Saturday Morning Gaming: XCom 2 and the Long War
A friend of mine has recently returned to XCom 2 and texts me with various updates from his game. Stuff like: “Advent dropped in a squad AND I DON’T KNOW WHERE THEY ARE
This isn’t going well. Second reinforcement drop and I haven’t really knocked anything down yet” and “Saved 12 out of 13 civilians in a retaliation mission. 51 baddies? Would have saved all 13 but a stun lancer stunned her and the game wouldn’t let me pick them up.”
I finally texted him back “FINE! I’LL PLAY!”
I played (and beat) XCom 2 back in 2017 and it was an amazing experience. It’s one of those sequels that makes the first game feel like a tutorial for the real one. (And the first game was AWESOME). Then it came out with its expansion War of the Chosen and that was one of those expansions that felt like it completely redid the game. Not merely more of the same (nothing wrong with more of the same, of course), but it felt like experiencing XCom 3. (Well, maybe XCom 2.5.)
My bud telling me about his games got me back into it and this time I’m playing The Long War mod. Holy cow. The Long War mod (it’s free!) remakes the game AGAIN. A whole bunch of little changes that all add up to a completely new game AGAIN. Like, one of the changes is that now your soldiers pick from 3 different skills when they go up a level. If you’ve played XCom 2, you might ask “Wait, wouldn’t they need more skills to choose from then?” You’d be absolutely right. They’ve added new skills. They’ve added new kinds of SOLDIERS. I’m sure you remember how the first game had Snipers, Assault, Heavies, and Support? Well, they’ve changed that around too. You’ve still got snipers and assault soldiers, but the heavies have split off into two branches: Gunner and Grenadier. The Assault now has emphasis on the shotgun while the Shinobi is the glass cannon that runs around with a sword.
So you’ve got the new soldiers to play with. On top of that, they’ve changed how missions are done. In the vanilla game, you’d get your core team and send them out to do missions. They’d fly over and the mission would start. Now, you have to infiltrate. So you drop your soldiers off and then… well. You wait a few days. While you wait a few days, another mission pops up. So you send your guys to infiltrate there. And then another.
Remember how in the first game you could have 40 guys in your army but you really only needed 20 or so (heal up the ones that got wounded and put them back in rotation once they’re good to go)? Well, thanks to the extraction mechanic, you’ll find yourself saying “I only have 40 guys… that’s not enough.”
And then you’ll find that you can assign soldiers as advisors to your various resistance cells. And, holy cow, you’ll need even more. I only have 40 guys. That’s not enough.
“Well… I’ll put one of my low-level guys in there as an advisor”, you may think. UNTIL YOU FIND A SPY IN THE GROUP AND THEN HAVE TO RUN A MISSION USING ONLY THE PEOPLE THERE IN THE RESISTANCE CELL!
Anyway, the game has been revamped entirely. And the mod is, again, Free. (And if you never picked up XCom 2 in the first place, Steam currently has it on sale for 75% off.)
So… what are you playing?
(Featured image is the 8, count’em, 8 soldiers I stumbled across with my best squad.)