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#1 Edited by YoThatLimp (2316 posts) -

I am only a few hours into my new campaign but man I am digging it. I am doing a normal Ironman run with several second wave options checked. Here are a few thoughts:

  • The AI seems smarter. I have had Sectoids run off back into the dark only to try to flank me through unopen doors, ect
  • The new maps are huge and sprawling, with a ton of varied environments
  • The way the game serves you maps seems smarter, I haven't had any repeats so far whereas before i felt like I saw the same 10 maps over and over
  • There are urban UFO crash maps which are super tense having to make sure a ton of rubble doesn't have anything hiding in it
  • You are timed in acquiring Meld so if you don't reach it before the timer runs out it is useless. I don't like that but it is a smart design decision. You really need to weigh speed vs safety if you want to hit both containers of Meld in time
  • The AI move about the map and the spawn bugs don't seem to be a thing anymore.
  • Earning medals to give to your soldiers is awesome, i am still unsure how they are earned but it is a fun system


  • Each container of Meld you activate is 10 meld
  • Converting a guy to a mech soldier is 10 meld, each suit of armor is 40 meld
  • The genetic stuff seems fairly cheap 5-15 meld so far
  • There seems to be several genetic options you need to unlock

Man the mech soldier seem super over powered, my first guy started off with 13 health. This really makes me nervous about the balance of the late game as normally the end of the xcom campaign was a victory lap.


It looks like there are a few new second wave options, I have the option "Training roulette" on which randomizes perks about squaddie level. I thought it would make it feel more "random" and real to have everyone with separate skills. I have a heavy medic who has incredible AIM which is cool it might be a bummer when it comes to my Snipers though.

New Second Wave options:

  • Training Roulette - skills after squaddie are random
  • Save Scum - If you save, miss a critical shot you can reload and get a new seed for a chance to hit
  • Aiming Angles - Soldiers get an aim bonus the closer the are to flanking an enemy
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#2 Posted by huser (1397 posts) -

Great to hear. Bought it, but won't be able to get into it till the weekend. Good to hear it's playing out well. I am hoping for some Bureau nods like the Outsiders.

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#3 Posted by YoThatLimp (2316 posts) -

@huser said:

Great to hear. Bought it, but won't be able to get into it till the weekend. Good to hear it's playing out well. I am hoping for some Bureau nods like the Outsiders.

This DLC won't disappoint it seems, how did you like The Bureau?

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#4 Edited by Tennmuerti (9082 posts) -

The expansion kinda makes easy/normal easier due to the new units and other new knick-nacks you get. (tactical rigging, medals, genetics, etc)

But on classic/impossible it's supposedly harder, since they rebalanced some OP class perks (which were must haves for anyone playing on classic and above), increased research times, level up XP requirements, meld is much more of a risk to go for (as classic/impossible play requires careful/slow tactics) and other stuff. And since there are more enemies on higher difficulties and they do more damage, the Mechs who can't take cover are fire sponges, which balances their hp. Oh and Sectopods have 50% damage reduction on these difficulties. Don't know if it will be enough yet, we'll see.

Plus the random rolls are adjusted to cheat in the player favor on easy/normal anyway. Since you already played through the original game on normal and know the base mechanics I really suggest playing on classic.

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#5 Posted by baracudadk2 (62 posts) -

doesnt unlock on steam till friday here. but pretty excited.

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#6 Edited by Gargantuan (1905 posts) -

Do you still get a permanent willpower (?) penalty if a soldier is critically injured?

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#7 Posted by GERALTITUDE (5718 posts) -

Sounds purdy cool. Really want it.

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#8 Posted by MariachiMacabre (7097 posts) -

So far, since I haven't had a chance to make a MEC soldier yet, it seems more difficult. So far I have yet to see an old map or a repeat. I also really like the language stuff, even if it is still limited to major languages (though it makes sense). I still want my Lisbeth Salander sniper to speak Swedish, you know?

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#9 Posted by YoThatLimp (2316 posts) -

So far, since I haven't had a chance to make a MEC soldier yet, it seems more difficult. So far I have yet to see an old map or a repeat. I also really like the language stuff, even if it is still limited to major languages (though it makes sense). I still want my Lisbeth Salander sniper to speak Swedish, you know?

Yes! Forgot to mention that. New soldiers speaking (for the most part) in their native language is awesome!

Yeah, it may have been a mistake to start up a normal game, after I finish Normal I will definitely work my way through Classic. Maybe it feels easier because I have been through it once and maintained that knowledge. Ah well, still having an awesome time. The Ups and Downs of the game are still there and are fabulous.

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#10 Posted by alanm26v5 (555 posts) -

I'm playing on easy just because I want to see the new stuff and not stress out. I'm still pretty early on and haven't really tried out any of the new toys yet, though I built a gene lab. The new maps have been great and the medal system is cool. So far I've run into 1 new enemy, the seeker robo-squids, which are neat but kind of annoying because I don't know what to do besides just overwatch until they die. Can't wait to play more.

