Think you know your Ryan Reynolds movies? What about a list of oil producing countries? How many girls names starting with D can you think of? These questions and many more can be found in your newest app obsession called Fight List!
Free to download on both android and apple devices, Fight List is an app game that pits you against your Facebook linked friends in a 5 round battle of wits that will not only push how quickly you can type answers but also how many answers you can get out to beat your opponent within the time limit.
With topics ranging from Boys Names Beginning with H to 25 Most Followed Instagram Accounts, Julia Roberts Movies to Astrological Star Signs there are enough topics to cover everyone’s knowledge base though some topics such as Four Suits in a Deck of Cards and Colors of the Rainbow are a little ridiculous in their restricted lists.
Basically, Fight List seems to be a mix of Scattergories and Family Feud.
When presented with your topic, you’ll have a total of 50 seconds and every correct answer earns you one point with more obscure answers to the topic earning two or three points and boosting your round tally. Also, don’t be too concerned if spelling (when trying to pump out answers) isn’t your forte as Fight List will generally pick up what it is you are trying to submit, assuming you have at least half the word correct (Fight List did pick up my ‘Kim Kerdichin’ as Kim Kardashian)
Outside of the game, one could easily rattle off a decent list of Owen Wilson movies but in a high pressure round of 50 seconds, that list quickly dwindles to the bare minimum and for those pressed for time (and answers), a quick press of the joker button will insert a correct answer at the cost of some coins from your stash which can then be topped up with a daily bonus or through in-app purchases.
The Nitty Gritty’s of the app –
*Turn based person vs person quiz
*Free to download with in-app purchases for coins
*Ads appear between each round – some can be ended early.
*Keep track of your play stats in stat tracker.
*Link your Facebook account to play against friends
*Questions range from current celebrity to general world knowledge
*Correct answers that come up as wrong can be submitted to developers to insert into the game by pressing on those missing answers at the end of the round.
Think you’ve got what it takes to beat your friends? Fight List is available for free, to download from apple and google play.
*Please note, this is not a paid review of Fight List
After a spate of jet boosted, wall running, chain movement and space themed outings, Call of Duty is headed back into long gone territory, world war II style with the brand new boots on the ground Call of Duty: WWII. A move that many CoD fans have been begging for since the series began to sway into more modern themes.
This past weekend saw PS4 users get exclusive early access to the Call of Duty: World War II Multiplayer beta allowing players to get a (restricted) hands on feel of the new game before it releases in early November. Upon first impressions, the ground based warfare is a major welcome return to form for the first person shooter series that has been dangling a little too long in outer space though there are a few restrictions that may see those used to more freedom in customization struggle with the new game.
As of writing this, I am a little shy of hitting the 7 hour game play mark where 3 maps, a handful of game modes and heavily limited customization options are open within the beta.
Now it’s time to look at the great, the good and the bad of this Call of Duty WWII beta.
War Mode. It’s one of only a handful of games available to play in the beta and brings with it a familiar feel to those who played the recent Star Wars Battlefront which sees your team of 12 attack or defend multiple points in a chain, working together to either claim or hold back the enemy from progressing further.
As described by Activision: Fight for control of a war-torn French village west of St. Lo, an important operation in the Allied push onward and out of the beachhead at Normandy. Allied and Axis forces clash for control of a strategic manor to secure a forward operating position. Bridge construction, ammo depot demolition and tank escorts are key strategic tasks in this do or die mission to dominate the enemy. Choose your equipment wisely – every decision can mean the difference between victory and defeat in this narrative-driven, objective-based multiplayer experience – a first for Call of Duty.”
This beta only has one map open but it’s a great game mode and new addition to the series.
Play of the Game Highlight. As featured in Overwatch, Call of Duty is doing away with ‘final kill cam’ which saw a sometimes boring or standard final kill be highlighted after the match has finished, and in its place, a play-of-the-game sort of sequence which showcases a worthy highlight from the match. While it’s not as personal as Overwatch with it’s character highlight intro, the change finally gives players who pull off incredible plays their dues.
