XCOM 2 Is Ridiculously Exciting

I don’t mean “I’m excited that this videogame sequel is coming out,” but rather that the game itself works so hard and does so much to create a constant sense of near-euphoric drama. In an age where sequels=darker, because far too many people believe that The Empire Strikes Back is the highest watermark of popular culture, XCOM 2 [official site]s lurch towards brightly-coloured celebratory heroism is a welcome one – and it does this even though, thematically, we’re talking a post-alien-invasion Earth and all the horror that implies. It wouldn’t be unfair to invoke Independence Day comparisons, but it wouldn’t be quite correct either: XCOM 2 does have that hoorah-heroism, but fortunately it’s bereft of flag-waving. This is the bright dystopia, the heroic rebellion rather than the forlorn resistance.

When I play XCOM 2, I feel incredibly excited most of the time, and it’s not just because of soaring military march soundtrack – there are dozens of tiny things it does to make me feel like an action hero (or a least a commander of action heroes).

Screw it, I’m doing a list. It’s either that or weirdly disassociated paragraphs.

1) The Music

I’m a big fan of XCOM 1’s soundtrack; it shares a composer with Deus Ex: Human Revolution, and thus has a similar brand of moody synths, evoking Tangerine Dream at their best. But the tone was always “bad things are about to happen.” In XCOM 2, the tone is “OH MY GOD AMAZING THINGS ARE ABOUT TO HAPPEN”, even though the game’s setting is a far more horrific one. Every mission briefing is soundtracked as though this is the climactic encounter. Every Skyranger landing feels like I’ve come to save the day, not just perform a routine intel op. Every post-battle screen makes me feel like my guys just graduated with firsts from the University Of Awesome. It should be ridiculous. Hell, it sounds ridiculous when written down. But it works so well. XCOM is going to save the fucking world, yo.

2) Evac

A semi-new feature is evacuation, building on those XCOM 1 missions where you had to escort a VIP to a specific exit point on the map. There’s a whole lot more of that now, both with and without Fedexing NPCs. There are quite a few missions which involve smash’n’grabbing some alien artefact then getting out of dodge, or carrying someone’s prone body over your shoulder, robbing you of the ability to fire. Often, you can even do it mid-mission, calling in a Skyranger on the spot to get your (remaining) guys out of a tricky situation, or even just because you’re in a hurry or want an even more dramatic conclusion. I suspect this will play an even larger role at the hardest difficulties, when your surviving units have to carry their unconscious mates to safety in order that you don’t suffer a complete wipe-out. I might even have to leave a man behind, for the greater good. But evacuation is no mere glowing rectangle or a forlorn sense of defeat: it’s signal flares and ropes dropped from the sky then your guys scooped away amid a hail of (admittedly sometimes imagined) gunfire. We got in there. We did our job. We got out. Hoo-rah.


3) Stances

Among the many new soldier customisations is to choose an attitude for each unit, which is basically the stance they take in inventory screens and when idle on missions. It’s all the Aliens tropes you’d want it to be, and it makes roster scenes look brilliant. You’ve got the cocksure woman leaning back with a shotgun resting on her shoulder. The twitchy sniper jerking his head around to spy danger in every corner. The uptight, improbably stiffbacked senior officer. The slumped defeatist. These don’t just play a role in posey pre-battle screens, but actively affect how you design and characterise your squad. Yeah, that pose totally needs to be paired with a cigarette in the mouth. She’s getting a bandanna. Joe Cool over there needs some hipster shades. Cowboy hat right here. Scars and tats on her. If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire XCOM.

4) Wounded soldiers

Even being messed up seems absurdly heroic. After a battle, you see all your guys stride out of the Skyranger towards the camera. Just as they reach it, anyone Wounded suddenly sags, their energy spent. Anyone Gravely Wounded falls to one knee. The message is clear: we’ve held our pain back for as long as we had to. Only now that the battle is done will we succumb. Even then, sit and watch and they’ll lift their heads, look around, as if ready to go back out there if they really have to.

Fist-bumps all round for XCOM 2’s animators, basically.

5) Advent arriving by helicarrier

Some XCOM 1 missions featured alien reinforcements being airlifted in from off-map, but XCOM 2 pushes this regularly. Helicarriers will arrive in a short cutscene, dust-clad and light-beaming, from which heavily-armoured human-alien hybrid soldiers will jump and thump to the ground. It’s not just “oh the script says some new guys pop-up now”, it’s “they’re bigger and stronger and have infinite resources and they’re coming for you. Be afraid.” Or, reload and get ready for more. Feels good.

6) Your best units star on the main menu screen

One of the overall concepts of XCOM 2 is that your most senior soldiers are not just random joes, but the real stars of the story. Until they get themselves killed, at least. So the Half-Life 2-esque main menu screen will display one of your best units crouched in an action pose, ready to go mess up some Advent goons. I didn’t even notice at first, because my Rookies and Squaddies all had nondescript hair and nondescript beige or olive armour, so I thought I was just seeing a generi-unit. Then suddenly my best Ranger, who looks like Robyn and Guile had a lovechild who grew up to be really, really into happy hardcore, was all over the front page. Ready for action, making the game mine.

7) Billboards

Related to the above, your longest-serving officers start showing up on in-game Wanted billboards. It’s a little touch, but one which makes you think you’re really achieving something. The aliens are afraid of you. You might actually save the world.

8) Looting dilemmas

Borrowing the Meld collection concept in XCOM: Enemy Within, you’ll often find yourself in a quandry about whether to carefully push through your objectives or take a risk to grab some bonus loot. Some enemies will drop bonuses when killed, which are usually weapon modifications (such as +5% aim or free reloads). Given you’ve usually shot someone from some distance away, you may well have to send a unit into the lion’s den if you want to go get that pick-up – and you can’t just wait until the coast is clear because the drops self-destruct after a few turns. Very game-y, yes, but it’s effective at reducing the over-reliance on creep’n’Overwatch that characterised XCOM 1.

9) Timed missions

Much more of them, much more variety of them, often with oodles of strange alien architecture – a relief after far too many identical bomb-defusal missions in XCOM 1. The urgency works, rather than feels like a routine. You’re making a choice whether to engage, to push on and even, as the turn time runs down, to take crazy risks in order to go deactivate some evil computer before it’s too late.

10) Lots of dramatic jumps and slides down ladders

Again, well done animators. All the running and jumping looks very cool.

11) Concealment

An important new mechanic, and one which evolves as your soldiers develop new abilities. Like the looting dilemma, it’s a new anxiety about where to go, and adds a pounding sense of drama once you reveal yourselves to the aliens. It’s on. Go do something about it.

