I fell in love with the XCOM series when I first played XCOM Enemy Unknown. Naturally, I moved on to Enemy Within, and I purchased XCOM 2 as soon as it was released. The game ticks all my boxes. It’s tactical and strategic, set in a dystopian future in which aliens have taken control of the world and you control the underdog, a group of righteous fighters setting out to take back the world and save mankind. Whilst we’re on that point, I don’t disagree with everything the aliens stand for… but that is a different article for a different place.
I played through all the aforementioned games on PlayStation, a platform which honestly is not best suited to run these games. The controls can be clunky and the frame rate poor, in fact so poor sometimes that you miss the whole initial cutscene as your players jump from the avenger to take place on the battlefield. So, with my recent PC purchase I decided I would try War of the Chosen on its optimum platform, and let me tell you, it did not disappoint.
So, just to set the scene. One of the reasons I love XCOM is because I develop an attachment to my units. The game has a permadeath system, so when somebody heads over into the land of eternal slumber. They are staying there. No magical video game respawns, no second chances. This is a war against the aliens and it’s all on the line. The game also allows you to customize and modify all your units, so when I begin a new game on XCOM, I spend painstaking hours crafting my units so that they represent all my friends and family. XCOM2 War of the Chosen offers more extensive customisation options than ever before, meaning you can make all the units look relatively similar to all of your friends. It even has voice and personality options to change so you can go into a decent amount of detail to create your perfect squad.
The team created, locked and loaded. Now it’s time to try and keep them alive, all the while overthrowing the heavily armoured and overpowered alien government that has taken root and taken control of the planet. Easy.
Here’s where it gets interesting, your units level up and you can teach them different abilities depending on the class they fall in to. Again, if they perish, you lose all that hard work. You can work tirelessly against the aliens, researching different weapons and tech, levelling your units to create a squad that has the ability to reap ultimate vengeance, and in one mission… you can lose it all.
War of the Chosen offers a huge amount of new content, primarily a storyline that runs simultaneously alongside the original XCOM 2 one. The arrival of 3 of Advent’s toughest assassins brings a fresh new challenge to the campaign. They spawn randomly during your pre-existing missions to take out your units and each has a unique set of abilities that present a new set of challenges. They also have some brilliant cutscenes, they’re amazing characters and learning about them to find out where they hide is painfully fun. You also find a trio of new factions to ally with, you can use their units, that also have a set of unique abilities and a different skill tree. Those units become powerful allies as you progress and level them.
You will also find a zombie horde like enemy unit start to appear in the newer missions, this creates a fresh dynamic mission style that is a much-needed addition to the XCOM 2 mission format. They will also fight against the aliens during the mission, this gives you the opportunity to take advantage of previously unexplored tactics, such as throwing a lure at a group of alien enemies so the horde swamps them and give you the opportunity to get your units the hell out of the area!
XCOM 2 is genuinely one of my favourite games of all time and War of the Chosen has only confirmed my feelings. If you are into tactical games of any kind then I urge you to play this. Vigilo confido.