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Not Much To Phone Home About: XCOM's First DLC

Kill the pink tree. It's clearly not of this world.

As is the custom of most games that have been out longer than three seconds, Firaxis’ journo-murdering (and also wonderful) XCOM revival is about to receive its first* helping of DLC. Titled “Slingshot,” it takes the form of a three-mission Council campaign centered around “enigmatic Triad operative” Zhang. As ever, it doesn’t take long for combat to ensue – but this time, it takes place in both China and the sky. So, in short, you get a “special” new playable character, a few new missions, and… well, that’s pretty much it.

Here’s the official blurb-o-gram, straight from Firaxis’ alien-battling HQ:

“In this new set of linked Council missions, gamers will meet an enigmatic Triad operative, divert an alien ship’s course, and do battle with the aliens in the skies over China. The Slingshot Content Pack includes three new maps tied to the Council missions, a new playable squad character with a unique story and voice and new character customization options.”

A release date and price are apparently coming “soon.” GameSpy, meanwhile, brings word that Zhang’s a heavy with beefed up stats and little else – neither in the way of special abilities or customization options. Beyond that, then, the only lasting impact of this DLC is the ability to unlock Blaster Launcher and Fusion Lance tech early in the campaign, as opposed to when you’re within spitting distance of the final mission.

It does feel like something of a missed opportunity, though, seeing as a few new enemies or technologies could go a long way if sprinkled into XCOM’s core game. I’m sure Slingshot will be fun while it lasts, but I don’t really play XCOM for grandiose, pre-written narrative arcs. If nothing else, however, Firaxis is preparing to beam down at least one more DLC pack, so maybe it’ll have some extra meat (and/or not-of-this-world writhing bio-tissue) on its bones (and/or system of membranes supported by hideous razor-toothed growths). Fingers crossed (unless they are not fingers).

*Read: it’s not a pre-order bonus

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Nathan Grayson

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