12) Melee attacks

Particularly when your Ranger does a full two-action sprint that ends with cleaving a Snakeperson in two. That full sprint has a pay off, as opposed to the traditional worry that you’ve just squandered an action purely so someone can go crouch behind a rock.

13) Tons of environmental damage

More scenery – walls and doors and windows and cars and all sorts – can be destroyed than in XCOM 1, but even the stuff that can’t be entirely smashed treats you with a storm of debris being chipped off it. Even missed shots can feel satisfying as a result.

14) Snipers’ sidearms
No crappy little pistol for when your deadeyes are out of ammo or actions: they get Dirty Harry Magnums, cocked and drawn and fired like a rocket. Sure, the damage is comparatively minor, but it no longer feels like a sad little compromise.

And one thing that makes me a whole lot less excited: Like many others, XCOM 2 doesn’t run at all well on my PC. I can get it to perfectly playable so long as I compromise on visual bells and whistles, but 60 frames is a dim and distant dream. Not too much of an issue for a turn-based game, but unfortunately it’s accompanied by irregular huge drops in framerate and accompanying lagginess. My PC’s also running so damned hot – just to run this at pretty much medium settings – that there’s no moisture left in the air of my room and it sounds like there’s a small motorbike under my desk. Something’s up, and I do hope it’s fixed soon.

I can cope though. XCOM 2 is, after all, very very exciting.

For more on XCOM 2, visit our XCOM 2 guide hub.

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118 Comments

  1. Donkeyfumbler says:

    I see quite a lot of commments about the timed missions – how there are too many and how they don’t give you enough turns.

    How did you find them Alec? Not so bad by the sounds of it?

    • raiders says:

      DF, I can’t speak for Alec, but I love the timed missions. It makes missions more…dire. Constantly being told something is about to explode while trying to deal with crafty enemies adds to the suspense of the chore.

      Unlike some of those folks complaining, I don’t want to take 10 turns setting up the perfect ambush. There are plenty of opportunities in the game for that all over the map.

      I believe it’s a perfect mix of gameplay here. Not only do you have Chess, but you’ve got Speed Chess thrown in as a bonus.

      Hope this helps some. You’re going to get a ton of opinions on this.

      • rabbit says:

        completely agree.

      • kaffis says:

        Also agree. The time pressure (either mission objectives or self-destructing loot) pushes me to take risks and make difficult decisions instead of safely and methodically kill everything on the map.

        When those risks pay off, or when you spot the opportunity for some clever teamwork to provide unexpected cover, or you make it to the evac point in the nick of time… it feels epic and earned, instead of entitled and routine.

        • shulima says:

          Making it to the evac point in the last moment can feel really epic. In my current Ironman campaign, I had reinforcements drop practically on top of the evac zone with two turns left; as my squad sprinted to the Firebrand right past Advent soldiers, I could practically see that awesomeness of a classic action scene.

          Having to evacuate soldiers individually also lends itself to pretty cool moments where the soldiers that reach the evac zone first provide cover for the stragglers and are the last to grab the rope.

    • froz says:

      Truth be told, I really believe people posting those comments just find the difficulty to be too high or they fail to adapt and figure out a new strategy. Some comments are ridiculous in claiming that time-limit somehow makes the game less about strategy*. It’s exactly the opposite. You have to think harder and take risks.

      I had a problem with this in the very first mission after tutorial (yes, I managed to fail that mission), until I realized that I don’t need to go out of stealth to attack the first alien patrol I encounter. It might be better to first stealthy move as close to the mission objective as possible and only then start raining hell.

      *seriously, have they never played strategy games other then Civilization and original X-COM? From Panzer General series to Pike&Shot, lots of strategy games have time limits in one form or another.

      • Raoul Duke says:

        I don’t think you’re right. It’s not just about people not being good enough at the game. Many people (myself included) enjoy turn-based strategy games precisely because they don’t include the constant time pressure of RTS or action games. Adding in this timer nonsense takes that away again… suddenly the game is all about unpleasant anxiety over getting things done quickly enough.

        For the same reason, I found the countdown mechanic in Invisible Inc rather unpleasant.

        And as for ‘risker’ strategies, really you are saying that you don’t want them to be riskier, you want safer strategies to be neutered.

        There were much more elegant ways that Firaxis could have done this. For example, focus on having sufficiently good enemy AI that staying still for too long has major downsides (e.g., your guys get exposed to major levels of reaction fire from well-placed enemies). Have reinforcements organically trickle in from neigbouring parts of the city in a logical way, so that as you wait there are gradually more enemies (rather than an arbitrary “TIME’S UP” system). Set up strong defensive positions in the middle of maps, so that there is an incentive to get there first and take advantage. Etc.

        • kaffis says:

          I’m totally with you on playing turn-based over real-time strategy because I don’t (usually) enjoy the time pressure.

          But I find that turn-based timers and count-downs are vastly different, because I get all the time I need to contemplate options (or wrestle with UI), and the turn-based time requirement just becomes a new constraint like any other objective. I don’t mind feeling like my units are rushed, so long as I’m not rushed in making the decisions about how to handle that rush.

          • kaffis says:

            Oh, and I’d much rather have a visible, known timer than an invisible one. And your suggestions to have reinforcements trickle in are exactly that.

            If I know there’s a time constraint, I’m planning around it and it doesn’t feel like a cheap shot. If I don’t know there’s a time constraint, but there really is, I get to the point when time is up and it suddenly becomes impossible, and feel like the game took a cheap shot at me.

    • haldolium says:

      I find them extremely annoying and kind of a deal breaker.

      It’s not impossible, but it takes out a) variety and b) how you want to approach.

      So far my missions were luck-rushing, since each time concealment is broken (unless you do it on purpose) when accidentially running into the “line of sight” (which too is kind of illogic since its only based upon the general grid) aliens scatter into cover and get their extra turn doing so.

      Not to mention that you have to deal with mindcontrol and zombies from the very beginning.

      If anything, the timers should’ve been an option (which are in general not there, gameplay-wise, compared to its predecessor)

      Lets see if there will be something done about it, otherwise the game will be deleted again.

      • haldolium says:

        Oh and the music is by far not even half as great as the XCOM theme and I completely disagree with Alec. It puts me into “generic electronic orchestra videogame ost mood” and nothing else.

        Excitement 2/10
        Annoyance: 5/7

        • Sunjammer says:

          I strongly prefer the XCOM soundtrack to this one. This one comes across as hopelessly generic to me. Michael McCann is an amazing composer, everything going on XCOM felt like the most awesome thing to happen to anyone. XCOM2 is not bad but it just doesn’t stand out.

