GameSpot's The Lobby: Is XCOM 2 tough or casual?GameSpot's Mike Mahardy spent the holiday break playing countless house of XCOM 2. So how does it play, does it do enough that's new, and is is still challenging to play?
[MUSIC] Okay. You're right you're on to the camera. You too. Andy Bauman's coming in because we're about to talk XCom two. Myself and Mike got to Play the I guess, movie, it's just a preview build. Yeah. Over the holidays? Pretty sizeable part of the game. Yeah, pretty long. I haven't gotten anywhere near the ending of it. Andy you played this just before the holiday break. I did. Yeah, and you put up a video. Yeah. Just before holiday break at [UNKNOWN] You did. [INAUDIBLE] Go watch that video. But don't right now cuz we're doing this one. But wait. But wait there's more later. So what exactly did you get to play. You got to start from scratch. Right, they sort of popped us in. Right. They let us play a tutorial and then they're like all right here we're gonna bump you up, and you already have a squad [INAUDIBLE] And I was lost because of so much going on. And I think that's one of the main takeaways of X Com compared to X Com 2 is that X Com 2 is just like, holy ****. Lot of story. So much stuff happening. Which is almost all embargoed so we can't talk about it. For the [INAUDIBLE] so that's pretty good. Yeah, we could say there's very much an overarching story that keeps coming into it, but I think that's the extent of what we could talk about. All right. So but the preview build we saw was essentially the game, it just, I guess it stops closer to the end, it doesn't show you all of it. But we did all the early tutorial stuff, all the early stuff, again, which we can't talk a lot about. You died a lot? I died in the tutorial. Oh you didn't. Yeah. Well, I think you have to. I think they make you die though. Wait, did you get wiped in the tutorial? I got wiped. Oh dude, no, no. Not descriptive. So what happened? [LAUGH] Did you have to redo it? I just redid the tutorial mission. God damn it. You also, so you've wiped a couple of times. You're playing Iron Man at the moment, right? Oh I have to. So the first question, cuz a lot of people are worried about this cuz it's sequel to a really popular game. Some people weren't worried because you're changing up a lot of enemies and you're kind of your role as in, you give this Gorilla sort of aspect instead of being on the frontline. Is it, has it been nerved, has it been difficult to be nerved or does it feel as difficult as like a good Xcombient. XCOM 2 feels substantially harder than Enemy Unknown. Oh, really. I've been playing on normal, they call normal veteran like they said, if you're not playing in easy you know there's those prompts next to it. Normal says Play if you're a seasoned XCOM player. Okay. And then there's two more difficulties after that. [LAUGH] And I've been playing on normal with Iron Man, just cuz I really like the perma-death idea, and not being able to reload saves. And there's been four separate campaigns I've started that I've had to just start over. I was screwed. Wow, and was it fun to start over? Oh yeah. Yeah, yeah. And like Andy said, there's so much to keep track of. That's why I'm really glad that they didn't pod me into something and let me start from scratch, because You're learning with each of these new abilities when you go up to corporal or sergeant. You get attached to these characters. Tonya has long sights so I know that she can protect everybody from her sniper perks. This character has the machine gun abilities to press them You really get to know the characters, and then the campaign I'm in right now, I've only lost two people about four hours in, which if you played XCOM, it's tense. You're like, when's the hammer gonna fall? You're gonna get too confident, and it's all gonna go to **** in one episode, and there's gonna be four of them dead in the mission. Oh yeah, I'll start dashing more and then not having overwatch and then there will be a wipeout. Actually, that's an interesting point because you were saying in your video on the, sort of the roles have been, overwatch is like this whole other ballgame now because the roles have been reversed. Instead of you kind of jumping into what is essentially a bunch of Aliens waiting for you to come. You are now the, I guess the guerrilla warfare, going in and sort of striking him. So they don't know you're there. Yeah. So, right from the off, you're kind of already in stealth mode, waiting to do your initial attack? And it's way better, because first of all, in the in the original game you're, By the time you've played that game a lot and you're like getting good at it. You know you have to move in like little starts. Like leapfrogging, and it's all kind of I don't know, boring? Like the first five minutes of every mission are the same and tell you to launch you into the thing and the alien sees you and it's good. And this one is like, oh, you can actually think tactically, set up an ambush, go around. Or even try and complete the mission without ever being seen. Oh, wow. At all. A lot of the missions do have a trigger point, though. So it's like, you gotta steal the thing off the train. And