XCOM 2 Alien Hunters DLC Slips On Snakeskin Boots

Alien bosses beamed down into XCOM 2 [official site] today with the release of the Alien Hunters DLC pack. These ‘Rulers’ are nasty variants of alien species who can turn up in missions unannounced, duff you up good, then scamper off to return in later missions. Which sounds great/horrible. They also bring new weapons and, if you’re feeling bold, you can hollow the Rulers out and casually wear their skins.

A patch is also out today with improvements for all players, DLC or no.

Alien Hunters is framed with a new missions slipping into the regular XCOM 2 mission flow, which will see Bradford dropping into the battlefield too. The Rulers can appear outside these missions though, teleporting in when they please. They sound like a horrible shower of gits. Rather than spoil the surprise of what’ll surely kill some of your favourite soldiers, I’ll simply link to Firaxis’s descriptions of the Berserker Queen, Archon King, and Viper King for the curious. Rulers are tougher than their subjects, get to take a turn after every single one of your soldiers’ actions, and will teleport out to return later if you don’t take them down quick enough.

But hey, kill a Ruler and you get to hollow them out. Each of their hides can be made into unique armour which has special powers and will also scare the bejesus out that Ruler’s subjects. You can even have a trophy room to display heads. I realise the fall of humanity has been tough for everyone, but I think you lose some of the moral high ground once you start turning your foes into onesies.

The DLC also adds new weapons: a pistol which can return the shooter to stealth; the mighty single-shot Bolt Caster; ice grenades; and an axe which can be thrown. Neatly, if these unique weapons don’t make it back to the Skyranger with you one way or another, they’re gone.

Alien Hunters is out on Steam for £7.99/9,99€/$9.99 or is included with the £15.99/19,99€/$19.99 DLC season pass. The next DLC will be Shen’s Last Gift later this summer, adding a new soldier class which Firaxis say has “unique upgradeable weapons, armor and customization features”. Cyborgs, maybe?

As for today’s patch, the changelog doesn’t include anything like “Massive performance improvements across the board oh wow you’ll be amazed by how much faster it is zooom!” but it does list a few bug fixes, minor performance optimisations, multiplayer balance tweaks, and new functionality mods can hook into.

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  1. Horg says:

    One hugely important balance change that is NOT listed on the change log: Disorient (Psi power / Flash Bangs) no longer disables melee attacks. Just so you don’t find out like I did, with a Faceless crit on two soldiers -.-

    • subedii says:

      To be honest, I’m kind of surprised it lasted this long.

      Flashbangs were basically mandatory in my games until I got to some seriously high level gear. If for nothing else than dealing with those freaking Lancers.

      • klops says:

        These “must have” items always feel funny to me, since I have never used flashbangs or that holocopy device everyone said was crucial. The biggest reason for that is that silly me thought for quite a long time that the special grenades are usable only once.

        • Benkyo says:

          On Commander or Legendary, pre-patch, before you got plasma grenades and grenadiers with volatile mix, there definitely could be situations that were too hard to overcome without flashbangs. I played a first campaign on Veteran without them, and did fine. In my second campaign on Commander I just encountered such a situation when I was swamped with enemies on the first turn of a retaliation mission. If I’d had flashbangs it could have gone differently, but I didn’t, so I opted to evacuate. On turn 1. That’s what people mean when they say flashbangs and mimic beacons are essential. They can turn unsurvivable turns into survivable ones. If you are lucky you’ll never need them, but if you are unlucky they can save the day.
          (I was subsequently quite surprised to learn that evacuating on a retaliation mission actually wasn’t that big a deal – it definitely beat probably losing a couple of Lieutenants.)

  2. Caml says:

    Oh Jebus. Can I not install this? I’m just getting my campaign back on its feet and I really don’t need upgraded versions of Blazing Pinions or roided-out berserkers causing mass panic.

    • Xocrates says:

      The games asked me if I wanted to use it in my in-progress campaign, so you should be safe.

      Pretty sure you can uninstall specific pieces of DLC on steam as well.

  3. TheWhippetLord says:

    From the patchlist,
    “Fixed an issue where Skulljacked units floated too high in the air”
    Yeah, that looked a little M-rated admittedly, but it seemed strangely appropriate that the new rougher XCOM were running around abducting folk and probing them in uncomfortable places.

    • Premium User Badge

      X_kot says:

      Humans children may be sent to school with a pat on the back or a kiss on the scalp, but good alien parents give their kids a swift colonic before ushering them outside.

  4. Benkyo says:

    Grenade and volatile mix damage reduction is a really important change. On any difficulty the game became way too easy as soon as you got a few grenadiers with plasma grenades.

  5. MrFinnishDude says:

    Aaaagghhh! Those armors look awful! Awful!
    Sorry, that was just my inner designer speaking. But still, that just looks ridicilous! Like some kind of Xeno-fursuit.
    I’m almost entirely sure that they had different teams of artists who worked on the (atleast somewhat professional looking) designs of the base game, and on the DLC.

    • SuperCaffeineDude says:

      I agree, I kind of (wrongly or rightly) quite liked the punk rock armor, these armors just look a bit weird, “This is berserk suit! This is snake suit!”, nah not digging it, the bodily mutations in EU translated better, this looks as nonsensical as dressing like a squirrel to climb a tree.

    • Xocrates says:

      Having just unlocked the serpent suit, I’m happy to say they’re customizable, including changing/removing the head pieces and the scaly patterns.

      It’s still silly, but not as campy as the screenshots.

  6. Geewhizbatman says:

    Huh, age gates–I was born in 1909 for this one. My horse and buggie would have been rightly spooked by these monsters.

    The Las Vegas showgirl medusa outfit is a bit much, but it is certainly a neat concept of alien trophies. The Viper’s little cape is adorable and I’m sure all you can do is wear his face but that would be the cutest loot to steal from his corpse too. Also, I am a fan of strong, female antagonists and this didn’t disappoint even if the gaping maw window of her helmet is obvious fan service.

  7. Skandranon says:

    …An enemy that gets a turn after every one of my soldiers? And can get guaranteed free damage on all but one of my guys with no recourse on my part?

    Pass, thanks.

  8. Frid says:

    On the bright side it seems that we are getting the Archangel sniper back.

  9. ooshp says:

    This DLC gave me a massive hard-on.

    I was holding off for playthrough number two (SUCCESSFUL playthrough number 2… campaign number 6 so far) but this has sold me.

    Any essential mods come out in the last month or two?

    • Coming Second says:

      I regard the Alan Partridge and Bob Ross voice packs as pretty essential.

  10. VelvetFistIronGlove says:

    which will see Bradford dropping into the battlefield too.

    That’s a bad idea—he might accidentally come to harm. It would be a shame if his constant interrupting-to-speak-the-obvious came to an end…

  11. Mi-24 says:

    Just met my first one: viper king. Bloody hard. taking turns after each of yours is a nightmare but at least the summoning a portal and escaping means i wasn’t totally murdered.

  12. NephilimNexus says:

    XCOM2 has officially jumped the shark.

    Now putting this embarrassment away and waiting for Xenonauts 2 to bring a little seriousness back into the genre.

  13. wievil says:

    How do I turn that COS stuff off? Oh yea, there’s the power switch.