I finished XCOM2 recently and wanted to put out some parting thoughts. First and foremost, people should play this game. It’s a significant improvement on the first one. I do suggest people take a look at the mods on the steam workshop, some of them add some nice quality of life changes. Either faster turns, overwatch for everyone (or evac), and some tweaks in the various gameplay elements. If you do use mods, be warned that you have to keep using them on the saved game files.
Where the first game had a defense-first attitude, you could run most of the game with 4 snipers, a runner and a heavy weapons specialist. For the first 3/4 of XCOM2, you’re on offense, and at a disadvantage too. Your weapons are pretty weak, even with the magnetic ones. It’ll take about 100 days of research to get beam weapons, which is a very long time. So until that point, you need classes that can move.
The Ranger is a solid bet, with either a focus on melee attacks that make them invulnerable, or a stealth mode for those tricky missions. They have a good critical chance and weapon damage as well, making for a pretty solid class.
The Sharpshooter is the sniper, hanging back and dealing massive damage. I never bothered with the gunslinger tree since pistol damage is too low. When you get Killzone (reaction shot for everyone who moves in front of you) and then Serial (keep shooting if you’re killing), you’re a frigging machine. The downside is that this class required the magazine expansion weapon mod and either the spider or wraith armor to move quickly. They are the main damage dealers in the last 25% of the game.
Grenadiers focus on heavy weapons and both skill trees have fun items. Either more bullets or more bang, and I had 2 different build in my squad. They are often the first to shoot, since they shred armor, destroy cover and boost aim chance for the rest of the team. Essential for those buggers who love to hide.
Specialists focus on mechs and healing. If you’re playing Ironman, you need the healing type, otherwise it’s a pretty useless class. The odds of hacking are not high enough to be worth trying. After completing the game, I had hacked (and taken over) 8 enemies, out of 414 kills. They have really bad aim too.
PsiOps is stupid powerful but a very late game addition. Insanity, Void Rift, Null Lance, and Domination change the game. Void Rift is like a grenade with twice the range and damage. They clear entire rooms.
Focus on beam weapons above all. They change the game completely. Your sniper can now 1 shot a Codex, which is the real end goal. Once you’re there, I suggest 4 Spider/Wraith armor for easier movement, then 2 EXO suits for the free rockets.
Ammo upgrades are also really good. Dragon bullets cause enemies to burn, and AP bullets ignore 5 armor (which I think covers everyone). A sniper with AP can kill any mech in 1 hit. With the proper world bonus, you can build ammo with no build time, so I save-scummed until I got what I wanted.
Build 3 power rooms, 2 of which on the alien coils. Keep at least one of the middle rooms for a Workshop. Putting an engineer in this room gives 2 gremlins, which act as engineers. An upgrade gives you 4, so try to keep it close to a power relay for a nice boost. You’ll need 2 resistance comms to move forward in the game, both upgraded. A Psi Lab when you have the materials too, as a PsiOps is super powerful.
I suggest ignoring a Laboratory or a Defense Matrix. The Advanced War Center should be used for Ironman only, or you need to get a Steam Mod to make it worthwhile for regular games (for the rank bonuses).
The real big goal is getting the 2nd power relay up and running. The game gets really hard until you do.
For a while, I was at 10/12 on the progress bar. I was pretty sure things were going to go sideways for me. But I got lucky and wiped out a bunch of bases in a row and dropped from 10 to 2 in a month. Just remember that you can’t ignore any missions and if you’re given the option of missions, take the one that stops the double progress. You can live with enemies with more armor, or poison or what have you. You can’t live with a 12/12 progress bar.
There are really 2 kinds of missions, timed missions and combat missions. For the former, you want to get your snipers to high ground as soon as possible and rush the rest of the team until you find an enemy. Moving as far as possible on the first turn, you want to save the Overwatch for later on. Once you’re discovered, then grenades and cover make the difference.
For the 2nd half of the game, there’s a larger focus on combat missions without timers. The last one is like 2 of these missions put together. When there isn’t a timer, odds are you’re going to have a pretty tight group of enemies, so you want to avoid moving too far out. Guns should be reloaded wherever possible (unless you have free reload weapon mods) and the team should never be too spread apart. There’s nothing worse than charging forward and finding a group of mutons, sectoids, MECs, and a gatekeeper all cause you didn’t want to take cover.
Without spoiling it, the last mission’s objectives will end the mission when they are completed, regardless of what’s left on the map. In the final room, once you trigger the main event, the portals will continue to spawn until you clear the objectives. I think I ended up with 50 kills on that one level.
The game also sets up either a sequel or a DLC with a new big bad guy. Curious as to how that rolls out.
Highly recommend this game. I’ll be coming back to it in the future I’m sure.