XCOM 2 Adds Robotic Buddies In Shen’s Last Gift DLC

Mechanical men have arrived in XCOM 2 [official site] with today’s release of the DLC pack Shen’s Last Gift. I’d expected the DLC would add cyborg MEC Troopers like those in XCOM: Enemy Within but nope, the potential new squadmates are proper robits. That’s paid DLC but everyone can benefit from the new patch which also launched tonight. It brings performance improvements, bug fixes, and balance tweaks including buffing the sword-swinging side of the Ranger skill tree.

Shen’s Last Gift adds a new mission to investigate a forgotten ADVENT facility, where Lily Shen will accompany your squad to poke at the robits. Then you’ll get to keep ’em! They’re a new class with new abilities, some of which seem borrowed from MEC troopers, such as jetboots and an almighty left hook. And they have friendly Johnny Five faces.

The DLC is £7.99/9,99€/$9.99 by itself on Steam or comes with the other two DLC packs in the season pass, which is currently down to £10.71/13,39€/$13.99 in the Steam summer sale.

To the patch!

“Blademaster grants +10 Aim to melee and Hunter’s Instinct grants +15 to melee crit” are the big changes for stabby Rangers in June’s update. I still often took one on missions even late in the game, as their ability to chase and cut down a single target from miles away could be really handy. I was less keen on then trying to ensure they lived. I was only playing on medium difficulty, mind – I can imagine they’re a lot more risky at the top end.

I also like the change making psi powers ignore armour. I did enjoy PsiPip being a dick but wouldn’t have objected to a buff against tougher enemies/people not foolish enough to carry grenades near her.

The patch also brings opens up a few extra parts of the game for mods to fiddle with. Do check the patch notes for full details on all this and more.

XCOM 2 itself is in the Steam sale too, with a 40% discount bringing it to £20.99/29,99€/$29.99.

From this site

52 Comments

  1. Wisq says:

    Honestly, I never felt like the primary use of psi soldiers was to actually do damage; rather, they would cause mayhem, take over enemies, make them fire on each other, and generally act as something of a force multiplier and/or mass debuffer.

    Good to hear they’re making sword rangers actually useful, though. Consensus always seemed to be that rangers were best as stealth scouts — and occasional emergency point-blank shotgunning, which always seemed to offer better odds than swords anyway. I guess in my next game I’ll just have to see if it’s still annoyingly hard to get them to sword-attack from a particular angle, rather than always putting themselves out in the open because it was the fastest way to slash someone.

    • Punning Pundit says:

      The previous DLC included a new bit of UI that let you easily choose where to melee from. Just hit the button on a melee ability (there are now a couple of them), and you’ll see all the squares you can melee from.

    • Ugeine says:

      My two rangers are the primary damage dealers on my commander campaign. Combine run and gun, rapid fire, untouchable, the captain bonus from the GTS and whatever ammo you can get and they become godly.

  2. Calculon says:

    Am I the only person thinking ‘performance changes this far after release? WTFuzz?’

    For some reason I never really got ‘into’ xcom 2 – part of it was how they handled the instability after release. I put off playing for fixes that never really seemed to materialize – maybe I just missed the fixes?

    The other part of it was I suppose I found the story less engaging and some of th NPC’s were stupidly powerful I thought. As a result I’ve not played it much.

    • Metr13 says:

      I feel like Xcom2 was a huge letdown compared to XcomEU. It’s bigger, but at the same time it has much less clarity and has all these weird things like non-reusable weapon modifications.

      • Rizlar says:

        Yeah, it’s less pure. Even the much improved strategy layer, people criticised it’s simplicity in the first game but actually a strategy layer that doesn’t get in the way of the action probably suits these games.

        XCOM2 is still brilliant anyway. Despite finishing it twice (original ironman save got corrupted on the penultimate mission) I’m eager to play through it again with a bunch of new stuff.

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      Alfy says:

      Wait, the game is still not running properly? Sigh…
      Would by any chance anyone here be able to tell me if it runs ok on a Mac nowadays? The sale look interesting, but the game was a catastrophe at release…

    • jonahcutter says:

      I thought the writing, characters and overall visual designs are far weaker than EU/EW.

      The earlier game felt as if they cast characters for good chemistry, and ended up with fun performances and that played well off each other. The sequel feels as if the characters are more calculated in their design and lack the chemistry of the originals.

      There’s also lack of a sense of humor, and a feel for the silly, in XCOM2. It takes itself very seriously, all the time. Except, admittedly, in some of the soldier barks which can be great.

      This rolls over to the alien designs too, which are all over the place and lack the clarity of the originals. As well as their menacing, yet at times ridiculous, flair. The originals are intimidating in their visual and animation designs, along with their mechanics. The sequel’s aliens are only really menacing in their mechanics. Otherwise they’re rather bland really, feeling over or under-designed with no real cohesive inspiration behind them.

