A Lurking Terror – Endgame Experince

Its finally done.

The game that has consumed some 110+ hours of my free time, a vast amount of brainpower, and many valuable hours of sleep has at long last been completed. I have defeated the alien menace once and for all. Noble sacrifices were made along the way. Icon, Ice,Volcano, Kid. Hunter, Dynamite, Oni, Hawkeye. The honored dead, our sisters and brothers in arms gave their lives to free us from the, very literal, alien menace.

Spoilers abound after the jump. You have been warned, Abandon hope. 


20160415174952_1Unwittingly, I ended up blazing through the end game somewhat swiftly. I’d gathered a vast network of rebels, and when I moved, at long last, I went for the throat. Following the blacksite, I had discovered a vial of Human Concentrate, and the Forge, where they were churning out Advent soldiers, including the prototype of the Avatar, a vehicle from which the Ethereals could exercise their power, as they were succumbing to a wasting disease of the flesh. I also discovered, though skulljacking a codex while it was still a being on this plane of existence coordinates of some importance, though we didn’t know what was going on at that location.

Following the Forge lead, we find a stable protoavatar. Tygen is convinced that we can use it as an avatar, provided the right conditions are met. Following the Coordinates located in the codex brain, we locate an alien portal, we assume to another dimension. Icon, my awesome sniper, falls here, killed by a Chryssalid and turned into a cocoon for more. It was extremely upsetting. We secure the area and steal the portal.

Following the attainment of the portal and the construction of the improved shadow chamber, I am finally allowed to perform the autopsy on that first Avatar corpse I recovered from the field. Turns we can get the co

mmander in the fairly intact specimen, and use his body to traverse the portal to assault the aliens at their home base, wherever it is.

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The thing about comin’ in from the roof is there is almost always a vantage point.

The aliens have the advantage, though. they have determined our moves and make counter moves to halt any progress. Starting Immediately, they are going to broadcast a message to the populace, convincing them to participate in Gene Therapy, at clinics that are just a front for Human Harvesting for their Human Concentrate. This must be stopped.

Thebest way to stop them is via interrupting their next televised broadcast. This is the final mission, a two part story of infiltration and sabotage. Starting with a small, covert crew, I infiltrate the TV tower from the rooftops and hack the station, overriding the broadcast, and enabling the Resistance to broadcast more truthful images
of harvesting and extraction. With a global distraction, the Commander is able to interface with the acquired avatar husk and pilot it into the Alien home dimension.

Huh. an underwater Terror, Deep Underwater

Huh. an underwater Terror, Deep Underwater

 

Or, more precisely, an underwater fortress thousands of years old.

This mission is one of the most tense and harrowing that I’ve had in XCOM. It is filled with brutal, pitiless enemy after another, with massive pods of powerful aliens. Sectopods, Berserkers, Gatekeepers, Andromodeans and Archons fill the encounter pool. I knew, thankfully, that I needed to not use my consumables until it was clearly the final fight, but that made each fight harder and more precise. I’d lost my healer trying to replace my sniper and my ranger had been killed on a lucky crit. I had little redundancy, and no method of recovery. As I made my way through the mission, I used dominate and Mind Control as often as I could, using the enemies turned friends as scouts to trigger PODS on my terms. It worked well, and I was able to make it to the final room, the avatar room, with perseverance, patience, and a ton of caution. I knew, thanks to Ironman, I had only a single shot at winning this game. No pressure.

The final room is a hell of a fight.

Plasma underwater

Plasma underwater

The central chamber has an avatar and two Archons. I found this out by using a mind controlled Advent Stun Lancer to run WAY ahead of the party and trigger the Pod. This also triggered the End Game scenario unwittingly. I saw that there was a giant red 3, that often indicates turns, and assumed that was how long I had to kill the Avatar. I was at least two turns, if not three, from being able to even engage. I panicked and ran two of my troopers forward, before reading the objective again: Kill the 3 avatars. It was not telling me how many turns I had, but how many objectives I had left to accomplish.

Awesome.

Except, in the two turns it took me to prepare myself and move into the room, the two additional avatars showed up, along with two beserkers, three mutons, three vipers, three faceless, two Heavy Mechs, and a gatekeeper. In addition to the Archons and the Avatars already in the room.

Through brutal and efficient precision, I was able to scalpel out one of the avatars fairly early, and the other two were triggered but not very active. I tried to take only one on at a time, but I was unable to hold out for that long. The last few rounds were spent fighting the combined might of two Avatars, three additional archons, six vipers and three faceless. It was damned harrowing. I managed to kill one, but at the cost of a pile of damage on one of my troopers, who was subsequently killed buy a viper grab. the rest of the troop held strong and fought off the advances of the final avatar. Finally, he made a mistake and attempted to mind control a solider who was immune to its effects, costing the Avatar his final action. Able to make up ground after that I went from despondent that I was going to loose the game (they had killed another member of the Team) to elated because I had pulled it off. Ignoring armor with many attacks is very powerful at the end of the game.

with the Avatars, and the Elders by proxy, defeated, the advent network goes haywire and the resistance is able to push back Advent and take back the planet.

The commanders Psychic duel to keep the portal open.

The commanders Psychic duel to keep the portal open.

Its not without significant sacrifice, but the day is won. XCOM, destroying their underwater base and holding open the portal long enough to allow their operatives to return to safety, has hoisted the flag of resistance across the planet, declaring once and for all that this is a planet for humans. Well, at least for a little while. I expect that they will encounter some terrifying monster awakened in he deep by the loss of the Elders facilities in the pacific.