XCOM2 Collection – Review
Follow Genre: Strategy
Developer: Firaxis Games, Virtuos
Publisher: Take-Two Interactive
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Tested on: Nintendo Switch

XCOM2 Collection – Review

Site Score
7.0
Good: A great game is now available on a portable console
Bad: The port is less than perfect
User Score
5.3
(3 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 5.3/10 (3 votes cast)

With the release of the Nintendo Switch a lot of companies decided to release ports of their games on it. The latest to join this trend was 2K with their collections, namely for the Bioshock, Borderlands and XCOM2 series. Today we’ll review the XCOM2 collection, the oddball of the bunch, which includes XCOM2 and its DLC.

Story

Set twenty years after the first game, XCOM2 shows a future were XCOM was incapable of repelling the invasion. After a war with heavy casualties, the aliens set the ADVENT coalition, formed by humans originally interested in negotiation with the invaders, as puppet government.

At the start of the game, an XCOM assault team is diving into an ADVENT facility to rescue the Commander, the character from whose point of view the players interact with the game. After succeeding in their mission, Dr Richard Tygan, XCOM’s resident scientist, starts a procedure on the Commander in order to remove a chip implanted in his skull.

After analyzing the chip, it turns out to be a connection to the whole ADVENT network, through which they were using the Commander to analyze and provide tactical information on their campaigns.

With the Commander now freed, XCOM is back into the playing field. After raiding several of ADVENT’s secret facilities, XCOM discovers the Avatar Project, which they will have to stop.

As part of the War of the Chosen expansion, three new factions are introduced into the game, with extra bits of story for each of them. An example of this is the conflict between the Reapers and Skirmishers, which is ended by a truce against their common enemy, the aliens.

The expansion also adds three special enemies known as the Chosen, each of them having a special relationship with one of the new factions. They also have some backstory that can be found and read in the archive, adding some amount of flavor to their characters.

Graphics

While the graphics in the XCOM2 Collection are as good as expected, they are definitely downgraded from the other versions. Sometimes the image will look muddy or somewhat lacking in detail. This is not a stylistic choice, since the blur happens to go into whatever is being shown, but taking into account the lesser power of the Switch it was most likely necessary.

Even if player-controlled characters are not the most unique, players can fiddle around with them. All allied soldiers can be customized with a decent amount of options, allowing for a slew of different designs. It is worth mentioning that while this is a nice touch, it could’ve been somewhat more polished since a few of the options are somewhat lackluster.

Enemies are a whole world, with each of them including very unique designs that allow players to know at a glance what to expect. The only possible complaint would be with the standard soldiers, which from a top-down perspective can sometimes be confused. This first part also applies to boss enemies, which boast special looks to match their abilities.

There are a few graphic mess-ups in the game, such as enemies going through walls due to their size, soldiers putting their arm through walls to shoot, etc. Another one would be how the camera is handled at times, making weird moves that don’t show anything and being generally awkward.

Sound

XCOM2’s sound is pretty good; the voice acting, soundtrack and SFX all have high production value and effort put into them. That said, the soundtrack can get somewhat repetitive after a while, with most songs being pretty similar.

It is also a very nice touch how allied soldiers have accents matching their nationality (if the option is enabled), though same as with the soundtrack, after a while of hearing the same catchphrases it ends up becoming repetitive.

Gameplay

Both mainline XCOM games play as turn-based tactics games. In them, the player controls a squad of soldiers who start being the same but obtain different classes after downing some enemies. These classes obtain more skills as the soldiers defeat more enemies and continue improving. Soldiers belonging to the factions added by War of the Chosen evolve somewhat differently, having several skills to choose from without special training instead of the standard two.

Missions feature varied objectives, from hacking into ADVENT terminals to rescuing civilians. A few of these missions offer the option to evacuate without defeating all the enemies, but most of them don’t. As the player progresses through the game, more missions with more types of enemies start appearing.

As previously mentioned, War of the Chosen adds the three Chosen enemies. The way they work is that any operation conducted in there has a chance for them to appear. If the player manages to defeat them, some extra skill points will be received. The Chosen cannot be killed until several “covert operations” are launched and their hideout is discovered. Once this happens, an assault can be launched to kill them for good.

A great part of XCOM2 is the base and map management, with several locations that can be analyzed to receive bonuses. Inside the base itself, the players can choose researches for Dr. Tygan, unlocking improvements, new items, etc. They can also build new facilities, craft items, visit the archive, etc.

All of the research and construction take in-game time, which passes as the player scans the aforementioned locations. At the end of every in-game month, supplies are received from other resistance cells. These supplies act as money of sorts, being required for most improvements or items. There is also another currency known as Intel which can be used at the black market and some other places.

Overall, it is very arguable that the base management is as important as the operations themselves if not more. This management is also a hard part of the game which may get overwhelming at times due to a lot of events happening very close to each other, but as they improve, the players will get used to it.

Now that everything about the game itself has been talked about, there are is a pair of things to mention about the port, which is less than perfect.

A big issue is the abhorrent loading times; going for up to a pair of minutes at times. It is safe saying a player would have more than enough time to get fully dressed or take a bathroom break while the game loads. This is especially true for any save reloads, which are even longer than other load times. Similar to this, crashes can occur, which force to reload the game from the last save.

Directly related to this, during some of the loading screens voiced dialogues may start, but due to the game being stuck in said screen no subtitles will pop up for those playing without volume.

Lastly, it is important to mention that the game will drain the Switch’s battery in about 3 hours while undocked. Besides this, it will make it get hotter and the game itself will start getting choppier/slower the longer it’s played for, up till the point where inputs may take several seconds to register.

Conclusion

XCOM2 is a really good game on the hard side of general difficulties. While accessible to everyone, it is hard to master and requires either time or being familiar with the genre as a whole. If the player can get past the issues of the port, which don’t affect the gameplay itself, it is more than a recommendable game.

Personal Opinion

“XCOM2 is very fun, I had a really entertaining time with it, though the loading times annoyed me to no end. It definitely is a great tactics game and a worthy purchase, though I’d personally recommend getting it on any of the other platforms over Switch. This recommendation is due to a pair of factors, but mainly because the other versions don’t have the issues intrinsic to the port (though allegedly the loading times are still sketchy) and are more likely to get sales anytime soon.”

 

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Rating: 5.3/10 (3 votes cast)
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XCOM2 Collection - Review, 5.3 out of 10 based on 3 ratings

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