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#11 Edited by Tennmuerti (9082 posts) -


All my Second Wave unlocks from beating the game on normal/classic/impossible did not carry over to Enemy Within. :/ After I spent 3 days specifically rushing through impossible to unlock them (since I finished the game originally before these were added). And now in Enemy Within I am down to the starting second wave options plus the ones the expansion added. Kind of a small bummer.

First mission - first bug. Cover shields don't show up when selecting movement, only when the soldier is already in that cover and only that soldier's cover (since then it's a different ui element). Apparently it an SLI/Crossfire problem (multi gpu basically). Which is weird since I never had this happen in vanilla EU. Shit I even loaded up a vanilla campaign and sure enough no such bug there. You'd assume this wouldn't be the case, since it the same friggin engine ><

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#12 Posted by Kevin2306 (10 posts) -

I think it's fantastic! I was a little skeptical at first because nothing particularly new is added to the front-end of the game, but once I started getting Meld, built a MEC Trooper, and Exalt started poppin' off, things got really interesting again-and that is coming from someone who has ~500 hours already clocked and was getting pretty bored of Xcom! I don't want to post any spoilers, but the scripted missions to introduce new elements are REALLY great in my opinion.

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#13 Edited by Tennmuerti (9082 posts) -

Just gotten into the expansion proper today. On classic I'm already feeling the difference in the first month. They let off some pressure off you in terms of enemy numbers in early missions. Which is good since that was the roughest patch of the game always. But it's also a bit bad because with slower levels and a few less enemies per early maps, I am already feeling behind on soldier progression, well bad for me anyway couse it's more difficult but good, because it feels more balanced.

Also the increase to research times was smartly done. When you look at those techs taking a dozen days and now there are even more new techs to research. Suddenly South America starting bonus doesn't seem so shit, you value those scientists a bit more and now there is plenty of reason to construct research labs. Where before it was possible to ignore them or scrape by on bare minimum. Now it's a game play mechanic again instead of just going through the motions of blindly researching everything you wanted.

Meld already gave me some tense moments, with a few missions where it was 1 turn away from expiring. On big maps on classic trying to get all of it is can both risky an tough. Once my relatively fresh soldiers had to fight a retreating action from 2 alien groups on one side while at the same time trying to move in the opposite direction to try to get to the meld in time on a large new ufo map. This single mechanic has already changed and improved the game several fold by forcing the super cautious, complacent, monotone play style of harder difficulties to change from map to map. And variety is the spice of life. It seems such a simple addition, yet it accomplishes a lot.

I also agree with the class ability changes: nerfing of squad sight and buffing of snap shot, both made snipers less OP (but still powerful) and made what was previously a non choice into a proper choice between 2 abilities. Likewise for the HEAT ammo ability of heavies going from 100% to 50% extra damage to mechanical enemies, a must have previously that destroyed a good portion of enemy types, it now feels like a good balanced ability.

Shit I haven't even gotten into Exalt missions yet, nor into mechs/melding. Already really liking it.

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#14 Posted by ArbitraryWater (14683 posts) -

I've played an embarrassing amount over the past two days, and I'm enjoying it quite a bit. It fixes one of my problems with Enemy Unknown by giving the player more customization options besides some rather binary skill choices, and it also does a bunch of much needed balancing. (Snap Shot is a viable option now). I like the way Meld is included, since it encourages faster play instead of the usual Move -> Overwatch pattern that so dominated the harder difficulties of EU.

MEC troopers are pretty awesome. Their tankiness sort of belies the part where they can't dodge worth crap, but their offensive options make up for it (that flamethrower can do some mean things to certain enemies), and the fact that you can get them so early makes those first 2-3 months (always the hardest part of the game) much more manageable. The gene stuff is less major, but I have a sniper who can jump onto buildings (thus removing the need for Skeleton armor), cloak when moving into high cover (which is all cover when you're a high-level sniper), gains additional bonuses for elevation beyond Damn Good Ground and will always bleed out instead of instantly dying, so that's pretty great.

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#15 Posted by ryanwhom (291 posts) -

curious about the Exalt arc or if what they do with the Exalt can even be considered an arc. Anyone that far in?

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#16 Edited by Tennmuerti (9082 posts) -

One other thing I noticed is that beside just having a bunch of new maps, they also use the old map much smarter now. There are now multiple starting positions and i've been caught off guard on vanilla maps by string somewhere completely different and the view also being rotated. Shit there are parts of old maps I have never seen before this, because the action on them was always in the same spots in EU.

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#17 Posted by Ares42 (3554 posts) -

Since you guys are talking about major balance changes to the main game too, does anyone know if there's any patch notes available ?

