XCOM 2: War of the Chosen review for PC, PS4, Xbox One

Platform: PC
Also On: PS4, Xbox One
Publisher: 2K
Developer: Firaxis Games
Medium: Digital/Disc
Players: Multi
Online: Yes

2K Games very recently dropped a massive DLC expansion for XCOM 2 which adds a ton of new features and missions to an already impressive game. Newcomers and veterans alike will find lots of new things to do in XCOM 2: War of the Chosen. Welcome back aboard the Avenger, Commander.

War of the Chosen is an alternate XCOM 2 campaign. This means that when the game is launched, players can choose between the original game or the War of the Chosen version. War of the Chosen cannot be continued from a game that was started in the original XCOM 2 campaign. Don?t fret, the Chosen introduce themselves early in the game so the campaign is different almost from the start.

As the name would suggest, there is a new enemy in the game called the Chosen. Their mission is to recapture him, and if they succeed, whichever chosen captures the commander gets Earth when the aliens leave. There are three different chosen, the Assassin, the Hunter and the Warlock, and all have unique abilities and all are very difficult to take down. Much like the Avatar Project in the game, the Chosen have a timer. The commander can do things to slow them  down, just make sure that attention is paid to all three Chosen or the commander will be lost to the resistance, permanently.

Chosen have specific traits and abilities. The Assassin for example, can make herself invisible at will making her extremely difficult to fight. As she fights she will get up close and personal with her sword. The good news is when she attacks, she reveals herself, runs away and then cloaks. This will give you an  idea of where she is so you can set up for her next run. She also doesn?t trigger overwatch and can shoot back if you miss her. Combine all of this with her ability to kidnap troops, and she is nasty. Once they appear, you are given some information as to what region of the world they are in. Intel must be gathered in the form of covert missions to pinpoint where they are and hunt them down.

Speaking of covert missions, this is a new feature for XCOM 2. War of the Chosen gives the commander options to send soldiers on covert ops, and doing so will tie them up for several days depending on the op. For example, a covert op can be in the form of help for a resistance cell that would increase funds coming from that cell, or research on where the assassin has taken a soldier. Usually two soldiers are sent and many times at least one of them must be a particular rank or have a particular ability. Once sent, if the op is to help a resistance cell, an increase in monthly funds is awarded. If the op is locating a black site where a soldier is being held, then a mission is placed on the map to rescue the unit.

Soldiers can now form bonds with each other, and as troops go out on missions they start to form friendships with each other. Once troops go on enough missions with each other they can bond giving the two units a bonus if they are sent on the same mission. One of the bonuses, for example, allows two soldiers to have an extra action if they start the round close to each other. They will also start forming personalities. One of my soldiers developed a fear of panic, if another unit on the field became panicked, the soldier had a chance to do the same. Seeing this, however, doesn?t mean that this unit can be benched, especially if you don?t have other fresh soldiers. They can also become tired, which
is a new status in the game. Tired units can be sent into battle, but be warned that if they are, they won?t be as accurate as non-tired soldiers. Using bonds are a great way of giving more depth between the units and adds new tactical value to the makeup of your squad. The addition of developing a fear of something, especially after they watch a Sectoid take over your buddy?s mind, make for a more in depth experience.

Now, would it be fair if you didn?t have characters on par with the Chosen? Of course not, and in the realm of XCOM, when has anything ever been fair? In War of the Chosen, there are three new factions in which hero units come from. The first are the Reapers. These are long range snipers that are, of course, better than your average sharpshooter. They also have a larger more complex upgrade tree. Ones that have more than two upgrades per level to choose from. Also, players may choose multiple upgrades per tier. All three of them have ultimate abilities that are unlocked at the highest levels of the characters. I won?t spoil the surprise here, needless to say they are pretty impressive. The new factions are awesome and the voice actors are a who?s who of Star Trek: TNG including Michael Dorn, Jonathan Frakes, and Marina Sirtis who all play roles in the game. The voice acting performance from them are very well done.

The Lost are also a new enemy type introduced in War of the Chosen. Players of the first game may remember the devices that fell from the sky and started to spread weird glowing alien spores. People who got infected by these either died and became ash statues, or became the Lost. Think zombies. They look like zombies, and they act like zombies from most movies or TV shows, although they are a neutral force. Being that they are not on the Advent?s side, they will attack Advent soldiers just as they will attack your own. Lost are drawn to sound, and swarms of them will appear on the field at a time, and the more sound you make, the more Lost appear on the map. Since they come in swarms, the only upside to these monstrosities is that when they are shot, if they are killed, that unit gets another action point. This evens the playing field a bit. The Lost have their own turn when playing on a map with them, and using Lost to attack the Advent add a new layer of tactics to the game.

XCOM 2: War of the Chosen is a must own for veterans and new players alike. It doesn?t matter how many hours players have put into the original XCOM 2 campaign, starting over with War of the Chosen is completely worth the time.

Grade: A