More powerful soldiers and more unpredictable battlefields are this sequel's answers to our complaints about last tactical combat game.
There’s an air of white-knuckle desperation about XCOM 2’s post-apocalyptic setting, and it only enhances the tension. Taking place 20 years after humanity shockingly lost the war we played in 2012’s excellent XCOM: Enemy Unknown, we’re now fighting to overthrow a decades-long alien occupation of the planet. It’s a very thematically appropriate scenario for a game about taking four to six-person squads into battle against initially-superior alien forces, and a great backdrop for these unpredictable, tactically deep, and addictive battles.


Above: Watch some XCOM 2 gameplay.
Just like before, XCOM’s high-stakes turn-based tactical combat dares you to become attached to your customizable characters (I made most of IGN’s staff in the character editor) knowing that on any given mission they could be permanently killed off because of mistakes or just bad luck. As with Risk, Monopoly, Warhammer, poker, and anything else involving chance, XCOM 2 is a game where you can theoretically do everything right and still lose to bad rolls of the dice, but on the whole a good player will generally come out on top. Deciding when and how to upgrade and use each soldier’s abilities, then crossing your fingers and hoping they’ll make their clutch shot, creates non-stop suspenseful, triumphant, and tragic moments.
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