XCOM: Enemy Unknown was one of our three 2012 Game of the Year picks for a many reasons, but the one that sticks out most in my mind is how infinitely replayable it is thanks to its random nature. Random enemies scattered across a large selection of random maps, delivered through random events in the game’s plot progression. There are no two XCOM experiences that will ever be the same.
Well, 2K Games and Fireaxis are releasing their first free expansion DLC, and it’ going to make defending the Earth from invading aliens even more unpredictable. Packed into the DLC are 16 options designed to change how you approach battles. Some options will randomly increase a single stat for rookie soldiers with each promotion. Some will increase the range or damage or guarantee critical hits on flank attacks. See the list below.
- Damage Roulette: Weapons have a wider range of damage.
- New Economy: Randomized council member funding.
- Not Created Equally: Rookies will have random starting stats.
- Hidden Potential: As a soldier is promoted, stats increase randomly.
- Red Fog: Combat wounds will degrade the soldier’s mission stats.
- Absolutely Critical: A flanking shot guarantees a critical hit.
- The Greater Good: Psionics can only be learned from interrogating a psionic alien.
- Marathon: The game takes considerably longer to complete.
- Results Driven: A country offers less funding as its panic level increases.
- High Stakes: Random rewards for stopping alien abductions.
- Diminishing Returns: Increased cost of satellite construction.
- More Than Human: The psionic gift is extremely rare.
All options are designed to keep the experience as fresh as possible for multiple playthroughs. Creative director David Solomon claims that this expansion was created to offer more bang for the $60 gamers dropped on it in the first place.
“One of the values we offer people who play our games is [that] we really want to reduce the dollar cost per hour spent on our games. We want to consider ourselves to be one of the greatest game values that there is.”
I just wrapped up an XCOM: Enemy Unknown campaign, and I’m more than happy to dig through my backlog a bit. If Fireaxis doesn’t want to ever let me move on, though, I might have to cut this relationship sooner that I thought.