I just watched Totalbiscuit’s early look at XCOM 2 and I have to say I’m more excited for the game than I was before. I’m going to go over some of the parts that I’m most excited about.
First off the key word for XCOM 2 looks to be customisation. There is so much of it.
Everything about your troops can be customised. You can customise their name, nationality, class, voice, attitude (animations etc), and props. Props is things like hats (because there are always hats), tops, colour and colour patterns for your armour and guns. There look to be 100’s of options with more unlocked as you level up your characters.
The good news is that you can make characters and save them to import into each game as opposed to having to do each new game which was always a bit of a pain. You can even set it so that the characters you create can appear in your game as VIP’s and Dark VIP’s and not just soldiers which is a nice touch.
This customisation has even spread to your weapons, and I don’t just mean with the colour and colour patterns. Over the course of the game you will pick up gear looted from dead enemies on the battlefield that can be used to modify your weapons. These item pick ups are random, meaning you can get some fairly advanced stuff early game and it means no two playthroughs are exactly the same which was a slight problem with XCOM (you always did this, then this, then this). These customised guns can’t be manufactured and if the person holding it dies you must retrieve it from their body before the mission ends or lose it which is a really really nice touch. It’s easy to see how such powerfully modified guns could become vital to your forces efforts.
There’s a memorial wall for your dead soldiers in what looks to be the bar of your ships base which let’s be honest is the perfect place for it. Hopefully it doesn’t get much use but it’s a really nice touch that it’s there.
The base ship also has a library where you can read the fictional lore and history of the game which again is a nice little touch to be added and a good place to waste a couple of hours reading all the background material.
There’s been some changes to the classes, gone are the heavy, assault, and support classes replaced by the grenadier, ranger, and specialist respectively. The ranger class is a melee class and carries a big sword, I’m not sure XCOM needed a melee class but I’m curious to see how useful it can be while the specialist can be trained as a medic or hacker.
XCOM 2 sticks with the same skill tree systems from XCOM with the two options to pick from at each rank which I’m happy with. I like the system of picking between A and B skill each time a soldier goes up in rank, it allows you to have a bit of troop diversity for each class.
You can also add personal buffs to your troops with Personal Combat Sims or PCS, these are things that you equip to your troops and provide things like an aim boost. Again it’s a nice addition and should hopefully allow for more varied troop customisation.
There are a lot more alien varieties now in the game as well as human traitors to fight against which again is nice and should mean you need to constantly shift tactics and keep the pressure on making sure you have the best gear you can get.
The research and the combat haven’t changed much beyond there now being a stealth (concealment) system and new things to research. Again I’m happy with that because I like how both those things work in XCOM.
Basically it’s like the first XCOM which I love but with a new theme, which looks/sounds awesome, and a lot more customisation which is also awesome so there’s a lot to be excited about here.
XCOM 2 comes out 5th February 2016 and I can’t wait.