then everybody gets alerted, even if you stayed out of sight. And you could potentially run after that, and just try to get the hell out of there. Cuz these missions in XCOM 2 have extractions. Mechanic where you get to a thing, you throw down a flare or whatever and then the ship comes and you just get everybody to there. It's weird. They've added a bunch of. The missions I'm sure are a lot more varied as well. It's not just the kill everyone scenario. Which those would have been because you were basically going to crash UFO sites and clearing them. But now it's a lot more extraction stuff. A lot more timers where you have to get to bombs and stuff. And what I like about that sort of intro part, Mike, is the whole, the line of sights of the enemies. Sometimes they're on patrols. Sometimes their line of sight is moving between the turns, it's crazy. Yeah, and there's these red tiles that shows an eye on it. If you step on that they're gonna alert you, unless you get disability later on with the rangers. Oh. So you can walk right through those. Really? Awesome, yeah because and then the ranger that we had also has one wear. If the rest of team, so they see one of your team members, the entire team is revealed. Okay. But I have this one, this one ranger. Her name is Kelly, and she's Irish. I loved how you know their name what was. [LAUGH] Yeah, that's why I love this game. Yeah, yeah. She's got this ability where the rest of the team gets revealed but she stays concealed So you can flank with her, perfect. That's so cool. you get a 95% chance to hit and it's critical. She's got this, like, laser, shotgun Mm-hm. Oh, it's awesome. And you have the mission objective just changed so much there's you know like, extra, like Andy said, sometimes you can just Sneak up, you know this thing you have to extract and then you can just get right up to that alerting the enemy if you're good enough or patient enough I guess. That's crazy. Unless there's a timer which those ones like I'm a really conservative player like I almost have, if I have like a five person squad, I'll have four on overwatch and have one move up and then. But this really forces you to go outside your comfort zone. Even more so than the one in Enemy Unknown. Which is so good about Xcom. Cuz all the wheels are turning in your head. And then something goes wrong and forces you to adapt. And that timer is just another wheel. So it feels like a lot more, I don't know, that it's just like thing we talked to Jacob. It, complexity makes it look feel more real, cuz there's more things moving so So it feels less like a system and more like an, okay, I need to figure this out. Like a sort of a real world, dynamic sort of thing. One thing I certainly haven't talked about in stuff we've covered, and I think gets left out a lot because it's sort of like, just another XCOM mechanic, is you get this, like, drone thing with one of your characters that flies around, and it can like, hack **** And one of the coolest things they've done this is really hard to explain without being able to see it in person. Right. But basically you have like three options of hacking. Like a easy version that just like gets it done. A harder version that like has a percent chance of like giving you some sort of bonus. Okay. Or like a super hard version that has like a really small chance of giving you like a really good bonus. But it also **** you if you don't It sets off an alarm or something. Yeah, poison gas just comes over you whole team you die. I don't know if it's that dramatic, but I'm sure there is one that is that bad, and that thing can like go so far. So a lot of the missions you can stay stealthy and then use that thing to go in to do the hacking, turn the turret against. Oh, wow. So there's just like all these other options that it gives you. Because a lot of the bad guys in this are, they have guns. They're not insectoids as we know the first tier enemy of the first game. They're like dudes with guns, basically. And they also have cars that they pull up in and [UNKNOWN]. And you saw this in the original trailer than they really squirt you hacking and it turns them against them. Those are all over the place because And, but, here's a question too, that I just thought of. The things are procedural so potentially you guys are playing Rice. from the beginning but having completely different maps. Oh yeah. And like where those points are that you can hack stuff are probably different. And like if there's a gun here in my game it might not be there in your game or whatever so you're like That's something we need to experiment with when we get the game. For sure. Yeah. And this is why It's so exciting, because XCom was kind of like based on UFO Defense or Enemy Unknown, if you were living in Europe, which we're kind of Games that we knew about. They scrubbed out some of the more superfluous base building stuff specifically. And they kind of made this super tight game. But it was kind of, we knew what it was. If you played an old XCOM game, you knew what XCOM was. So sort of the thing, the one criticism you could say of XCOM One is it wasn't very replayable, cuz it was kinda the same thing over and over again. And