Friday, March 04, 2016

Tech: XCOM 2 review

XCOM 2 assumes that humanity lost its war against the aliens in the first XCOM game, and imagines Earth under the boot of an extraterrestrial occupation with sinister ends:

As in the original game, the player controls squads of 4 to 6 soldiers in turn-based missions across the globe. This time, however, you're part of a ragtag resistance force, constantly pursued by both the aliens and their (semi-)human collaborators, ADVENT. The guerrilla warfare conceit is a much better fit for XCOM's core gameplay, and it also ties in with a fun new "concealment" mechanic that allows you to ambush alien troops.

You'll need all the help you can get, though. XCOM 2 is a brutal, uncompromising game even on the easiest difficulty.  Right from the start, you'll be facing enemies that can mind control your soldiers, revive fallen enemies as zombies, or blow your squads apart with grenades. Battles invariably become intricate tactical mazes where you'll scan every inch of the map for precious cover.

It's tense, high-wire gaming that I honestly can't recommend to everyone. As if that weren't enough, XCOM 2 is also hampered by some inexplicable technical bugs, including a terrible framerate and glitchy animations even on my high-end PC. Yet even with all those faults, there's a palpable satisfaction when you win against the seemingly-impossible odds the game throws at you, and it's not a feeling many titles ever pull off.

Rating: 87/100


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