XCOM Second Wave arrives today, adds randomization options


Some time in the next few hours your copy of Steam is likely to begin busying itself with this modest update. Sixteen new options give you the chance to add a great deal of randomization to the game and, if you’re a masochist, ramp up the difficulty. Some of those options are available straight away and others are unlocked as you complete the game on different settings. Four of them only become available when (if!) you complete XCOM on the Impossible difficulty level.

I performed an autopsy on the update earlier this morning. Click through for my findings.

Excuse the kidneys. I honestly don’t know who those belong to. Here’s what I pulled out the corpse:

  • I think that organ is know as Damage Roulette. It gives weapons a much wider damage range.
  • The still-beating New Economy randomizes the funding received from XCOM council members.
  • The gristly Not Created Equally will give your rookies random starting stats, just like in the old days.
  • These synapse fibres mean Hidden Potential will also increase those stats randomly upon promotion.
  • My tests tell me that Red Fog will see soldier stats decreased if they’re wounded in combat.
  • The spasmodic claws of Absolutely Critical will make every flanking shot a critical hit.
  • Analysis of The Greater Good shows it requires the interrogation of a psionic alien to obtain psionics.
  • The mile-long intestines of Marathon will lengthen the game considerably.
  • I’ve uncovered evidence that a Results Driven brain causes countries to reduce funding as panic rises.
  • AHigh Stakes valve in the circulatory system generates random rewards for halting alien abductions.
  • This here is some sort of Diminishing Returns gland that will raise the cost of satellites.
  • Releasing an enzyme called More Than Human makes the psionic talent very rare.

For those who complete the game on Impossible difficulty, showing uncommon valour and conduct above and beyond the call of duty, four more particularly difficult options are unlocked.

  • My experiments have shown that War Weariness decreases funding over the course of the game.
  • Similarly, this vestigial gland called E-115 can be stimulated to cause Elerium to gradually degrade.
  • Releasing the hormones nicknamed Total Loss will cause you to lose a soldier’s gear when they die.
  • And Alternate Sources make facilities more difficult to build by increasing their power requirements.

A firm, tight-lipped salute to RPS, who dragged this one in and got alien goo all over themselves.