      XCOM2 is a better game mechanically. It’s a worse game in visual, character and story design.

  3. Scelous says:

    I’ve been excitedly waiting for this DLC, and I’m surprised there wasn’t more of a build up to its release. That almost makes me think XCOM 2 isn’t very popular or successful.

    • Henas says:

      Yes, there has not been much mention of what this last piece of DLC would contain.

      I do hope we still get an Enemy Within level expansion but I think Firaxis have moved on to pushing out Civ VI and we’ll be left to the modders to make something special. Long War 2.0 please.

      • Hunter_Wolf says:

        The ending of XCOM 2 hints very heavily at a Terror from the Deep continuation (TftD is an old XCOM game that went underwater), this tells me there might be a full expansion in the works that uses XCOM 2 engine and goes underwater to deal with new alien threats.

        I don’t think they will dedicate an entire XCOM (namely XCOM 3) entry to the underwater setting, it feels more like a novelty or a cool experiment .. so very good for an expansion to an already existing game, except this time it won’t be possible to integrate it within the game flow (like Enemy Within or even the current Alien Hunters DLC), this DLC will have to be a standalone affair that happens after the events of the game and can be played separately using a previous save file from the game itself or a new one.

    • RegisteredUser says:

      Forums and the reddit were abuzz for weeks.
      People had already taken apart the SDK to discover “Knight” and SPARC class clues.
      There’s a very avid fan community around XCOM, its just that XCOM 2 supremely bungled performance on all hardware that ran XCOM 1 / EW fine and I suspect this has put a lot of people into hibernation until they hear this is finally no longer a problem.

      How on earth you cripple a turn based 3D game via bad performance is quite honestly beyond me. You would think the complexity you use is far more containable and manageable and known, especially when its always just a single entity moving at once, and not hordes like in e.g. Serious Sam 3 or others who run a gazillion times better with a million times more moving parts.

      • Hunter_Wolf says:

        Do you even realize how processing intensive a fully destructible environment is, specially it’s all randomly generated so a lot of parameters have to be taken in account in order for it to be even playable, that’s probably the main reason why it’s performance had issues at launch, and comparing it to a heavily scripted game like Serious Sam is just ridiculous, yeah the action in SS3 is chaotic but it is very heavily scripted .. just like most FPS games, it’s nothing like the procedurally generated levels of XCOM 2 or its fully destructible environments.

        That said, i played the game start to finish (Ironman mode too) a month ago and it was running pretty damn good on my 3 years old PC, so we are really past all that instability issues, unless the problems are on the players side or some rare incompatibility issues.

        • Einsammler says:

          My “rare incompatability issues” are turning off my computer during the detonation of an alien facility at the end of those missions. Pretty repeatable, too.

          Initially, Xcom 2 wouldn’t run at all because the 3d card I used for Xcom 1 didn’t have directx of the proper number.

          • Hunter_Wolf says:

            What i meant by “rare incompatibility issues” is not that it is a problem that can’t be replicated, i meant that only very few players suffer from it, as in a certain combination of hardware and software wouldn’t be able to run the game efficiently or at all, after all the fixes and patches they made i think cases like that are rare, as in not too many people are having that kind of trouble with the game, at this point the problem starts being more on the players side than on the devs side (after all no matter what they do they can’t accommodate every possible combination of hardware and software out there, there are literally billions of possible combinations).

            If the game is problematic on PC for you maybe try contacting the devs support team, or if that fails wait for the console version which should have less problems (as it doesn’t have the problem of trying to accommodate every possible combination of hardware and software out there that many PC games face).

        • 5parrowhawk says:

          Didn’t the Silent Storm series do similar 3D polygonal destructible environments, with decent performance, on machines several generations ago? I don’t think we can blame the destructible environs in XCOM 2 for the performance issues. (Further to this: I played through it on a somewhat underpowered machine, and didn’t notice any discernible correlation between massive environment destruction and performance drops.)

          • Hunter_Wolf says:

            Ok, let me clarify, yeah there is no direct or discernible correlation between massive environment destruction and performance drops themselves, that’s true .. it’s more of an indirect relation, so what i meant is that the code for a game that has both environmental destruction of this scale PLUS randomly generated maps would be quite complicated and prone to bugging out way more than a game where everything is pre-scripted, fixing problems with code that complex could also generate other unexpected problems and complications, remember XCOM:EU and EW only had environmental destruction and it was far more limited than in XCOM 2, but when you add all those new ambitious elements complications are to be expected.

            It’s the two layers of complexity (environmental destruction on top of procedural generation)that makes things problematic.

        • Phasma Felis says:

          There are some parts of Serious Sam that have more individual, on-screen enemies than an XCOM level has destructible terrain components.