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#18 Edited by ArbitraryWater (14683 posts) -

@ryanwhom said:

curious about the Exalt arc or if what they do with the Exalt can even be considered an arc. Anyone that far in?

A lot of the Exalt missions are either wave-based survival where you have to maintain control of a single point or an escort type thing where your infiltrator has to hack their communications and then go back to the skyranger. Pretty fun, actually. They're not as tough as you would think, especially with the number of dudes that they throw at you.

Haven't yet reached their base though, so let's see how that ends up.

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#19 Edited by Zalrus9 (209 posts) -

So, I have a sort tangentally related question. I bought the elite edition on feral interactive, and I was wondering if I bought Enemy Within on Steam, would that work? I don't really know how that works...

Really interested in the game! Love me some mechs!

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#20 Posted by BisonHero (10496 posts) -

@zalrus9 said:

So, I have a sort tangentally related question. I bought the elite edition on feral interactive, and I was wondering if I bought Enemy Within on Steam, would that work? I don't really know how that works...

Really interested in the game! Love me some mechs!

Look into whether Feral Interactive gives you a Steam key? Games bought through Steam don't necessarily interact properly with DLC bought not through Steam.

Though some games require Steam for their PC version (like Civ V, I think?) for like their matchmaking and eveyrthing, so that even disc-based copies still run the game through Steam. Since XCOM is from the same developers as Civ V, you may already have a Steam version? Do you notice the game launching through Steam?

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#21 Posted by 46464646 (16 posts) -

Wait, can you activate the second wave options from the start?

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#22 Posted by Tennmuerti (9082 posts) -

@46464646 said:

Wait, can you activate the second wave options from the start?

About half of them yes. The rest require you to complete the game on normal/classic/impossible respectively first.

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#23 Posted by Starfishhunter9 (385 posts) -

Has anyone played this on normal difficulty yet? Is it harder/much different?

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#24 Posted by Zalrus9 (209 posts) -

@zalrus9 said:

So, I have a sort tangentally related question. I bought the elite edition on feral interactive, and I was wondering if I bought Enemy Within on Steam, would that work? I don't really know how that works...

Really interested in the game! Love me some mechs!

Look into whether Feral Interactive gives you a Steam key? Games bought through Steam don't necessarily interact properly with DLC bought not through Steam.

Though some games require Steam for their PC version (like Civ V, I think?) for like their matchmaking and eveyrthing, so that even disc-based copies still run the game through Steam. Since XCOM is from the same developers as Civ V, you may already have a Steam version? Do you notice the game launching through Steam?

Feral Interactive does not give a steam key. However, Feral does have the expansion for about the same amount of money. I'll probably get it there as soon as I can justify the 30 bones.

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#25 Edited by airpi (18 posts) -
@starfishhunter9 said:

Has anyone played this on normal difficulty yet? Is it harder/much different?

I started and lost a couple games on classic (I couldn't seem to deal with the bump in difficulty when anything bigger than a sectoid showed up.) Playing on normal since then has been kind of a cakewalk. I've been spending most of my meld on MEC stuff which might have something to do with it, because they can just bludgeon their way through a lot of encounters (at least on normal.) It does feel like there's a lot more to do what with EXALT, and some new research options and stuff. I also feel like I've been getting more council missions, but that's probably just because I never got Slingshot up til now.

So, probably not much harder, but there's more variety.

I'm kind of interested in doing another playthrough to just drill down on mechanized infantry. Just fill a squad with MECs and SHIVs as early as possible.

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#26 Edited by noblenerf (510 posts) -

The expansion is a lot of fun so far, been playing Classic difficulty. So far I've had a rhythm: success, success, success, team wipe, failure, success, team wipe, and then I restart. I'm still working through how best to build up my squad - I'll probably have to restart yet again since I've resorted to almost-but-not-quite save scumming to get through some exruciating missions. THIN MEN, CURSE THEIR MISSING SOULS!

In spite of this, I love the additions to the game. The Meld canisters make me play much more aggressively than I would ever normally play and mix things up a great deal, though it has led to a fair amount of mistakes on my part. (Rest in peace, Tombstone.) The maps feel much more varied, as others have mentioned. The new enemies and scenarios that I've seen have been great additions to the game. EXALT soldiers are much more deadly than they appear.

I've had a bad experience with MECs thus far: in every mission I've used them, the MEC kills an enemy, take near-fatal damage next turn and then sit in dark shadows for the rest of the match. They have been better at guarding against ambushes than leading charges, though I'm probably under-utilizing their special abilities.

I'm looking forward to much more time with Enemy Within.

Edit: I've hit a new low. In my zeal to perfect my combat strategies, I forgot to set a research project...

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#27 Posted by ADeeyore (66 posts) -

They also added some new council missions as well in addition to the usual bomb disposal and VIP escort missions. Did anyone get the "Site Recon" council mission yet? I did not expect that mission to go the way it did and brought in my B-Squad since I was expecting the usual council mission assortment of Thin Men. Holy crap that was terrifying, especially that last objective.