Game Play. We were promised boots on the ground and deliver it Activision/Sledgehammer games have. Cod WWII offers a very nice balance between the uber-boots on ground style seen in Modern Warfare Remastered and the ease of movement seen in something like Black Ops 3. The knee slide had been replaced with a lunge, the sprint is limited but not in a incapacitating type of way while mounting ladders and climbing through windows and over things is very smooth, quick and not lumber-some.
Audio: It feels as if a lot of work has been put into the sound aspect of the game with everything sounding hard and present and realistic. From the gun shots to planes firing overhead to the sounds of the soldiers taking fire (or being set alight) it’s all pretty spiffy – the best bit though, the sounds of the hand grenades going off, pending how close you are to them can be terrifying!
Maps. Three maps are open for play in the beta and they are Pointe Du Hoc, Ardennes, and Gibraltar. Pointe Du Hoc is a medium sized map that sees most game play occur within a maze of trenches surrounded by destroyed outposts and offers up a great mix of space for snipers and fast close combat for run-and-gunners. Gibraltar is a multi level, medium sized map with three lanes of play that may allow those apt with quick sniping to take advantage of the height variance in the map depending on your spawn point while Ardennes is a snow covered map, once again medium in sized with interconnecting lanes that can favor both long shooters and those taking advantage of the connecting lanes in close combat.
The Pre-Game Lobby. Looking like an old war photo, the entire play list of both teams are now featured in the pre-game lobby. Here you get the opportunity to quickly go through each player, check their load out and get a close up view of their playable character. It’s a nice new touch that Sledgehammer have brought in for players to showcase their customized character.
Top Players Highlight. Becoming a regular feature, the top players in the winning team are given their dues post match where, like past outings, actions can be performed such as ‘salute’, clap in ‘good job’ and wave in ‘Hey!’. I’m assuming there’ll be more to unlock in the full game.
Customization. Note, this section is severely restricted in the Beta and the customization options of your character are very limited. From what’s on offer, we’re given a glimpse of a basic collection of pre-designed heads (in the beta, two are literally a re-color of each other) which are available for choosing (5 in the beta including three male and two female) and that is pretty much it. I did stumble across a uniform section but it seems to have been locked for beta and now going back, cannot be found anymore.
Funnily enough, Sledgehammer have been quite open about their knowledge of how players react and engage to their own customized character but from what has been seen, i’m a little worried about the final product. Here’s hoping, when the game drops, there’s more to be found in this section such as removable helmets, alternate uniforms and additional character building cosmetics.
Weapons and load outs.My biggest gripe with Modern Warfare Remastered was the lack of load out options and weapon customization and it appears, Sledgehammer have taken no notice of the foul cries and have semi-replicated the load out system. Perks are limited to a “Basic Training” feature that allows you one bonus load out option but they are muted and vary from “take a second primary weapon” or “collect ammo from fallen soldiers” effect.
Weapon attachments are of course in the game but the ability to run around with a powered automatic adorned with a scope, silencer, extra ammo and laser sight is a no no. Pending on the division you choose to enlist in and the weapon picked, most weapons only offer two to three attachment options.
Limited suppressors. Just putting it out there but I have a very specific style of game play when it comes to the Call of Duty series and it seems Cod WWII may just force me to get out of old habits. My CoD load outs have always consist of silent movement, no radar ping and a silencer attached on a weapon – it’s what works for me as a player but it seems within WWII, only one division is offering up the ability to add a suppressor AND from the looks of it, will only be attachable to an SMG……………eeek.
Overall, there are some welcome return to forms for this up-coming Call of Duty outing along with some concerns about where Sledgehammer are going to take the series. To note, the beta currently has locked until launch
Headquarters – We’re testing the match-making of this all-new social experience, but access to this space will not be active during the Multiplayer Beta.
Supply Drops, and Loot – These customization features that add depth and personality to your soldier will not be included in the Multiplayer Beta.
Esports – Ranked Play, Game Battles, and our suite of competitive features will be accessible when we release in November.
