Posts Tagged ‘XCOM: Enemy Unknown’

Learning To Love Failure In XCOM 2 & Darkest Dungeon

The year is young but we’ve already had the pleasure of welcoming two gruelling tactical slaughterfests into the world: XCOM 2 [official site] and Darkest Dungeon [official site]. We’ve written a great deal about Firaxis’ latest already and our ongoing diary has just hit the point where the alien threat starts to chip away at our beloved squadmates. Darkest Dungeon is more obviously punishing, every element built to communicate a sense of hopelessness and despair.

But how do the games compare, in their treatment of failure and death, both mechanically and thematically?

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XCOM 2: Things Fall Apart

I’m playing and diarising XCOM 2 [official site] on Commander difficulty in Iron Man mode, using characters based on the staff of RPS, replaced by readers as and when they die or go out of action. Full explanation and the story so far here here, and you can download the characters for your own game here.

And I was doing so well (thanks in part to my own advice). As complacency crept in, an RPS writer fell in battle – and they’re not the only casualty of my recklessness. Bloody Sectoids, basically.

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Have You Played… XCOM: Enemy Unknown?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

Well, ’tis the season and all that. What with XCOM 2 currently overheating a few million graphics cards across the world, it seems a fine time to think back upon Firaxis’ original attempt to reboot Julian Gollop’s classic strategy+everything game for a new generation. (And for an old generation. Primarily an old generation, maybe).

There is a very real chance I’ve played XCOM more than any game other than Quake III, World of Warcraft and City Of Heroes. Granted, part of that is chance and timing: previews, reviews and expansion packs, then doing the whole thing over again on iPad during paternity leave (baby in one hand, the lives of a dozen pretend soldiers in the other), but part of that is because I wanted to.

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Dogs, Timesavers And Katanas: The Best XCOM 2 Mods

It’s been 20 years since the events of XCOM: Enemy Unknown and while you’re sat there wondering where it all went wrong, the alien occupation of the world as we know it is A Thing now. I saved the world the last time round, did I not? I hear you mumble under your breath. No, no one did and that’s the end of it. Get it over it, man.

The aliens are here, they’re up to no good, and now it’s time to get rid of them. This list is the best mods XCOM 2 [official site] has to offer so far and should help you achieve that goal, or at least help you to fail (again) in style. This list is also best served alongside Alec’s XCOM 2 Guide: How To Survive And Thrive.

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XCOM 2 Tips: How To Survive And Thrive

I’ve played around 300 hours of XCOM 1, and 50 of XCOM 2 [official site], for my sins. I know full well that this does not make me any kind of expert but I’m experienced enough that XCOM 2 has not yet kicked my flabby little bottom. A lot of people are finding the game very punishing though, so I thought I’d try to help – both by sharing my own advice on how to keep your soldiers alive for longer and by inviting anyone else to share their own tips in comments.

This isn’t a definitive guide, but instead a grab-bag of assorted wisdom, both early and advanced, that I’m certain will help if you’re having a tough time with this wonderful (if sadly malfunctioning) strategy game.

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XCOM 2 Performance Fix: Partial Solutions And More Tips

A big ugly fly in XCOM 2 [official site]’s deliciously deadly ointment is that Firaxis’ game runs like a Psy-Zombie on quite a few folks’ PCs – even those with relatively monster systems. It’s not universal woe – for instance, it runs fine for Adam, hence his only mentioning passing problems in his review, but on my slightly superior PC I can’t even hit the golden 60 frames at minimum settings, while high sees it drop to single digits. In either case there are huge, frustrating lag-spikes throughout, and my PC’s running so uncharacteristically hot that I’m pretty sure I could roast a marshmallow over the rear vent.

I’m far from alone, as a glance at the Steam forums, official boards or Reddit will very quickly reveal. It’s a damn shame, crossing the line from ultimately meaningless visual sacrifices into actively annoying slowness. Firaxis and 2K aren’t giving anything away about what the problem is or when a fix will land, though they do tell us that they’re “aware some players have experienced performance issues” and that they’re looking into it. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do in the meantime – including one particular off-the-beaten-track fix which damn-near doubled my own frame rate.
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Four And A Half Million Dead: XCOM 2 Stats

Firaxis have unveiled an XCOM 2 [official site] stat-tracking page that shows how many soldiers have died, how many aliens have been killed and other such details. Four and a half million XCOM soldiers dead in less than a week since launch. Good work, Commanders. Five percent of those soldiers met their end at the hands and teeth of a zombie. Really great work, Commanders, seriously. You are nailing it. The stats page currently tells me that none of you have managed to complete the game but that is, apparently, an error.

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