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#28 Posted by ADeeyore (66 posts) -

I also started with gene mods before cybernetics since MECs are way more expensive, and in the early game I typically dedicate most of my efforts in setting up my satellite network. The bone marrow gene mod has been crucial, especially with the tweaking of experience as it ensures my primary team is almost always ready for action, even when wounded.

I didn't get my first MEC until the third month when I finally got an influx of resources from finishing Gangplank. Converted my gravely wounded Assault LT into my first MEC Trooper (this also cut her recovery time from the 16 days to a mere 3 days for the augmentation!). I think having officer perks right off the back in addition to laser weapons definitely helped make her more durable as a frontline fighter, though as discussed above, you never want to leave your MEC alone against a whole squad of enemies.

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#29 Edited by Tennmuerti (9082 posts) -

Man they really ramped up the difficulty on classic imo.

As mentioned before the increase in research times is a HUGE deal. I was proceeding at a snails pace until getting some labs setup and finally capturing some aliens as well as getting the instant autopsy/interrogation bonus continent. I don't even want to fucking imagine what it is like on impossible now, where research takes even longer then on classic and you miss out on a lot of continent bonuses due to insta panic.

All the cool doodads and knick knacks take money, loads and loads of money. The game kind of balances itself out because of this, as your money income stays the same. I can't even afford all my officer trainings yet, have 0 biologically enhanced soldiers (1 MEC), no foundry upgrades, 1 interceptor per continent with basic weapons, and this is the end of the 3rd month. I finally was able to put a semblance of a decent squad together with carapace armor and laser stuff before the alien base. And fucking exalt stole some of my shit too :( But alien base and third month end should give a decent influx of cash.

Before I could rush the alien base on classic by the end of the 2nd month with roughly the same gear (lasers/carapace), with some effort and good base layout. Just for comparison.

MECs are fucking bullet sponges on classic, 2 thin men are enough to nearly destroy the basic MEC in one turn and they have no problems of hitting him, since unlike your normal doods these mothers can't take cover.

The AI has definitely been improved, they are better about their positioning, use heavy cover when possible, retreat and move as a unit and generally do less dumb shit.

It's also nice that the alien spawns are no longer always 3 dudes every time. Now you frequently uncover 2 aliens or even 1 sometimes. Tho this isn't as super helpful as it seems on classic. A. due to AI changes. B. steeper XP curve and fewer aliens means less exp to go around, means it's much harder to level up, and soldier levels are worth their weight in gold, this naturally makes it more challenging.

With the new council missions from the previous DLC as well as new custom ones in this expansion, as well as exalt, I find myself stuck in the scanning/abduction/terror cycle much less. Which makes the game feel more active and much more varied (in addition to meld stuff I mentioned earlier).

So far my only beef is that I find a lot of new engineering produced gadgets kinda useless (plethora of new grenades, reaper rounds, collar, etc). At least useless enough to the point where I would not ever replace any of the vanilla equipment with them. Scope, frag/alien grenades, armor, arc, medkits are still all better choices.


Anyway I was super skeptical about this expansion in terms of the amount of meat and interesting stuff they were adding. But fuck me if they didn't go well above and beyond my expectations. At least so far in early to mid game.

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#30 Posted by indieslaw (525 posts) -

I'm loving all the new options, but I'm in a weird space where Classic feels too rough, and I'm just blazing through normal. Maybe second wave will help that.

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#31 Posted by OwnlyUzinWonHan (1554 posts) -

I want to say Training Roulette was DLC or something for Enemy Unknown, but I've got like all but three second wave options selected. It's a bummer I can't get to the Enemy Within content other than the maps because all my guys keep dying on Impossible Ironman, but those maps are such a welcome change.

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#32 Posted by BisonHero (10496 posts) -

@videorob said:

I'm loving all the new options, but I'm in a weird space where Classic feels too rough, and I'm just blazing through normal. Maybe second wave will help that.

It's always like that. There are some hard lessons you have to learn (ALL PRAISE FULL COVER) to handle Classic, and you can easily get through Normal without learning any of them.

The problem with Normal is that even when you fuck up on the tactics layer and lose some soldiers, the strategy layer (base management) is SO forgiving that you can easily buy soldiers to replace them, and it's much easier to come by money, engineers/scientists, and resources in general to buy your new equipment. You don't really have to learn from fuckups because you usually have enough money to replace your fuckups, and the game rarely overwhelms you with enemy numbers. I'm still surprised that Ryan's review mentioned Normal being rough, because it's really not compared to how savage the early- and mid-game are on Classic.

On Classic, missions fuck you over because just a few extra enemies on each map really wears you down when all enemies on Classic have small buffs to HP, accuracy, and crit chance. It all adds up, especially when Classic's strategy layer is that much harsher in terms of giving you less money and engineers and whatever.

