Meta-Review: XCOM 2 (PC)

XCOM2When Firaxis released the 2012 XCOM Enemy Unknown, its incredible success seemed to have come out of nowhere. A rebirth of a strategy series that had seemed all but dead, aside from a maligned potential first person shooter that nobody wanted (later released as the third person shooter The Bureau: XCOM Declassified). It’s tremendous success had much to do with it’s fusion of old-school turn-based strategy gameplay with beautiful environments and a punishing perma-death system that had you fearing every move. The game was a massive success and spawned ports on all major systems, both home and mobile, as well as a terrific add-on campaign entitled Enemy Within. With the sequel recently released, it looks as if Firaxis has recaptured that same lightning with the extremely well-received XCOM 2, a game in which you the player canonically lost the first game and must fight guerrilla style against the various alien races that have taken over the Earth.

Check out what the reviewers have to say below:

XCOM Viper-attack

Game InformerYou’re constantly under the gun in XCOM 2, and the deck is often stacked against you. Firaxis’ masterclass in strategy design has you second-guessing all your choices and analyzing your smallest decisions. It might sound stressful, and at times it is, but XCOM 2’s battles are so compelling that it’s easy to pick yourself up after defeat and jump back into the fray. Successfully navigating XCOM 2’s storm of difficult choices is enough to make you feel like a true legend. (9.75/10)

PC Gamer: I can find little to criticise. The camera occasionally wafts through walls in close-ups, there’s sometimes a lengthy pause before the character you’re watching acts. A lack of foreknowledge in your first playthrough will hurt your ability to plan, too, forcing you to be more reactive, though the constant flow of new enemy types and story missions makes up for that. Thanks to your varying starting position, procedural missions and tactical depth, XCOM 2 can and should be played repeatedly. I already have plans to build a proper unit of psychic soldiers, and a stealthy all-ranger scout squad in my next run. Those aliens won’t know what hit them. (9.4/10)

IGN: With a focus on variety and replayability, this sequel has an answer to most of my complaints about 2012’s excellent XCOM: Enemy Unknown, and aside from some mostly cosmetic bugs, it comes together brilliantly. Thanks to a new spin on the same great tactical combat, plus unpredictable maps and randomized objectives and loot, XCOM 2 is an amazing game I’ll easily put hundreds of hours into. (9.3/10)

The Escapist: XCOM 2 is a fantastic accomplishment, and series fans will be happy to hear it’s better thanEnemy Unknown in pretty much every conceivable way. The few frustrations that do exist are primarily technical, and while the camera’s unlikely to see a reboot anytime soon, the rest could probably be fixed with patches in the future. Furthermore, as you don’t need to have played XCOM to enjoy XCOM 2, so there’s little to no barrier to entry for new players beyond its narrow PC-exclusive release. (Sorry Xbox, PlayStation, and iPhone!). All in all,XCOM 2 is a great choice for both long-time fans and tactical action enthusiasts looking to jump into the series for the first time. (4.5/5)

Yahoo Games: It’s clear that XCOM 2 is an ambitious effort, with just about every mechanic from Enemy Unknown going under the knife in some way. Most of the changes are for the best, leading to another genuinely fun, tense romp through an embattled world desperate for your strategic brilliance. It stumbles a bit, however, and a handful of issues make the experience clumsy and overcomplicated, forcing players to pay an exorbitant price for their own ignorance. But hey, isn’t saving the human race worth a little saving and reloading? (4/5)

Follow Tom on Twitter @thomaskagar

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