Slow and Steady Won't Win the Race in 'XCOM 2’

Making rookies of us all.


If you thought Firaxis’s first alien invasion was a lesson in brutality, it’s got nothing on XCOM 2. This time around, the aliens are meaner, the stakes are higher, and the devs have gone to great lengths to ensure tactics that won the day in XCOM: Enemy Within and XCOM: Enemy Unknown wont get the job done.

In the past, you could just move deliberately, keep your squad in sight of each other, and eventually you’d win the day. That doesn’t work anymore. To drive these invaders off your home planet, you’re going to need to mix things up.

Here are a few tips to help minimize your loss going into XCOM 2.

Enemy Unkown Players Shouldn’t Be Completely Lost

There are some hard-won lessons from the previous title that veterans can rely on. Rotate your squad out after every battle so you’re not relying on a small group of soldiers. Never leave cover without a damn good reason. Never pursue research or purchase upgrades for your soldiers without a lot of forethought.

Beyond that, XCOM 2 is a whole new battlefield.

This Game is Chess, Not Checkers

That doesn’t mean moving slowly; it means try to forecast the future. Think of the potential ramifications of every possible move on every single turn before you commit. Remember, though, being good at chess doesn’t always mean playing it safe. Sometimes you need to sacrifice a pawn to insure victory.

Your Soldiers Will Die and You Will Lose

In the later levels of Enemy Unknown, your commander was forced to endure some inevitable loss, but for the most part, a deliberate approach could help minimize troop loss to great extent. That isn’t the case in XCOM 2. Stay focused on the mission, and remember that sacrifice is the only true path to revolution.

Find Small Moments to Stop and Chill

You won’t get a lot of downtime in the field, so be sure to make the most of it. Reload whenever possible and take stock of your position on the board whenever you have a few moments between gun fights.

Once cannon fodder, XCOM 2's Sectoids have been given new, deadlier powers.

2K Games

Regular Sectoids are now Sectoid Commanders

Street-level Sectoids can now shut down and control your troops, just like Sectoid Commanders from the previous game. Beware.

Recovering Gear Isn’t a Given

Employ a buddy system in the field so that if one of your soldiers goes down, you can use another grunt to hoist his carcass across the finish line. This is the only way to get your soldier’s gear back, and you’re going to need that stuff. Trust us.

Don’t Shoot the Alien, Shoot Their Cover

A well-placed grenade can obliterate an enemy’s cover, leaving them open to your advances. Of course, that’s a two-way street.

The Redshirt Theory

In the early stages of the game, try to make sure it’s your Rookies who will be taking most of the heat. Not only will you want to keep your specialists somewhat safe, but you’ll also need to ensure that your greenhorns are getting experience. Putting the redshirts up front is the best way to do that.

It’ll also help spare you some emotional grief if and when your frontline gets mowed down.

Related Tags