Additional content not in the Private Multiplayer Beta includes: full progression, remaining maps and modes, additional War Mode maps, and the full armory of weapons, scorestreaks, Basic Training, and equipment.
Also, there have been some players having issues with timing out and forcing an app close during this beta, but I can say I have had no issues to date. There has been no delay in finding a match or being kicked out of one. There may be an issue with bullet recognition but that may be a lag/beta issue.
The beta re-opens agains on September 1 to Monday, September 4 for both PS4 and XBox users with Call of Duty: WWII launching on Nov. 3, 2017.
The first part of XCOM 2’s major expansion of War of the Chosen went live today as the games Propaganda Center is now available to download for PC/Steam users.
The XCOM 2: War of the Chosen Propaganda Center contains the Photo booth application where players create their own propaganda posters using a variety of backgrounds, filters and soldier poses featuring your favorite XCOM troops. This free standalone app for Steam users will give players a sample of the propaganda posters available to create in the upcoming expansion.
These posters actually provide your squad with morale boosts that have an affect on gameplay.
Features Photobooth: Use dozens of customizations like backgrounds, filters, poses, and more to design, customize, and share images of your troops with the world. Character Pool: Import your customized soldiers from XCOM 2 into the Propaganda Center to use them in the Photobooth. Prepare for your next campaign by creating an entirely new squad and importing the pool into XCOM 2: War of the Chosen. Impact the world: Access your creations with the click of a button for quick and easy sharing.
The Propaganda Center is available now on Steam and will be part of the expansion download for console users on August 29th. September 12th. To check out some of what can be created, hit the #Xcom2 tag on twitter!
Overwatch is bringing back the hugely popular Summer Game series with new character beach skins and updates to the Lúcioball game mode including a new stadium and an adjustment of rules.
Starting Tuesday August 8th, Lúcioball returns as a limited time event with returning Rio stadium map along side brand new stadium Sydney. Blizzard have also removed the ability to “boop” enemies with Lúcio’s Soundwave attack and has changed the way his ultimate ability works where it no longer pulls the ball toward the player and instead increases Lúcio’s speed and the speed of his “boop.”
This limited time event will also see a competitive ranked mode included for Lúcioball.
For players who missed out on loot box cosmetic items in last years Summer Games event, 2016 cosmetic items, sprays and emotes will be available for purchase with credits and at a hugely reduced cost. Legendary skins will cost 1,000 credits, epic skins will cost 250 credits while rare tier items will cost players 75 credits.
2017 loot box items include a slew of new cosmetic items including a barbecuing Soldier: 76 with his “A-salt rifle” skin, Mercy as Greek Goddess Nike skin, deep-sea diving Sombra skin and a bikini clad Widowmaker skin.
Overwatch players will be able to collect the Summer Games 2017 skins starting today, Aug. 8. The event will run until Aug. 29
Overwatch is currently enjoying a major gaming boom as it celebrates its one year anniversary since release while surpassing the 30 million registered players mark. To celebrate the one year milestone, Blizzard Entertainment opened up the game for everyone to play a “try before they buy” session, offering a weekend of free play to those not yet submerged in the world of Overwatch.
While I didn’t partake in the free offer, I did go out and purchase a physical copy of the game (50% off thanks to the one year celebrations) and it turns out, this game is not like any game out there on the market.
Overwatch is a first person shooter that offers only a online multiplayer mode and falls somewhere between the grittiness of Call of Duty, the team based game-play of Destiny and wackiness of Grand Theft Auto V Online.
Coming off a heavy dose of Call of Duty Modern Warfare Remastered, I was not ready for how different and difficult to adjust to, Overwatch was going to be. Don’t go off alone, don’t expect solo based kill streaks, don’t assume you get all your characters information just off what’s in-front of you on screen. I learned the hard way that there is a right way and a wrong way to play this game.
There are currently 24 playable characters on the Overwatch roster, each one different from the other yet grouped together in their base class skills. From healers to tanks, offence and sharp shooters, the character you choose to play will have a vast effect on how the team unites to win the match.
