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The XCOM’s back and it’s better than ever…
No joke there, folks. XCOM: Enemy Unknown was Game of the Year from multiple publications like Kotaku, Giant Bomb and GameTrailers, let alone the inspiration for our first article/Top Five list, and now Firaxis and 2K Games are back with round two of the invasion: welcome to XCOM: Enemy Within, the expansion pack.
Cut your arms and legs off and you too can ride one of these.
Two things you need to know about this new game: one, it’s not DLC. This is a $40 standalone purchase complete with disk and case, which might throw off non-computer gamers used to going to the games marketplace and paying with Points. Second, this is a must-buy addition to you game library, whether you own the original Enemy Unknown or not. New players will get the full EU experience and more, and veterans will find the options more than enough to delve into.
For newer players, you can skip the rest of this article to go out and grab your copy. I recommend this game as highly as I recommend bacon cheeseburgers for broken hearts (but not clogged arteries). For everyone else, here’s a preview of the stuff that makes a second purchase worth your money.
Two hearts are better than one.
The earliest change you’ll notice is the variety of new maps. UFOs crash in urban areas now, giving you and your enemies a little more cover than the old game. There seems to be a priority on newer maps, although the old ones do pop up. You’ll also notice a new resource is available. Named Meld, this time-sensitive material is the economy of two new additions to the game. The first, Gene Modification, allows you to boost any soldier you have with new capabilities, like a Thin Man-like jump to a second heart that keeps you alive when you shouldn’t be. The second is MEC Augmentation, which makes your soldier able to interface with an all new mecha unit. The two systems are incompatible though, so make sure you know what you’re shooting for before you start altering soldiers.
Your own tactics will be used against you…
One of the most interesting new aspects is the addition of a new enemy faction called EXALT, human extremists with an addiction to gene modification. While we already know what most of the aliens are capable of, these guys can and will use your own tactics to incredible effect. They have a base somewhere on the planet from which they steal your money and sabotage your research. Using a new Covert Operations tab in the Situation Room, you can scan for cells, send an operative to infiltrate and a few days later extract him to get a clue to where they are and stop them for good. A beautiful addition.
A robot with tentacles that tries to suffocate you…anime influence?
I’ve played for about ten hours now, and every hour something new pops up. Whether it’s a new mission type, a new enemy, or a new tactic to implement, this Enemy Within does for Enemy Unknown what Yuri’s Revenge did for Red Alert 2: it makes the original unstoppable.
Look for the review soon.