Available on: PC
Release Date: February 5th 2016
The climax of the mission is now. Two battered and wounded soldiers are still fighting, a third carries an unconscious fourth. The instructions are simple – plant an X4 explosive in an alien facility and get the hell out, but the place is still swarming with ADVENT aliens. My grenadier fires wildly and misses despite having a 72% chance of a successful kill, so now the time has come to cut my losses and go straight for the objective. The second of my two remaining active soldiers, a Specialist with little experience of war, makes a desperate sprint for the foreign equipment where the explosive is to be planted and somehow dodges the heavy fire of a camped alien sitting in overwatch in an adjacent room before planting the fateful bomb. The rookie has successfully ridden his luck. This time.
Now it’s the turn of the aliens and all I can do is watch and hope. My Specialist is currently completely open after planting the explosive and the enemy are poised to take full advantage of that fact – a venomous snake-like creature whips out his elongated tongue and quick as a flash drags my soldier half way across the building before promptly wrapping its scaly body around its hapless and helpless prey. I now have a choice – backtrack to save my ensnared soldier who is slowly having the life literally squeezed out of him, my most decorated Sergeant (with some cutting edge tech on his weaponry I might add, which I would lose should he die) and risk the lives of my other men and women… or continue to the extraction zone mere feet away and sacrifice the life of one man to save several?
One of the features I love most about the XCOM games is the permanent death of your soldiers if such a scenario takes place. It adds a whole new dimension to the strategy genre as every individual soldier truly matters, particularly as you can customise them and name them after friends and family – which sounds very tempting as it adds a personal touch to your campaign but ultimately detrimental to your plight as you’ll find yourself overprotecting your mother or your spouse instead of perhaps taking a necessary risk when the need arises. In the above situation I left my Sergeant behind, but in all honesty that had more to do with protecting my little soldier version of me (embarrassingly the unconscious one) than rescuing one of my doomed comrades, a decision that would have probably gone the other way had I not personally been a part of the mission in the first place.