A character like Ana for instance, is equipped with a sniper rifle, stun pistol and a biotic grenade. While her rifle can inflict damage to opponents, it also, when targeted at team mates, heals them. The same applies to the biotic grenade and can be useful for a quick burst of health to ailing team mates earning you bonus points.
The other sniper wielding character – Widowmaker – offers no health support, though she’s more nimble in her ability to reach high sniper nests and has a stronger damage count on her rifle.
Knowing just how your character works will enable better team participation though be prepared to substitute a high kill rate for high team health regeneration or damage blocking rate.
There are certain characters that will always be picked by other players – bow master Hanzo, scrap gun wielding Roadhog, robotic defense unit Bastion and ninja Genji are guaranteed to be in a starting line-up but it’s how you use your character to bounce off those selected ones that can make a difference.
Unlike CoD, going out as a lone wolf with a sniper rifle is not going to ensure a high kill streak or a grand team win. Overwatch is all about team play – which characters have been selected, how they interact with each other and how you put your best foot forward to ensure your team wins. The game modes in Overwatch aren’t aimed for high kills, it’s all about zone points and that’s how the characters within the game have been created.
I will admit, after two hours in, I was ready to give up. Some characters like Genji, McCree and Bastion felt way overpowered against my Tracer or Lucio with their seemingly perfect hit rate and bullet strength. It wasn’t until I stepped away from the console and researched into just how certain characters played that I began to understand.
I was drawn to Ana from the get go with her brooding hood and long scattered rags but couldn’t get a hang of why her sniper rifle wasn’t as good as widowmakers, and that was because Ana was more about team support versus solo kills and just like her, I learnt Pharah works better from above than on ground level and Tracer requires lightning quick reflexes to get the kills. These things that I couldn’t pick up from game play were discovered from seeing and reading how other experienced players used these characters.
Once I understood the purpose of Overwatch, I began to enjoy it more and more. Sure Bastion’s turret is like the most inanely annoying thing on a map but there is a way around it (Ana’s sleep dart!!) and I’m now OK with not aiming for that high kill streak because I know that’s not necessarily going to win us the match and yes, loot boxes are incredibly frustrating especially when you like to use Ana but keep unlocking items for Winston who you never use – but that’s another discussion all together.
Overwatch’s free weekend of play is over, but is available for purchase in digital and physical copy formats for PS4, Xbox One and PC.
The official announcement of the next installment in the Call Of Duty series has just been announced confirming the setting to be in World War 2 bringing the first person shooter series back to its ‘boots on ground’ origins (Call of Duty 2 from 2005) but this time with Sledgehammer Games (MW3 and Advanced Warfare) taking the reins.
Taking the series back to its beginnings, according to Activision CEO Eric Hirshberg (in an interview with Polygon.com) was a plan that was put into motion three years ago and was not based off the less than positive player response to 2016’s ultra futuristic based Infinite Warfare, noting back in 2014 when the decision was made, the player passion for the historical war setting.
With the high praise for Modern Warfare remastered, which came as an add-on to the Infinite Warfare release, it really is no surprise that Activision have decided to go back to what CoD players loved most from the series but there is that lingering worry of bringing back a classic while keeping it fresh and modern so as not to bring about that ‘seen it, played it’ feel that is always lurking when playing Modern Warfare Remastered.
While the game (MW Remastered) itself is a stellar moment within the series, (and one I am enjoying playing at the moment over the Infinite Warfare release) the remastered release of the 2007 issue showcases just how dated the game is when compared to more modern releases. Developed by Raven Software, the remastered issue offered nothing really new to the original release with updated graphics, rendering, sounds and animations. The inclusion of semi-customizable multiplayer characters (including female skins) were a nice touch along with the ‘depot’ which allowed players to spend their game earned tokens on mystery cases filled with player skins, weapon skins and calling cards and emblems.
The question now begs, with WWII the official setting for the next Call of Duty outing, do Activison have plans to continue down the route we’ve traveled down once before?
The series has delved into WWII numerous times with 2003’s Call of Duty, 2005’s Call of Duty 2, 2006’s Call of Duty 3 and 2008’s Call of Duty: World at War. 2010’s Call of Duty: Black Ops took place in the Cold War and partially within the Vietnam War while all other outings have focused on fictional modern era and futuristic warfare.
