XCOM 2 Review

Are the aliens in XCOM 2 scary?

Rikki Nakesone (after 4 days 12 hours play time)

358 days ago

HOT DIGGITY, is all I'm going to say.

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Silentius (after 1 day play time)

344 days ago

Oh Yeah! The fright factor has been ramped up significantly from Enemy Unknown. Part of this is down to the fact that even Sectoids - previously the alien equivalent of cannon fodder - are now third or fourth tier enemies: Advent troopers having taken over grunt duties. Each of XCOM 2's cast of ET creatures comes with an array of frightening abilities. My jaw nearly hit the floor the first time I put a few rounds into a Codex & I'll not even mention my reaction after 'killing' my first Andromedon. Even Mutons & Chryssalids, familiar foes that they are, have a range of new & exotic skills at their disposal. XCOM 2's world is without a doubt a far more dangerous one than that of it's predecessor.

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Elethio - Pixeljudge.com (after 19 hours play time)

331 days ago

ish, not hugely haven't seen them all, but how scary somthing is has a lot ot do with context

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LewisWulfen (after 3 days 16 hours play time)

312 days ago

Yes, I freak out when I see lizard men!!!!

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ZedClampet (after 1 day 22 hours play time)

351 days ago

Scary in the sense that they are dangerous.

Ca88ages (after 2 days play time)

228 days ago

.Just brought the other week. I hate it, the game needs to be re-balanced. There so many thing wrong with it, I honestly doubt anybody has finished this game on any difficulty without save scumming.

Some of the more notable balancing problems:
Your last guy always some how stumble on the enermy, and they get a free movement to run up next to your troops before there turn.
Right from the start you up against enermy 3-4x our level, which means your squad is always dying. So your always spending money replacing them rather then buying better equips.
The resources are so limited, and the avatar timer is so fast, you have no choice but to send in under equip troops to die.
There's mission where you have to get out of there in less than 10 turns with about 1 enemies to kill who are all 3-5 times your level with armour, so you need to somehow kill 1.5 a turn whilst running towards the evac point, which means no strategy, run, run and pray.

Ca88ages (after 2 days play time)

228 days ago

.Just brought the other week. I hate it, the game needs to be re-balanced. There so many thing wrong with it, I honestly doubt anybody has finished this game on any difficulty without save scumming.

Some of the more notable balancing problems:
Your last guy always some how stumble on the enermy, and they get a free movement to run up next to your troops before there turn.
Right from the start you up against enermy 3-4x our level, which means your squad is always dying. So your always spending money replacing them rather then buying better equips.
The resources are so limited, and the avatar timer is so fast, you have no choice but to send in under equip troops to die.
There's mission where you have to get out of there in less than 10 turns with about 1 enemies to kill who are all 3-5 times your level with armour, so you need to somehow kill 1.5 a turn whilst running towards the evac point, which means no strategy, run, run and pray.

154

359 days ago

Oh my goodness, yes. Remember when the enemies were unknown? That feeling of unfamiliarity is back with a plasma-enabled vengeance. Some monstrosity will appear in your peripheral vision, indulge in a little introductory dance, and then a couple of turns later do something awful and unpredictable to your favourite grenadier.

You can do all the research you like back at base, but until you've experienced all the horrors for yourself, there'll be nasty surprises galore.

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gobbo (after 20 hours play time)

355 days ago

Absolutely yes. The new and changed enemy types will give you a moment of pause and it will take you a while to figure out what each type can and can't do. Until then, hope you have enough Tactical Ablative Armour.
Right from the onset, you will be hit with psionics, with grappling attacks coming soon after. And from there it's just a short hop to some really intimidating brutes.
The enemies also seem to synergise a lot more than in EU, where only the Sectoids had skills that influenced team mates. And they do so well; I've had a couple of times where they practically wiped my entire squad in one single turn after I've thought them defeated.

