XCOM: Enemy Unknown - Slingshot (PC) review: XCOM: Enemy Unknown - Slingshot (PC)

The Good Three new fun, atmospheric missions
Enemy placement and timed objectives lead to tense strategizing

The Bad You have to start a new game to see the content
Adds too little, and is too unmemorable, to justify the cost

The Bottom Line Slingshot adds three good missions to XCOM: Enemy Unknown, but too easily blends into the dozens of hours that surround it.

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6.0 Overall

XCOM: Enemy Unknown - Slingshot asks the question: is more of the same enough to satisfy you? If so, and if you don't mind starting a new game from scratch, then you already know what you need to know about the first major downloadable content for this great turn-based strategy game. For $6.99, you get three smartly designed levels, the latter two of which keep tensions appropriately high as you encounter the same horrifying aliens that hovered ominously over the original game. The DLC also provides certain tweaks that open up powerful technology, such as the fusion core, earlier than you would normally expect, and it also adds some cosmetic customization options to fiddle with. But ultimately, Slingshot is an hour's worth of "more," and it struggles to find a worthwile place in the XCOM project.

Fire or overwatch? Decisions, decisions.

That isn't to say that these three missions aren't up to Enemy Unknown's high standards. The first, a rescue task that you face early in the game, introduces you to Shaojie Zhang, whose poker-faced expression and dramatic vocal tone contribute to the game's amusing campiness. His stoic presence is a continuation of XCOM's entertaining mix of pop-culture-inspired nuttiness and earnest characters that take each event with such dreadful seriousness. The mission itself is a standard rescue, but the map fits the setting--a detail the original game occasionally missed. The softly glowing lanterns, Chinese characters on signs overhead, blooming cherry blossom trees: these features impress upon you that you are, indeed, in China.

Aesthetics aside, the mission plays out exactly as you would expect for an early-game Enemy Unknown mission; you lead your squad through the mission, fending off almond-eyed sectoids, facing a spiderlike chrysalid, and ultimately escorting Zhang to safety. The central mission is structurally the most interesting of the three, having squad members sprint down the corridor of a passenger train and activating transponders while protecting their flanks--and taking position above, if you prefer. Why the hurry? The objective is timed, so you must perform the necessary activations before you reach your turn limit, an aspect that adds additional tension to an otherwise straightforward mission.

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