Feature

The 11 Worst Things That Happened To Us In XCOM 2

by Ben Reeves on Feb 10, 2016 at 07:45 AM

It’s possible that XCOM 2 is harder than Firaxis’ last alien invasion. Thanks to a lot of clever thinking and a little bit of luck, we were able to overcome the odds and send those little green men packing, but our success in XCOM 2 didn’t come without a cost. We lost a lot of good soldiers and for a while things looked pretty bleak. The Game Informer editors share their alien horror stories from the front lines of XCOM 2.

Don't miss our review of XCOM 2.

Facing The Psychic Horrors
I was on a facility raiding mission (to knock back the Avatar counter) and Captain Jeff Cork was well-protected behind heavy cover. My scout ran into a pod of enemies, two Archons and a Gatekeeper. Due to dark events enemies had both poison ammunition and extra armor pips, but that’s irrelevant to what happened next. The Gatekeeper simply flew up next to Jeff Cork and hit him with a tendril-psi attack that only did 8 damage (not lethal by any stretch, given my armor and health pools at this point in the game), but it still instantly killed and zombified him. Thanks, XCOM 2. – Dan Tack

Grenades Don’t Make Me Grin
I love using grenades, but I hate when enemies use them. Early on in the game, I forgot that I shouldn’t be clustering my troops so close together, so the first Muton I ran into immediately threw a grenade at my team. It hit three soldiers, instantly killed two of them, and critically wounding a third. Unfortunately, that last soldier panicked and ran for new cover, but got caught in another enemy’s overwatch in the process and was killed anyway. – Ben Reeves

Virtuous Mission
My entire campaign is a horror story. I'm terrible. Every mission ends with corpses and one or two survivors limping away from the Skyranger, whispering to each other about why they even bother following this Commander's advice. I still insist on making custom characters for every soldier going into battle, and every death hurts a little more. Seeing the customization options, creating a Big Boss soldier became a no-brainer. Since certain cosmetic items are unlocked later in a soldier's upgrade path, I started the way Big Boss should start: two eyes, no cigar, and slightly optimistic about the world. It was perfect. This sharpshooter would work his way through the promotions and I could turn young John from Metal Gear Solid 3 into Big Boss by eventually adding an eyepatch and cigar, then I could add scars to his face, change his clothes, and turn him into Venom Snake by the time I was wrapping up XCOM 2's campaign. I was very excited. I brought ol' Naked Snake into the woods on the next mission, he missed a couple of shots and then a Muton disemboweled him. XCOM 2 doesn't care about the cute little narratives you tell yourself, XCOM 2 feeds on blood and your tears. – Ben Hanson

Crash Landing
Don’t ever let the Dark Event UFO hit you. The situation that happens is incredibly brutal unless you’ve got a cheesy combo to kill the enemy objective in this mission. You’ll be facing down wave upon wave with a “loose” fail timer in the form of seemingly endless enemy reinforcements as you try to destroy the objective and get all your troops back on the takeoff pad – if you’re like me, many of your soldiers will get mowed down as you try to extract. It didn’t help that three Chrysalids, a sectopod, and two heavy war mechs, and a slew of stun baton troopers (who are their own special kind of BS along with these other heavy hitters) and an armapod or whatever those suit things are were all guarding the objective. I had to get my team all the way to the objective, kill it, and then have to trudge back over a snowy field to extract – one that was now getting reinforced by a Heavy War Mech and several high tier advent troops every turn. I lost around 6 people on this mission and it was a critical blow to that particular Ironman playthrough. (You can lose more than a squad here because your troops keep coming off the Avenger) – Dan Tack

Something I’ve Always Wanted To Do
I got the entire Game Informer staff killed. Sorry guys, but that’s XCOM, baby. – Mike Futter

Pick Your Poison
Poison. Poison is one of the most devastating things in XCOM 2, and you’re probably not flush enough with resources or inventory space to haul curative measures along with you on missions. One time I had three troops sort of near each other (yes, stacking units is a terrible idea, but running out without cover is even worse) and they got spit on by a Viper. Poison times three. This was early on in a blacksite assault mission, and as this was “early game” the poison was enough to bleed them out by itself. It’s also really important to never let that Dark Event happen where the enemies get poison ammo, as it’s devastating. They all died. – Dan Tack

Next Up: Jackie Chan faces certain doom, the faceless get the better of us, and we get overrun by the machines.

Bullets Have No Effect
My first run in with the Berserker did not go well. I had just moved my last unit into what I thought was a safe position when I spotted a Berserker who started running towards my best Ranger, Jackie Chan. Unfortunately, Chan didn’t stand a chance. The Berserker charged forward, managed to dodge every overwatch shot my team threw at him, and kill Jackie Chan in one blow. Unfortunately, the other two Mutons that were hanging out with him didn’t make it easy to move around the field, so I wasn’t able to take out that Berserker that round, and he proceeded to break my Specialist, Sherlock Holmes, in half like a twig on his next turn. – Ben Reeves

Face To Face With The Faceless
Hey here’s another Dark Event story for you, never let that one where the citizens become Faceless because you’ll just be wandering around in a mission and maybe even trying to rescue people but if you step on those little citizen circles get prepared for a nasty surprise. These guys are not usually much trouble to deal with as they’re clumsy melee brutes and a lot easier than the melee units you’ll face later in the game, but when they pop out and ruin your entire plans for a turn by adding another unknown enemy to the mix, they can send you into certain doom. Many Bothans died to get this information. – Dan Tack

Rage Against The Machine
Sectopods are the stuff of nightmares. Not only can they attack twice, but they have a nifty little cloak, and they’re armored up the wazoo. After my first encounter with one, I felt like I had gotten pretty good at dealing with them, but I shouldn’t have been too cocky. On one mission where I had almost taken down a Sectopod, my last available soldier moved in for the kill. However, not only did he miss the kill shot that had a 95 % chance of hitting the Sectopod, his flanking maneuver alerted another group of enemies – which included a second Sectopod! At least my soldiers didn’t have nightmares that night; none of them survived the mission. – Ben Reeves

Mind Control To Major Tom
Mind control. It’s a humdinger, especially on Commander and Legend difficulty. I have seen sectoids pull off some pretty incredible plays, including using mind controlled troops as suicide soldiers to blow up not only themselves but other allies with them, resulting in multiple team member deaths and of course, panic for the rest. Always kill them with extreme prejudice, it’s nice when they stop showing up so often later in the game or you get mind shields, but absolutely beat them down like you just saw the birthday party alien from Signs for the first time. – Dan Tack

Brother Against Brother Against Sister
Dan’s not wrong, Mind Control is no joke. One of the first times a soldier was Mind Controlled, I tried to have everyone hunker down and wait it out, but my Sniper ended up taking an overwatch shot on the soldier who was being mind controlled and killed her own ally. Sure he was being mind controlled, but I thought he was our friend! That sniper didn’t have to live with the guilt long, because on the very next mission, she got bound up by Viper, and unfortunately, she was too far away from the rest of the team for anyone else to make it back to her in time. They were buried next to each other. – Ben Reeves

Struggling with XCOM 2 yourself? Check out our Beginner's Guide for how to survive XCOM's challenging encounters. Share your personal horror stories in the comments below.