One setting that the franchise has never delved into (and one I personally would like to see) is gangland/urban warfare. While Call of Duty is military based, there’s nothing stating the series couldn’t delve into this area without compromising their tactical themed game-play. The gangland-and-or-urban warfare theme has featured within games such as Grand Theft Auto and the Saints Row series, but is yet to be given the first person shooter treatment that games like Call of Duty offers.
Details about the multiplayer within CoD WWII are still sparse to none but it has been revealed that a ‘social space’ called Headquarters will see players, much like that in Destiny, all converge to show off gear and interact with each other before heading off into a match with Sledgehammers Chief Development Officer Michael Condrey confirming to me that character customization AND playable female soldiers will both feature in this next game.
Call of Duty: World War II drops November 2nd with exclusive pre-order beta access for PS4 users (date to come). Pre-orders now open either on line or in store with your local retailers.
As someone who stood steadfast in avoiding the most recent outing of Call of Duty due to it’s overtly futuristic spacey feel, the lure of an addition of the series fourth installment, Modern Warfare remastered, finally drew me in to nab the game (5 months after it’s release mind you). This updated flashback to one of Call of Duty’s more finer releases showcases just how far the series has come since its early days and just how dated this version really is when compared to where the series has gone.
While major improvements have been made to graphics and even the inclusion of semi-customizable soldiers – with female skins available too, Modern Warfare Remastered brings players back to a cumbersome grounding, taking away the speed and finesse that plays in more modern outings for the series.
Playing my first team death match game on the ‘Bog’ map, simple and instilled tasks of sliding, wall running and reloading while sprinting that we have all become accustomed to, do not exist. Blasting yourself sky high and popping off a sniper shot or speeding yourself across the map to dodge a hail of bullets does not happen. Instead, your’e left hurriedly scurrying to a safe spot, trying to scope out the enemy, hoping to make a mercy dash to your next location or out of the way of falling bombs.
Basically, MW Remastered neuters players who are neck deep in the futuristic COD game play style and brings them back to a place of beginner level and a lot of this can be attributed to two reasons – the maps with the game and the restricted load outs.
Unlike recent releases, the maps in MW Remastered were not designed for vertical run and gun play but instead, grounded gritty and strategic warfare. In maps especially like Bog and Shipment (which are no bigger in size than say Nuketown), cover is very hard to come. Strategy team death match play goes out the window and a battle for survival and attempts to build kill streaks take its place. These maps force players to completely change their usual play style to that they would use in other COD games.
I for instance haven’t heavily used a sniper rifle since Call of Duty: Ghosts thanks to the introduction of boosts, wall running and the large amount of ‘Swiss cheese’ styled maps that just don’t allow for the comfortable use of those kinds of weapons. Those fast paced games of modern COD games have crafted me into a run and gun player so falling back into long range paced play was a welcome but clumsy change.
The restricted load outs are also big change from the norm we’ve come to expect with players forced to use weapons with a single attachment, one tactical item and three perks. A far cry from the 10 point load out system where a single weapon can yield 4 attachments that we’ve come to know. It becomes frustrating deciding to chose between adding the silencer or ACOG scope to your weapon, both which drastically effect how you play the game.
All in all, releasing a much loved classic on the back of one of the least anticipated Call of Duty releases to date was a smart move by Activision but the stripped back classic game will provide a mixed bag of opinions, divide fans and more than likely push those invested in the more modern and accommodating releases back to what they know and love. I however have begun to relish the old-school style of game-play, even with its major playing restrictions.
Call of Duty Modern Warfare Remastered is available now as part of the Infinite Warfare Legacy Edition release.
Ghost Recon: Wildlands is currently live for a limited beta play-through before the full game goes live on March 7th and while the onset saw major server issues and lengthy maintenance delays, it seems, for most players, the beta is now in full swing.
