War of the Chosen is Out - Impressions?

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#201 Edited by Mirado (2540 posts) -

@mirado: the game hasnt had any glitches at all for me? You playing on pc with any mods? I do get frame rate hitches still during the landing cutscene usually, but its not nearly as bad as it was at launch.

PC, yeah. The only mods I have are cosmetic/solider customization related, the rest is just stock. I seemed to have a higher than average incidence rate with the base game, so I'm not sure if it's specific to my setup or installation, but the nature of PC game issues can lead to cases like this where your experience has been fine and mine is rocky.

Hell, I even had the final mission bug out on my first playthrough of the base game. That was extremely frustrating, and put me off of it for a good while (whereas I never felt like the bugs in the first XCOM were that terrible, even including some of the worst ones like where soldiers could get stuck in place forever). I still haven't done an Ironman run because I'm worried I'll get two dozen hours into it and some fucking bullshit will ruin it all.

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#202 Posted by Tennmuerti (9265 posts) -

For lack of shit to do waiting for other games to come out I've decided to do another playthrough, this time on Legendary+Ironman.

The main thing about Legendary that instantly seems more daunting over Commander difficulty are the increased timers for everything on the strategic layer. The timers on building shit and research I get and have experienced before in vanilla Xcom2 on Legendary, it just slows down the game. But the fact that resistance actions also take more time is way more punishing since they are kind of the primary driving force in the expansion and you have a limited time to perform them per month and have an inbuilt requirement to counter Chosen actions every month too. Not sure how I feel about that part. Nah I'm sure, I feel negatively about that.

Plus the wound timers are all over the place one soldier takes 1 point of damage is "lightly wounded" but is wounded for 20+ days... another looses most of her life is "gravely wounded" and is out for 12 days? What.

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#203 Posted by OurSin_360 (5202 posts) -

@mirado: i would check those mod pages and see of other people are having issues. If they add models or higher res textures it could also be more demanding on your system. I know ui mods can be glitchy and moat dont seem to work with a game pad. Also early mods had an issue where they would cause a memory leak becauase they werw compiled wrong, didn't matter what type of mod.

Most the mods i have are working pretty good, only my uniform mod doesn't work with my game pad(adds options to the ui). Also the original long war mods no longer work woth wotc, sub machine guns/leaders etc so i turned those off sadly.

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#204 Posted by Bane (758 posts) -

@tennmuerti: One of the reasons I've only ever experimented with Legendary is I don't think the difficulty options are granular enough. I'd love to play with the unshackled AI, but I don't want the build/research/wounded times that come along with it.

I've always thought they should take an approach similar to the Silent Hunter series: the different aspects of what makes up the difficulty are all separate and accessible individually. The choice you make for each aspect determines the overall difficulty you play at.

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#205 Posted by ArtisanBreads (9091 posts) -

@bane said:

@tennmuerti: One of the reasons I've only ever experimented with Legendary is I don't think the difficulty options are granular enough. I'd love to play with the unshackled AI, but I don't want the build/research/wounded times that come along with it.

I've always thought they should take an approach similar to the Silent Hunter series: the different aspects of what makes up the difficulty are all separate and accessible individually. The choice you make for each aspect determines the overall difficulty you play at.

Totally agreed.

With sims, I wish they got NBA 2K levels. That game lets you adjust practically every single thing with a slider. It'd be cool to see that in XCOM.

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#206 Posted by zaccheus (2037 posts) -

@artisanbreads: Yeah, sports games have had those things as long as I can remember. You'd think they had put something like that in already. There is probably Mods for it thought.

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#207 Edited by Tennmuerti (9265 posts) -

Ah good old Legendary/Impossible Xcom difficulty!

I want to cuss up a storm right now.

Just had a mission to rescue a civilian and hold out until extraction appears for 4 turns. On legendary you get 2 reinforcement drops every turn without pause, that's 4 new enemies every turn you have to hold against. With a squad of 4, 2 of them rookies all with basic gear. And of course on the first overwatch vs. reinforcements turn 3 out of 4 of my soldiers miss.