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rgronow (after 5 hours play time)

353 days ago

Not sure they are scary but they are rather tough bastards! I just lost my entire team,made up of my best, in one simple mission! All DIA and one poor sod was captured.....I dread to think what they are doing with him right now. :(

Tonemaster (after 1 day 21 hours play time)

351 days ago

I'm sorry folks. I'm going to have to give X2 an F. Now I'm not trying to start a flame ware here, I'm just trying to add a few observations.

Background.

I've played almost all of the previous X-com games except the first person shooter. I've been a soldier in the army for 6 years. I've been a pc gamer for thirty-four years. While the game is rendered beautifully, the tactical combat is extremely slanted toward the side of the aliens and isn't tooled for the guerilla organization that your told that you are. It's near unworkable.

The Ambush.

As a guerilla unit your number one tactical tool is the ambush. Unfortunately, the game neuters the players ability to ambush the opposing forces. If you set up an ambush against the enemy, the moment you fire one bullet the game stops the action and allows all of the enemy units a full movement set of actions rather than allow the ambush play out. In a real ambush all the ambushing team members fire at the targets at the ambush site at the same time. Not in this game though.

First, each alien that you are ambushing moves to cover. Then they usually activate a shielding ability, or go into over watch mode. That means when you move to compensate for their movement out of the ambush, they will cut you to pieces because the statistical probabilities programed into the game allow the aliens for a near 80% hit probability with weapons that can kill your team members on each of their individual shots.

Statistical hit chance.

Even with an average hit rating of 75 % for my team in the game, the statistical game rating for accuracy of my team was 52% with the average damage being 3points. Now, every time my team was hit they were hit with a kill shot or critical kill shot of 8 points or more. I'm all for giving the monsters an even break here. But setting up a game so it plays like the movie starship troopers is downright ridiculous.

In the movie each of five troopers had to shoot a full magazine into one bug to kill it. That's 150 rounds of ammunition. As a veteran I almost walked out of the theater. In this game pretty much all of your team members must shoot at a single target to knock it out of the combat. In a five man team three of your five team members will miss the target. Two will hit with damage from a two point graze to about six points with your first weapon improvement. I have never received a grazing shot from the aliens in this game.

The game has a steep difficulty curve. I started my first game on easy. After my first mission the difficulty of the offered missions was moderate. When I got to my fourth, two out of three missions were difficult. The moderate missions should have been called difficult too since I had no technology advancement to compensate for the changes in difficulty.

The difficulty curve in X2 is steeper than in Enemy unknown, which is steeper than the difficulty curve in UFO Defense. Doing this is a mistake. A game is not fun if you have to play one mission over and over 12 to twenty times to complete it. Now, I have a bunch more items like extraction missions having 5 teams or more of elite armored assault units on dignitary security...nonono, etc.

But, suffice to say that even though no battle plan survives the initial contact with the enemy, bold sound battle tactics gave Alexander the Great the known world. In this game bold sound battle tactics only keep you from getting wiped out if you hit the right spot on the statistical bell curve.

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Elethio - Pixeljudge.com(2 days 2 hours played)
11 Months ago
"The difficulty curve in X2 is steeper than in Enemy unknown, which is steeper than the difficulty curve in UFO Defense." No The origional was far more unforgiving. Apart from the difficulty, there where more realistic problems too like, running out of ammo, or shooting one of your guys by mistake - for instance if you shot at an alien over a team mates shoulder, there was a good chance you would hit your own guy, and I'd still like to see these things introduced, but thats a big job that requires mapping all projectiles and their paths and making everything destructable. I'm an xcom veteran, and I think they've got the difficulty just right, I'm playing it on "veteran" and finding it slightly on the easy side but with one easier level and two harder ones I'm happy.
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How do the mechs in XCOM 2 feel?

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rgronow (after 5 hours play time)

353 days ago

Pretty awesome! They really mix things up! Love them

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333 days ago

Great when you hack those enemeanies, scrap one ADVENT squad.

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Silentius (after 3 days 20 hours play time)

317 days ago

In XCOM 2 the resistance don't have access to mechs per-se, though armor can be augmented with many of the features exclusive to mechs in XCOM EW.

