Nov 25, 2014
XCOM: Enemy Within is a standalone expansion to the amazing 2013 game XCOM: Enemy Unknown. It is essentially the same game with a fair few new additions and some refinements that make it a better game.
XCOM: Enemy Within as said above is a lot like Enemy Unknown. It is an in depth turn based strategy game where players take control of XCOM, an anti extraterrestrial organization attempting to fend off a global alien invasion.
Players take control of recruitment, training and research and both air forces and ground forces when the need arises. XCOM couples base building and broad strategic choice with a turn based, squad based combat engine. Aliens completely outgun humanity at the beginning of the game, so developing XCOMâ€™s technologies is a central part of the game. That is the super complex XCOM in a tenuous nutshell.
The main addition of Enemy Within is the Meld. These canisters of orange goop are the key to unlocking a number of powerful new abilities for soldiers. One use of Meld is to upgrade soldiers with genetic implants that can boost their stats or endow them with abilities, like buffing the whole squad after a kill.
The other path for Meld use is to construct a Cybernetics Lab that can transform soldiers into giant, armoured killing machines with heavy weapons.
Both of these are fun and let players boost their favorite soldiers in new and exciting ways. You can do things like have elite ocular enhanced snipers popping aliens or have a MEC lead the way, absorbing all incoming fire while shotgun-wielding pheromone releasing assault soldiers cover it.
There are new enemies like the new Seeker which can cloak itself and strangle soldiers, rendering them helpless unless it is killed or the soldier dies.
A great new addition is medals. Medals can be awarded to any soldier and function as combat buffs. These can do things like raise their stats by completing missions without soldier deaths or cause a soldier to never panic from allied causalities. This is a good idea and helps make soldiers feel even more like individuals.
The game looks about the same as it did before. There are a few new pieces of equipment and some nice new environments, but they are more of what youâ€™d expect from XCOM. Of course Enemy Unknown was an excellent looking game so itâ€™s not like this is a bad thing.
The sound is improved. There are new soldier acknowledgements, speech and new ambient sounds. Sometimes youâ€™ll roll into a sector and hear a nice ambient saxophone playing in the service station as your soldiers trade fire with aliens and plasma bolts reduces parts of the building to rubble. Other than that, the game retains XCOMâ€™s excellent weapon and environment sounds and disturbing alien sounds. Great stuff as always.
XCOM Enemy Within adds a lot of interesting feature to the still fantastic gameplay of the original Enemy Unknown. Players who played the original to death will still find fun in the new features, while strategy fans who missed the game the first time around will be in turn based heaven.