Wildlands has you playing as a special forces soldier whose main aim is to wipe out a major Mexican drug cartel in no-too-distant-future Bolivia. An open world game, Wildlands puts you at the drivers seat in a “choose your own adventure” kind of way as you decide how you and your team will go about taking out the cartel.
Before getting into any game play, your first task is to create your character. As a lover of games that use this feature, the customization options gave me mixed feelings, offering a wide range of options on some items and no where near enough options on others.
As someone who – when given the chance to – plays as a female character, I do have to give props to Ubisoft for the range of female faces offered to choose from. While none are worthy of being recruited as a Victoria’s Secret model, the number of “nice looking” faces outnumber the swamp donkey ones, though the option to choose race and skin color is locked to each of the eleven face styles. There’s a small amount of face paints and scars to choose from and the tattoo’s add a gritty edge to your character.
Outfits and accessories are fitting for the games genre with tank tops, Tee’s, shirts and similar items and most feature a wide selection of color and/or pattern changes to suit the look you’re going for. Where Ubisoft dropped the ball in customization is hair options. While I haven’t checked out those open for male characters (who also have facial hair options), the females have seven options, all of which are sadly, very basic and very masculine. From a stock standard bun to short cornrows to fully shaved to a tiny ponytail, all are rather disappointing and don’t seem to look that decent unless covered with a headset (see top image) or with a hat. While i’m not asking for long Rapunzel hair, the argument of avoiding clipping with longer styles is moot considering the hair assortment (long and short) sported by the NPC’s running around town that certainly do not have clipping issues.
Wildlands game play feels very smooth and while the controls took some time to get used to, everything from shooting to running and climbing were seamless, however driving felt very different to what has been found in similar games. While controlling your vehicle is pretty much standard, I found not only did it take quite a lot of damage to completely total your vehicle but also, whatever you’re driving has the ability to literally climb mountains.
As if unaffected by the rocky and bushy landscape, the car I had stolen and literally drove over a cliffs edge was able to easily climb right back up to where it had fallen from. Handy if you loose control or need to make a quick shortcut to get across to the other side of the map, but the feel of this goes against what we know and what we’d expect.
Even flying a helicopter – something I always try and avoid – was easy enough to control though trying to maintain a steady climb and decent push forward in a straight line felt fiddly and quite slow.
Environment interaction was more miss than hit. As stated, the ability to drive up the side of a rocky mountain is odd and my helicopter wasn’t affected by the trees I steered it through. The NPC’s wandering around manage to, for the most part, be quick enough to jump out of the way of my speeding and slightly out of control car but killing an NPC with a weapon can prove costly and have repercussions on a mission.
The missions open during the beta were pretty stock standard too but the ability to decide how you go about it was a nice addition. While the main mission is always there, upon finding some intel at a rebel location, you can choose either scouting for more supplies, upgrades or another rebel base as you are never forced to play the main arc which sees a massive cartel flow chart showing how prominent gang members are connected and who must be killed to get information on the next target.
4 player co-op is also up and running for Wildlands and I had no issues jumping into a live game with three randoms but relinquishing control to someone else was frustrating especially when you find yourself a passenger in a vehicle being driven from one side of the map to the other for a quick shoot and run mission or when trying to make a stealthy entrance into an enemy camp only to have someone go running in guns blazing.
Thankfully, playing off-line, your AI controlled helpers are much more accommodating to your play style.
For the most part, my time spent on the Ghost Recon: Wildlands beta was more positive than negative but only slightly. The mission repetition can become mundane and to put it bluntly, was nothing really not seen before in games before (I am playing Metal Gear Solid V and the similarities are insane). The open world environment is lush and vast and smooth game play will keep you going for a short while but with little to unlock or aim for (weapons and additions to your character), the steam behind Wildlands could run out quickly for players who have pretty much seen this all before.
Ghost Recon; Wildlands beta ends Monday Feb 27th will the full game launching Tuesday March 7th.
Not for the squeamish, the up-coming Friday the 13th: The Game coming soon to consoles and windows dropped a new trailer showcasing some more of the classic killer and his new ability to ‘fast warp’ to certain locations within the camp ground map.