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#208 Posted by OurSin_360 (5202 posts) -

I think for anybody starting this, turn the rulers dlc shit off. It's super fucking unbalanced and seems kinda broken in this dlc (showing up way to fucking early with no context). Considering starting over without it, if i can.

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#209 Edited by Tennmuerti (9265 posts) -

@oursin_360: Yeah the rulers are kind of designed to give the ultimate challenge to those already experienced with Xcom2. They are very manageable if you know what you are doing and how to exploit or take advantage of game mechanics to the full. But they are no joke early on even then, especially if you have the unfortunate task of facing off against the Berserker Queen too early.

To be fair to War of the Chosen implementation of them, they are toned down to respond to less actions, and you are also warned where they are so that you can avoid them and choose when to tackle and activate them essentially. If this is someones first play through of Xcom2 I can imagine and completely understand the Rulers seeming like just too much.

On the other hand they do also provide that imo somewhat needed difficulty bump/spike in the midgame when the playthrough is starting to get too complacent, there is tension and fear of loss again. But I also think it would have been much better if they were somehow gated further down into the lategame of the campaign, since that's exactly when things start getting too stale and the challenge drops off a cliff. Considering that War of the Chosen did not introduce any new endgame enemies (my biggest criticism of it I think) to challenge the new more OP squad and gear setups I feel like the Rulers would have been better suited for exactly that task.

I do hope someone does a mod eventually that enables you to face off against the Chosen and the Rulers in the lategame even after killing them for real. IE you get the rewards and stop their interference on the strategy layer, but would still be able to enjoy them for the combat challenge against your geared up and level up squads. Because as it stands now the Rulers and Chosen both provide a cool stiff challenge in midgame, but then you are just left holding your dick essentially, with all your cool new best toys and bad ass soldiers with nothing to do but face off against the same old Sectopods and Gatekeeprs except your soldiers can now take those on 1 on 1 in one turn pretty much.

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#210 Edited by OurSin_360 (5202 posts) -

@oursin_360: Yeah the rulers are kind of designed to give the ultimate challenge to those already experienced with Xcom2. They are very manageable if you know what you are doing and how to exploit or take advantage of game mechanics to the full. But they are no joke early on even then, especially if you have the unfortunate task of facing off against the Berserker Queen too early.

To be fair to War of the Chosen implementation of them, they are toned down to respond to less actions, and you are also warned where they are so that you can avoid them and choose when to tackle and activate them essentially. If this is someones first play through of Xcom2 I can imagine and completely understand the Rulers seeming like just too much.

On the other hand they do also provide that imo somewhat needed difficulty bump/spike in the midgame when the playthrough is starting to get too complacent, there is tension and fear of loss again. But I also think it would have been much better if they were somehow gated further down into the lategame of the campaign, since that's exactly when things start getting too stale and the challenge drops off a cliff. Considering that War of the Chosen did not introduce any new endgame enemies (my biggest criticism of it I think) to challenge the new more OP squad and gear setups I feel like the Rulers would have been better suited for exactly that task.

I do hope someone does a mod eventually that enables you to face off against the Chosen and the Rulers in the lategame even after killing them for real. IE you get the rewards and stop their interference on the strategy layer, but would still be able to enjoy them for the combat challenge against your geared up and level up squads. Because as it stands now the Rulers and Chosen both provide a cool stiff challenge in midgame, but then you are just left holding your dick essentially, with all your cool new best toys and bad ass soldiers with nothing to do but face off against the same old Sectopods and Gatekeeprs except your soldiers can now take those on 1 on 1 in one turn pretty much.

Bolded part, maybe i picked the wrong options but they give me no indication when or where they are, each time it has been when i am pretty much done with a mission on my last move after using most my items. So far they have ran away for some unexplained reason, usually after killing 2 of my squad.

And i feel like i am pretty decent at the game having played vanilla and enemy within, but the simple ability to move at all times is just ridiculous and honestly not the type of difficulty i like. Killed two of my templars on pretty much their first moves(second one right after i replaced the first one lol). I read about the "nerf" where they can't attack without line of site it's pretty mute when they ambush me each time lol. I expected difficulty, but not the ability to break the game rules. They feel like end game enemies but I didn't even have tier 2 armor yet lol.

