June 22, 2015 by Ryan Ward
XCOM 2 is set twenty years after the surrender to alien forces, called “Unification Day,” and sees the XCOM organization scattered. In 2K and Firaxis’ sequel, you’ll once again take on the role of the commander of XCOM and recruit from five different soldier classes, each with its own class-specific abilities to create your ideal squad for each mission.
The demo of XCOM 2 that we were shown behind closed doors at E3 gave us a sneak peak at both graphical and gameplay improvements over the original XCOM: Enemy Unknown released back in 2012. After two squad members entered into Overwatch mode, the camera smoothly swept back and across each unit as they fired shots at the moving aliens. While XCOM 2 will still be using the Unreal Engine 3, the graphics are noticeably improved, and the developers have focused more on gameplay improvements like destructible cover, being able to carry fallen allies, and looting enemies for gear and artifacts. XCOM 2 also features new alien species like a large snake creature that can use its tongue to grab and reel in a unit from range and a hulking beast-like alien that charges and knocks back opponents.
From what little we saw of the game, XCOM 2 looks to be an iterative sequel in that it hasn’t changed up the core XCOM system, yet the developers have clearly tried to improve upon it. After watching the demo, XCOM 2 still doesn’t seem like the type of game that will bring in gamers from other genres, but for fans of tactical squad-based combat, it looks like another dose of awesome straight from Firaxis.
XCOM 2 is set for release in November 2015 on PC.