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Return to the war with XCOM 2: War of the Chosen

The release of Firaxis’ XCOM 2: War of The Chosen was just the excuse that I needed to return to their excellent turn-based sci-fi strategy game.

Initially released in September 2016, XCOM 2 is the sequel to XCOM: Enemy Unknown, the reboot of the classic, X-COM: Enemy Unknown from way back in 1994. A deep, turn-based strategy game, XCOM 2, is set 20 years after the events of the 2013 reboot.

This time, instead of fighting an alien invasion, XCOM (Extraterrestrial Combat Unit) are leading a rebellion against the alien occupation. This means building tech from the ground up and improving your forces to fight a well-established enemy.

The way the XCOM games make you care about your team of unique operatives is really impressive. You train them, name them and customise them- making their inevitable death all the more distressing.   

Unlike most expansion packs, War of The Chosen doesn’t function as a spin-off, side expansion or sequel. Like the last game’s Instead it weaves itself into the original XCOM 2 campaign creating a, sort-of, directors cut.

The original release of XCOM 2 was deep and engaging enough, but War of the Chosen adds another couple of layers to the proceedings. The Chosen is a team of three elite alien soldiers. They appear throughout the game adding to your teams worries in the field.

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Each of the Chosen has their own a specialisation. The Hunter snipes from a distance, whereas the Assassin uses stealth sneak up on your team. The Warlock is the sci-fi equivalent of a magic-user class.

As if being pursued by a group of alien hitmen wasn’t enough, the mindless Lost, zombie-like former humans, are also after you. But, if it’s any consolation, they will attack both human XCOM and alien ADVENT units.

The expansion also adds three allied resistance factions, the Templars, the Reapers and the Skirmishers, who provide you with side missions. Members of their ranks can be recruited to your squad as hero units.

New opponents, allies and environments mesh together with extra strategic options and activities make XCOM 2 fresh again. Extremely addictive the first time around, with all the new content, the game is just as fun to play second time around.   

Like the XCOM: Enemy Within expansion for the last game, XCOM 2: War of the Chosen takes XCOM 2 and makes it fresh again. If, like me, you’ve wanted to return, but couldn’t bring yourself to give the game the investment in time that it demands, now would be a good time to change your mind.

Verdict: 8.5/10

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