XCOM 2 (XB1) Review

Justin Celani

Command and conquer your alien fears.

I was never much for XCOM back in the original releases, knowing little about them aside from it being PC games. So when it released on consoles a few years back, I gave it a try and absolutely loved it. It was disappointing to hear that XCOM 2 wasn’t coming to consoles when it was released on PC, but as we all can tell now, that didn’t last long. Is the console version any good though, or not worth a second look?

They are among us

XCOM 2 validates that story-wise we lost the war at the end of the last entry. Aliens invaded and took over the world, what a lovely day. What starts as a tutorial mission and intro to the game’s mechanics has players rescuing the very player from the first game. Having gone missing for 20 some years, the world has changed and the aliens have a firm lock down on earth. It’s up to the player’s decisions and the team to take back this planet once and for all.

xcom2console_01

MSRP: $59.99
Price I’d Pay: $59.99
Multiplayer: 1-6
How long to beat: 25+ hours

It’s a similar set up from the original with real time, turn based active combat taking the forefront and base building and resources as a secondary. It’s just as exciting, intense, and interesting as the first game, but if players never had a chance to try the original version out, it’s not hard to jump right into XCOM 2. The basic idea is, take a team of recruits, level them up, and take down the alien scum. Yes the camera angle is a isometric top down view, but the way the camera will zoom in for combat, during key moments of movement and other situations, really gives it a cinematic flair and makes the action seem that much more intense.

While the basic core mechanics of turns and attacks have stayed mostly the same throughout, there are additional new abilities or perks for the classes that make the game a bit more refined. With that comes more enemies to fight and new tactics to use. There is one key element here that really will be hit or miss with folks though, and it’s the timer. Some missions have active timers on how many turns can be used before the mission fails. It puts stress on the player to make the right choices and the right moves. Failure can and does happen. For those that like to take their time, it would be nice to have an option to turn these off, but then again stress has been a factor in the series, and making decisions on combat actions and how to build the base is always a point of contention.

Visually, XCOM 2 looks good, better than the last game, but it still doesn’t look amazing. It’s suitable though, and with the dark blues, neon colors, and explosions, it serves the game well enough. Animations at times can come across a bit stiff, but otherwise for a turn based RPG, it works well and I wasn’t disappointed with it. Performance on the other hand can be hit and miss, with sometimes loads taking a while, or stuttering occurring. It never adversely affected my time with the game, but it’s there and noticeable. Then again, the PC version was no stranger to jank and odd visual discrepancies either.

xcom2console_02

X going to give it to ya

XCOM 2 is a fantastic experience, and one that retains all the elements that the original release on consoles brought while adding more. The setting for the story is fun, the idea of moving the mobile base around the world is interesting, and I had a grin almost the entire time I was playing the game. Head to head multiplayer is there also for those bored once the campaign is done, but the meat of the experience is the single player for me. Sure it’s stressful and I have moments where my soldiers die horrible deaths, but that’s what XCOM is about, making the call, standing by the decisions made, and failure does happen. XCOM 2 will make players want to continue the good fight regardless.

Favorite moment: I had barely survived a battle, I had one person left, I completed my mission. This is XCOM alright.

Worst moment: Performance issues. When they rear their ugly head, they def ugly.

Review copy of game provided by publisher.

Good

  • RPG tactics
  • Story/setting
  • Decision making

Bad

  • Performance issues
8.5

Great

Justin Celani

Justin is a long time passionate fan of games, not gaming drama. He loves anything horror related, archaeology inspired adventures, RPG goodness, Dr Pepper, and of course his family. When it comes to crunch time, he is a beast, yet rabies free we promise.

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