XCOM 2: War of the Chosen on PC
XCOM 2 has had its fair share of hefty DLC… as well as its total and complete flops. With War of the Chosen, though, there’s a new dosage of life injected right into the game. Shen’s Last Gift brought us the SPARK units, which personally allowed me to do some cool Full Metal Alchemist style scenarios for fallen soldiers. Alien Hunters brought on the Rulers that made you scream in frustration whenever they appeared, as well as awesome weapons and armor. We don’t need to talk about the other packs. War of the Chosen brings in new enemies, new bosses, factions to befriend, three new soldier classes, negative traits to develop, new facilities, propaganda posters, and the ability for soldiers to bond with each other.
If you didn’t know, XCOM 2 is a crazy hard game. You’re juggling a lot, from a timer that means complete game over, to soldiers straight up permanently dying on the battlefield. War of the Chosen dials it up even more with the Chosen. These assholes will constantly intervene in missions you have within their regions, and they’re no joke. While you might get a hang of how you face them and maybe will be able to eventually dispatch them whenever they interfere, there’s always two others that are just growing stronger with time. Not only that, but they’ll eventually get enough knowledge to straight up attack the Avenger. By the way, those missions are insanely tough. Like the UFO attack missions, but on crack. So, if you were wondering whether the three new Chosen bosses were weak-sauce, believe me, they’re not. On a thematic level, the Chosen also add a lot of depth to the game. I’m reminded of the rival system in Shadow of War. You grow to like these baddies… before you blow up their strongholds and bid them adieu.
The Lost, on the other hand, are easy as hell in comparison. Not to say that they’re boring, though. This lax in difficulty is actually awesome and very welcome among the hecticness of the regular battles. They’re for the most part one hit kills, and if you do manage to kill them with one shot (this is called a Headshot), you’ll get a free action point. Basically, if you get really lucky, you can wipe out an entire swarm of these zombies. Yes, they attack in full-fledged swarms, which might seem scary, but it’s incredible to just mow through them. I got, like, 12 kills once. Yeah, missions, where The Lost are roaming rampant are actually great for leveling up. When these creepers are on the battlefield, you know you’ll have an awesome time. Especially if you can somehow lure them to cause trouble for Advent, Aliens, and Chosen. They don’t care. They ain’t loyal.
Also new with War of the Chosen are the three classes that you’ll be able to recruit from their respective factions: Reapers, Templars, and Skirmishers. These are really cool to use and add variety from the stereotypical Grenadier, Psionic, Sharpshooter, Specialist, and Ranger classes that were much needed in the aging game. Reapers work a lot like souped-up Sharpshooters, with the ability to shoot with their superior snipers after moving, and an advanced form of concealment. Templars are Rangers mixed with Psionic, they can use psionic powers, but also do a ton of damage up close with their blades. Skirmishers are the ones that can’t easily be described with already existing classes. They thrive in close combat and can move to enemies (or move them) quickly with their grappling hook and abilities.
The factions that introduce these classes are excellent additions, as well. It’s nice to have more characters to know. I was getting tired of seeing Central’s dumb face. I really appreciate the Covert Actions, as well. I love going out on missions as much as the next XCOM player, but being able to send soldiers out on missions together to level up, forge bonds, and gather rewards without having to sit through a mission not only helps players with the difficulty but speeds up the pace of the game a lot. Not to mention that it’s really the only way to get rid of the Chosen once and for all.
Let’s go over the most important parts of the expansion pack, though. No, it wasn’t anything else I already mentioned, nah. It’s obviously the propaganda posters and soldier bonds. That’s right, the two features that really seem like things they should have added as an update or something. Don’t get me wrong, the posters do diddly. You just have a cute, roleplaying moment at the end of every mission, after two soldiers bond, after a soldier levels up, or whenever you want, and that’s it. You just make a poster. It’s very simple. And yet… I find myself doing it every single time at least for a minute. I’ve long stood that XCOM 2 is made all the better thanks to the roleplaying that it allows, and postin’ up with my squad in-game was awesome. As such, it should come as no surprise to you that I also think the soldier bonds are a very important change for the series. Not only do the added benefits of the bonds (as they level) make them really important, but once again, the roleplaying effect is awesome. I’ve got my couple friends dying for each other on the battlefield. I’ve got best friends with propaganda posters to tell aliens they better watch out because, “These two have a bond forged in blood.” I’ve got posters commemorating fallen comrades! It’s all just so much fun.
XCOM 2: War of the Chosen is definitely not for newcomers to the series. I highly advise you to start with just the base game if you’re intrigued at all by XCOM or the strategy genre because this adds so much more on top of the already difficult game that it might turn you off completely. However, if you’re a fan of XCOM 2 already and are looking for an excuse to fire it up again, this is as good of a reason as any. I have no doubt that – once XCOM 3 is on its way – they will use a lot of the features that premiered with War of the Chosen. With good reason, too.
Score: 4.5/5 – Great
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