Who doesn’t like a good tactical RPG? There are different “breeds” of gamers in our evolving times for these Next-Gen consoles. Many are cornered towards games such as Call of Duty, Halo or Battlefield; these are pretty much the “cornerstone” of multiplayer games. However there are other fish in the sea when it comes to games and XCOM is one of them.
First making its presence known in 1994 as UFO: Enemy Unknown, XCOM has obviously evolved into a major and successful franchise since its inception. Now, 22 years later, the series is still pushing the envelope and keeping players on their feet with new innovating technology and material. For XCOM 2, that’s an understatement.
Set in the not-to-distant-future, aliens have successfully invaded Earth and dominated the human race; in order to keep control they have combined alien and human DNA to create puppet hybrids called Advent. These are the main forces that the player will combat against throughout the gameplay. It is up to the player to create a new resistance and defeat the alien occupation on Earth on a global scale.
For those that are veterans with XCOM, the gameplay is familiar and, for the most part, unchanged. However after delving into the story of the game one can tell that the developers are trying to keep the player interested and challenged. Your home base, instead of underground, is a hijacked alien ship where you have to constantly upgrade, enhance and weaponize in order to combat against the Advent. This is the strategy/simulation part of the game. You need to fly around the globe, making contact with resistance forces and gather supplies, engineers and intel in order to purchase necessary upgrades for the ship. However there is a day cycle; so say if you are attempting to pick up supplies from a resistance force a major time sensitive mission could randomly appear and you would have the choice of taking it or ignoring it, which could have irreversible effects on the main mission in defeating the alien occupation.
The combat portion is the part that was most exciting for me; you can literally customize every single character that you recruit. From their hair to the tattoos they wear and even their names, you can create a squad of your choice and lead them into battle (I created myself and my wife in the squad). This is when the turn base part of the game takes place. The player will choose how to move their squad and then the enemy, being the Advent, will make their moves afterwards. Each character in the squad will have different abilities to complement to the squad as a whole and it is your job to defeat the enemy and any other objectives that are listed.
XCOM 2 is relatively unchanged in regards to gameplay, which in this case isn’t necessarily a bad thing. You can always make a game with the same controls yet change the gameplay, i.e. Halo and Call of Duty. XCOM 2 falls in this category; the story is drastically changed and pits you against a seemingly impossible force that has taken the entire planet. The customization is just ridiculous as well; I spent literally 45 minutes just creating my characters for my squad, which for me, isn’t a bad thing either. I love the innovation and how you can make the characters your own and literally try to make them survive a mission, because if you mess up, they can die permanently and it can put you in a difficult spot in regards to having a successful squad.
XCOM 2 is highly recommended for anyone that enjoys complete customization of their characters, control of the gameplay and an invigorating and intricate story that is involving and evolving every time you play; the gameplay is never the same.