XCOM: Enemy Within Diaries – Part Two

Jon Armer December 5, 2013 2
XCOM: Enemy Within Diaries – Part Two

This is part two of my adventures with XCOM: Enemy Within. You can see the first part here.

Ok, so Ed’s dead, but otherwise I’m in good shape for mission six, First things first though; I start all the researching I think I’ll need in later missions – alien materials are the first order of business. Without better armour my squad won’t live to level up.

I jog over to engineering to see if I can build a Mech lab yet. I can, but it would require building next to a satellite uplink, space which I need for more uplinks (the adjacent bonuses really stack up). So instead I excavate room on the other side of the lift and start work on extending the lift down another level.

Steph is quickly becoming the deadliest threat in my team.

Steph is quickly becoming the deadliest threat in my team.

Back to the mission and…… (Rolls imaginary mission dice) It’s a UFO. Eldridge steps in for the ‘redistributed’ Ed and we’re off. Another new level, and it’s a beauty; the UFO has come down in he muddle of a building complex, wreaking the appropriate level of carnage, It’s an instant favourite.

The first Meld cannister is right in front of us again, I do hope it’s not this easy for all levels, and I send Steph out yet again. First few missions it was luck that had her near the action, now as the only assault, the ‘run and gun’ ability make her exceptionally valuable for getting Meld. The squad are facing a building complex, or rather what’s left of it, with a main road running at 90 degrees in between the building and my squad. Burning rubble, debris and a few destroyed cars tell me that this was not a soft landing.

The Meld though is my immediate concern. The first canister is far off to the left, away from the direction the UFO must be in. I send Steph, on run and gun, towards the first cannister, hitting overwatch as she reaches it and collecting the Meld in one foul swoop. Her reward: two Sectoids further up the road, but of no immediate danger. Nick wakes up and runs along the opposite side of the road in an attempt to flank the aliens. Some fire is exchanged, but nothing of note. Andrew heads across the road and into the smaller maze of rubble surrounding the building, in sight of both Steph and Nick. Steve then lumbers up and launches a rocket at the Sectoids killing them both and demolishing that edge of the building complex. Instantly, two more Sectoids arrive, in effectively the same place, but in doing so they reveal the last meld canister.

Now, I’ve noticed on these missions that enemy A.I. seems to be smarter; they use cover well and actively try to flank you. With Sectoids it’s not too much of a problem, but with some of the other heavy hitters this could be a real issue. A small firefight later, the assault’s being even more useful now given how mobile the enemy are, and the last meld is bagged and through a weird happenstance, I can see the UFO.

I’ll say this about the meld, it certainly encourages you to stretch your squad. I can see this recklessness being pushed even further if what I’ve read about how useful it is for the upgrades is true. As things stand however, it’s a curio nothing more. My squad regroup and get ready to breach the UFO. They’re barely in range when the Overseer spawns. I know the drill; even at this early stage he can kill a squaddie with one hit, so I’m cautious, but at the same time quite aggressive as I want to get my squad home. I move to flank while making sure my squad have plenty of cover. The Overseer fires and, wait, what the Dickens was that? That wasn’t a plasma rifle, it was like a rapid fire sub machine gun, except with plasma…a new weapon I guess. I don’t have time to ponder it further as Steve interrupts my repose by introducing the Overseer to the business end of machine gun.

Steve and Andy were injured, but that aside, another mission in the bag… This is easy.

Nick demonstrates his sharp-shooting skills

Nick demonstrates his sharp-shooting skills

Back at base, I check my research and start building a cyber workshop in the newly excavated space on the top level. Three days until it’s finished and….damn, council mission. These almost always end well.

The mystery wheel of alien-missions spin and…well I get a bomb defusal mission. Ok, not too bad, though this does pretty much guarantee Thin men, which at this difficulty level are pretty nasty.

Nick and Steph step up, having survived last mission without a scratch: Steph through aggressive manoeuvring and skill, Nick because I think he fell asleep in a dumper. Jordan joins the team, unspecialised but full of pep and vigour. He’s forced to wear a helmet though as he’s just too beautiful, it would distract his other team members. Chris steps up too, which is great of him as he’s only three days from retirement…..

It’s the train yard. That’s good, lots of cover, and given the way the nodes are spaced I reckon the bomb is going to be right in front of me. Chris starts showing us pictures of the gal he’s going to marry after this mission. I fan the team out, and after four Sectoids, and countless nodes I sight the bomb. Steph is unlucky and triggers a double spawn, one Sectoid on either side leaving her flanked both ways, but Nick in an uncharacteristically useful move nails one with a 35% shot. Hoo-rah.

Jordan, immediately proving his worth, bounces a grenade off the head of the other Sectoid. Now I’ve got a clear run to the bomb, which Steph takes, defusing the device and saving the day. Oh, hang on, aren’t there usually…damn. Reinforcements, I’d forgotten about those. Ok three Thin men, on the roofs of the trains, in a triangle around Steph. She’s in real trouble. Chris screams that he’s never left a man behind and tries to manoeuvre around the flank.

On the Thin men’s turn, Jordan takes a plasma rifle to the chest and flies back in slow motion, dead as a doorknob. His wide eyes staring accusingly towards the sky. Nick gets hit, down to one health, and the final thin man jumps down and, oh dear…completely flanks Steph: she’s surely about to die… Nope! Oh don’t get me wrong she’s on the floor and bleeding out, but that counts as alive in my book! Three moves then to deal with these aliens.

Chris manages to tag one of them, but doesn’t kill them outright. Nick, again, gets a great hit, killing another. Only two left now. Luckily their turn comes to nothing and I’m quickly back in the game, two moves left until Steph runs out of blood.

Chris, talking about the dog he’s left back at base (with a very questionable name…) moves around to a better firing position and…is killed instantly by a Thin man on overwatch. I hadn’t expected that.

This isn’t good. I have two Thin men left to deal with and only Nick left to kill them. Oh well, it was nice knowing them. I’m actually a bit stuck now. Both the remaining Thin men have elevated, superior firing positions and Nick has next to no available cover. Despite only having a 25% chance of hitting the nearest I have no choice, next move they can simply split up and flank me. If I have any hope of rescuing Steph this is it. Nick takes the shot….

Part three continues with the end of this mission and my first foray into cybernetics. Who’s going to have their legs and arms chopped off with a rusty saw to make way for large metal constructs? Well obviously it’s Nick, should he survive…

2 Comments »

  1. Steph Woor December 5, 2013 at 9:38 pm - Reply

    I’ll just sit here, bleeding, while you sort out this cliffhanger then :P

    • Chris Evans December 6, 2013 at 8:52 am - Reply

      At least you alive :p I made a small cameo appearance before dying in my last days on the team.

      Brutal ::(

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