If you’ve read the Ret anytime in the last year or so, you’d know I like Xcom and the expansion (Enemy Within) quite a lot. I played it so much I broke my Steam timer on it (it reset itself after 103 hours logged). It was a simply phenomenal game.
I wrote a number of XCom diaries detailing the exploits of the Ret’s writers in their desperate battle to save the world from the alien onslaught. Needless to say, they all died horribly (Nick especially) and the final mission saw Steph going against a map full of enemies on her own….
Xcom2 is now out (squeee), and I’m 2 missions in (and already 2 characters down), so I’ve decided to do the same again. Same rules apply- I will name my team after Ret Writers (past and present) and I’ll stop the game when they’re all dead. The only twist is that as long as there’s a Ret writer alive, I’ll still play, and I’ll allow the Ret team to bring rookies alongside them on the missions. There must though be at least one Ret writer on every mission. If none are available, I have to pass missions until they’re recovered.
It was great fun to do first time around and should be doubly so given that this is my very first play through of the sequel, so I have no idea what to expect (whereas last time I was already a veteran). I’ve even kept from reading too many previews, so I don’t even know what enemy types are coming!
Wish me (and Nick) luck.
Glossing over the intro and the first mission (which you have no real control over who goes on it) my first mission proper involves the destruction of an enemy beacon. Before that though, comes the important task of modelling my soldiers after the incredibly attractive group of Reticule writers.
Steph (ladies first), becomes a capable looking woman with a blonde-ish ponytail (safety first), Kevin becomes a handlebar-mustachioed man with a ponytail (safety first), Chris becomes a buzz-cut wielding bringer of justice and Nick becomes a red-haired Afro-wielding, beard-sporting (ponytail swishing) bullet magnet. That was quite a sentence, but then again, they are quite a team. There will also be a selection of (real life) work colleagues and friends (I’m so sorry) who will plush out the ranks and hopefully allow the Ret team to save the world.
So, the first mission see’s the team; Nick, Steph, Kev and Choli (a diminutive colleague) deposited on a rooftop alarmingly close to a petrol station. First thing I notice is that I’ve got 8 turns to get to the beacon. I enjoyed the forced pace of the timed missions in the original game(s) and I think this works just as well (if not better) in the sequel. 8 turns is plenty of time though as the map preview shows me that it is roughly 3-4 moves distance away. It of course won’t be that easy.
We move, under stealth, towards a patrolling Advent squad (2 grunts, 1 officer) and I stick everyone on overwatch except Nick, who takes aim at one of the grunts and deftly takes him out. The remaining grunt and officer then make a break for cover triggering the whole squads overwatch: all but Choli miss, who cuts her target down (the officer) with a stream of heavy gunfire.
Two down, one to go. Unfortunately the final grunt calls in reinforcements and another two grunts arrive (in flanking positions), and one Sectoid, in the very building that is housing the beacon. Now Sectoids are no longer the scrambling little distractions that they were before, they’re now much stronger and can not only mind control from the get-go, but can also raise the dead. Yay.
Nick opens fire taking out the remaining grunt from the original squad which is good. The rest of the squad miss, which is bad. Luckily, the enemy also oblige and miss (save for destroying most of my cover). The Sectoid, being a Sectoid, decides to raise one of the dead grunts back to this plane (with substantially more health). We advance on the building, cutting down the two grunts outside, and wounding the Sectoid. On the final move of our turn, Choli fires a grenade into the building taking out the Sectoid, and in turn the zombie guard. Result.
So far, so gravy. Choli and Kev move down the right hand side of the building, while Nick and Steph dive through the window and take positions inside. The building seems to be some sort of store, and behind a big u-shaped counter stands a large beacony-looking beacon device that I can only assume is the beacon. So we’re set up well. The back doors to the shop are covered by Nick and Steph, both within reach of the beacon and Kev and Choli are covering them from outside. So long as nothing spawns behind us we’ll be fine. I waste 1 turn trying to hack the device before I realise you have to destroy it. I’m just re positioning to avoid any blast radius when the final wave spawns behind us.
Choli and Nick are instantly flanked. Two grunts and another Sectoid move out from behind the top end of the building, completely exposing my two squaddies who were supposed to be covering my group inside. This being Xcom, and still being early-game, a direct hit will kill either of my squad. I’m fully expecting to lose one, if not both of my flanked team members.
The first grunt takes aim and shoots at Nick inside the building, narrowly missing and destroying the wall behind him. The Sectoid repeats the treatment, this time narrowly missing Steph (I’m guessing they were trying to protect the beacon, rather than shonky A.I.). The final grunt gets with the program and fires at Kev, luckily also missing. This is almost unheard of in my time playing Xcom, so I’m going to ride the luck as much as I can. Nick hops over the counter and ends the Sectoid point blank range, earning a promotion in the process. Steph pops up and ends a grunt with a grenade, helpfully exposing the last grunt for Choli to aerate with her heavy rifle.
The final move see’s Kev aiming at the beacon to win the round with only 3 moves left. He of course misses and it takes both Nick and Steph to destroy the beacon on the next round. Win. More importantly, a win with zero casualties (amazingly given what happened in the mission), but I’ll take it.
A few inter mission tasks require my attention (scanning resource drops, researching armour and modular weapons, along with the odd autopsy thrown in for good measure), before we’re ready to promote. Nick becomes a ranger with a sword! Steph and Kev become engineers and Choli a ‘heavy’. Chris says well done and eats more cheeto’s.
So far so good. Surely that can’t last though… Nick is on the team after all…..
Check back for part two of my Xcom2 Ret diary.