Last year, the reboot to the XCOM was outstanding. Its deep strategic game play lead to careful scheming between every move you make. With enough tenacity and mindful planning, every shot to our out-worldly invaders felt all the more satisfying. XCOM was so finely balanced every way through, I couldn't imagine adding anything that wouldn't break the formula. Despite this, Firaxis has released an expansion to its sci-fi strategy game that slides in so perfectly into this flow. The new additions as well as new game play elements adds new dimensions into the already deep experience.


If you have played the previous game, you will understand XCOM's nature. You play as the commander of the XCOM project, a program in charge of handling the extraterritorial invasion of Earth. At the base, you control the project's income through XCOM council requests as well as managing research projects, building facilities to strengthen your program, and scanning the planet for any alien activity. On the field, however, game play changes as you are put in command of a small squad of soldiers through turn-based combat. Both layers are rewarding in their own ways and Enemy Within cleverly adds to both.

The most significant addition is a new currency system called Meld. With it, you can biologically modify your soldiers with alien powers, from jumping to previously unattainable heights to the ability to see cloaked foes. Having trouble with a Sniper's accuracy? Equip an eye buff that adds to aim and line of sight. Are you getting tired of your soldiers firing upon their allies after being mind controlled? Add a brain mod to add to their will and mental defense.

If biological modifications aren't your thing, you can also create MECs for your soldiers. MECs are hulking cybersuits that add strength and durability at the cost of the use of cover during combat. Once a soldier is augmented for use of the MEC, they are removed of their class of Sniper, Heavy, etc. in favor of the new class, MEC trooper. This new class comes with its own skill tree as well as a buff that is fully dependent on the previous class of the soldier before augmentation. MECs themselves are also fully customizable and have a tree where you choose its weaponry and skill. A kinetic punch for close quarters and a flamethrower that fires and spreads across the battlefield are just a few of its equipment options. Each MEC also can be armed with heavy weaponry strictly for its class only, such as a Rail gun or Mini gun making it a powerful chose for every squad to have.

Meld can be obtained throughout missions strictly. During certain missions, Meld counters appear on the Hub acknowledging Meld canisters are within the area. Once a solider is near one, a turn counter appears numbering how many turns remain until you can grab the Meld before it detonates. This adds pressure to the combat as the player can scrub whole plans aside in pursuit of this valuable resource. Meld in its entirety doesn't remain in the bank for long so each trek can be profitable. Meld is a dangerous and profitable carrot on a stick adding to this already sweat-inducing formula.

The aliens won't make this pursuit any easier however. There are new enemy types as well to heat up combat situations. The new Seeker enemies are tentacle creatures that, as soon as they appear, cloak immediately and only reappear when they begin to strangle and stun your soldiers from actions. These new aliens encourage grouping your team together in close proximity to one another. The last thing anyone wants is their Sniper to be stunned and unable to support the team. Another new foe is the Mechtoid, a Sechtoid within its own MEC suit. These walking behemoths have the properties as the MEC making them a deadly foe on the field whenever one appears. Most are accompanied by a partner, Sechtoid that adds a shield to these menaces. With its shields and high attack power, these tanks become a walking powerhouse of chaos and cause for careful strategy.

XCOM: Enemy Within takes every element that made the original great and expands upon it. The numerous new features and enemies are fun to play with it and makes XCOM: Enemy Within the best way to play Firaxis’ reboot to the series. Anyone who loves a good challenge and an excellent sci-fi experience should give Enemy Within a shot.