      • Scissors says:

        I agree, I cant auto-buy games based on this site anymore, I guess.

        In the previous game I enjoyed getting stressed by the aliens getting stronger, and trying to match them (until late game where its boring), in this its getting stressed by a timer yelling at me all the time, like those idiotic – and luckily rare – bomb missions from the past. Although the bomb missions were NOT difficult. Its not about difficulty. Not my cup of tea I guess.

        Getting a refund, maybe things change later.

      • joansam says:

        Hmm…if you keep accidentally breaking concealment you’re doing it wrong. You should always be moving your squad carefully while in concealment before you know where the aliens are, I never have trouble with getting accidentally detected. Concealment is really valuable if used properly.
        As for the timers, I think they’re a good feature. Otherwise you just creep slowly from cover to cover until you get in the best possible position, which I find very boring. I also haven’t found them to be too short – I’ve never run out of time on a mission.
        And the music is great! XCOM music was quite bland, as far as I remember. This is very tense and heroic.
        I do have some concerns with the game…I had to restart because I didn’t build the Guerrilla Warfare place soon enough, for example, but these complaints don’t make a lot of sense to me.

        • rabbit says:

          agree completely. i’m 11 hours in and have accidentally broken concealment once in that time. it really isn’t that big of a deal unless you’re playing unnecessarily suicidally out of some sort of protest at the turn limit.

      • Cleave says:

        There’s already a mod to disable the timers: link to steamcommunity.com

      • shulima says:

        You should never accidentally break concealment, unless really early in the game. That’s what you have battle scanners and Specialists with their “scan area” skills.

    • anHorse says:

      IMO the difficulty is much much better

      In EUW you’d have a few hard phases (the start, when the aliens get upgraded x2) and the rest of the time it’d be incredibly easy.

      Here, even on normal (veteran), there’s tension and challenge in every mission but it’s never impossible unless you activate the whole map’s worth of enemies without killing any of them first

    • spleendamage says:

      I like the timed missions. Advance to cover, overwatch, ad infinitum is not strategy, it’s just the strategist version of min/maxing. I’m not conflating the pell-mell rush to beat a timer with strategy either, but at least it brings about more interesting strategic dilemmas when that forced rush to the objective causes you to have to engage enemy groups on less than ideal terms.

    • Sangrael says:

      It really depends on the kind of game you want to play. And on your overall skill level with the game as well. I have a friend that plays games in general pretty casually, but he loved xcom1 and played through it on easy. Now in xcom2 he’s frustrated in the extreme because difficulty doesn’t effect turn timers at all. A lot of missions will only give you a 1-2 turn leeway on top of that, even ones listed as “Easy” by the game itself. I think they probably should have made turn limits scale based on difficulty and then they could have pleased most people, instead of forcing people to play a game they didn’t want to.

      There’s already a mod to disable the time limit on most missions though for those who want it: link to steamcommunity.com

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      cpt_freakout says:

      Another one here for the ‘timed missions are pretty good’ crowd. The tension of most XCOM 1 missions were usually built through a creeping sensation bordering on paranoia (“what if they flank me on this side next turn??”). This time around you’re the one usually doing the flanking, as long as you move with care (I think most see dash solely as ‘move more’, but it’s also got high tactical value). The tension here comes, like everything else, from the tables-turned theme: your terrorist cells have to be as precise and efficient as possible, but that will not always be the case, and you’ll have to improvise a LOT more than you had to in XCOM 1. That brings a kind of excitement and tension born from immediacy, not expectation, and to me it’s brilliant.

    • MaxMcG says:

      I thought I would hate the timed missions because I like to take my time in these kinds of games but I have to say, I really do love it now. It forces you to be bold and that’s just enjoyable.

    • Gemberkoekje says:

      May I just chime in with the fact that, if you REALLY don’t like the timers, there are mods on the workshop which can increase them by 4 turns, or disable them entirely?

      There’s no need to get a refund if you can just mod the game to your liking.

  2. Kestrel says:

    I’m sure timed missions can be tweaked via an .ini file, or so I’ve read elsewhere. I set my alarm to get me up the minute XCOM2 released on Steam so I could jump right in before leaving for work. I already love it.

    Couple hangups I have:
    The engine doesn’t seem quite as smooth as its predecessor. My framerate isn’t what it should be, given that my hardware is quite good and the graphics aren’t too demanding.

    The music, to me, is rather bland. I’ve already switched it off and supplanted my XCOM playlist featuring stressful music from other soundtracks. Looking forward to a custom soundtrack mod so I can insert these directly into the game.

    There aren’t enough faces, and I hardly like any of them. Indeed, they could’ve just imported all the faces from the previous game and immediately doubled the number you have available. I’m sure mods will improve upon this dramatically.

    I want my super soldiers to wear capes, eventually. Bright red obnoxious capes. Mod!

    The dialogue is silly. I could’ve written better dialogue in high school. That said, it’s at least to the point. I don’t have 30-minute unskippable cutscenes to contend with.

    Otherwise, it’s better than its immediate predecessor in every way. I’m loving it. Probably won’t be seeing my friends or family this weekend.

    • raiders says:

      I don’t find the optimization that great either. It’s very choppy. I can’t find anything of importance in the .ini’s either. I guess I’ll have to way for someone to release a guide…or…a patch.

    • Kestrel says:

      Oh, another gripe I have – where is the borderless window feature for 1920×1080? If you set borderless window, it just downsizes the resolution and doesn’t give you any options. Very strange.

      I’m hoping there’s a patch that fixes these issues. If not, it’ll be up to third party support to fix.

      • Premium User Badge

        Andy_Panthro says:

        On my laptop I didn’t even see an option for 1920×1080, it defaulted to 1366×768 with only a couple of bigger resolution increases available. Probably just as well for me, there’s definitely been a couple of stuttery moments on level loading and it’s giving my fans a good workout, so I might have to drop some details down.

        • Kestrel says:

          Yeah. I’m wondering if the engine limits your resolution options depending on your hardware. Just wild speculation, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Firaxis recognized the optimization issues and attempted to compensate elsewhere.

        • rabbit says:

          that happened to me at first – i’m running a laptop with an nvidia 860m plus some sort of inbuilt intel thingy… are you running the same sorta setup?

          i’ve fixed that – what i did was switch resolution once or twice i think – but definitely i changed between windowed / borderless / fullscreen & then tried to set the resolution , and then i think that failed so i quit the game, opened its settings up in my ‘geforce experience’ program & i think then launched the game from there? i also forced it to use my nvidia card thru my nvidia control panel. either way, next time i opened the game up thru steam i was able to set the res to 1920×1080 – hopefully some combination of the above works for you.

