In fact, after the last post I was but 3 research days away from the last mission. I just skipped all the other events and went full in.
You still need about 150 intel to fully stock the penultimate mission. That gives you an extra soldier (for 4 total), stealth, some immunity, and larger vision range. 2 snipers took down everything and you just need to hack the final console to beat this mission. I don’t really get it, considering the difficulty everywhere else.
The final mission is 2 zones. First is a zone about twice the size of a regular mission… or at least it feels like it. Advent to start, then moves through harder and harder enemies, ending with 2 Sectopod and 2 Advanced MEC. That part was pretty easy, since the alien pods are so far apart. A single sniper with Serial (free action after a kill shot) was able to take all 4 down. Well, that was after my Avatar sent a null lance to take some hit points to start. Things were looking pretty easy. Ran through with 3 total damage taken.
Then the 2nd zone. There are only 2 objectives here. Don’t let the Avatar die. Kill 3 enemy Avatar. I figured… cake.
There is something about this particular zone that is broken. Overwatch shots have a <50% chance to hit. Any shot that is not a crit on an Avatar will graze. The game actually crashed on me 4 times. Twice it was due to detecting a vanished Spectre. The first Avatar took a few more hits than it should have (all 6 guys) and I figured it was doable from that point.
Well, there are 6 teleport pads and they bring in all sorts of friends to the battle. Actually moving forward is a horrible idea as I had 4 alien pods active at the same time. Thankfully my Templar was at 3 energy, and was able to “tank” the enemy for a bit. Enough to return their fired shots and be more or less immune to melee damage. The enemy wanted to Mind Control someone else, thankfully.
Psionic Storm, a few Serial buffs to take out straggler, grenades, a blaster launcher, a claymore, Banish, a Mimic Beacon… you name it, I had to use it. This was by far the hardest mission in the game and nearly everyone ended up taking damage. This wasn’t due to poor planning, but more to some artificial balance mechanism to reduce my chance to hit. Let me tell you, it is next to infuriating to miss a 100% chance shot, hit a console, blow it up, and take damage on your own soldier. How does that even happen?
Anyhow, the last Avatar went down with a sword swipe and I was treated to the end credits. The 3 factions get a 20 second end scene, Skirmishers with the more interesting one.
Overall package, the game is still highly recommended. The power balance at the end is off, and I can only assume it’s worse if you had the alien hunters DLC. Not much to do there. There is always going to be some level of comfort in taking out aliens in XCOM. I’m glad this run through brought back those feelings.