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#211 Posted by Tennmuerti (9265 posts) -

@oursin_360: If you choose the option that integrates them into WotC the rulers only appear in the Facility assault missions and the game warns you if a ruler is present and guarding said facility, if they escape during that facility encounter only then do they start to roam into other missions. So that's where the "choose when you start engaging each of them" part comes into play.

Yea if you don't have tier 2 armor even it is way way early to be facing them yet.

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#212 Posted by OurSin_360 (5202 posts) -

@oursin_360: If you choose the option that integrates them into WotC the rulers only appear in the Facility assault missions and the game warns you if a ruler is present and guarding said facility, if they escape during that facility encounter only then do they start to roam into other missions. So that's where the "choose when you start engaging each of them" part comes into play.

Yea if you don't have tier 2 armor even it is way way early to be facing them yet.

I checked the 2 dlc's and turned that off as i heard it was how you get the actual missions, but i guess not. Seems like they could have integrated the other dlc better or at least made it clearer what option did what.

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#213 Posted by mezmero (3428 posts) -

Played the first couple of hours of War of the Chosen on Commander and I gotta say I'm loving it. Didn't expect so much styyyyyyle and flavor to be added by the campaign's new content. It's almost overwhelming just how many different paths there are to take this early on but it's already creating such a rich fiction to my current run that I expect to obsess over this game for at least the next few weeks.

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#214 Edited by Tennmuerti (9265 posts) -

Today I found out that a Berserker stunning your specialist instantly releases a hacked mech which then immediately gets it's turn against you. RIIIIIP

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#215 Posted by Captain_Insano (2996 posts) -

Ok this game is pretty cool - I'm a few more hours into WOTC now and the XCOM hook is starting to grab me again.

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#216 Posted by OurSin_360 (5202 posts) -

Rulers just break the game, when they show up on timed missions there is literally no win condition. About to start over and just turn on the integration option and install a mod so rulers don't show up on those missions, cause this shit isn't fun in the least.

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#217 Edited by OurSin_360 (5202 posts) -

Ok, i don't like to bump threads but I need to know if my game is glitching.

I started a new campaign, made sure i clicked both the dlc options(supposedly gives you the missions) BUT i look in engineering and ALL the ruler weapons are ready to build already? I didn't realize this the first time i played because i didn't want to look anything up about it, but the bolt caster, frost bomb, hunters axe, and shadow keeper are available as soon as i start a game. Is this intentional or is my game bugging out on me? Would explain why rulers showed up when i never got a mission for them last time.

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#218 Posted by MuftyRiots (151 posts) -

@oursin_360: It's something on your end. Tried it both ways and the hunter gear is only available to be built if The Nest isn't checked.

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#219 Edited by Tennmuerti (9265 posts) -

@oursin_360: Doesn't seem to be a lot of information regarding that specifically out there. I believed you still had to do the proving grounds project in order to start building them but I might be wrong. You are however supposed to get the missions if you check the 2 dlc mission options separately.

With "integration" enabled they will be bound to Facilities first and you have to first do the research of the "exotic weapons" and then the separate proving grounds projects and only then can you build them in engineering.

Some tips for rulers:

