XCOM: Enemy Within Review

November 30, 2013

Running a clandestine firm committed to combating diabolical alien invaders is tough, but as XCOM: Adversary Unidentified instructed us, it gets a lot simpler if you can take things out of the opponent’s playbook. And when those things include extreme hereditary adjustments and hulking robot exoskeletons– two of the greatest features introduced by the Opponent Within expansion– the fight does not necessarily get simpler, however it does get a lot more intriguing.

More than just including material to the outstanding tactics/resource-management game, Enemy Within (ported to Mac by Feral Interactive, which previously did a bang-up task on Opponent Unidentified) changes XCOM’s playing field with brand-new abilities, weapons, upgrades, enemies, story-driven missions, and characters– and, obviously, the alternative to deceive out your soldiers with unusual DNA and mech matches. The previous can offer your soldiers cool superpowers, including mimetic skin that makes them undetectable, or improved eyes for better targeting, while the latter eliminates their limbs and provides them huge cyborg (or ‘MEC’) bodies, able to deal and hold up against enormous damage (however not able to take cover during firefights).

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It’s all made possible by the addition of ‘Meld,’ an unusual element that now appears on battlegrounds in fast-expiring containers, if you can get it prior to it decays, you can use it to power augmentations and upgrades. Aside from including a valuable brand-new resource to manage in between missions, it gives combat a new, faster dynamic, considering that the Meld disappears in a few turns, its presence pushes players to charge towards unusual fatality teams to snag it, rather of just cring behind cover and awaiting the aliens to reveal themselves.

Another big modification: Not all your opponents are alien this time around. EW includes a network of alien-sympathizing terrorists called EXALT to the mix, and given that their techniques and weaponry are largely identical to your own, they can be a much larger challenge than the aliens. Taking them out requires a series of hidden objectives, throughout which you’ll need to send an agent undercover, wait a couple of days, then battle waves of EXALT soldiers in order to recover them. Each covert operation discloses a bit more about the place of EXALT head office, which you’ll have the ability to plunder once you have crossed enough nations off the list of possibilities.

If that’s inadequate, Adversary Within adds some stunningly challenging story objectives– including one that showcases a monster-infested whale, and a semi-randomized win-or-die circumstance that sees XCOM’s underground base attacked by overwhelming waves of aliens. It also ramps up the regularity of unusual encounters, especially early on (which can really get type of annoying, if you are waiting on essential R&D or for troops to heal). It suffices to make it feel like a new game (which is especially vital if you’ve actually currently completed Opponent Unidentified, as you’ll need to start over to benefit from EW’s modifications), but it still keeps the stressful environment, addicting tactical combat, and individual financial investment (in your very customizable troops) that made Enemy Unidentified wonderful.

The bottom line. If you took pleasure in Adversary Unknown and are ready for even more, XCOM: Adversary Within’s additions and modifications make it a must-buy.