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#33 Posted by kablui (52 posts) -

Only thing I do not like is the amount of additional enemies they throw at you based on mission type, sometimes it feels like cheap/bad attempts at balancing against stuff you could have.

First exalt mission, first turn, second of four soldiers moved, 6 exalts instantly appear in front of my squad and over the course of the next ~5 rounds a total of 8 more enemies spawned in (drop in -> overwatch).

I don't mind hard, but this (and some other instances - 4 crysalids, 6 zombies & 2 thinmen on screen in early game, when lasers have not been researched yet, for example) makes this actually feel more like one of those fixed-layout tactical puzzle solving games rather then a strategy game.

The missions I played thus far where about 50/50 "normal" experience/unbalanced clusterfuck. Going to continue even more carefully, but this is starting to feel just dumb, considering I am playing on "normal" and have sunk ~150 hrs into vanilla..

All the additions, maps, classes, gadgets and most mission types are great additions though, even if they do feel thrown in at strange intervals/clusters (more "things happend and now THIS" rather than "Through research we found ..") - I know that this is going to be an even greater game than vanilla - once I found a workaround for those kinds of situations.

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#34 Edited by Zeik (4413 posts) -
@bisonhero said:
I'm still surprised that Ryan's review mentioned Normal being rough, because it's really not compared to how savage the early- and mid-game are on Classic.

Normal can be pretty rough the first time through when you have no idea what you're doing and have zero experience with the franchise. I just played Enemy Unknown recently for the first and I had to start my game over about half way through as things were going so poorly. It wasn't until I had spent awhile with the game that I understood what I was supposed to be doing and things went mostly smoothly. (It doesn't help that the game kind of fucks over first timers with how they handled the tutorial, basically putting you at even more of a disadvantage than a clean run.)

Obviously Classic is harder, it's a higher difficulty level, but I can totally understand why Ryan thought that normal was rough when he only played the game once and clearly didn't play these types of games often, and I doubt he even touched Classic.

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#35 Edited by BisonHero (10496 posts) -

@zeik: I can see having difficulty on Normal for sure, I just mean that Normal allows for a ton of mistakes before you're actually in danger of losing so many nations from the Council that you see a game over. It's way more possible to tough it out and recover, compared to Classic where you basically NEED the brokenness of promoted soldiers, and if you have a significant squad wipe where your backups are all Rookies or Squaddies, you have almost no chance of recovering from it because your low level soldiers panic all the time, don't have the powerful later abilities, and once you start seeing Mutons and Chrysalids, you need some competent motherfuckers on your side or you're just gonna keep failing mission after mission.

Out of curiosity, did you restart because once you understood it better you would've made some different choices in the order to research stuff and the order to build stuff in your base (sort of how people restart Dark Souls once they realize what kind of character suits them), or did you restart because you were literally on the verge of losing all the council nations/because you were literally out of money and out of soldiers and basically dead in the water?

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#36 Edited by Zeik (4413 posts) -


It was mostly because I wanted to make different decisions, but it was also because I was finding myself in a downward spiral where I lost a bunch of strong units and had to start over from scratch, who were then weak and got themselves killed quickly, and I couldn't afford good equipment because I didn't realize the importance of satellites, etc etc . I might have been able to pull myself out if I kept going, but I definitely felt like it was very possible I would not be able to finish (or at least be much harder than it should) if things kept going that way and I didn't want to invest all that time only to fail.

My point was really that you can't look at someone's judgement of Normal based purely on how much easier it is than Classic, since Normal is still pretty hard compared to most modern games. If you don't ever play actually Classic (which I'd say is probably the norm for most people who only played the game once) it makes perfect sense to describe the normal difficulty as "rough". I'm sure there's something out there scoffing at the idea that Classic is hard compared to Impossible anyway.

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#37 Posted by Driadon (3215 posts) -

The extra Council missions are freaking brilliant; anyone who's experienced the whale mission will know what I mean. That damn think killed 3 of my top dudes on a normal ironman game where i was owning face and lost no one prior.

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#38 Posted by BisonHero (10496 posts) -

@zeik: Yeah, I guess that's a fair point.

We'll never know, but imagine how legendary it would've been if you pulled the XCOM project back from the brink of failure and defeated the alien menace despite significant early setbacks. You're right, it would've been way harder, but that's the kind of experience you only get a chance at once, because now you know "Oh right, I should just spend all my early money on satellites (within reason)" so your second playthrough will probably go a lot smoother.

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#39 Edited by Tennmuerti (9082 posts) -

I'm pretty much at the endgame at this point with fully geared badass squads and only the hyperwave flying saucer thingie remaining.