also it was kind of like we knew what it was. Whereas what we're talking about here, we're mentioning the hacking, the drones, the fact that you're on the other side of the The combat scenario, the fact that there's all these different types of baddies. This game is just so varied and that's why it's so cunning. Not for one reason, but for all of the reasons combined. It just feels like a What it doesn't feel like a simple sequel at all. Oh no, and it's strategy layer like I haven't even, I don't even know how it builds up but like the part that drops us in, it was like already like all these missions to choose from. You wanna go get technology here, you better do that but you're wasting time because the Enemy is building a thing, and if you don't like, stop them, the game is just done. And your base flies. And then. [CROSSTALK] Yeah the dark events are the ones, up until then you're spending a fair amount of time in the strategy lair, with your ship and like, clearing out, cuz you're rebuilding, you're clearing out alien debris from like, the lower levels. Okay. And that gives you supplies and you allocate engineers to do that but you're also Which moving around the map, and then you're establishing a connection with the resistance cell here. So you can go to the Arctic from the western United States, but. **** Arctic resistance cell. That must suck. [LAUGH] But then there later, about three hours in- More blankets. [LAUGH] It's like the troops in Russia in World War II, why did we even come here? What are we doing? It's There's, like Andy said, there are these dark events. It shows you their overall war strategy, and a mission will pop up every once in a while. And if you hover over it, it'll say this will counter that dark event. So one dark event, it'll say, it'll take two weeks longer to build anything. That's a long time, especially when you're not doing well. And then it says but, you know, if you succeed this mission that'll negate that and you'll also get the bonus from something else. Oh. Wow. And so, you more so than the first game you feel like you're on borrowed time the entire time. And it's very much. It's a sequel in the best way possible. It's from what we played. I can't, you know, speak to the whole game, but. So far it feels like, if you're an X-Com player, you're gonna like it. You know what you're getting into. But, as soon as you figure out, you're like, okay this is similar to the first game. Then they throw like, a lot of things at you. You're not, you're overwhelmed, but in a good way, you're figuring things out. You know, by the time I was in my fifth campaign I'm like All right, so the Specialist, one of the drones, you can either make them a medic, cuz you can do remote healing. Yeah, right. [UNKNOWN] Which I really love having, I try to bring two medkits with me, so. But you can also, like Andy said, make them a hacker. You find these towers and it'd be like You know, you get a 50% chance. If you succeed, you'll have a 75% more critical hit chance. But if you spell every time you get hit, it's gonna do three extra damage. Oh, no. Which, when your soldiers have five health at the beginning, I don't know that I wanna do this. They shoot hard. The enemies in this game take off a shed load of health right off Man and we haven't even mentioned the custom station. Oh yeah it's crazy. That's deeper and like more fun. Cuz you just put like decals on your guns, name your guns. There's like Got it. way more intricate stuff. Yeah you can. Gun mods there's like. You can make like a what was it? People mods basically. It was like a pool of dudes Do that so you can make which basically pull that on every game. Game thought about that. You can just make your mom once. Yeah. And she'll be in like or she might show up. Yeah. She might show up for this part of the resistance I think as well and like they put them in as like Also practice to it, yeah that show up like this Skype cams when they're asking for help and I made Mike Mahartey right off the bat just because- Oh yeah, he's in the pool now. Yeah, and I gave him this like red bandanna and his gun is red and black and it looks like the gears of Warsaw rifle First mission gets sniped in the face. [LAUGH] Well, there goes Mike. He might show up next time. Yeah. [LAUGH] He might show up in your game now. It's all connected, right? There you go, yeah. **** cool. And then as soon as that game comes out, there's mod support. So there's gonna be even better guns, decals, and stuff. The macho man mod is gonna be there. I think the three of us are probably like folks who would be very skeptical of a bad Xcom game I think we'd be very sensitive about an Xcom game. But sounds like we're all on the same page this game's pretty **** fun and we're really excited about it. Yeah looking forward to February 5th. The release date? Yeah. I don't know, you're the **** guy. It is, it's February. Yeah. Yeah. I can't wait. You're like [UNKNOWN]. I can't wait to get the full game. February 5th. Yeah. There you go. All right, let us know if you're excited about XCOM dos X [INAUDIBLE] X [INAUDIBLE] [LAUGH] X gonna give it to you? Everyone? In the comments below. Thanks very much. [MUSIC] [BLANK_AUDIO]