    • froz says:

      The game is choppy for me as well, from time to time. It’s not even about FPS (which I have around 30 FPS on 3440×1440), but sometimes the game pauses for a few seconds(enemy unit moves, waits a moment, then starts firing), which is very irritating. It doesn’t look like graphical performance problem, as animations etc. are not stopped. I suspect it’s just a bug in game code, it’s definitely waiting for something at those moments. Maybe it thinks it went into combat camera mode and waits for the zoom-in to finish or something (even though it does not). Same with overwatch fire – it always takes a lot of time, but sometimes even more.

      I suspect patches will fix it quickly. I haven’t yet tried messing around with settings (turning off camera zooming etc.).

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      Andy_Panthro says:

      Agreed on the music. I turned it off in XCOM, and I’m reaching that point in XCOM2 (only a few hours in) that I’d much prefer my own music.

      I’ve also turned off some of the “cinematic” stuff, which is much the same as the previous game and not to my taste.

      Also agree about the faces, but at least there’s a lot more customisation than the previous game, so there’s been progress. Still missing tons of nationalities though, like large parts of the Middle East and Africa (although it includes Scotland separate from the UK).

  3. klops says:

    XCOM2 does not really work for me. Very stuttering and slow and fps problems and that. Shiiit! The first game I bought as a new since L4D2 and this is what happens.

    The game shouldn’t be that hard to work on your computer.

    • Dominare says:

      Try disabling v-sync and MSAA in the options. The UE3 engine has always been dodgy with those, and turning those two off tripled my FPS instantly.

      • klops says:

        No effect. When changing settings from minimal to medium I did not see the difference in performance.

        Most likely my CPU is too old. It’s understandable. Turn based tactical game with XCOM2’s glorious graphics is a sure way to put your computer on its knees – as well as the character creation part.

        Uhh…

      • MercurialJack says:

        Just wanted to chime in here – disabling V-Sync and switching from MSAA to FXAA worked wonders for me. The frame rate is much smoother, FAR less slow, juddery and stuttering, and looks absolutely no different whatsoever. Even moving between menu screens and different sections of the Avenger is a much nicer experience. Definitely give this a try.

        For the record, my processor, RAM and GFX card are well above the recommended specs, so this is an optimisation issue it seems, but the above worked.

  4. LexW1 says:

    This is all spot-on, and adds up to the game being drastically more enjoyable than XCOM1, and strangely feeling more akin to the original X-Com from way back when.

    But it’s kind of ruined by the technical issues I’m seeing – terrible framerates, visual bugs, and similar crud. You have to turn off normally low-impact basics like AA to get it to run okay, or at least I do.

    • raiders says:

      What’s your resolution? I was so surprised to see I couldn’t use my VSR. I’m stuck with 1080 unless I change my desktop to 1440. I’m very surprised by this. I thought we were past it.

      • LexW1 says:

        Hilariously I’m stuck at 1280×720 – it won’t change it!

        • klops says:

          I could change resolution like this:
          1. Change the resolution
          2. GO to graphics settings, change something
          3. Try to save the settings.

          If I just tried to change the resolution, nothing happened.

          • LexW1 says:

            It literally doesn’t give me any other options. Which is pretty weird. I’m told editing the ini can change it but it’ll revert if I change any other settings!

            Welcome to 2016, just like 2006, I guess.

          • klops says:

            I have options, but changing them don’t affect anything. The game stutters as much in the lowest resolution as in the highest resolution. Also changing graphical settings don’t really change the really low framerate.

            Then again, my CPU is not up the system requirements. I thought that if games like Dishonored (which also is not recommended for me by System Requirements Lab) work fine in very high settings, a turn based and graphically not very demanding XCOM2 would work fine at least with minimum settings. I thought wrong.

            Then again, comparing old games to new ones is silly. Also some optimizations are done well and some aren’t. I just wish they had provided us with a demo…

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            Herring says:

            It didn’t give me all the resolutions for my monitor at first either; I swapped from fullscreen to windowed and back again and suddenly they all appeared.

            Didn’t need to restart the game or anything they just appeared instantly.

    • Raoul Duke says:

      I’d love to hear some thoughts about how it’s similar to UFO/Xcom. These changes all sound like they are pushing it more and more into a sort of scripted, character driven, linear thing, and further and further from anything remotely resembling the strategy sandbox of the original.

  5. Anthile says:

    I am excited about XCOM 2. However, I played enough Firaxis games by now to know to not buy them before at least the first expansion hits. In the past I always ended up regretting buying them early but this time I play it smart.

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    lasikbear says:

    Could have sworn that header image was an XCOM soldier pointing a gun at bathtub Geralt

  7. Banks says:

    XCOM2 is ridiculously unoptimized and buggy. How in the actual fuck did they release the game in this state? Looks terrible, runs horribly and It’s full of glitches.

    This is not good, by any measure, and I can’t undestand why the press did not say anything about the performance issues because they are not minor.

    • LexW1 says:

      I presume they were told it was a pre-release build and that the bugs/optimization would be fixed on release – combine that with the fact that 99% of game reviewing is done on VERY butch machines and it might seem barely an issue. I know plenty of other games which were rather problematic glitchy in pre-release builds were fine on release. Not this one apparently!

    • NephilimNexus says:

      Yeah, I just finished reading the Steam reviews, making a point to skip the ones that were obviously bought and the losers just using to try to promote their own videos… and wow, they are pretty harsh.

      What I found interesting is that while 75% of the reviews were positive, over 3/4th of the “Most Helpful” reviews were negative. Seems like someone didn’t follow through with their marketing strategy to the end.

      My guess is that they’re using the PC version as a beta test to work out all the bugs before they release the all-important console version in a couple of months.

      Or not… we saw how badly Beyond Earth dropped the ball, thus tarnishing the Civ franchise name, and then followed by that hilariously craptastic Starships cell phone game that they had the gall to sell as a PC game. So the warning signs were there. As much as I like Sid Meier, the sad truth is that Firaxis hasn’t really done anything worthwhile since the first XCOM.

      By crashing & burning with their last credible franchise name they’ve got nowhere left to go, especially since they apparently didn’t get the rights to do the Master of Orion remake (another game that’s doomed to take a plunge of Hype Mountain).

      Ironically their only hope may well be fanbois blindly buying into this $60 mess, because at least that will get them enough money to stay afloat long enough to debug it before closing shop forever.

      • Kitsunin says:

        Oh get off your galactic horse you dipshit. People don’t the like the game because they’re stupid, that’s something I’ve only ever heard assholes say.

  8. Laurentius says:

    Timed missions belong to the same video game concept as escort missions, they are meant to provide tension and break routine, in reality they are annoyence.

