“XCOM 2” is a bleak game — the human race was conquered by aliens in “XCOM: Enemy Unknown” — but there’s hope for humanity in the form of an underground resistance movement. You, the player, return in the role of the XCOM Commander to defeat the aliens and the humans who serve them. If the “XCOM 2” reviews are any indication, players won’t want to stop playing this action-packed strategy video game.
To be released Friday, “XCOM 2” adheres to the familiar formula of previous entries in the turn-based series. The player is in charge of a mobile base as the XCOM Commander, supported by Chief Engineer An-Yi “Lilly” Shen, Chief Scientist Richard Tygan and Central Officer Bradford. To battle with the aliens and the Advent Coalition, the player can dispatch squads of operatives with special abilities. Grenadiers, sharpshooters and tech specialists can deploy drones or Psi operatives who can telepathically attack foes. Enemies have their own tricks that will force the player to think hard about which soldiers to send into combat.
The first reviews of “XCOM 2” are online, with widespread praise offered by critics. Its Metacritic score currently sits at 91, with 22 positive reviews. Many reviewers cite improvements to the overall gameplay, graphics and strategy aspects as the reasons for the high scores.
By the end of the game, a player will have strong attachments to his or her troops, according to the Daily Dot. Each battle features a small squad of operatives who rise in rank, gain new abilities and become more powerful. Losing any of the will hinder advancement later in the game, but the time spent controlling their actions leads to emotional reactions to their deaths.
Previous “XCOM” games had aliens advancing from the shadows, which meant a player’s every movement into unknown territory presented the possibility of an ambush. In “XCOM 2,” the aliens are also subject to this risk. This changes adds a new strategic element to the tried-and-true formula, according to Polygon. There are multiple scenarios for missions, and that attention to detail extends to the mobile Avenger. In addition to allocating resources and advancing research, the Avenger can move to different parts of the world to complete different missions. There are a few animation glitches or long pauses between motions, IGN reported. However, these bugs tend to be annoyances that don’t really affect the overall experience.