  • poison/burning (via ammo or grenades) are very useful, not just because of the regular debuffs but also because they trigger on every alien ruler reaction damaging them every time while remaining on them though ought the regular turn count, and these effects you can get pretty early on as long as you have proving grounds (viper is immune to poison tho obv.)
  • they only react to full hostile actions if they see them; meaning a Reaper or a stealthed Ranger can reveal them for the rest of the team (very easy with a Reaper) and your squad sight snipers can shoot them without retribution out of their visual range; also you can chuck grenades at them from behind cover where they don't see you without retaliation, something easy to do with the heavy's long grenade launcher range (from another side of a wall for example); and you can also overwatch out of their line of sight if you know their reactions will take them into that overwatched area; Reaper also has some non stealth revealing abilities that can be used without retaliation
  • my favorite way to dick around with rulers is by using Rangers (and now in wotc other classes) with bladestorm, by attacking them in melee they will them also get attacked by the bladestorm reaction of the soldier next to them when they get their next ruler reaction, all these can also trigger burning or stun effects with appropriate melee weapons
  • frost grande will give you an extra shot or two while they try to break free
  • Rapture skill is a big one as it will make them take more dmg from everything, and now other soldiers can get it earlier on via the training center sometimes in their ability trees not just high ranked heavies
  • skills that are free to use (cost 0 AP) do not trigger a reaction, for example a snipers quick shot or a skirmishers electric lash
  • Repeater attachment on multi shot capable soldiers. Funnily enough the repeater instant kill chance totally works on Rulers, so a 15-20% chance to insta kill them can be very handy on soldiers that shoot more then once (skirmmisher does by default but there are many others)
  • you only need to take them down to around half health for them to start fleeing
  • the Viper ruler being the weakest of them is very manageable with tier2 weapons; the biggest threat is from the Berserker early on due to it's massive HP pool and stunning attacks that big mamma is the one to avoid until you are confident in your squad comp
  • for some somewhat later game options (depending on your campaign) Stasis works on them which allows you to set up your squad with overwatches around them without fear of retribution and unload on them simultaneously when they come out of Stasis thus getting multiple non reaction triggering shots; a leveled up Reaper has a massive multishot ability right before major rank that with an extra clip mod on their gun can absolutely chew up a Ruler (and yes repeater mod also works for that if you want to try it)
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#220 Posted by AHiFi (28 posts) -

I have been blown away by how much better the game runs, and how much better it plays.

My CPU and motherboard was top of the range... in 2009... and I've upgraded everything else since then - but not since about 2014.

XCOM 2 ran so poorly that it detracted from the game. It just made me pick up on all of XCOM 2's shortcomings. I had everything on Minimal to just about play at 20-25 FPS.

I came back to it before War of the Chosen but while I had somewhat of a better time, I found myself loading up EW afterwards and enjoying the gameplay way more.

After spending 6-7 hours trying to grumpily sort out an installation issue, I finally got to play WotC yesterday.

What an improvement!

I can't get over how much better it runs. I've even been able to boost settings up to Medium and have it run better than the base game did.

Conceptually, I always loved the idea of XCOM 2, but the technical issues and vast increase (or at least feeling) of BS over the original just put me off.

It was like: 'Hey, you spent 300 hours learning the original game - let's totally change it up!'

I understand why they would want to keep it challenging and refreshing for the obsessives - but it still felt a bit too much.

So I found the jump from EU/EW to 2 completely jarring. I kept making mistakes based on my brain being hardwired to EU/EW tactics.

Now I'm finally beginning to see 2's true potential. I feel the new additions are near-perfect. More importantly, it feels like a complete game now.

I also think it helped that I played the base game just before I got WotC which has helped me see the stark differences, while also allowing me to grasp for the base mechanics again. I feel prepared this time around.

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#221 Posted by OurSin_360 (5202 posts) -

@tennmuerti: @muftyriots: Thanks, i really wanted to see the dlc content but i ended up doing an integrated playthrough and the alien weapons are no longer available. I may need to completely uninstall one of my mods as disabling them still had the weapons showing up, i also NEVER got either shens last gift or ruler missions in my first playthrough which leads me to think my game is bugged. Bummer, but explains why rulers came in so early and ruined my game lol. Fireaxis really should have implemented the story stuff into the expansion, even if it nerfed the missions a bit to go with the fatigue stuff.

Thanks for the response, now i'm sure it's an issue on my end. :-(

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#222 Edited by Tennmuerti (9265 posts) -

So I am doing another playthrough and had some more thoughts to share.

Another thing I am going to praise War of the Chosen for is how different each new playthrough can feel because of the resistance orders (and continent bonuses) system being randomized as well as some other factors. A few very basic resistance orders are guaranteed but beyond that what you get or can get early on is very much up to chance. And boy do the resistance order bonuses vary up significantly.