    • LexW1 says:

      XCOM2 is proving that’s not true (equally there are games where escort missions are fine/fun – they’re just rare).

      I thought they’d be shit/annoying.

      In actuality they’re fun/fine. I’m even enjoying them.

      • Kestrel says:

        Escort missions in XCOM are fine. You’re given control of the VIP, and can direct them safely to a defensive position. In most games, your VIP is guided by a suicidal AI.

    • Kitsunin says:

      The problem is that XCOM’s mechanics make playing cautiously highly advantageous. I don’t think you can “fix” that without breaking things.

      Forcing you to play more quickly means you have to make choices and play suboptimally, which makes the scope for meaningful decisions much larger. Do I do the optimal thing, setting up a full overwatch ambush at the cost of time? Do I flank to get them dead quickly, but risk having someone caught out if some of my shots miss? Do I use up my frag grenade to get that guy dead now or can I spare the time? I think time feels like a whole new resource to manage, personally.

      • froz says:

        Exactly this. Timers force you to change your strategy and take into account fact that you will not always fight from better position to an enemy you surprise with overwatch. Additional effect is simply speeding up gameplay, which is a good thing in this case.

        • Raoul Duke says:

          Sounds like a dreadful solution for the developers’ inability to design good levels or write good AI. And sounds like it robs the player of strategic choice.

          • Kitsunin says:

            Nope, it’s the developers’ solution to the realization that strategies which involve accomplishing very little in a given turn are dominant.

            Rather than messing with the mechanics and making “slow” strategies suck, they decided to make time into a resource so utilizing these dominant strategies itself confers a risk. By doing so they have made riskier strategies viable, and expanded the possibility space for skilled players, rather than forcing them into a single optimal strategy as they used to be.

          • Raoul Duke says:

            Read what you are writing though. They made ‘risker strategies viable’ – but risker strategies should be, well, riskier. You are really saying that they’ve made risky strategies less risky by breaking sensible strategies.

            If you had real guys with real guns in a real urban environment fighting a real enemy, then staying in cover, remaining undetected and trying to surprise and rapidly eliminate the enemy would be the best strategy 100% of the time. And of course, a competent enemy would be constantly searching for you, setting up defensive positions, trying to flush you out and so on.

            But Firaxis can’t write enemy AI that does the latter. They STILL, as I understand it, have magical enemies who react as soon as YOU see THEM, for example. So they have to break the game with stupid things like timers, because they don’t have any real agency in their enemies to pose a challenge to a careful player.

          • Kitsunin says:

            You might be correct regarding realism, but I don’t feel that makes a fun game. I DESPISE chess, because there is always an optimal strategy, and the entire game is about racking your mind, trying to find it, without space for creativity or in my opinion, fun. That’s how XCOM is without a time limit, you always do the tactic you described, rather than having different tactics be more or less effective depending on the circumstance (and none quite perfect). The problem with “risky strategies should be risky” is that, if some are risky and some are not, why would you ever choose the risky one?

            If enemies acted independently, I don’t think that would change things as much as you think. As it stands, each map is essentially a collection of skirmishes (in the form of the “pods”) which you work through. Otherwise, you’d likely either have a constant trickle of enemies moving into your range (if they’re smart, then from “unfair” areas where you have no vision) or you’d end up with exactly the same situation only you aren’t in control of when the groups show up. To really make it work they would have to add whole new systems in based around recon so you can be ready for enemies to engage from unfair angles or to shoot you without giving you a chance to react. Which could be a good alternative to the timer for adding a bit of complexity, but it would lead to a much different game.

  9. Premium User Badge

    Andy_Panthro says:

    It’s certainly a very good game, and a massive improvement over XCOM: Enemy Unknown, but if you didn’t enjoy XCOM:EU then I’d be cautious about buying XCOM2 right now. There are obviously lots of things in common between this game and it’s predecessor, and having played XCOM:EU so recently it feels structurally very similar (I’ve only played a few hours though, so that could change).

    The comparison would be closer to the similarity between UFO and Terror from the Deep, rather than the bigger changes in Apocalypse. (Not that it plays like any of those games)

    Most of the changes I’ve seen so far are incremental things, but the big changes are for the Geoscape, which gives you more things to do there and more choices to make (still some forced 50/50 choices though, but at least this time as a rebel organisation that feels less unfair). The concealment system is also a very big change, but one that I’ve been awful at using so far.

    The base feels very similar to the old one too, still the “ant farm”, which I never particularly liked. It still also randomly assigns your squaddies a role too, but there is an early facility you can construct which allows you to train rookies in whichever discipline you see fit (one at a time though, and it takes a few in-game days).

    It took me a long while to appreciate XCOM:EU, but now I feel more accepting of the game on it’s own terms, and even if there are things I’m not so keen on, I can still appreciate the rest. I’m glad I did that before jumping into XCOM2, because now I’m far more able to enjoy the experience (even if it seems like I’ve been nit-picking here).

    I’m definitely recommending it, just perhaps not in quite the glowing terms that others have done (based on only the first few hours though!).

    • Lucid Spleen says:

      I didn’t enjoy XCOM:EU very much at all and I was very cautious about my decision to buy this game – watched a fair amount of gameplay on youtube etc. Despite the promise of timed missions, one of my pet hates, I decided to give it go.
      I can say quite categorically, even after playing for just a few hours, that version 2 is a really different game to the first and better for it. But it’s more about the subtleties.
      Yes, the geoscape is the most obvious differentiation between the two games and I think the the changes make it much more interesting but they are not, for me, the most important change.
      As I say I have only played a few missions but the chance to hit is now realistic. By that I mean that the rng now appears to work. In EU if you had a 55% chance to hit you weren’t actually going to, so instead of waste my go I would manoeuvre or chuck a grenade – a bit more reliable – don’t get me started on why the, supposedly professional, soldiers under my command couldn’t shoot straight in the first place. This, for me, is the most important change. Those percentage points seem to be actually accurate. In other aspects of the game everything seems a little more common sense (less game-y). It’s more logical and fair.
      So far, and fingers crossed for the rest of the game, there have been no moments where a single ridiculously suicidal enemy has just ‘appeared’ in the middle of my troops and decided to make a nuisance of itself. The whole encounter design of the last game reeked of difficulty for the sake of it. Who gives a fuck about logic let’s just screw with this guys strategy for giggles. It was a game with a bad attitude.
      XCOM 2 is a difficult but fair game despite having pretty much the same mechanics. XCOM:EU, despite, on-paper, being everything I could want from a game, was a spiteful bitch.
      Hell, I’m even enjoying the ‘timed’ aspect of the missions and the enemy reinforcements. They make sense and add to the intensity.
      Also, any game that gives you the option to go into battle wearing a monocle, a nose ring and bright pink combat armour covered with hearts is a winner in my eyes.
      Oh, and I don’t think you were nit-picking, at least not in a bad way. A lot of the time people who describe faults with a game are expressing a ‘it’s damned good but wouldn’t it be even better if..’ attitude, which is entirely understandable and often done with great affection for the game in question.

