The Weekend Hangover is Too Much Gaming's Monday rumination of the games or game we played over the weekend. Sometimes there is alcohol involved in the hangover we’re nursing, but most other times there’s just too much gaming.
XCOM is one of my personal favorites. I was introduced to the first game back in grade school, and the game’s difficulty really made an impression on me. Fast forward to the present day, in which we have Firaxis to thank for the franchise’s reboot, implementing a modern take on the turn-based strategy game without removing what made XCOM so special to fans.
XCOM 2 was the free game for PlayStation Plus last June, but even though I downloaded it, it wasn’t until this weekend that I got around to booting it up. And boy did my weekend fly fast thanks to it.
I played XCOM 2 when it was first released on PC in 2016, and based on my Steam stats, I spent 84 hours devoted to resisting the alien threat on Earth. It’s the best turn-based strategy you can get this generation, and was made even better with the release of the War of the Chosen expansion in 2017.
This was my first playthrough on the PS4 and I was hooked yet again. I still remember how everything goes - the importance of flanking your enemies, and how the proper use of the overwatch feature can lead to either success or failure. Every move in combat was satisfying from start to finish. And the layers of maintaining your base of operations make every playthrough different, and is filled with unique scenarios only created by chance.
Since the first game, I’ve always played XCOM on Ironman mode - an option available before you start your campaign which eliminates the ability to reload from a certain point in your campaign. It’s a challenge. Since soldier deaths are permanent and each decision you make will have a consequence, it forces the player to live with the result, good or bad. It keeps the stakes high and the game more challenging, especially when top soldier die during a mission.
You get that sense of attachment with soldiers you’ve had since the beginning. One soldier was hit with an explosion done by one of their mec units. It was a clean hit, destroying his cover but still alive. But the hit caused a panic state on my XCOM soldier, resulting in him making a move on his own, fleeing to find cover and hunker down. Only problem is, the cover he went to was a burning car, which blew up the moment he got there. So long, Corporal Mike “Ghost” Sanchez. Your death is on you.