Just to give an example, on my first playthrough on Veteran I discovered all 3 rulers early on and they hit me hard with income reduction strikes over and over significantly digging into my bottom line. But I also had the continent bonus on my starting continent of having better weapon mods (basically makes weapon mods better by 1 tier and makes a something like a superior scope from 15% into 20%) which was a huge boon in combat. I also got the Avatar reduction order, which reduces the counter by 1 every month, completely neutering Avatar progress after I was able to deploy it. But the rest of my orders were total throwaway stuff with minor bonuses. And I had like 0 time to go get crate drops on the map too early on.

Fast forward to my second campaign on Legendary (it can be such a bitch). My first continent bonus? Occasionally get an extra rookie with no gear join you on a mission, woooo. And my continent had only 1 exit/link to another continent. But I also lucked out in a few key ways on the strategy layer early on. Despite not expanding as fast my income was rocking even from just one continent. I was only against 1 Chosen from the start because of being locked in and having no other links to see adjacent territories to trigger them, so less actions every month. I managed to get a few extra +income bonuses right off the bat from resistance ops missions and as a crate drop. Combine that with a slow slow rate of progress and expansion on Legendary and I was basically never short on actual supply so far. My main limitation is info (oh and btw info contact costs are doubled on Legendary). Another help came from a few good resistance orders early on, extra power allowed me to delay requiring a power plant, extra resistance contact (plus extra contacts from crates and ops) allowed me to severely delay requiring a new resistance comm center. I believe I had around 7 links available before needing to build one. Combined it meant that I was able to move forward faster on more utilitarian constructions like proving grounds and others asap. And boy let me telly you that med bay is so so essential on Legend, the wound timers are nuts! Oh and one of my first resistance orders was get double AP for mission action, something I never even saw during the first game (here were actually many orders I didn't get to see at all the first time around). Which includes killing chosen for a total of 10 AP each time, nice.

Basically between the resistance orders, continent bonuses, supply drop limitations, map layout, chosen you start against, resistance ops options, all having a bit of randomness in them, is altogether really making a difference to not make each game play exactly the same. Big props (tm).

Some separate thoughts o Legendary difficulty in WotC:

Man fuck it. Playing it on ironman is an exercise in frustration. At some point I broke and started occasionally save scumming to keep my sanity and not extend the game to a year. People wanted a long campaign? Here you go: Legendary in WotC is a proto Long War basically (except still not as grindy as LW2). Everything take FOREVER. Timers for almost everything are doubled, research, construction and wound recovery especially. Breakthroughs take 10 days. Want to excavate a power relay, 90 days by default. Soldier gravely wounded? Have a 20 day recovery and that's with a 100% recovery speed up bonus from a staffed engineer. Most of my soldiers are constantly exhausted or wounded. But that's just the normal game length extension, that I can handle.

There are two way worse effects that I do not entirely agree with. Resistance ops are super key to WotC, extending the time it takes to do them just feels off. It changes your ability to do anything with them dramatically, instead of 3-5 ops you could do per month on Veteran, now you can only do 2-3 ops per month. It's such a massive change, I can't stress it enough. Want to reduce avatar progress via ops this month? there goes a massive chunk of your ops monthly time; want to counter a chosen activity or track them? same; You are basically lucky if you can do more then 1 purely beneficial op per month. That just feels frustrating in it's limitation, difficulty or not. It takes half a month to track a chosen once, haaalf (unless you get lucky and get to pay a black market info to reduce that time). The timers are so long that if an Avatar doom clock starts (very easy for it to do so on legendary) and you have a facility in contact the resistance op to reduce Avatar progress is longer then the doom clock timer, meaning you can not rely on it to save you at all unlike on lower difficulties.

