XCOM is a beloved franchise which has provided real-time strategy and tactics genre lovers with some pretty thrilling, heart stopping, and at times frustrating moments.
XCOM 2 is a direct sequel to XCOM: Enemy Unknown and there is a major shift in its narrative from the last installment. The game is now more brutal and unforgiving in its gameplay and requires players to always be on their toes.
The game is set 20 years after XCOM: Enemy Unknown and its expansion packs in the year 2035. XCOM couldn’t stop the alien threat and was betrayed by the council of nations who had surrendered to the aliens after the invasion. Their numbers significantly reduced, most of them submitted to the invaders while some resisted and went into hiding.
Hunted, betrayed, and forgotten, XCOM forces operate from the shadows and start raiding alien facilities and compounds for materials, resources, and intelligence. The main characters are the Commander, Officer Bradford, Dr. Richard Tygan and Lily Shen. Together they work to unmask the aliens’ true nature and to expose the ADVENT administration for what it really is, a puppet government and propaganda machine. A hidden agenda is also in play which will be revealed midway during the game. *No spoilers*
Three DLCs offer additional customization, a new soldier class, new missions and maps.
This is followed by an Expansion Pack titled, XCOM 2: War of the Chosen which introduces new single player missions, units, new enemy factions called the Chosen and the Lost and three rebel groups. Each of these factions have their unique abilities and gameplay approach.
XCOM 2 is a squad based strategy title with turned based mechanics. It further strengthens the robust gameplay system of XCOM: Enemy Unknown and adds more in-depth customization options and an overall deeper and involving experience. The environment is more interactive and destructive than before and provides more tactical flexibility during missions.
There are a total of 5 base soldier classes to choose from, each having their own unique roles and abilities. Further units are introduced via DLCs and the Expansion Pack.
- First we have the Ranger class. It specializes in close combat and focuses on melee.
- The Grenadier utilizes demolitions and heavy weapons to cause wanton destruction.
- The combat medic or hacker role is fulfilled by the Specialist who utilizes a drone called the Gremlin to support the squad.
- To cause mayhem and confusion among the ranks of the enemies, the sharp shooter takes enemies off the playing field with devastating sniper fire and pistols if it gets up close and personal.
- The Psi Operative is the secret weapon in XCOM’s arsenal. He uses his mind to strengthen the morale of his comrades and to crush the will of his enemies.
- There is a sixth soldier class that is introduced in the “Shen’s last gift” DLC. It’s basically a huge robot that deals devastating damage and protects the squad from incoming fire. In short, unstoppable.
The graphics are top notch and the environment is immersive. The prequel was praised for its detailed graphics and XCOM 2 builds up on that. The final product is an immersive experience which is thoroughly enjoyable and engaging. It’s all well and good but to play this game on the highest settings requires a powerful Mac and older models won’t be able to run this game effectively.
The minimum spec requirements to run this game are:
- Mac OS X 10.11.2,
- 2.4 Ghz intel processor
- 4 GB RAM
- 1GB NVIDIA 650 TI /AMD 5770 or Intel Iris Pro graphics.
All-in-all, XCOM 2 is a solid gaming experience which somebody who’s new to the genre will enjoy experiencing and those who are already familiar with the XCOM franchise will be overjoyed with this addition to the series.