Wednesday, May 27, 2015

XCOM: Enemy Within - The Long War

The Long War, a fan modification for the PC version of XCOM: Enemy Within, is evil. We're talking "Hitler's disco love nest in the seventh circle of hell" evil. It's so evil, in fact, that if the people who made Dark Souls were to play it, they would say, "Goddamn, guys, chill out. It's just a game."

There were chryssalids in the second mission.

The. Second. Fucking. Mission.

Between facing chryssalids and a ton of upgraded monsters, large and small, I got a total party kill within a few rounds of starting what is essentially the first mission where the training wheels come off in the original game. And this was on The Long War's version of normal difficulty, to boot. I'm curious to see if the difficulty of the enemy forces are randomized in the game - a change to XCOM's steady challenge creep - because this was a ridiculously overwhelming encounter so early in the game.

I won't have time tonight, but I plan to start a new game tomorrow, to see if this MOD always stacks the deck so hard against you. For someone who's clocked in over 200 hours on XCOM - thanks largely to playing the iOS version during lunch breaks - it's amazing to be surprised by this game again. But I'm worried the challenge will be so intense that I won't be able to fully enjoy all the surprises in store for me.

And what a different game this is, obvious from the moment you start playing it. There are a vast number of tweaks and additions to the game (over 700, according to the Wiki) - including my favorite new option to trade out your pistol for a number of new sidearms, including a sawed-off shotgun. You know, for close encounters.

And believe me, there are going to be close encounters. Chryssalids in the second mission, man. The second fucking mission...


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