Check it out below.
The game, due for release later this year, is a third person horror/survival multiplayer game which will see players take on the role of a (more than likely doomed) counselor or the monster himself Jason Voorhees. It is your aim to either escape or kill, and while playing as a counselor allows you to work together to try and take Jason down, if you have to kill off your camp mate to save yourself….you’ll be able to do that too.
The devs have taken inspiration straight from the long running series and have carefully crafted the environment of Camp Crystal Lake, Jason and the camp counselors to remind us of everything we remember about Friday the 13th, right down to the visual fidelity of the 80’s.
Starting out strictly as a multiplayer game, Friday the 13th has now evolved into including a single player aspect thanks to increased interest from fans and extra funding. It is this new addition that has seen the release pushed until “sometime early 2017”.
“Single player will consist of objective-based missions where you take control of Jason. You’ll get to see missions that will remind you of the movies, as well as entirely new scenarios to sink your machete into!”
To get a feel of what to expect – and what can be done, check out Pax West 2016 Kill Montage trailer below. Be warned, even for digital content, it’s graphic!
For all the news on the games release plus extra videos and behind the scenes info check out the official website.
Aliens have invaded Earth and under the guise of peace and unity – and with the help of some alien loving humans – are planning to overtake the human race. It’s up to you, your crew on the Avenger and your soldiers to take them out and restore mankind.
XCOM 2 took just on seven months to hit consoles after its initial PC release and came onto the console gaming market with little to no fanfare. No Call of Duty-esque midnight launches, no major pre-order exclusive deluxe collectors edition, it just suddenly appeared. Perhaps that’s why it took me until now to discover the game?
As someone who had never delved into the world of strategy based games, I was heading into XCOM 2 with hesitation. Strategy, turn based based games, to me, are cumbersome and frustrating and just…well….slow. Such is not the case with XCOM 2: Enemy Within
Let’s take a look at the great, the good and the bad of XCOM 2.
The Character Pool/Character Creation: Almost a 10 out of 10. It’s what actually drew me to the game in the first place. The inclusions of everything from hair style and color, race, skin color, outfit and armor options, upper and lower face props, full name and nickname, tattoos and face paint, nationality, face type and accent (there’s even two male and two female Australian accents) make this one of the best in-game character creations seen to date (I’d love to see this type of customization within a first person shooter multiplayer type game!). The only negatives I found within this section would be the mass of ‘less than attractive’ faces and the fact the armor you build later on into the game all but dispose any clothing you clad your soldier out with at the start of the game.
Hair options are plentiful with everything from wavy bobs to buns, shaved sides and fro’s and there’s even more included with the extra DLC packs though those looking to don their character with hair longer than shoulder length (aside from the ‘dirty ponytail’) will come up empty handed.
The characters you create via the character pool are then randomly fed to you from the onset and then, depending how you assign them, will pop up either on your recruitment list or as VIP’s that need rescuing.
Character Familiarity: As it goes, by creating your team from scratch, you get a feel for your soldiers and become attached and build an intimacy with them as you send them out on missions and level them up. While you have little control over their eventual skill set (rangers to sharpshooters to grenadiers) you genuinely get feels when your soldier is injured or killed in a mission.
Play Style and Speed: Offering a mix of standard objective turned based matches and limited move matches, the speed in which you play is surprisingly lightning fast though you do have a say in just how stretched out a mission can go. Some missions have you trying to extract a VIP within 8 moves while others have no such limitations allowing you to spend more time setting up excellent ambushes and ensuring your team make it out alive. Of the two, I found much more freedom to lay out my team when the round clock wasn’t ticking down leading to many many fatal errors.
The game play also offers a mix of above map viewing and 3rd person animation as the camera pans right into your soldiers when making an action that showcases off their look, style and props.
You Vs The UFO: As you go about your way around the map, sporadically, a red UFO begins to hunt you down until it finally takes down your ship. What ensues is easily one of the best missions in the game that sees your soldiers verse wave after wave of aliens until you can knock out their signal beacon and depending on the size of your recruited squad, can see you controlling upwards of 13 plus soldiers within the mission. Its a perfect way to get some extra levels notched up on your soldiers though this mission is one of the hardest to come out with little to no injuries or deaths.
