I really shouldn’t use the word ‘rad.’ I’m an Englishman – not in the alarmingly out-of-touch Zac Goldsmith sense, just in the nebbishly undemonstrative sense. I just can’t get away with boisterously hurling around ironic ’80s terms like they do in San Francisco. But by God, the new XCOM 2 [official site] DLC sounds rad. The Alien Hunters pack features, basically, boss aliens who show up at random and give you hell, and, if you fail to kill ’em, will get out of dodge and return to give you more hell another day.
A new story mission opens the gate to this trio of ‘rulers’, and if you do manage to take ’em down, each of which can provide the research for a brand new suit of armour. One of them, the Icarus, even restores flight ability to your soldiers.
You also get a few new weapons, each of which sounds as though it plays into the ‘remix any and everything’ ethos of XCOM 2’s abilities, which is pretty much my favourite aspect of the game. The Bolt Caster is a single-shot big-hitter, the Hunter’s Axe is a sword you can throw (whee!), the ShadowKeeper pistol has a guaranteed-hit ability and can chuck you back into concealment afterwards, and the Frost Bomb grenade turns foes into temporary popsicles. Good times – and another remix is that each of these can be obtained only once.
If the soldier carrying one of them gets him or herself killed, one of their chums will have to carry them to evac otherwise you’ll lose their mega-thing forever. Again, I’m a fan of the tense evacs in XCOM 2, so more variety to that is good news as far as I’m concerned.
Back to those boss aliens, though. Only one, the Viper King (pictured above), has been revealed, and their exact capabilities remain unknown, but there’s this to go on: “each will have their own unique behavior and tactics, so don’t expect them to act like their subordinates. If you can’t take out a ruler quick enough, the alien will escape to fight another day. We believe these rulers are incredibly intelligent and are pursuing your soldiers across the globe.”
The Alien Hunters DLC is out on May 12 and will cost $9.99 on its own, or comes as part as of the Reinforcement Pack season pass. In the summer, we’ll also be getting the Shen’s Last Gift DLC, which “introduces a new soldier class with unique upgradeable weapons, armor and customization features, and a new narrative-driven mission and map.”
More good, if belated news, is that Alien Hunters will be accompanied by a big old patch for XCOM 2, which features “general bug fixes, balancing in the single player, performance optimizations and a rebalanced multiplayer experience for the base game.” The thing still runs a bit rotten on my PC, so fingers crossed the problem finally gets solved.