      • PikaBot says:

        The fans did pretty extensive testing on XCOM EU’s RNG, and you’re wrong. Enemy Unknown’s RNG was perfectly accurate – except at difficulties below classic, where it cheated in your favor.

      • Askis says:

        “So far, and fingers crossed for the rest of the game, there have been no moments where a single ridiculously suicidal enemy has just ‘appeared’ in the middle of my troops and decided to make a nuisance of itself.”

        Not met the Faceless yet, have you? ;)

        • Jediben says:

          Yep, my first faceless appeared 5 tiles away from two of my soldiers who were behind full cover (a car). In the same turn that it was revealed, it walked those 5 tiles and attacked the nearest soldier. The attack also exploded the car, killing both soldiers and leaving the faceless standing. That sort of bullshit I can do without. Reloaded the turn before and grenade spammed the bastard.

          • Askis says:

            To be fair, you can adapt your tactics once you know how they work, but it requires you to be more careful when you’ll probably want to clear the map quickly.

        • JonWood says:

          I think there’s a difference between the aliens having a particular race that can disguise itself and take you by surprise, and the aliens being able to drop out of thin air whenever and wherever they want.

          Once you know they exist the Faceless can be defended against to an extent by taking cover around civilians. There’s little you can do about Cyberdisks appearing unannounced in a previously secured flank.

  10. Spider Jerusalem says:

    Never pre-order. Even when RPS loves it.

  11. Mhorhe says:

    I’m also disenchanted with the way the game performs, especially for its looks. The Witcher 3 on Ultra runs twice as smoothly on my rig as Xcom 2 on High does. Which is….there’s also the fact I couldn’t get it to launch for over an hour last night.

    Far from alone in those situations, too. There’s a fairly huge thread on steam with people who cannot for various reasons launch the game, and another similarly big about performance issues.

    I’m a tad annoyed no one said anything about these issues pre-launch, instead all we got were high fives about how great the game is.

    • Jediben says:

      I agree. RPS, you have totally sold us up the river. The technical issues are obvious, glaring and ridiculous. You knew about them and DID NOT TELL US. FOR SHAME!

      • Alec Meer says:

        Adam, who handled the review, had no tech problems. I only got code on Thursday, but did have problems, as mentioned at the bottom of this post.

        • Mhorhe says:

          Wow, I sure got an overdose of sarcasm there :)) I should have it more clear – or clear – that I did not mean specifically RPS but rather most pre-release media content on the game which was all glowing praises.

          Which are mostly merited..except for the techie issues.

          Maybe I just missed the negatives, like Alec’s *shrugs* sorry. The game is damn brilliant which makes the performance issues all the more glaring.

          • Lucid Spleen says:

            Personally, I think the ‘brilliance’ of the game does distract from the technical difficulties, and I do think it’s really good despite those quote marks. I saw my poor 970 at 97% utilisation on default settings and thought fuck it I’ll just set it to 30fps (NV control panel) and forget about that. Maybe they’ll patch. I don’t care for I am become Advent’s doom. Now you see me, now you.. well you’re a smear on the pavement, a better scope and a promotion. Ahh yes…

  12. waltC says:

    The soldiers look like goofy cartoon characters from Scooby-Do. Ugh. Unless they are made from Styrofoam, those weapons would be far too heavy to handle. I have yet to meet the xCom reboot that does justice to the originals, unfortunately. Pass.

    • klops says:

      The weapon size is not supposed to be realistic.
      Neither is taking a stream of hot plasma in your chest and surviving.
      Neither are the aliens.
      Neither is the combat that is cut to nice, tidy turns.
      And so on.

    • Mhorhe says:

      While I agree that the original UFO/X-Com is unlikely to ever be truly remade(sorry Xenonauts..

      For one thing, the remakospinoffs are remarkable games in their own right.

      For another, seriously? Not likeing the dudes&dudettes’ look I can understand, but arguing realism is more than a bit silly. The original ’97 Heavy Laser/Plasma looked just as impossible to lift. The final boss was, well, not exactly realistic. Etc etc.

    • Asurmen says:

      Because the original totally has realistic proportions and weights on everything, right?

      Actually, no a heavy plasma looked like a ram used by police to break down doors.

    • Raoul Duke says:

      I really wish they hadn’t attached the Xcom name to either of these games. The designers clearly care little for the things that make the original such a masterpiece, yet have been forced to design around certain concepts (such as the geoscape) when they could have been coming up with the game they clearly actually wanted to make.

      And I think these games would annoy me a lot less if they had a different name. Timed missions in an Xcom game? Spare me.

      • Alecthar says:

        Before these “reboots” released, there were 2 games that followed the original game’s template: the original X-COM and TotD. At the same time, there were at least 3 other games in the X-COM franchise (Apocalypse, Interceptor, Enforcer) whose main relationships to the original game were purely thematic.

        If you want to play the original game, do so. The reboot/sequel/adaptation work in these two games has found an audience, and the notion that a piece of media cannot be authentically related to its antecedents without explicitly and totally aping their mechanisms is nonsense.

        • Raoul Duke says:

          Apocalypse was more true to the core concepts of the original games than these ‘reboots’ – the combat still involved very similar concepts, albeit with limited real time options.

          If you are holding up Interceptor etc as somehow being good examples of the use of the name, well, I can’t really help you. Those games are widely acknowledged to be total trash and not usually mentioned in discussions of the originals.

          The core game that is X-Com (the original) is almost totally missing from these new games. For example, stuff that is missing:

          – truly random maps

          – generic soldiers who evolve skills depending on how you use them, unrestricted by crappy classes and special powers (WHY can’t my heavy pick up an assault rifle? are his hands injured?)

          – free aim and, more generally, shot ballistics that are actually modelled (you shoot and miss and the shot continues right across the map in some cases)

          – the ability to realistically manage your units activities, rather than a crap game-y “move-action” limitation (why can’t I do “action-move”, ffs? how does one take more time than the other? why can’t I do “action-action”, but I can do “move-move”?)