The enemy's mechs, however, are pretty cool. They are suitably hulking, suitably metallic and make all the right robotic noises. Although they're only mid-tier enemies, it's always a good idea to take them out early so they don't have the opportunity to deploy their area of effect abilities (grenade launcher). Of course, an alternate tactic would be to use one of your specialists to hack and take over said mech. If you're able to do this - note: there are consequences if you fail - then you'll find yourself with a pretty effective bullet-shield for a few turns.

154

359 days ago

Honestly I haven't experimented much with them, having not particular enjoyed the mech path in XCOM 1's Enemy Within expansion. What I can tell you is that there are similar options to explore if you're up for it: super-heavy armour with rocket launchers bolted on that can act as high cover for comrades, and exo-suits that remain a mystery to me. If you like to make robots of your rookies, you can.

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What is the future like in XCOM 2?

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Silentius (after 3 days 20 hours play time)

317 days ago

It's a queer mix of chrome-plated hyper-modernism and hokey, rural grime. The ADVENT cities representing the former and resistance settlements the latter. The contrast does a good job of evoking a radically polarized global culture.

154

359 days ago

Clean and shiny in the city centres, with reportedly tasty burgers, but inevitably, not the utopia it first appears to be. The joy of Firaxis' campaign is in peeking behind the facade ADVENT's wizards have constructed. Is this the most compelling universe Meier and friends have constructed since Alpha Centauri? Yeah, I think I'm going with that.

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rgronow (after 5 hours play time)

353 days ago

I have to say the cities looks amazing. The cars are futuristic and I definitely want one. I'm sure I would be one citizen rather happy under advent rule....(won't kick up too much of a fuss!)

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333 days ago

Like a TV series episode about computer gaming rerunning endlessly.

Rephrasing: It's a waiting game.
Tell your Specialist to hack a tower, 3 seconds.
Wait for his pet to get there, 5 seconds.
Wait for his pet to initiate hacking, 5 seconds.
Wait until you can actually click something, 3 seconds.
Wait for result, 2 seconds.
Wait for confirmation click, 3 seconds.
Wait for pet to return, 5 seconds.

It really adds up. Now combine that with what I wrote on RNGs - better have a beer stuffed fridge to endure the dull times.

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Is XCOM 2 scary?

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ZedClampet (after 1 day 22 hours play time)

351 days ago

There's certainly a sense of dread at times. Not sure "scary" is the right word.

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Silentius (after 3 days 20 hours play time)

317 days ago

It's not scary as such, but, as one of the other reviewers put it: "There's certainly a sense of dread at times." This is especially the case mid-game when you haven't yet developed the tech to give you a heads up as to which enemies to expect and you're not quite sure if you've got the tools to deal with what ET is going to throw at you.

154

359 days ago

Jake Solomon has called the original X-Com a "fear simulator" and his team's (second) sequel is no different. That pause as an unseen enemy takes their turn remains excruciating, especially when you can hear the larger ones stomping around just outside of your vision.

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How bleak is XCOM 2?

154

359 days ago

The worst XCOM 1 ever got was a complete squad wipe, of named soldiers you'd come to love. XCOM 2 is arguably worse - you've probably made the decision to leave someone in the cold-blooded embrace of the snakepeople so that your crack sniper can get to evac. You probably won't like the utilitarian version of you XCOM 2 fosters.

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Silentius (after 3 days 20 hours play time)

317 days ago

Playing XCOM2 can be a pretty bleak experience. Compared to its predecessor, the added customization options and soldier bios in XCOM 2 make it all the easier to grow attached to your rag-tag band of gun-toting mis-fits. If you're anything like me then you're going to construct narratives around their exploits and imagine back-stories for them. Of course, the downside to this is that each time one of them dies you're going to feel it and feel it bad. The memorial wall provides a sobering reminder of the human cost of 'combating the extra-terrestrial threat.'

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ZedClampet (after 1 day 22 hours play time)

351 days ago

I found it less bleak than XCOM EU because as the game progresses you are gaining parts of the map rather than losing them.

