XCOM 2 Review
XCOM 2 Box Art
System: PC
Dev: Firaxis Games
Pub: 2K Games
Release: February 5, 2016
Players: 1-2
Screen Resolution: 480p-1080i Blood, Use of Tobacco, Violence

This requires taking to the battlefield, where the turn-based tactical combat remains second to none. With random map elements and enemy makeups depending on your campaign choices, XCOM 2 is devoid of any semblance of redundancy. You may have to escort a VIP to safety, save civilians, hack a terminal, or simply clear out all the aliens, and it always feels fresh and challenging, especially for those brave enough to attempt the single-save Ironman mode on Legendary difficulty. A complete understanding of the cover system, overwatch, hit percentages, and team composition is a feat of knowledge that beckons you to study for maximum efficiency. XCOM 2 introduces the concealment phase on most missions, where your party can set up an ambush without being detected. It’s a nice strategic feature, however it comes with an increased number of hit-and-run missions that require completion within a certain number of turns.

Problematic camera controls continue to plague the sequel, getting stuck behind walls or finding a poor angle during a cinematic strike. Movement also has its hiccups by not discerning the optimal way to move from point A to point B in order to avoid a hazard or revealing the soldier to the enemy. Opening doors also requires fumbling with the cursor to find the sweet spot. These are issues inherent to any isometric tactical game, but the extra patience required is at best a mild bother and at worst the difference between a mission’s success or failure due to a false movement or action.

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Despite these technical faux pas, XCOM 2 has many grand elements to praise. It is the countless little touches, such as your troops whispering acknowledgments while in stealth, or ducking when within the line of sight of a comrade’s shot, that truly show the commitment and effort the team at Firaxis poured into this stunning sequel. If XCOM: Enemy Unknown was the standard-bearer for tactical turn-based games, then XCOM 2 has wrested control of that flag, and now holds it even higher.

By
Sean Engemann
Senior Contributing Writer
Date: February 5, 2016

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
4.8
Graphics
The varied environments and attention to detail showcase a unique alien dominated Earth that is as unsettling as it is beautiful.
4.2
Control
Camera controls continue to be an issue for the series, however the UI has dramatically improved from the previous game.
5.0
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Every bar of music is symphonic bliss, every sound effect satisfying, and every line of dialogue delivered with excellence.
5.0
Play Value
This is the new magnum opus of turn-based tactical games.
4.8
Overall Rating - Must Buy
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.
Review Rating Legend
0.1 - 1.9 = Avoid 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 3.5 - 3.9 = Good 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair 4.0 - 4.4 = Great 5.0 = The Best

Game Features:

  • XCOM ON THE RUN - Take command of the Avenger, an alien supply craft converted to XCOM’s mobile headquarters. New open-ended gameplay lets you decide where to guide your strike team, how to grow popular support, and when to combat enemy counter-operations.
  • RECRUIT RESISTANCE FIGHTERS - Five soldier classes, each with its own skill tree, let you create specific soldiers for your tactical plan.
  • TACTICAL GUERRILLA COMBAT - New gameplay systems offer more tactical flexibility in combat. Use concealment to ambush enemy patrols. Loot enemies for precious gear and artifacts. Rescue VIPs and save fallen comrades by carrying them to the extraction point.
  • RESEARCH, DEVELOP AND UPGRADE - Configure and build rooms on the Avenger to give XCOM new capabilities on the battlefield. Use your Scientists and Engineers to research, develop and upgrade weapons and armor to fit your preferred tactics.
  • EACH MISSION IS A UNIQUE CHALLENGE - Go on missions around the world, from wildlands to the heart of the alien-controlled megacities, to the depths of alien installations. There are virtually infinite combinations of maps, missions and goals.
  • ENGAGE IN HEAD-TO-HEAD MULTIPLAYER - Mix-and-match squads of humans and aliens and battle head-to-head on randomly-generated maps.

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