          – a geoscape that actually has a ‘game’ element to it and requires you to actually manage resources and big picture strategy

          – an inventory/item system that is actually fun and interesting, rather than soldiers who can apparently only carry one grenade each and alien items that randomly explode on the battlefield when dropped while an obnoxious German lady screams at you

          – enemies who are actually ‘in’ the level at all times and actually take their turns in the same way that the player does, rather than b.s. fuzzy logic enemies who are triggered by invisible conditions being met

          – creepy Twilight Zone/First Encounters/X-Files vibe, including intentionally B-movie creepy aliens and awesome creepy music, rather than sadly generic alien designs lifted from Quake II

          – the ability for the player to do as much or as little as he/she has the patience and resources to do – you can theoretically shoot down every UFO, go to every crash site, take on every terror mission, etc, rather than the incredibly crappy ‘choose the least-worst option and insta-fail the one you don’t choose’ mechanic

          If I had to pick one critical issue which means that these are not ‘proper’ X-Com games, it’s that the original sets up rules for the world and then genuinely simulates your interactions with that world. There is no stupid script, no forced mission choices or timers or cheating enemy AI or stupid ‘move-action’ restrictions. It’s genuinely just ‘here are the rules, here are some randomly generated enemy actions, deal with it as you see fit’.

          Anyway, my point wasn’t that the new games are bad. They are quite fun, in their way (having played EU/EW extensively). But they should be their own thing, not “XCOM”.

          And on that issue – it’s really a matter of opinion. But if Adam Sandler annouced he was making The Godfather Part 4, people would justifiably be unhappy about him crapping all over a legendary franchise for dirty dollars. IMHO it’s perfectly legitimate to criticise Firaxis for wanting the marketing power of the XCOM name, but then being faithless when it comes to the superbly designed game that gives that name its cachet.

          I have similar issues with the new Deus Ex games – they are happy to pilfer the name, but then show zero respect for the essence of the original game (which is quite clearly NOT just ‘generic cyberpunk dudebros feel ways about stuff while killing other generic cyberpunk dudebros’).

  13. Kitsunin says:

    I think the biggest thing which makes XCOM 2 exciting is the difficulty! Seriously, it is frikkin’ masterful. I’ve played for 6 hours so far, on veteran, and I’ve had only a single mission in which it didn’t feel like I won by the skin of my teeth (and yet I haven’t failed any yet!)

    Well actually I did reload a mission once. Because I chose to have my soldier shoot at the sectoid who was mind-controlling one of my men. And after clicking fire, he turned and killed the mind-controlled guy…yeah, it’s a little buggy. That’s the only thing I’ve had effect the gameplay at all, but it sucked.

  14. dauw says:

    Empire is still the best Star Wars movie, though!

    • Raoul Duke says:

      Based on this comment thread I’m going to conclude that the Phantom Menace is clearly the best, because the addition of Jar Jar and Hayden Christensen forces the viewer to leave the cinema more quickly, thus distracting them from other flaws in the work.

  15. amateurviking says:

    Must say I’ve not had any noticeable performance issues, and that’s running at 2560×1080 (which i was very pleased to find was supported natively!), gtx970 with a mild overclock and a non-K broadwell i5.

    Only had time for the tutorial so can’t speak to anything else except that I am mildly disappointed that Central Officer Bradley looks wrong and sounds wrong (they changed the voice actor which is a shame).

    • Kestrel says:

      Steven Blum was probably already committed to voicework in… Everything else in the universe.

  16. Greg Wild says:

    Glad I’m not the only one whose PC is replacing my need for a radiator in the room when playing XCOM 2.

    But otherwise, yes. Many exciting.

  17. Keios says:

    I quite like the timed missions. They add an element of urgency that was missing in Eu/EW, but more importantly I think they work on a thematic level. For example, if you’ve got a mission investigating a landed UFO you can take as long as you want sneaking about, but once you’re discovered you get a countdown clock to deactivate the UFO alarm system, before all of the rest of Advent come crashing in on you. Manage that and you can go back to noodling about mopping up the stragglers. If I’ve just performed a daring jailbreak and am hustling a guy out of the city before all hell comes raining down on us, then a countdown is perfect(as is the fact that any troops left behind on missions where the timer runs out can be recovered in jail break missions later on), but if I’m defending a Resistance camp from an Advent attack, it also makes sense not to have the time restriction there. Personally I think it’s been integrated well, not constant enough to be persistently annoying, but not so uncommon that you get used to playing without it there.

  18. Themadcow says:

    Hmmm, I’ve been pretty cautious of RPS coverage of XCOM ever since the Joke Solomon circlejerking of the first game – which was decent but doesn’t remotely compare to the excellence of the 20 year old original. Funnily enough I think it took some fairly extreme mods to get the PC game into decent shape, and the original / EW was only really great on ios and Android. On mobile it’s simplifications made sense.

  19. BluePencil says:

    My first proper mission: my guy gets shot at. Panics. Jumps on the back of a lorry. Drops a grenade at his feet. Lorry explodes. He dies. I had a guy in cover by the lorry too. He also explodes.

    An irritating thing: twice already the graphics have shown me a clear shot at the enemy but the computer decides he’s in heavy cover. Beautiful graphics are to be applauded. But the essential aspect of any display is to communicate information. Here, the information I’m getting is wrong.

    • Kitsunin says:

      The graphics obfuscate things somewhat, in that they are completely unimportant. The rules to cover are quite simple. The bonus applies in full in a 180° field starting at the square the cover occupies itself, though there is a small “good angle” bonus for being close to the edges of that field.

      • Premium User Badge

        Andy_Panthro says:

        It is a bit annoying though. In a recent mission, I moved a soldier to what appeared to be a closer, more advantageous position, but instead of increasing the to-hit percentage, it reduced it!

        If there’s a disconnect between your graphics and the reality, it’s not good design, because it makes it harder for the player to make the right decisions. (but won’t affect the AI at all)

        • Jediben says:

          I’ve had a car explode and kill my guy, but there was no graphical expression of the car bring on fire, damaged or anything. Reload and it’s suddenly a raging inferno which is screaming “flee”. If I was playing Iron man this would have been infuriating.

        • Kestrel says:

          The effects of proximity and terrain on to-hit percentage was obfuscated in the first XCOM as well. I got a feel for it after a while, and am probably just out of practice. I think there are some tactical RPGs that compensating by allowing you to take back movement but not action. Did FF:Tactics or Disgaea do this? Am I imagining things?

          • Kitsunin says:

            I’m pretty sure they both did. As does Fire Emblem, Stella Glow…it’s common practice for tactics games, though most don’t have fog of war or on move effects. It would be nice if XCOM gave you a way to check hit chance before locking in movement.

  20. Chaoslord AJ says:

    I hated the timed mission in X-COM 1. Had nothing to do with tactics but blindly rushing in.
    Also bad optimization should be punished. I’ll wait.