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Does XCOM 2 respect the military?

154

359 days ago

The original XCOM was a state-sanctioned effort - now it's a guerrilla force. There's plenty of justification for what you're doing, but there's a certain unease about blowing holes in patrols of (human!) ADVENT troopers, especially when there are civvies cowering all over the place, dobbing you in to the aliens if they spot you in concealment.

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Silentius (after 3 days 20 hours play time)

316 days ago

In XCOM 2 you take on the role of the insurgent. Like any real life freedom fighter/terrorist, involved in an asymmetrical war, your tactics are going to be outside the scope of the ordinary rules of engagement. It's a whole different kettle of fish from managing a multi-national military task force. That said, XCOM asks you to care about the men and women on the front line. Your troops are not meant to be just fodder, which is more than can be said for most war games.

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How harsh is the RNG in XCOM 2?

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333 days ago

Quite so. RNGs are based on a predefined table, meaning the game already knows the answer to your next question being 42.
The question might be: Shall I attack with my Rangers butter knife or my Sharpshooters pistol. No matter who attacks, if your chances to hit are below 42% you'll never hit (except grenades and stuff).

This carries on through savegames and all forms of attack including hacking attempts, so basically you're toasted when the table "rolls" you a 99. Extremely disappointing system in my book.

154

359 days ago

Not quite on a level with Blood Bowl or Mordheim, but pretty heavy even for a PC game. Crucially, it's something you're always informed of. If you roll a loaded die and it doesn't come up your way - well, you can't say it didn't say '45%' right there in the middle of the flipping screen before you pressed enter. You'll be blaming yourself, not the game.

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gobbo (after 20 hours play time)

355 days ago

Very. However, in XCOM 2, you will be able to get 100% hit chances and actually hit where in EU it would max out at 95% and still miss about half of those. The chances you see on screen really seem to be connected to the actual chances rather than some made-up numbers.
If you've hated the RNG in XCOM EU for lying to you, you're going to love the RNG in XCOM 2.

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ZedClampet (after 1 day 22 hours play time)

351 days ago

It works as intended. With careful planning you can all but eliminate chance except in outlier type situations.

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Silentius (after 3 days 20 hours play time)

316 days ago

It's not too bad. Don't get me wrong, there will be moments when you're cursing the game for its fickle ways, but generally it seems to be a lot fairer than its predecessor.

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Does XCOM 2 reward strategic planning?

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ZedClampet (after 1 day 22 hours play time)

351 days ago

That's basically the whole game.

154

359 days ago

XCOM 2 necessitates it. If you cross your fingers and hope you'll have enough soldiers out of the infirmary to field a full squad by the time of the next battle, but an ADVENT Retaliation event crops up in the meantime - well, you're going to have a tough fight on your hands. The global and ground layers feed into each other, perhaps moreso than in Enemy Unknown. Ignore that fact at your peril.

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gobbo (after 20 hours play time)

355 days ago

With extractions now handled on a per-soldier basis, you absolutely need to think strategically on the Battlescape. If things go south and you need to evacuate, can you afford to leave some soldiers behind? Or would that compromise your imminent assault on that ADVENT facility you just discovered by leaving you a soldier short?
Choosing what to do on the Geoscape comes with both time and resources as a limiting factor. If you decide to grab these supplies here, you might miss an opportunity to strike ADVENT there.
And the AVATAR Project doesn't wait for anyone.

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Silentius (after 3 days 20 hours play time)

316 days ago

Planning is essential for long term success in XCOM2. That your enemy are always working on their own maniacal schemes and that an ever present doom-counter hangs over proceedings means that you'll need to make some pretty tough decisions. Having said that, at certain points, it can feel more like an exercise in seat of your pants fire-fighting than grand strategy.

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How does XCOM 2 reward you for playing tactically?

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ZedClampet (after 1 day 22 hours play time)

351 days ago

The game requires a lot of thought, but a lot of people over think it and put themselves in bad situations. Find enemies? Get in cover and shoot them. Obviously, there's a lot to it, but you can't waste time in a lot of these missions because of the timer.