They have significantly buffed the HP of all enemies past mutons on Classic. Which was exactly the right move. It's a small change that does several significant things. Firstly it's much harder to instakill enemies with normal hits, and even crits are frequently just a bit short. Where before a pimp squad could just wipe out several groups in 1 turn, it's rarely the case anymore and it makes the fights feel like fights again. Another notable effect is the sectoid commanders, oooooo boy, that HP buff really helps those dudes out; in vanilla mind control was rarely a problem from them, but now due to their increased HP killing 3 of them (or even 1 that keeps running away) is a much bigger task and they can spoil your fun quite a bit.

MECs get substantially beefier with further upgrades and their lack of cover stops being a significant problem past the very first basic MEC you get vs. thin men. I also find that a heavy class MEC perk helps out a lot since enemies really like to target your big dudes, as it provides a much needed defense boost versus the closest enemy and immunity to being critted by them. And really the closest enemies are the more dangerous ones, the ones more likely to shoot you, as well as there frequently being only ever1 or 2 you haven't managed to kill. An overwatch heavy MEC can therefore have 45 defense (10 passive, 15 from overwatch perk, 20 from heavy bonus) which is better then heavy cover. (plus 5 from a certain medal after you get it). Plus their weapons are basically a heavy weapon equivalent and a bit, altho their 2 shot equivalent skill is a later unlock.

The MEC utility upgrades are also quite powerful and more then make up for their lack of inventory space. Flamer is your rocket launcher equivalent albeit with shorter range, but you can move and use it, plus it panics any enemy it hits which is also super usefull. The fist option is an incredible amount of guaranteed damage in the early game, can be buffed in endgame for a nice 18 dmg and provides a significant mobility boost. In fact a MEC with a fist and with servomotors upgrade has an insane movement radius, his 1 action movement distance is longer then a normal soldier dash! The grenade launcher is also fucking sweet, it does a bit less damage then an alien grenade, but has a much longer range and 2 uses by default, making it a great tool for stripping cover and AoE damage. Restorative mist is a nice support-medic substitute, tho not quite as effective, but it will do in a pinch if you don't have said support-medic available. Electropusle is a sic-nasty option versus those new mechanical enemies as well as buffed other later game mechanical fuckers, and with the aliens now having almost half their arsenal mechanical it's quite useful. So far only the mines are kinda dubious.

Thankfully they are kinda balanced by a huge Meld cost for each tier, especially the last upgrade. Fielding just 1 means you can not afford to just apply meld upgrades to all your other soldiers willy nilly. Fielding 2 fully upgraded MECs means pretty much forgetting about all but the fewest meld soldier buffs.

One thing I noticed tho is that it seems the enemy progression has also been slowed a bit and I only just encountered heavy floaters in July. But this might be just my last 2 insanity runs in vanilla speaking that have speeded up progression. Really looking forward to getting to go against some muton elites, sectopods and ethereals, which have all been significantly buffed from what I heard.

Plus the removal of crits on normal squad sight sniper shots, and slight nerfing of HEAT ammo heavy ability are also playing their significant part at making the later game stages less of a cakewalk.

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#40 Edited by Tennmuerti (9082 posts) -

@kablui: Exalt are meant to come in huge numbers to change up your normal play style where the player squad usually outnumbers the aliens you are fighting at a given time (unless you trigger like 3 groups or something). But they are also significantly weaker then your regular Xcom soldiers should be by the time you encounter them. I had most of my dudes in carapace armor and with laser gear, when they just had conventional weapons and had plasma by the time they started fielding laser tech. Their abilities are also not as good in terms of synergy as your soldiers are when leveled up properly.

Your operative also plays a huge part during those missions. Scrambling their communications basically gives you a free turn against them which should always be more then enough to wipe them out, it's a huge huge help if you are having difficulties fighting them normally. Also unlike aliens exalt don't appear on the map with overwatch. I honestly never had any problems mopping the floor with them and largely used them as a good way to give killing blows to level up lower ranked soldiers.

Another good tip is to have either an assault or support as your operative. Snipers might have the 1 pistol buff ability, but supports have increased movement radius very early on which helps get to transmitters to scramble their communications, making exalt loose a turn, assaults also work very well because you can run&gun to a transmitter and still use it in the same turn, this is far more help then having +2 dmg on a pistol. Assaults also shine on exalt missions because some of their perks give them stronger buffs the more enemies there are on screen. I've had my assault with a plasma pistol crit an exalt shmuck for 12 dmg at one time, he didn't even need the second rapid fire shot!

I do agree with you on the first terror mission however. It can really catch you with your pants down, if you are still on conventional weapons. Which is highly likely the case when that first terror mission hits due to the increased research times on classic/impossible. And havens forbid some of your main dudes are healing, rookies trying to shoot crysalids with assault rifles is a pretty pathetic sight.

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#41 Edited by ArbitraryWater (14683 posts) -


You and I seem to be about the same place. I'm playing on classic, and I'm sort of glad Muton Elites and Sectopods are scarier than they were before. I still think the end game sort of drags, since everyone is already a colonel equipped with plasma weapons, but I'm increasingly convinced that the game is balanced for Ironman mode where scarcity of resources is a much bigger problem.

