Welcome to part 4 of The Ret’s Xcom 2 diary. Things have been getting tougher, and although our luck still seems to be holding, we’re starting to take heavy casualties. Nick, Kev and Choli are all injured and the next set of missions are time sensitive. This means Chris will be going in for only his second mission.
Given his superb performance last time (saving the squad with a very low chance shot) and subsequent promotion to sniper, my hopes are high for this mission.
We take a data recovery mission, trying to offset a dark event that would find a mole on the resistance and take three weeks off the resistance timer. Chris heads in with three grunts. We land in a city’s cap and start moving under cover, towards the objective. Quickly we see our first enemy group across the street, by a set of railings that leads into some sort of car park. Within the group is our next new enemy. This one is a flying gold torso, with golden crenelations and a ma-hoosive staff. Next to him is an officer along with two lance wielding grunts. We set up across the street, hiding behind a balcony. I put everyone in overwatch, except for a grunt who lobs in a grenade.
The grenade explodes damaging everyone bar one of the lance wielding grunts. They scatter, and without exception are cut down by my squad as they run, including the new enemy type (an Archon apparently). It seems rather fortunate for him to die too, but Chris pulls off a critical shot killing him in one. Go Chris. We’ll have to wait to see just what the Archon’s can do. I’m guessing it won’t be showering rose petals.
We move on toward the objective; a laptop inside a small building, taking out another two waves of enemies on route. While securing the laptop, the final wave spawns. My entire team are inside behind good cover, with Chris stood by the laptop ready to hack in his next turn. The enemies, two Sectoids and a grunt, attack from behind the building, taking positions by the windows and firing into the building. Chris is killed by a single shot to his face (no comment on how pretty his face it? For shame – Ed). His body crumples over the very laptop he was trying to access.
The rest of the shots miss and good use of grenades (to remove the Sectoid’s cover) and some judicious flanking wipes them out in the next two turns. This leaves me one turn to hack the laptop, which I do, saving the mission.
So Chris is first to die. Such a shame too as he seemed to have a talent for impossible shots.
We have little time to ponder his heroic sacrifice either as we’re immediately given another mission – to retaliate. We can’t skip it without taking a hefty hit to the region, so have to go in. Luckily the whole squad are fit again so we saddle up and head in.
We see a familiar sight on landing; buildings on fire, the sound of gunfire and screams and generally a scene of devastation. We move forward with Steph at the front, keeping the first small building we see to our left as we move towards a clutch of civilians. A Muton appears on the roof, followed by two lance wielding grunts. We’re in a bad position, but I mange to get most the squad into cover. In a wild moment, Choli fires a grenade onto the roof with a spectacular result – it collapses, killing one of the grunts and taking out half the health of the Muton. I’ll call that a result. I brace for the retaliation. Nick and Choli are in cover. Steph and Kev however are not, and predictably, Kev takes a beating from the rather unhappy Muton, and is down to 3 health(!). The remaining lance wielding grunt then takes out Steph, who ends up unconscious on the floor.
The silver lining is that move leaves the grunt heavily exposed, and Nick runs up, cutting him down with his own sword. Choli then fires, but misses the Muton. But luckily, Kev manages the shot, taking him out and earning us a slight reprieve. First encounter, and i’m down a squad member already. She’s only unconscious; so if i can make it out she’ll be fine, but we’re at a heavy disadvantage already.
We move across an open area, skirting around trees and fences, to approach the exposed side of a larger building when it goes from bad to worse. Two spawns, comprising of three Mutons and three lance wielding grunts appear. All far too close for comfort.
Choli attacks first, catching two of the grunts and a Muton in her blast radius. Kev manages to lob in a grenade, killing off the grunts and leaving the Muton on only one health. I decide to focus on the other lance wielding grunt (as they’re incredibly dangerous given my puny armour) and Nick manages to land a good shot, taking down two-third’s of his health. The counter attack is brutal. The first Muton, deciding not to fire, charges Nick and slashes at him with its bayonet (they have one!?!?). Nick is immediately down to a quarter of his health. A second Muton runs up to try the same, but thankfully misses.
The lance wielding guy hops two fences and stuns Kev: he’s down and out, and the odds have shifted heavily against our survival. The final Muton shoots and misses Nick by a country mile. This leaves me in a pickle. Choli can’t use her remaining grenade on the Muton’s without hitting Nick, so she fires at the Lance wielding grunt, taking him out. This leaves three Muton’s to my two squaddies. Marvelous.
Incredibly, Nick avoids BOTH the melee attacks from the Muton, but is cut down by a pin-point shot from the injured Muton who’s still holed-up in the building behind. These odds are just too much, so Choli moves as close to the straggler as possible, getting behind good cover (a large tree) before cutting him down with a close range burst from her gattling gun. The two remaining Muton’s move to flank and one scores a hit, leaving Choli on half health. She in turn moves behind a car, cutting down the angles, before hitting, but not quite killing the nearest Muton.
This is getting tense.
The next turn see’s a bit of luck go my way. Choli manages to hit, and kill (via a glorious critical hit), the other Muton by maneuvering into some half cover and increasing her angle of attack. Unfortunately, she’s now out of ammo. The other Muton charges, attempts to melee, and misses!!!
Choli runs for cover near another building, and reloads. Hoping for the best. Which obviously doesn’t come. She’s cut down mercilessly, failing the mission and leaving my two unconscious Ret writers to the ministrations of the aliens. A grisly end, to what was shaping up to be a promising run. It really can all turn in an instant.
That, as they say, was then that. By my own rules, I had no writers left (and to be brutally honest, no decent soldiers either) and so that was the end of the run. Barely into the game and slaughtered. Xcom 2 is rather hard. It’s also rather brilliant.