We’ve all been playing a lot of XCOM 2 in the PCGamesN bunker. Even Jeremy, who has already finished it once for his XCOM 2 review. On top of our own campaigns, we’ve decided to play one together... after a fashion.
We’ll each complete a mission and pass it on to the next person. And just for laughs, we’ve made the PCGamesN team in the game so it’s extra heartbreaking when someone dies. We’ll be updating this diary regularly until we inevitably fail and doom humanity for good. But for now, let's lay out the mission parameters.
We’ll be trying to complete the campaign on Veteran (normal) difficulty, one mission and one player at a time, while attempting to keep as many people alive as possible.
There will be no save scumming, since we’re playing on Ironman mode. No mods, either. And we won’t be making plans together or conferring about tactics, research paths, builds or what we should construct next.
Previously on XCOM 2 diaries...
If you're just joining us on the inevtiably doomed journey, then this is the place to catch up - links to all our previous missions are right here.
- Mission 1 - Fraser
- Mission 2 - Matt
- Mission 3 - Jeremy
- Mission 4 - Joel
- Mission 5 - Phil
- Mission 6 - Jordan
- Mission 7 - Ben
- Mission 8 - Matt
Mission 9: Joel
Well then. Matt has left us in quite the awkward spot. It’s not so much ‘rock and a hard place’ as between the jaws of a vice that’s a half-turn from making our collective skull go pop.
But there’s still hope, and as long as there’s hope there’s fight - it’s not for nothing that the PCGamesN motto is aut vincere, aut mori. However it was a choice between that and ‘There’s a lot of joy in Chips Ahoy!’, so maybe we are completely stuffed.
Basically anyone who knows the danger end of a gun is currently in the infirmary, rocking back and forth and muttering “Never again” to themselves, or nothing more than a star on the memorial wall. I try to pass enough time to get at least a full squad together, but it’s no use. We need fresh blood.
And so steps in our esteemed leader, PCGamesN co-owner Tim Edwards. None have ever seen his face, and some contend that he exists merely in our collective conscience. But he’s had enough. He’s not about to let his cabal of content creators slip away without resistance.
With a rookie, two squaddies and a Corporal, the last thing we need is a Blacksite mission. Especially one named Operation Hell Fall, a moniker which will prove to be horrendously apt.
We’ve to cross a large railway yard and investigate the ADVENT facility on the other side. With so little battlefield experience on show it’s very much a case of softly softly killee alien, and so I move the troops carefully forward through a building and around the left flank.
A patrol suddenly pops up, yet we somehow remain in concealment even when a codex and a sectoid are close enough to smell Joel’s Lynx Africa. With the drop on the pair of them we’ve the upper hand… until another three-man patrol pops up on the other side. Now we’re flanked, and another word beginning with F.
Still, they haven’t seen us yet so we can fire the first shots. Tim pops out of cover and does some solid damage to the codex, who responds by cloning itself and jumping onto a roof. Kirk guns the sectoid, and Jordan rushes in to finish it off with his sword. Joel, in overwatch, pings the second codex on its next turn.
The other patrol prove trickier. A shieldbearer buffs himself, a trooper and a viper, and they all close in. Jordan is brutally gunned down - and so young… - and Tim is suddenly in the snake’s clutches.
Joel heroically blasts him free, and Tim polishes the scaly sod off. The shieldbearer, though, charges forward, ready to mince Tim from close range… Missed! The trooper gets even nearer to finish the job… Missed again! Perhaps dressing all in black and wearing a balaclava actually makes you harder to hit.
And now our enemies are sitting ducks. We slay the trooper, the shieldbearer retreats but doesn’t get far. We’ve survived. Somehow we’ve survived.
All that’s left is to flank around to the left and head into the Blacksite. Jordan may have fallen but you can’t make an omelette without breaking some intern skulls, and one loss isn’t…
Oh. Oh look. Two Mecs, two troopers and two stun lancers. Well, it was fun while it lasted…
NB: This mission deserves a post-script, as its climax was remarkable. While Kirk got gunned down almost immediately, one man did in fact make it out alive. Tim dashed, dashed and dashed again in an attempt to reach the evac zone.
On his final charge he had just 3 HP left and there was a Mec on overwatch… but once again his cat-like dodging skills saved the day, and the Skyranger pulled him out. Joel, meanwhile, died the saddest death imaginable: being alternatively prodded by stun lancers while a Mec just watched on, laughing.
Goodnight, sweet princes.