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Silentius (after 3 days 20 hours play time)

316 days ago

XCOM EU and EW were tactically rather simple - move/overwatch/move/overwatch... ... ... XCOM2 demands that you think a lot harder about your tactical approach. Given that the battle arenas are now procedurally generated, most missions are timed and, until the late game at least, you'll never be certain which enemies you're likely to face, developing a tactically flexible squad is an absolute must. With the right blend of tactics and a bit of strategic thinking you can lay devastating ambushes for your enemies and when they come off it can be a thing of beauty. Through being tactically adaptable you'll be better able to keep your soldiers alive, defeat ET and pick up some nice loot along the way.

154

359 days ago

With the continued existence of the men and women you've funded and fostered! But also with stuff like critical hits for blowing a muton out of cover or flanking them. The only issue: it's all too easy to disturb another nest of aliens while you're working your way around to a better vantage point, and lose yourself the whole battle. Battle scanners and scouts can help counter this, though.

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How strategic does combat in XCOM 2 feel?

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Silentius (after 3 days 20 hours play time)

316 days ago

In XCOM 2's combat, strategy can often play second fiddle to blind panic - especially when you've just triggered a previously hidden pod of aliens. However, if you're able to make maximum use out of your own 'hidden movement' mechanic to scout ahead, you can make strategic choices as to where to attack first and how best to do it. In this respect XCOM 2's combat feels a lot more strategic than its predecessor. That said, the fact that most missions are time-limited means that you'll need to both think and strike fast.

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How active is the XCOM 2 mod scene?

154

359 days ago

For a game that, as I'm writing, is pre-release? Pretty damn active. 2K commissioned three lovely little launch mods from the core team behind the Long War, and there are more on the way. We're promised an SDK that can make XCOM 2 a platform for whole new turn-based tactics experiences.

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gobbo (after 20 hours play time)

355 days ago

As I type this, there's 15 new mods being uploaded to the Workshop and 23 new guides on INI edits are being written.
Kidding aside, the modders are hard at work and it's worth checking for new arrivals every day before launching the game.

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Silentius (after 3 days 20 hours play time)

316 days ago

Very active. There are already, only one month since release, over a thousand mods available on Steam Workshop. There's also a very active scene at Nexusmods.

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Would you recommend any good XCOM 2 mods?

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ZedClampet (after 1 day 22 hours play time)

351 days ago

I didn't play with any mods, but there's one that disables mission timers if that's an issue for you.

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Silentius (after 3 days 20 hours play time)

316 days ago

Most of the mods I've used, with the exception of those from the excellent Long War Studios, have been purely aesthetic. There are a vast number of mods that add clothing, armor, weapon, tattoo and accessory variants. Special shouts go to Capnbub's Accessory Pack; Military Camouflage Patterns and the Katana Pack.

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Would you buy at full price or wait for a XCOM 2 sale?

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gobbo (after 20 hours play time)

355 days ago

It really depends. Since it's essentially more of the same XCOM EU, here's a handy guide:
If you've enjoyed XCOM EU, I definitely recommend grabbing XCOM 2 and waving goodbye to your life as soon as humanly possible.
If you haven't enjoyed XCOM EU, why are you even reading this? XCOM clearly does not seem to be your type of game. If, however, you still feel like it could be worth a shot, you should wait for a sale in case it turns out you don't like it, after all.
If you have never played XCOM EU, I recommend picking that up and giving it a play instead, considering how it's a lot cheaper and a fuller experience in the classic X-COM sense. In XCOM 2, you will not be shooting down UFOs with interceptors.
However, with Steam's refund system in place, if you're on the fence, get it and set yourself a timer to 90 minutes. If you can stop and contemplate if you like the game enough to warrant the expense, refund it. If you miss the timer entirely or find yourself unable to stop playing, I think XCOM 2 might be the game for you.

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Silentius (after 3 days 20 hours play time)

316 days ago

I bought it full price and for me it's been worth it.