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#42 Posted by crusader8463 (14757 posts) -

I keep doing dumb things because I haven't played in so long. So it's getting annoying and I'm not having much fun. Tomorrow I think I'm going to jump in and really try though. So far it's just been me dicking around here and there for 30-60 min at a time and I'm not getting anywhere and just getting frustrated.

The most annoying thing for me right now though are the graphics bugs. I don't remember the super slow load in as you switch to items being there as badly as this. But the most annoying bug is how the armours and colours you choose keep glitching out and resetting when a character goes from injured back to active. Or in some cases just because they feel like it.

Still annoyed that the default heavy armour has those patches of green that never changes. I love the look of the armour, but because those green patches never change I'm limited to my colour choices as most of them look ugly as sin on it.

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#43 Edited by HH (932 posts) -

three failed attempts at classic ironman, but i'm getting the hang of it, will try again today, but man the tension is high, and it's good to be back.

i got the ps3 version, whereas i played enemy unknown on xbox, and i'm noticing quite a bit of stuttering during transitions, both in image and in audio, that wasn't present last time, I'll get over it, but the hiccup every time you go to mission control is pretty annoying, anyone else having this issue on ps3? or on the new 360 version?

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#44 Edited by Tennmuerti (9082 posts) -

@arbitrarywater: That sucks :(

Just met muton elites, sectopods and ethereals myself. Muton elites don't seem to have that much more HP, which is 18, which is exactly how much damage an upgraded MEC punch does :P I forgot how annoying these assholes can be if you can't bypass heavy cover they like to hide behind (70% defense), not that one should ever be out of options to strip or bypass cover.

Sectopods got buffed huge by comparison, that 50% damage reduction combined with nerfed HEAT ammo and squad sight makes them really tanky. Tho shredder rocket and an assault rapidfire alloy cannon to the face still work well enough with some backup. At least disabling shot is finally useful for when you get more then just a single sectopod squad in view.

It's kinda funny/sad that I just got the first bomb disposal mission on this play through. It seems the game gives you all the special council missions first. I was starting to think I wasn't going to even see one again.

The Exalt base assault missions was also a bit on the meh side. It needed maybe double the number of enemies if not more (camping the roofs, arriving by elevators or something, or rappelling down like usual) because by that point a decked out squad just feels unfair against them, (even had half of my squad as dudes I was leveling up). Can't say I didn't enjoy blowing their condo the fuck up with grenades and rockets however.

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#45 Edited by BisonHero (10496 posts) -

@crusader8463: Yeah, the default armour is the worst. It looks terrible, and you can't change the colour because fucking everything clashes.

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#46 Posted by DeF (5360 posts) -

I have no hands on impressions from playing the expansion but I've stumbled over a Let's Play buy youtuber Christopher Odd a few days ago and I'm glued to the screen as if watching a very very long thriller lol. I'm liking all the new stuff I'm seeing there and it really really really makes me wanna go back and jump back into my old Enemy Unknown save and finish it off. Seriously, I wouldn't mind XCOM being in the run again for GOTY, just looking at how it still seems so amazing. Though now it has Fire Emblem Awakening to compete with ;)

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#47 Edited by Tennmuerti (9082 posts) -

@crusader8463: @bisonhero: I usually use the second look on my basic armor heavies, it also works with a large number of helmets, like so:

No Caption Provided

And while we are at it, if anyone was kinda annoyed at all your meld soldiers getting the sleeveless look, which also removes all the cool armor specific customization options, there is a mod that makes your meld dudes use standard customisations, kinda. It just needs some manual tweaking as there are 15 total armor looks, but only 10 meld look slots in the game, so you need to juggle some of the customizations. http://xcom.nexusmods.com/mods/411/?tab=1&navtag=%2Fajax%2Fmoddescription%2F%3Fid%3D411%26preview%3D&pUp=1

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#48 Posted by EternalVigil (323 posts) -

Getting close to the end of my first run on Normal. I've been playing the 360 version of the game, and its still a decent version of it. The load times seem a bit longer both in mission actions (like loading a dynamic camera shot) and loading missions themselves. Not run into any game breaking bugs, save for one time when one of my assaults with neural dampening got hit with mind control, got knocked unconscious, and then a muton walked behind them, causing a close quarters reaction shot which didn't fire and that caused the game to get stuck in slow motion.

I like the new changes a lot, as with the inclusion of meld in missions and MEC troopers it has made me be a bit more aggressive as the MEC's get a very large movement range per turn so it's a lot safer to advance up first with them, and them just run up with your normal troops if the area is clear.

