Since this post is already more than a week late, let’s just get right to it. XCOM 2 is one of the two games I planned to purchase on day one for the month of February 2016, the other being Street Fighter V. With so much money coming out of my pocket right now to play some good games (for a change) and get something out of them to put on this website (which I’m failing at so far), I might as well give my first impressions of this game more than a week after and with so many people already posting reviews of it.
As far as experiences go, I do predict that XCOM 2 will be a bit more substantial earlier on since I’m already proficient with turn-based tactics gameplay, while I still have so much to learn in playing fighting games. It’s also a bit more painful since the whole roguelike permadeath aspect of gameplay can really mess with you. If you claim to have played XCOM: Enemy Unknown and didn’t feel that pain of loss, you’re full of shit.
What I Like About XCOM 2 So Far
It’s basically XCOM: Enemy Unknown/Within with a cool storyline, a lot of the bad stuff cut out, and a lot of good stuff added in. The concealment mechanic changes everything because the worst thing about Enemy Unknown was the start of each mission when you’d want to be as cautious as possible, trudging slowly across the map and overwatching every turn before you finally encounter the enemy.
They also removed adjacency bonus, which is definitely something I appreciate. I’ve restarted games in Enemy Unknown because I fucked up with my building layouts. I feel that players should only get that urge to start over only with the loss of soldiers in battle. To make up for this, they provide rewards for clearing up rooms.
There’s also more extensive soldier customization. Alright, it may not be as extensive as Mass Effect or Fallout 4, but it’s extensive enough for this type of game. You even get to choose what kind of personality a soldier has, which does add a bit more to how attached you can get to him/her. That makes losing that soldier in battle even
The morale system also adds another dimension to squad management. Since you can no longer just make one or two soldiers lead the charge all the time due to the threat of having them shaken, you’ll be even more mindful of your soldiers’ condition. You get rid of the shaken status by having that soldier complete a mission without getting injured and having at least one kill. Accomplishing this gives that soldier a permanent will bonus, which means that they become even braver in combat, adding to character development.
Finally, mods mods mods. You can save-scum more easily, make Bradford shut up, speed up gameplay, add more flags in soldier customization, and so on. Some people may think that developers supporting modders gives them license to be lazy in the hopes that mods patch up whatever they got wrong or didn’t do, but that’s just stupid.
(Of course, you’d want to be the one to come up with neat stuff. Why would you want to get lazy just to have someone outside come up with something you could’ve easily done yourself anyway?)
What I Don’t Like About XCOM 2 So Far
XCOM 2 has a lot of things going wrong in the technical side of things. It’s not well-optimized, which just says that Firaxis may not have had enough time to tune it up. I’ve been told that turning off anti-aliasing makes things better, but that’s more of a compromise than a solution to problems.
I also kinda don’t like how the black market is no longer easily accessible. I guess it’s mostly for game balance reasons, but it’s still kind of a drag. That does make resource management much harder since you can’t just sell junk, which is perhaps what balances out the removal of adjacency in base building.
But the thing I hate the most is the XCOM disease of having a chance to miss even when you’re shooting at an enemy point blank. Even melee attacks can miss, which is understandable for game balance reasons but is also quite an immersion killer.
It does seem like there’s a whole lot more things I like than what I don’t like in XCOM 2. Now let’s see if I get to play it enough to talk about it a lot more here in the blog, maybe even a few videos on the YouTube channel. Perhaps I can even do a review, even if not a lot of people would care for one as of this posting since it’s kinda too late now for one.
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