The second change is the XP required to level up your soldiers. War of the Chosen has already increased this requirement essentially by making you rotate soldiers way way more. Legendary difficulty slwos down the soldier leveling even further. Your dudes level up soooo sloooooow, it's nuts. I am researching T3 gear and still don't have captains for half my classes. Most of my campaign up till this point (researching T3, killed one Chosen, only Sectopods and Gatekeepers unseen) 90% of my soldiers are stuck in sergeant and lieutenant limbo, levels 2-4 basically. No one is even close to major, nevermind colonel, colonel abilities are more of an abstract concept at this point to me. Except one chick who I force leveled via resistance ops several times in order to get past the lvl requirements to get 6 man deployment and ability to do final Chosen hunts. I mean I get it, the game is supposed to be longer on Legendary, makes sense right? Except for one very major factor, ie soldier deaths. Man the time it takes to level up your dudes is so long, loosing just one soldier becomes a disgusting waste of time and resources. Oh you are patiently leveling them up over dozens of missions? Down the drain. It's a Sisyphean task. Which is made to feel even less rewarding now because hey you can just get already leveled up dudes from mission/ops rewards, hooray! It creates this bizarre loop where it's extremely difficult to try to bring up your own soldiers up through the ranks, but extremely easy to just get already level up new soldiers with whom you have no attachment. I don't like it.

Oh another thing, WotC making the enemies bunch up near mission objectives, rather then spread round the map, yeah ef that noise, so fun triggering 3 groups on legendary constantly on the same turn, so fun...

On the positive side Legendary is providing plenty of fun entertainment too. I just had 3 back to back missions, no time in between, 0, they literally were force started as soon as I got out of one I was given another straight away, due to a confluence of events. First of all I was on the Avatar doom timer, no biggie I had a facility on hand I planned to raid right there (chosen showed up), did that, so far so good. But also the retaliation timer ticked down about the same time, so cue a haven assault mission right after. Cool 90% of my non rookie soldiers are now wounded or exhausted. I had to take dudes halfway out of bond training. Oh and that's exactly when the fully level up chosen warlock decides to do one of them new fancy Avenger assault missions, so here I am defending the avenger against a massive clearly overcompensating instrument with several wounded soldiers, thank fuck I could at lest take them. Yeah my entire roster was in either red or yellow afterward. But yeah I was save scumming at that point, ironman or not. Frankly imo Legendary is just too much of a chore on ironman. In Xomc:EU/EW that felt ok because the length was not so massively extended and soldier leveling wasn't such a problem. But in Xcom2:WotC I think from now on I'll stick to Veteran whenever I decide to do another run.

wooo wall of text, sorry :(

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#223 Posted by EthanielRain (1507 posts) -

It's almost too much going on for me, feels overwhelming at times (and not in the fun XCOM way). But overall I like it a lot, maybe even more than the first.

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#224 Posted by ArtisanBreads (9091 posts) -

It's almost too much going on for me, feels overwhelming at times (and not in the fun XCOM way). But overall I like it a lot, maybe even more than the first.

It really only seems that way at first. You get used to it and settled in. There is more going on, but you adjust and the other things going on interact... like for example Covert Ops can reduce the Avatar Project Timer.

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#225 Posted by EthanielRain (1507 posts) -

@ethanielrain said:

It's almost too much going on for me, feels overwhelming at times (and not in the fun XCOM way). But overall I like it a lot, maybe even more than the first.

It really only seems that way at first. You get used to it and settled in. There is more going on, but you adjust and the other things going on interact... like for example Covert Ops can reduce the Avatar Project Timer.

I've played quite a lot of it and it is just too much for me. But turning off the "Tired" mechanic - not having to worry so much about juggling the roster (and being easier from more leveled soliders ^_^) - was enough to fix it. I do love the game, great expansion yet again, but probably would pick Enemy Within as my favorite still.

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#226 Posted by OurSin_360 (5202 posts) -

After switching to integrated the game is way more balanced now, i do wish i could play the other story content though.

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#227 Edited by Itwastuesday (1239 posts) -

Having finally finished up my ironman legendary playthrough (through many delays and much crashing), I feel like I have cemented my thoughts on this thing. I love this expansion, but it didn't fix any of what I perceived to be XCOM 2's problems. It just threw a whole heap of cool shit on top of a shaky base, and somehow it all holds together. L/I is still too easy just like the base game, nowhere near the insane challenge of XCOM EW I/I that I was looking for, but still a fun ride.

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