        • gpown says:

          All the difficulties you listed were already in XCOM. Besides, you put the destructibles and physics sim to sleep between turns.

          My spider senses feel like they piled something very expensive on top of a badly scalable base XCOM1 engine.

          • Punning Pundit says:

            I suspect the fact that you can do so much editing using wordpad means that a whole heap of files are not compressed, and I _know_ that this can and has caused performance issues in other games.

  4. 2lab says:

    Close Range?

    Bradford always had the right ideas, as long as there is the activating pods mechanics close range will always be a bad move.

  5. GWOP says:

    Confession time: I stopped playing XCOM 2 out of sheer stress.

    • Zenicetus says:

      I hear ‘ya, I almost did the same.

      There are some mods that relieve some of the tension, like adding a few ticks to the mission timers and strategy countdowns. I used those to get started, then disabled them after I got comfortable with the different mechanics from the first game.

    • Xocrates says:

      Interestingly enough, while I felt the first playthrough of XCOM 2 to be pretty brutal, once you learn to play the game it is probably easier than EU/EW. To the point I suspect half the reason for the previous DLC to be straight up unfair is for there to be some actual risk when going on missions.

      • TheAngriestHobo says:

        I could be wrong, but I suspect that the stress GWOP is alluding to came from the strategic game, not the missions themselves. The countdowns feel pretty brutal the first few times through, and it doesn’t help that Bradford has a meltdown and screams in your ear every time another pip is added to them.

        • GWOP says:

          Yeah, that’s the thing. Can’t keep up with the Avatar project’s pace. New facilities keep springing up all over the place, while my ship’s meager crew spends their days struggling to clear out places for comm links and power supplies to unlock new continents (didn’t make that a priority in the beginning).

          • Xocrates says:

            It’s a similar issue though. The Avatar counter is a lot less scary than it seems, especially since the game doesn’t actually end once it fills up, since it gives you a few weeks before game over and knocking progress down by even one pip will reset this timer.

            A good trick is to unlock some mission that knocks down the counter (story missions count) and then leave it hanging around until the countdown timer is ticking down.

          • Coming Second says:

            You can’t abuse this method as much as you used to – now the final clock starts where it left off if the Avatar bar is filled again (unless you were below I think 3 days, in which case it’s that).

          • Xocrates says:

            Awww. I wasn’t aware of that.

  6. pelwl says:

    Haven’t played them but all the DLC seem pretty underwhelming, as is the base game itself really, compared to Enemy Within.

    Nearly all the missions were just get to point X in Y number of turns. Destroy/hack/protect something, kill off remaining aliens then get to point Z.

    Why do they even bother having to kill every alien they meet? A couple of my men even used to say “one down, thousands to go” every time he killed someone, which shows that they at least saw the futility of it.

    It just didn’t take advantage of its new mechanics and the setting’s potential for different mission types that would actually give you a sense of being part of a resistance.

    For example, stealth missions where you can only take 1-3 squad members and have to stay in concealment until you reach your goal – assassination, intel, reconnaissance, whatever – and then rush back to evac, with or without killing everyone.

    Or, have the terror missions allow you to control some of the resistance fighters being raided, and those who survive and kill an alien get a promotion and join your troops.

    Maybe have a hearts and minds mechanic whereby the resistance gradually takes over areas of the map by disseminating intel they’ve found, assassinating certain people etc., but lose ground if there are any civilian casualties during missions.

    I’m still hoping for an expansion or mod that does something worthwhile with the game’s undoubted potential. The DLC’s certainly haven’t.

    • horus_lupercal says:

      “Or, have the terror missions allow you to control some of the resistance fighters being raided, and those who survive and kill an alien get a promotion and join your troops.”

      There’s a mod for that! Additional Mission types throws in a few extra mission types, though not the stealth based one you talked about which would be fantastic, including a few where you get resistance fighters turning up who will join you if they survive the mission. IIRC you can research Proving Grounds projects to give them Mag weapons & Plasma grenades too.

      • pelwl says:

        Cheers. I’ll definitely try that out soon. Even though I was disappointed with the game on first playthrough at least I knew that I could rely on the modding community to make something of it. I guess Firaxis felt the same way.

    • TheAngriestHobo says:

      Yeah, the “kill everyone all the time always” objective seemed to be at odds with the idea of XCOM as mobile force of guerilla underdogs. I never understood the need for it either.

  7. AztecScribe says:

    This was one of my best games this year, my campagne will stay with me forever. I ended up with a heavy gunner that had serial as a bonus skill, he was formidable. I would whitle down the enemy with the rest of my team and then send him out into the middle of the field to mop up. He got me out of so many bad situations, I fear I’ll never get a trooper as strong as him again :(

  8. Chemix says:

    Okay, here’s a question while this is on sale.
    I deeply enjoyed x-com: Enemy Within, it was my first fun experience with a turn based strategy game (excluding the turn system from Total War) but now I have the same computer I had when I played that game, and I’m on the fence between X-COM 2 and Divinity Original Sin. Divinity is cheaper, and I think I can probably run it without problem, but the setting seems a little stale. So what I’m looking for, is a reccomendation one way or the other

    • pelwl says:

      Even though Divinity Original Sin has turn based combat it’s basically an RPG rather than a strategy game, so your genre preference should make that decision for you. Both games are worth playing.

