Over the chunk of campaign I’ve played, XCOM 2 has run as reliably as the cheekily requisitioned spacecraft that doubles as its base. But it turns out that if you repeatedly, insistently reload games over and over you can cause a memory crash. I know so because I’ve been repeatedly and insistently reloading games, hoping to screenshot more of the magnificent posters that stand in for loading screens. Come, you really must see them.
There are a couple of ideas overlaid here. This is apparent propaganda from the ruling ADVENT administration, a front for the same icky aliens who shot us up in XCOM 1. So there are determined faces looking into a united future of cooperation and mutual respect; the clean lines of Soviet artwork. There’s also something in the colours that triggers the words ‘pop art’ in my largely art-ignorant brain.
In-game, a parallax effect sends these images swaying slowly back and forth in front of their backgrounds, accompanied by a low, ominous pedal drone. It is absolutely the most intimidating thing you could possibly watch for 10 seconds before attempting to pull four rookies through an encounter with upright snakes who spit poison.
Then there’s a different set of images, that feature the brave men and women of the resistance, although none of them have big, bushy beards or ill-advised tattoos so some artistic license has been taken. It’s hard to imagine how both sets could have been drawn up by the same artist in ADVENT’s new world, but perhaps we’re already thinking too hard about this. Better save that brainpower for the commanding and simply ogle.
Over a 15-hour hands-on with XCOM 2, I’ve come to know a game that pulls sensibly from its predecessor, but takes place in a terrifyingly unfamiliar world. We’ll all come to know it once February 5th swings around.