The game does feel a little easier this time round, as I've only lost one country and only one solider and at this point I'm pretty much unstoppable, as I have the best aircraft, all research done and the most powerful armor and equipment out for my soldiers and getting over a thousand per month as well as somehow getting 6 psi-soldiers(You get 4 very high chances of gifted troops later on in Operation Progeny). It feels a lot like how easy did in the endgame of Enemy Unknown.

MEC's really are one of the reasons why I think it feels easier, as you can get them up as early as the second month in, they don't cost much, and have more health and firepower than the rest of your troops do at that point. I essentially use them as damage sponges as they soak up most of the enemy fire giving your other troops time to move up and deal with the problem. Tactical rigging on a support with field medic means I have 4 medkits, which is more than enough to heal them, and the self repair they get later on makes them even more tanky. I think they make up for it by having them have terrible aim chances, as they seem to routinely miss 70-80% hit chances and on Classic and up the damage done to them will probably make them less viable, as they are very easily mind controlled and I've noticed that the number of Sectoid commanders seen per mission has been raised a lot from EU.

While they have nerfed the critical chance for squadsight, it is still one of the most powerful abilities in the game, as if you need that crit, you just rely on headshots, and while the seekers are pretty good at sneaking up on your troops, it's pretty easy to shoot them off. Also I'm not entirely sure, but I think battle scanners can detect cloaked seekers, as I threw one down in a mission early on and they stayed visible to my troops even when they were moving (This was before I had bioelectric skin, which makes them even more of a joke). While I'm only using one sniper now, instead of the two I did in EU, him combined with two MEC's and a heavy can take out any big enemy units very quickly.

Gene mods have been pretty effective as well, as the ones you get at the start (Eyes and legs) are really useful. +10 aim on any missed shot with a SCOPE means my sniper never misses his second shot, and the on the higher difficulties where your aim is significantly lower it will probably be a godsend. The bone marrow mod allows your soldiers to survive a lot easier earlier on before you can get out better armor for them.

While I initially thought Exhalt might make the game significantly harder, as they could slow your progress down and have similar abilities to your squad they quickly became a joke. They only go after money you have that month, which most of the time is virtually nothing as you spend it the day you get it, so they only get away with around 10 or so when they do it, and if you go after them once they do it you get a large cash reward which quickly solves that issue. In missions I was hoping they'd be smarter with ability usage and with attacking you, as most of the time when they spawn in, they tend to get flanking chances which they completely ignore to go for the objective, which they promptly walk into overwatch fire. The elite Exhalt troops were more fun as they heal wounds a lot and actually pose a larger threat when you first run into them, as in my game I was still on laser tech and carapace armor, which made it a little more even.

The only time in the game I seriously was scared was the XCOM base assault, and I can see a lot of Classic/Impossible Ironman runs ending there, as I went in there with late game weapons and tech, and they did not mess around with enemy composition. I must of had 4 cyberdiscs, 4 mechtoids, 6 sectoid commanders, 4 mutons with 2 berserkers, a wave of crysalids , a ton of normal and heavy floaters and an Ethereral to finish it off. In the end I only had about 4 of my leveled up troops available with the rest being XCOM security staff, who can't really do much damage and die in 1-2 hits. Twice in that mission my best MEC trooper with the particle cannon and all the subsystems got caught on his own against a psionic and got mind controlled, forcing me to madly rush and kill them before my MEC got into range of my other units as one shot from him probably would have killed any of my other guys. With the increased damage and aim penalties I'm dreading doing it on Classic.

Overall it's a fun expansion, but it definitely feels easier on normal than Enemy Unknown did, particularly in the first few months. I think Classic and up however is going to be much harder than before.

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#49 Edited by crusader8463 (14757 posts) -

@tennmuerti: I like that armour too, and every game in the past I always used it, but the problem is that it makes the team look too sci-fi future armour ish. I was really liking the look of modern day soldiers that you get from the other armours. Just really wanted to try something different this time out but the game is making it impossible as every time I go to do a mission I gotta spend 3-4 min changing everyone's costumes back to what I had picked.

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#50 Posted by Aterons (207 posts) -

I am wondering, does anyone else fell the dev do not understand how powerful they made the Thin man ?
I fell like classic difficulty spike was the highest when mission had lots of thin man and once less of them start to show up it gets very easy very fast (compare to before).

I just fell like Fraxis is ether trolling people with this one alien or simply doesn't understand how good it is:

It has 4 hp, which could basically be 5 or 6 and it would be the same in 90% of situations, point is he is rarely killed by 1st tier weapons in 1 shoot and is not killed by grenade

He does the same amount of damage as a mutton

He moves a lot and likes to flank

He often "drops" on high ground instead of showing up on the map normally.

His toxin is just a small "f u, it's even stronger" hit that is basically 4 dmg without any RNG that can make it miss.

I honestly think that right now a mutton is basically almost as easy to handle as a thin man and it just doesn't fell right. You'd think that 6 hp would make a huge difference but the way weapon work it really doesn't.