It is not roses and rainbows as we fight against our alien overlords. I’ve lost many of my favorite solider, but Xcom2 has not broken my spirit. It has bent it, and I am not taking it kindly. My resolve has doubled, and am committed to defeating the alien menace, Even if there are no people left on the planet to enjoy their new found freedom because I keep getting them all killed. But we will soldier on and I will continue to write those tragic letters home.
Remember, Beyond here, Spoilers may be had. Ye be warned!
When I last left off, I was feeling confident about my abilities to take down Advent, at least with my current run of operatives and soldiers, leveled as they were.
Oh, Naive me.
Feeling strong, with my soldiers recuperated, ready for a good solid go at the Advent Blacksite, the mission seemed inevitable. The day before I was ready to go, a simply supply raid came up on the scanner, and I jumped on it. Get a level or two before heading into the Blacksite seemed like the perfect warm up, I’d just have to be cautions.
That word. It doesn’t mean what I think it means. It’s a harsh and destructive word. Instead, I should have said “I’ll have to go in guns blazing”
I am not the most subtle commander. I don’t think that anyone who knows me would have thought anything otherwise. So, this supply raid I decide that I want to be silent, and get around the side of the supply train before alerting the enemy. Mostly because the mission dropped me at the front of the train, which has two turrets atop it. Turrets are a nightmare.
They are accurate, powerful. placed almost universally on High Ground, have a significant amount of armor, and have just enough health to need you to shoot it twice. With all that said, it still feels like squandering your ambush to use it on a static artillery piece. I headed around.
I made it past the turrets OK, but right afterward I spotted a Viper and an Advent Trooper. I didn’t want to trigger them all at once. 4 on 5 is not good odds for comin’ out unscathed, especially with two turrets. I pushed a bit deeper.
Moving only a single turn further along the train brings to light a trio of Advent troopers who, at this point, I want nothing to do with.It additionally brings up a squad of a Viper and two advent, hanging out on the train. Unfortunately, That meant I had to back track, as they were static, and I didn’t want to pull the patrolling viper squad, who had walked away by this time. I set an ambush up back at the edge of the map out of line of sight of the turrets and let the patrolling viper squad come to me. I was able to set up an awesome ambush. I had my sharpshooter with Squad sight at a 75% on the Viper, and everyone else is sitting around the mid 80’s when I punch the over watch.
And that is where everything starts to fall apart.
The sharpshooter misses their shot, alerting the patrol and not doing any damage. The Viper then scoots behind a rock, taking a shot from a Grenadiers cannon and two Magnetic rifles.
This leaves the ranger in a tight position. He can try and drop the Viper or the Trooper. The Troopers Magnetic rifle is likely going to take out someone, flanked, because I was so close to the targets when I jumped them. The Viper will only grab someone and deal 2 damage. The choice is simple, and Liam does his job, running over to the Trooper, killing him. Sadly, at the same time I move just in sight of the static group on the train, and pulled in a second viper and another pair of Advent Troops, as well as the turret. From here the encounter snowballs, as I make decent progress, but am thwarted by grabs, shock weapons, poison and the eventual pull of the three more advent on the train
At the end, as I try and pull back, I am forced to watch my last two troopers have their life strangled from them, wrapped tightly in the embrace of a she vipers crushing coils.
This wipe is devastating. Completely destroying some of my strongest and highest leveled agents. Relying on my equipment over skill, I am able to push a bit farther, but I am unable to completely recover. In a final, last ditch effort to salvage the game, I send an under skilled and under equipped crew to hack a terminal on a train. It is the last time that XCOM bothers Advent. There is nothing left but a shell, a brief remnant of what was once a fighting force.
All was not lost, though. It never is. XCOM is one of a very few games that I have experienced where a Game Over screen is just the start. Each time, I learned something that improves my understanding of the game, that deepens the theories I’ve held or that disproves a terrible idea I was contemplating
But, then again, Sometimes it leads to more casualties and a false sense of security. When I started my next game, I died on the opening mission.
Twice. Complete wipes. Nothing left. It was embarrassing. I finally got through with a single solider, and it just wasn’t enough. I was quickly brought down by Advent, and left behind but the faintest whispers of resistance clinging to the eardrums of Aliens.
The next game, though, my actual fifth start, has been much better. I have made it through a number of missions without my operatives being killed off slowly, and I’ve prioritized a few of the better facilities and research outcomes to enable me to get a jump on the game without really setting off some of the more dire story elements. The only thing I am struggling with is the timing of the alien escalations. by the time I hit May, A trip of Vipers is being dropped on me, and I don’t think I am ready for that any time it happens. Maybe next run I figure out what the key to unlocking the ability to kill piles of Vipers is.
I think it’s unlikely.