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How good are the graphics in XCOM 2?

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gobbo (after 20 hours play time)

355 days ago

The UI has been overhauled since EU and is actually looking rather sleek and is fit for purpose.
The rest of the game is decent-looking, but you will find plenty of blurry textures or low-poly models if you go looking for them. The particle effects are neat and the weapon effects simply stunning.
While not the prettiest graphics, they absolutely get the job done. And an improvement over EU they very much are.

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Silentius (after 3 days 20 hours play time)

316 days ago

Graphically XCOM 2 isn't hugely different from its predecessor and that's no terrible thing. The game looks nice in a cartoon, sci-fi sort of way.

154

359 days ago

Firaxis forgot to research graphics after they finished Enemy Unknown. No, it's not the first time I've used that line. But it's true: in a month where we've had Rise of the Tomb Raider and The Witness, it would be wrong to call XCOM 2 a looker.

It does have its moments, however: soldiers splashing about in the fountains in gleaming ADVENT cities; the muted rainbow beauty of the plasma fire that threatens to bring down your squad. Slow-mo doesn't hurt in the appreciation of that.

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How does XCOM 2 run on your PC?

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gobbo (after 20 hours play time)

355 days ago

I am running XCOM 2 on an i5 4690k @3.5GHz, 12GB of RAM, and a GTX 780 with 3GB of RAM, and unless I turn MSAA on and up to its maximum, I have no issues running the game.
That said, it doesn't really like alt-tabbing too much, even in borderless window, and will freeze or stutter for a few seconds after tabbing back in.

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Silentius (after 3 days 20 hours play time)

316 days ago

It's okay. Load times can be a bit of a pest and there are occasional graphical glitches (particularly in the final mission), but, fortunately, I've avoided the more grievous performance issues that have impacted other players.

154

359 days ago

Like a ranger with a chryssalid on their tail. That is: pretty quick, but it can sometimes fall on its arse and die. It struggles when working out lots of bits of maths at once as you come out of concealment into about six different overwatches, and the skyranger loading screens can drag on for a bit. Presumably that's why they're stuffed with reading material.

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How good are the sounds in XCOM 2?

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gobbo (after 20 hours play time)

355 days ago

As annoyed as I was by the boring gun sounds in XCOM EU, as amazed am I by the sounds in XCOM 2.
Firaxis REALLY stepped up their game and have made the game a delight, both visually and audibly. A lot of the sounds from XCOM EU got recycled, but that's not a bad thing as Firaxis figured out which were worth keeping and which weren't.
The soundtrack is fitting, but nothing overly remarkable, unlike EU's "battle ready" theme. I found myself getting bored of it quickly.
But overall, the soundscape is simply magnificent.

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Silentius (after 3 days 20 hours play time)

316 days ago

The sounds are effective. Much like XCOM EU they act as a means of foreshadowing the encounters to come, thus heightening the tension. Catching the tell-tale clicking of a cryssalid, or the mechanical crunch of a sectopod can be an unsettling experience - especially when you don't know which direction it's coming from.

Music, as you might expect, responds to what you're doing in-game and alternates between the suspenseful (while you're reconnoitering) and the dramatic (while you're in combat).

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What do gamers think of XCOM 2 after many hours of playing

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gobbo (after 20 hours play time)

355 days ago

Oh hell yes. Even though sometimes it can be tough and frustrating having to fight both aliens as well as the occasional bug at the same time, when you do win that battle you've been working on for the last hour or so, the relief and joy is palpable.

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ZedClampet (after 1 day 22 hours play time)

351 days ago

Literally may be my favorite all-time game.

Why do gamers keep coming back to XCOM 2

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Silentius (after 3 days 20 hours play time)

316 days ago

I love the fact that XCOM2 encourages you to create your own narratives. The game is not only well balanced and fun, it's also a regular story-telling factory. With mods as well as official DLC at my disposal I can see myself playing well into the future.

Dishonored 2 Review
Dishonored 2 Review

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5 reviewers answered 7 questions