pleasure of being assigned a Class, rookie Stone.

As the whole team tries to pen in The Outsider to finally stun one of the buggers, a wounding shot from Rossignol accidentally crits – and kills it. Oh, not again. Home again, team – and with one less chum, once again.

Back at base, we mourn the dead, build some more laser weapons (thanks to selling Sectoid corpses to some unseen wierdo who likes playing with dead aliens), and throw up satellites over Japan, Oz and the US, which are on the verge of panic. That calms them down a bit. But before we have time to enjoy their new-found confidence in us, we’re summoned to a Terror Mission in Manaus. A Terror Mission means Chyrsalids. And we’re still wearing armour that can barely stand up to a water pistol.

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Alec Meer

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Co-founder of RPS. Dungeon Keeper & X-COM 4 Life.

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