Unlocking Locations: It took me about 5 attempts of playing and about an hour of reading before I fully understood how to go about the map and opening and connecting communications with other countries to boost your monthly supply income. This part of the game goes hand in hand with building up your ship (called The Avenger) and if played right, can see you interlock the entire map before the Avatar project (the aliens secret plans) reaches its full potential.
The Avenger: The task of clearing out rooms on your ship and fitting them with new useful rooms such as laboratories, power relays and communication outlets unite with how much you can do on the world map though working out what needs to be done and when (and with how many supplies needed to do so) can be frustrating. Need to hit that glowing red alien base in New Australia? First you’ll need to make contact with the region, but you’ll need to ensure you have enough communication outlets to do so and also enough power in the power relay to accomplish that. Everything you do ties in with another item.
The Enemy: There’s a nice assortment of enemies you’ll encounter as you make your way across the globe. From easy to pick off Advent soldiers to mind controlling sectoids to tongue grabbing vipers and a alien sphere called a gatekeeper, each one alters just how you’ll play the mission.
Overwatch: Allowing your soldiers to sit on ‘overwatch’ and take an automatic pot shot at an enemy as they pass by their line of sight is that blessing in wolfs clothing that can either bring you to cheer in excitement or scream at your screen. The hit rate on overwatch is laughable to say the least but when it does work, can help you move about your game with much more ease.
DLC: There are four DLC packs for XCOM 2, all of which add a great new element to the game. The Resistance Warrior Pack includes new outfits (which can be found in your soldier layout options), head gear, armor and cammo plus a new recruit. The Anarchy’s children pack includes over 100 new customization options from clothing to hair, armor cammo and props while Alien Hunters and Shen’s Last Gift introduce a new mission that unlocks new armor and a new class of soldier.
Hit rate: Soldier X has a 98% chance to hit their target….yet misses. I don’t fully understand how those behind XCOM 2 set the hit rate ratio out but it’s a flaw that seems to have been around since the original XCOM. Having your soldier face to face with an enemy, a 90% plus chance to hit and then a miss occurs causes literal outrage from players though to be fair, the hit rate for the enemy isn’t much better (though it does feel like it!). Training and upgrading your soldiers play no part in how well they hit their target either, only random weapon upgrades dropped by aliens (and offer a 15% advantage) come into effect.
The Ending: Without spoiling, I was horribly let down by how XCOM 2 ended. Countless hours spent cultivating my team (I only lost 4 soldiers in my most recent play through), numerous enemies killed off, the ridiculously testing final mission only to have the game offer a short end of game, mission successful video and BAM! Roll credits. I was left there wondering about my massive team and what happened to them? What about the Avenger? Granted there’d be no more missions but the ending left me feeling cold and shut off from my team.
Total Game-play: During play, your aim is make contact with other regions, unlock space on your Avenger, train soldiers, build weapons and battle accessories like medkits, take out alien targets and complete research on your mission finds all while keeping an eye on the ever growing Avatar Project red bar atop the world map. The struggle is very real in finding that right balance that will allow you to build up your armor and weapons while opening up enough resistance comms to make contact while being diverted to another alien base that needs to be taken out.
Character Pool: The Character pool itself sits in my ‘great’ section above but the lack of ability to share created soldiers with other XCOM players is somewhat odd and is why it also sits down here. You have the option to import XCOM 2 developers into your game as playable characters, but there is no option to share and showcase your creations with anyone not creative enough to make their own or with someone wanting to add some fresh content to their team is confusing.
Overall, for someone who had never delved into this type of gaming, I found XCOM 2 to be enthralling, challenging and rewarding, more-so than I ever thought possible. While it can be a little buggy and the load times yawn inducing, there’s not too many flaws within the game.
XCOM 2 is available on PC and XBOX One and PS4 Consoles.
Update July 2017: XCOM 2’s mega expansion War of the Chosen drops August 25th!