    • Rizlar says:

      D:OS isn’t necessarily what it looks like. There is a lot of comedy, classes don’t really conform to stereotypes when environmental effects and magic are all important. It’s a brilliant, quirky game with absolutely fantastic combat that takes a while to get going. There’s nothing like it.

    • Babymech says:

      D:OS is great. The story is only marginally stale, the setting is neither stale nor fresh, and the writing is solid. The combat systems are much more interesting than X-Com (X-Com feels like turn-based tactics with a bunch of options taken away; D:OS feels like an RPC with a bunch of options added) and the world-building is infinitely better than whatever X-Com is going for.

  9. Sleepery says:

    XCom 2 is an arsehole. It’s the friend who thinks he’s a lot funnier than he really is. Its core mechanic seems to be learning by killing your soldiers in unforseeable ways.

    Oh, don’t melee those mutons by the way. *snigger*
    Poison is contagious. Who knew!
    Look, he’s not dead at all, he comes right back!
    This roundy guy, he just nukes everyone in a 50ft radius! HA!
    Oh yeah, chryssalids can burrow now. Sorry, forgot to mention.

    Once you had learned the tricks, you worked around them of course, but it just felt…cheap. Let’s increase complexity by acting the arse with players.

    • stuw23 says:

      I think you hit the nail on the head as to why I haven’t really gone back to XCOM 2 since finishing my first campaign, Sleepery. A lot of the new mechanics and abilities enemies had added new elements to the game, but they often didn’t feel like fun one. I get that punishing difficulty is part of the game’s appeal, but things often felt as if they weren’t as fun as the developers thought they would be. I played a lot of XCOM:EU/EW, but comparatively little of XCOM 2, and haven’t touched the content from Alien Hunters. I want to be enthusiastic about this expansion, but I’m not, and that makes me a little sad.

      • Sleepery says:

        Didn’t stop me buying the new DLC though. Lovable death-mechs will be the soft spot the machines exploit to exterminate mankind.

    • Coming Second says:

      Your idea of arseholishness is other people’s idea of fun. The first time I met the-guys-who-don’t-stay-dead I loved it, because suddenly this element I hadn’t been anticipating had been thrown at me, and I had to quickly react to it. It got my pulse racing a lot more than “Another ambush was carried out to a tee, gj gg”.

      • shulima says:

        I quite enjoyed discovering the burrowing Chrysalids — possibly because I had my bladestorming ranger with me, and also because I have a habit of zealously using my specialist’s scanning ability. I imagine I’d be less happy about it if I walked right into a cluster of buried superbugs.

        Still, as long as I CAN counter the mechanics the game throws at me, I find them enjoyable. After all, XCOM was never about an easy ride.

    • DrollRemark says:

      I get that, but this was really the best way they could really invoke the first game’s sense of not knowing what an enemy does, and I thought it was fantastic, it’s been so long since I’ve felt that. Why would that put you off playing it again though? You know what the enemies do now. Now the game becomes about beating the systems than being surprised by them.

  10. maximus says:

    i did a quick google search but couldn’t get a real answer. does anyone know if i need to start another new game for the mechs to come into effect? or will it just add the new mission to my current play through?

    cheers

    • Cockie says:

      If you want to play the missions, you have to start a new campaign, but you get the option to add the mechs themselves to your current save (they show up as a proving ground project if you do that).

  11. Whelp says:

    Can’t we just get a proper expansion pack like Enemy Within instead of all that gimmicky DLC?

  12. NephilimNexus says:

    XCOM1 is a war story.
    XCOM2 is a comic book.

  13. Faults says:

    This latest patch has utterly butchered performance on my system. Like, it went from being perfectly playable on the last patch, to hitching about 10 frames every second. How do Firaxis keep fucking things up this badly?

  14. Booker says:

    I have to day as much as I want to like robots, I’d rather not have one on the team. Even a fully leveled up spark is kinda sucky. They still miss almost all of their shots. Something that is unacceptable late game. Almost all normal soldiers can be outfitted with scopes and even the perception PCS, if the scope’s still not enough. Those soldiers then hardly ever miss, which is the most important thing in the world. Sparks however, can’t equip scopes or a perception PCS, so they stay loosers. What do I want with a robot that can’t do damage? So obviously I keep using 6 normal soldiers. Which makes this DLC disappointing, or even almost superfluous.