XCom 2: Is it still worth playing in 2021? [Review]
A quick warning before we start. This review is going to have spoilers! If you don’t want the game to be spoiled for you whatsoever, then I will give you the “Too Long, Didn’t Read” of yes it is worth playing!
But, if you want a longer explanation, then you can go right on ahead reading! Even if the story itself is spoiled for you, the gameplay is more the main focus of Xcom 2. So, you will still have as much fun as if you played on Playcroco Online Casino if you know the plot before hand.
What is Xcom 2?
Xcom 2 is a turn based strategy game developed by Firaxis Games and published by 2K Games in 2016. In the game, you get to control a squadron of rebels who are fighting back against an oppressive alien government. As you can tell by the name, the game takes place after the first Xcom game.
However, it will work just as well as a standalone game if you really want. I started with Xcom 2, and I had no problem getting into it and having a blast. If you played the first game, then it would just end up being like a prequel for you, rather than a sequel.
General Gameplay Mechanics
To start with, in between missions (after you complete the prologue) you will spend your time aboard the “Avenger.” The Avenger is an alien ship that you and your rebels commandeered as a base of operations for your rebelion.
You will use this main home screen so to speak as a hub where you select missions, complete research, train troops, upgrade troops, expand your ship, and keep track of your in-game progress.
First of all, in the Avenger you can select the missions you would like to go on. You do this by opening a world map, and you can select where you want the avenger to fly to for you to complete the missions in that area.
Now, this can be a bit more complicated than it seems. Why you might ask? Because in Xcom 2, you are almost always going to be put on a timer. Both while you are in missions, and when you are out of missions!
This is because there are 2 kinds of in game timers you are going to encounter. First, is the main timer of the game, which is the “Avatar Project” timer. This timer is always ticking, even when you are not in missions.
What this does is essentially force you to do missions rather than sitting around your base until all of your troops are fully kitted out and can kill everything with a single shot.
So, periodically, you will have to take a mission that lowers the Avatar Projects timer. Lore wise, the Avatar Project is a top secret project being done by the alien group known as Advent. Who, in the story of the game, controls Earth.
Essentially, if you let the Advent complete the Avatar Project, it is an automatic game over for you, and you must either reload an earlier save, or start the game over. Either way, it’s not the most fun thing.
The second kind of timer you are going to find is the mission timer. These give you a set amount of rounds to complete a mission otherwise you fail it. Failing a mission can have negative consequences on the world as a whole such as giving enemies a buff.
Or, alternatively, it can have negative consequenses on you as the player. You could lose the troops you took on the mission, which means you have to train up new recruits to replace them which takes time and brings them on missions.
Another thing you are going to spend your time doing is researching new upgrades, or actually crafting those new upgrades. Both of these take time, which means you have to be on top of both of them lest you fall behind and be horribly outmatched.
Some upgrades you can get are armor upgrades to make your troops tankier, or weapon upgrades to make them deal more damage. Other upgrades make your troops able to move further or could make them deal more damage to certain unit types.
Without DLC, there are 5 classes available to the player to upgrade their recruits to. The classes are Ranger, Sharpshooter, Grenadier, Specialist, and Psi Operative. There are a few more if you purchase the DLCs, but they aren’t important at the moment.
Each soldier has 2 upgrade paths you can take for them in the main game. Each one has a slightly different specialty and will change what the soldier is suited for.
For instance, the Ranger is supposed to be your up close and personal kind of soldier. They carry a shotgun and a melee weapon. They have the best movement of all the classes and can be upgraded to move after they attack.
However, you could also upgrade the Ranger to be a stealthy character. He can be upgraded to stay undetected even if the squad is revealed and can go back into concealment depending on how you upgrade him.
The same is true for the other classes as well. All of them have 2 specialties, and depending on how you choose to upgrade them could dramatically affect how you will use them.
The second class is the sharpshooter. The sharpshooter carries a sniper rifle and a pistol. You can either upgrade the sharpshooter to be better with his pistol, or you could upgrade him to be a better sniper. Which path you choose will dramatically change play.
The third class is the grenadier. He is the heavy hitting tank. He carries a grenade launcher and a minigun. He can either be upgraded to use his grenades more and be better at area damage, or use his minigun more and be better at taking down single armoured targets.
Fourth class is the specialist. The specialist can either be upgraded to be a hacker, or a healer. A hacker is very useful against mechanical enemies who can be disabled or even controlled by the hacker. He can also complete hacking objectives better and faster.
On the other hand, your team is almost certainly going to get injured, making a healer an invaluable member of the team. So, you will have to balance how you upgrade them. Better hacker, or better healer? The consequences could be severe…
Finally, there is the Psi Operative. They are essentially the mage class of Xcom 2. They can use Psionic powers to either boost your team, weaken the enemy team, or simply deal good old fashioned damage.
Whether you choose to have them be support or offense can also be a difficult choice. They are one of the most powerful classes in the game, but can be a bit more difficult to know how to synergize with the rest of your teammates.
The gameplay is going to be focused around combat. It is essentially what you will be doing without failing every single mission. Therefore, you need to know whether the combat is any good or not.
The answer to that question is for the most part yes… which, I realize, sounds like somewhat of a negative answer, but it is really up to the player!
The combat can be both incredibly fun and rewarding, or incredibly frustrating and intolerable depending on what happens. This is because, at it’s core, the combat is based around RNG or chance.
When attacking enemies, or being attacked by enemies, you are given a percent chance of being hit or hitting depending on various factors such as armor, cover, size, your weapon, injuries, etc.
Now, this means, the chance of you hitting can be very high, but it is never 100%. This means it can be really frustrating when you have a 98% chance of hitting someone and you keep missing for some reason.
However, I have found that overall it feels fair enough, and the tactical engagements are quite challenging and fun. RNG can be painful at times, but it is just a game after all, and developers aren’t omnipotent.
Other than that, you will move your troops based on a grid on the floor. Each unit gets a certain number of tiles it can move based on various factors. Some troops are faster, others are slower.
You will move your troops in turns, and each unit can take 2 “actions” per round. This could be a movement action and an attack action, or it could be 2 movement actions. However, for the most part, an attack action will end that unit’s turn.
After that, there are many different mission types, but most of them revolve around the same basic concepts. So, all that’s left is for you to decide if this seems like a game that would interest you. I personally had a lot of fun, and would recommend at least giving it a try!