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XCOM: Enemy Within

How Firaxis' Expansion Aims To Change Your Strategy

Firaxis’ XCOM Enemy Unknown was one of the best games of last year, but its Slingshot DLC left some strategy fans still hungry for more. The company’s first expansion, Enemy Within, is a meatier extension to the game, and it looks to shake up the way you play.

Our Gamescom 2013 demo started as we landed on a hydroelectric dam and began fanning out across the map. Unfortunately, two of our rookies were quickly taken out by a Thin Man and a Muton. This wasn’t an uncommon event in XCOM Enemy Unknown, but what followed was an exciting twist of events that left us hungry for more. Here’s a breakdown of how Enemy Within looks to shake things up.

More Maps – A few fans complained that there were not enough maps in the original XCOM, but Enemy Within still adds over 50 percent more maps to the game. In addition to the new Dam levels, players will also get to encounter farms, and discover crashed UFOs in new urban centers.

Mechs – Mechanized soldiers are a completely new class in the game. Player will be able to turn some of their existing soldiers into Mechs who have a powerful new attacks such as skill that lets them expend all of their ammo at once in order to destroy a piece of cover. We used this ability on the cover that the Muton and Thin Man were hiding behind in the above scenario and almost knocked them both out in one blow.

Gene Soldiers – In the original game, you could turn some operatives in to psychic warriors. With Enemy Unknown you’ll be able to do more crew customization by turning some of your muscle into cyborgs. After being trained in the cybernetic labs, gene mod soldiers can be augmented with new hardware that lets them jump higher, blend into environments, and even sense where enemies are hiding. One of our Gene mod soldiers has a mod that creates psychic feedback, so whenever an alien tries to possess him, the psychic energy bounces back and does damage to the attacker.

Mechtoids – Your forces aren’t the only ones with new units; the aliens have a few new toys of their own. Mechtoids are powerful new enemies alien Mechs that will be able to go toe-to-toe with your own mechs. We won’t spoil some of their surprises, but they will cut your forces in two if you’re not careful.

Other Fixes – Firaxis has also made dozens of other little bug fixes and upgrades to the existing game code, improving line of sight issues, the rollout of new squad members, and rebalancing some of the class skills. The studio even added a button that unequips all your unselected soldiers so you can quickly find whatever weapon or piece of equipment you need for your loadout.

Enemy Within is such a meaty addition that it will come on its own disc for consoles, but will also include all the content from the original game as well as all the previous DLC. Firaxis teased that there might be some new additions to the game’s story, and we can’t wait to see what that might be when the game comes out on November 12.

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  • Hate to be that guy Ben, but you called the expansion "Enemy Unknown" instead of "Enemy Within" in the first paragraph.
  • Holy crap this sounds awesome! I love the mech idea and I'm planning on making a backstory for one of my gene soldiers.

  • I was just playing this game, glad to see it getting some more toys to play with.

  • Mutare ad Custodiam : "Change to Keep" (Change to Survive?) Bellator in Machina : "Warrior in the Machine" Thankee, Google Translate.
  • Yeah, this is great news. I loved my first run with Xcom, and I'm planning to do a second when this expansion comes out.

  • But will it stop the crashing from just changing my resolution for my game window? Will it stop refusing to save my games? Will they reinclude the default response system they left in code but unactivated in EU? Will it run without constant hang ups and other bugs I haven't already mentioned? Will it stop feeling less about tactics and more like just a garden variety third person shooter with the only difference being you have to order every unit like a micro-manager and instead actually allow real tactics to win out? Until I get a yes on most of these fronts, count me out.
  • Wait wait wait. Enemy Within is ONLY coming out on a disk with the original game on consoles?? Or was that just worded badly?

  • My favorite game of 2012 is getting a meaty expansion 3 days prior to the start of next-gen!?!  Fantastic news and a reason besides GTA5 to keep my PS3 plugged in next to it's new sibling for the foreseeable future!

  • WOAHWOAHWOAH WHAT. Those pictures look amazing. This is just what I need to start my classic game which I've been pushing off because I keep losing on the first council mission.

  • Im so excited for this! My day is great!

  • Hopefully the mechs are balanced enough and arent an excuse for the game to throw "Not-Sectopods-We-Swear" at you before you can handle them.
  • I love xcom enemy unknown. Very excited to hear that they're making a pretty big expansion since the first dlc wasn't the best. I still need to finish my 2nd play through, but now I'll just maybe wait.

  • Awwwman... does that mean I have to pay again for the game?
  • Farms? Yep, called it. This is exactly what i've wanted for DLC since the start.
  • Aw we get a disc for consoles? Cant it be downloaded instead/as well?

  • Still no procedurally generated maps? Meh.

    But I'm sure Grand Graveyard will still be around, and it will still be instant game over if it's one of the first maps you get when starting a new ironman playthrough.
  • 'Enemy Within'?  Does this mean that XCOM might find itself butting heads with an analogue of AIM or Hydra?  Imagine, for example, coming to a UFO crash site, and finding you have to chase off their scavenger team in addition to dealing with the EBEs...

  • Very excited for all the add-ons, but there should be some deal by Firaxis where you can trade in your existing disc for a discount on the new one. I don't like having to repay for all the stuff I already own, or for them to fix the bugs that shouldn't have been in the game in the first place. This should cost existing owners no more than 20 bucks (I bet it'll be 40). Alas, this was such a great game, I'll probably trade in my copy and buy this one. Sigh.
  • I already have the game and the DLC. This really isn't rewarding people that bought the game at the beginning. I have already spent 75$ on the game and now for this expansion I would have to spend another 40$ for a total of 115$. Now people that have not played the excellent XCOM:EU can just spend 40$ for the game and get everything.. That sucks and is a freaking rip off. I just want the expansion. I don't want to repay for the game and DLC I already own just to get an expansion.  

  • Man that trailer was awesome. I love that they are making this DLC. This is more like a new game then DLC. I started playing X-COM on PC so many moons ago...sorry had and old man moment there. My friends and I would rename our characters and sometimes one of us (one of the renamed solders) would pull off the miraculous. Some of us would die but the others would go on to be legends. That game was a rare gem and even thou the new one (Enemy Unknown) simplified the strategic gameplay that was the original it kept enough of the core to appeal to fans of the original pc game. Now with this DLC it just gives me another excuse to dive right in again.

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