Introduction: XCOM 2: War of the Chosen is a tactical turn-based strategy game developed by Firaxis Games and published by 2K Games. Released in 2017 as an expansion for XCOM 2, it added significant depth and complexity to the already acclaimed XCOM series. In this article, we will explore the pros and cons of XCOM 2: War of the Chosen, provide a comprehensive gameplay guide, and suggest five alternatives for those who enjoy this style of game. 

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Pros:

  • Enhanced Gameplay Depth: War of the Chosen introduced three powerful alien “Chosen” enemies who continually harass the player, adding a layer of strategic complexity. Their abilities and tactics evolve over time, making the game more engaging and challenging.
  • New Factions: The expansion introduces three resistance factions that offer unique soldiers, abilities, and technologies. These factions bring a fresh dynamic to the game, allowing players to build alliances and reap the benefits.
  • The Lost: A new enemy type, “The Lost,” presents a different threat. Hordes of zombies-like creatures force players to adapt and make strategic decisions. They provide a welcome change of pace from the traditional alien adversaries.
  • Covert Operations: Covert operations missions add a more stealthy element to the game. You can send soldiers on these missions to gain various rewards, including rescuing captured soldiers, gathering intel, and countering the Chosen’s schemes.
  • Hero Classes: The expansion introduces three new hero classes, each with its unique abilities and story-driven character development. These classes provide a fresh take on traditional soldier types and open up new tactical possibilities.
  • Narrative Depth: War of the Chosen adds a narrative layer to the game. The Chosen and faction leaders provide interesting and sometimes humorous interactions, creating a more engaging storyline.
  • Modding Support: XCOM 2 has an active modding community, and War of the Chosen adds even more depth to modding capabilities. Players can find an extensive array of user-created content, from new missions to cosmetic enhancements.
  • Visual Enhancements: The expansion includes new maps, environments, and mission objectives, making the game more visually appealing. The addition of new cutscenes and animations enhances the overall cinematic experience.
  • Longevity: War of the Chosen significantly extends the replayability of XCOM 2. The constant threat of the Chosen, the evolving narrative, and the variety of mission types ensure players can enjoy the game for many hours.
  • Tactical Depth: The core of XCOM’s gameplay is the tactical combat, which War of the Chosen refines and expands upon. The game offers a wide range of tactical choices, and players must carefully consider positioning, cover, and resource management to succeed.

Cons:

  • Steep Learning Curve: XCOM 2 and its expansion can be quite challenging for newcomers. The learning curve can be steep, and players may find themselves struggling in the early stages of the game.
  • High Difficulty: Even on lower difficulty settings, War of the Chosen can be punishingly difficult. The game doesn’t pull punches, and some players might be frustrated by repeated failures.
  • Time-Consuming: The game can be a significant time sink. Missions can take a long time to complete, and the need to manage your base, soldiers, and resources can make it difficult to play in short sessions.
  • Resource Management: While resource management is a core aspect of the game, some players might find it tedious or overwhelming, especially when trying to balance research, engineering, and the allocation of limited supplies.
  • Performance Issues: XCOM 2 and its expansion have had some performance issues, including bugs and occasional crashes. While many of these issues have been patched, they can still be a source of frustration for some players.

Gameplay Guide:

  • Understanding the Chosen: The Chosen are powerful adversaries that evolve over time. You need to learn their strengths and weaknesses and adapt your strategy accordingly. Building resistance orders and researching Chosen weaknesses is crucial.
  • Managing Factions: The three resistance factions offer unique soldiers, technologies, and missions. Form alliances with them early to take advantage of their strengths. Completing faction-specific missions and recruiting their heroes can greatly benefit your campaign.
  • Dealing with The Lost: The Lost are weak individually but can swarm your squad. Use high-damage, low-ammo weapons like shotguns and explosives to deal with them efficiently. Special abilities like the Reaper’s Silent Takedown can be invaluable.
  • Covert Operations: Send soldiers on covert operations to gain valuable rewards and counter Chosen schemes. Assigning the right soldier to the right mission and managing the risk/reward aspect is crucial.
  • Hero Classes: Hero classes have unique abilities that can change the tide of battle. Understanding their strengths and exploiting their abilities is essential. The skirmisher, for example, can perform multiple actions in a single turn, allowing for incredible mobility and firepower.
  • Story and Character Development: Pay attention to the narrative and character development. The interactions between the Chosen, faction leaders, and your soldiers provide depth to the game’s universe. Invest in the story for a more engaging experience.
  • Modding: Explore the wealth of mods available for XCOM 2 and War of the Chosen. From quality-of-life improvements to entirely new gameplay experiences, mods can enhance your enjoyment of the game.
  • Balancing Resource Management: Striking a balance between researching new technology, building new facilities, and maintaining your troops is crucial. Prioritize your needs and allocate resources wisely.
  • Tactical Combat: Always consider your soldier’s position, cover, and line of sight. Flanking, Overwatch, and ambushes are essential tactics. Also, consider the terrain and use it to your advantage, such as high ground for increased accuracy.
  • Save Scumming: While some players frown upon it, “save scumming” (reloading an earlier save to correct mistakes) can be a useful tool for learning and mastering XCOM’s challenging gameplay.

5 Alternatives to XCOM 2: War of the Chosen:

  • Phoenix Point: Developed by the original creator of XCOM, Julian Gollop, Phoenix Point offers a fresh take on the turn-based strategy genre. It features mutated enemies, factions, and a dynamic world that reacts to your choices.
  • Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden: This game combines turn-based tactics with real-time stealth elements, set in a post-apocalyptic world. The quirky characters and unique storytelling make it a compelling alternative.
  • Wasteland 3: While not purely a turn-based strategy game, Wasteland 3 offers deep tactical combat in a post-apocalyptic, open-world setting. It features a rich story, choices with consequences, and a variety of characters.
  • Valkyria Chronicles 4: This is a blend of turn-based strategy and third-person shooter, set in a fantasy world inspired by World War II. The game emphasizes unit positioning and resource management.
  • BattleTech: For those interested in tactical mecha combat, BattleTech offers a rich experience. You manage a group of mercenaries and their mechs, customizing both the mechs and your strategy for battles. 

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Conclusion: XCOM 2: War of the Chosen is a remarkable expansion that builds upon the solid foundation of XCOM 2, adding depth, narrative richness, and challenging new adversaries. While it has its share of pros and cons, it offers an engaging and rewarding experience for players who appreciate tactical turn-based strategy games. For those looking for alternatives or more games in this genre, the five mentioned titles provide various takes on the formula, catering to different preferences and playstyles. Whether you’re leading a resistance against alien invaders or exploring post-apocalyptic wastelands, these games offer hours of strategic enjoyment.