    • hjarg says:

      That’s the thing though- you don’t always have the luxury of time. Sometimes, you have to rush blindly in and kick some alien butt.

      Gets you out of your cautious comfort mode and forces you to take the risks in order to comlete the objective.

  21. Rizlar says:

    The slow-mo music as soldiers take reaction shots is also brilliant. Schwoop woop woop.

    It has forced me to savescum though, after taking on a tough mission unprepared and losing my entire squad due to a sequence of bullshit bad luck, which is unfortunate. Guess there is a reason they don’t let you enable ironman on your first go, will hopefully be able to recover from later mistakes once the ball gets rolling.

    • anHorse says:

      You can enable ironman, you just have to not tick the tutorial

      • Rizlar says:

        Oh nice. Like I said, I got butchered anyway so can see save scumming being useful. Will be more careful not to put all my eggs in one leaky basket in the future.

  22. Stevostin says:

    But is it still a paper thin tactical game with low production value, very little options like and way to much of mandatory “let’s scout cases slowly so we win easily” like the previous one ?

    • Kitsunin says:

      A lot of people have been complaining nonstop because the time limits pretty much eliminate the mandatory caution you’re talking about.

      • Stevostin says:

        Certainly not a good solution indeed. I guess it just increase the random factor that was already way too high.

        My take on the previous one is that it’s the tactical game for people so bad at it they don’t immediately see the (to me obvious) optimal move and therefore can enjoy themselves playing a game. The tragedy for me is that somehow I trusted RPS and played this whole junk food of a game until the end thinking “surely it will become interesting at a point”. But it never did and now I am bitter over the time wasted playing that crap.

    • Asurmen says:

      Wasn’t mandatory at all unless you’re playing an a masochistic difficulty, at which point what do you expect? It’s supposed to be hard.

  23. Horg says:

    There are some things you can do outside of the game itself to help with the performance problems. I’ve made a RadeonPro profile for XCOM2s 64 bit .exe and set it up with dynamic vsync, flip que size = 2, and force process high priority. In game I disabled vsync, frame smoothing, depth of field and AA. Other settings, textures high, shadows static and medium quality, 8x aniso, tile AO, all decals, and bloom on. My card is an R9 270X and i’m getting a stable, smooth frame rate just under 60 fps in missions, and my GPU now sounds less like MMMMMMMMMMMMMRRRRRRRRR and more like hhhhhhhhhhmmmmmmmmmm, which is good. The major change seems to be flip que size, which is called maximum pre-rendered frames for nvidia users. I suspect the game has this set needlessly high which is cooking GPUs with unnecessary predictive buffer frames.

    • Ufofighter says:

      I have to try this, my 7870 sounds like it’s going to melt in any moment.

  24. Baranor says:

    Given that I am not interested in super high def monitors untill now I was able to run everything I bought at max graphics easily with my 660 TI at 1920*1080. Xcom 2 turned into a choppy mess. Then again my 660 is old.

    Timed missions don’t bother me much. It adds a new layer to a fight where you move with determination and speed, but really… spending 6 turns to get into the perfect position to ambush (and yes I do enjoy that) can be nice on occasion but ever since 1994 the best way to flush aliens out of cover was to simply remove the cover. *grins wickedly*.

  25. MiniMatt says:

    Shotguns are fun again!

    In Enemy Unknown I tended to be mistrustful of shotties as they encouraged an aggressive approach which didn’t sit well with the optimum gameplay of cautious overwatch creep.

    But in Xcom2, that aggressive, in your face risk taking behaviour is both necessary and encouraged, such that equipping rangers with shotties rather than rifles makes a lot of sense. And I do like those boom sticks.

  26. PancakeWizard says:

    Honestly I can’t bare the hype on this game. I watched the TB WTF, and the main takeaway from it I got is how things have been dumbed down streamlined more from the previous dumbing down streamlining, except this time everyone is praising it instead of criticising it. I don’t see anything to get excited about, and I’m not about to pretend I am just because I enjoy tactical turn-based combat games and I’m scared they’ll stop making them.

  27. Steve78 says:

    Hey guys I found this tutorial here and I managed to fix some issues in the game, take a look if you are encountering errors too:
    link to gameserrors.com

  28. Sunjammer says:

    It’s a good game but the performance problems are kind of astonishing. As this is another high profile UE4 release, I can’t help but wonder if this and the PC issues with Arkham Knight don’t bode poorly for UE :/ It’s a huge shame if so, UE3.X games have always run exceptionally well for me.

    Also had far more problems with perceived unfairness in this one than in EU/EW. The timed objectives are fine (forced heroics make for memorable missions) and generally the combat is quite intense and high stakes, but having turrets shoot me through the roof of the building they’re on (and i’m inside) and stun lancers run up to the side of the building i’m in and taze me to death through the walls is getting super old.

    I’d wait for a patch or two. And I’m a bit stunned reviews have not mentioned bugs/performance given how glaring they are, judging by my own experiences and those of other players. It’s a testament to the core appeal of the thing that we stay on board, because if this game didn’t have a heart of gold all that shit it’s buried in would have me bolting for the refund button.

    • JonWood says:

      On Friday morning EW had me so angry on the train into work at a bullshit hard mission I had to stop before someone noticed, yet I’ve loved these games and their brutalism since 1994 so they must be doing something right.

      (The nonsense mission I couldn’t complete was precisely the one XCom 2 retcons things to having been lost, resulting in Advent winning the war, so I very happily grabbed onto that and consider my XCom 2 game a direct continuation of that fateful EW defeat.)

    • Booker says:

      What are you talking about?!? BOTH Arkham Knight AND XCOM 2 are still using UE 3.5. And those are both heavily modified versions by their respective developers. Obviously those devs messed it up, because in most games UE 3.5.x is awesome. I wish XCOM 2 had UE 4. It could only be better.

  29. AaronTee says:

    One of my friends is streaming XCOM2 right now. So if you wanna watch some live gameplay here’s a good link. He has been nothing but super nice to me. Met him on Twitch. If you miss the stream at least follow, he deserves it. He did not ask me to post this I just wanted to because he has been kind to me. link to twitch.tv

  30. Unregistered00 says:

    Just finished it and wanted to see how other people felt about this game. Glad to see that someone felt the same way I did.

  31. AyeBraine says:

    I have to note that Stances also greatly affect the voiceover of a soldier.

    A twitchy character doubts your decisions and frets all the time, a happy-go-lucky one cracks jokes et cetera. It’s not a complete overhaul, but at least a fourth or even a third of the lines are different. Considering there are dozens of voices, this is incredible amount of work. (Still sad there are no Russian packs. I think I’ll record one and make a mod.)