It’s the 20th anniversary of Unification Day – the day the aliens “blessed” humanity with their presence. But the underground XCOM resistance knows they’ve really conquered us. The Advent Administration is putting up a statue in honor of the anniversary, and blowing it up will be a big win for our troop morale.
We jump into battle with two new unit types: a ranger that deals a lot of damage close range and a specialist, which comes with a drone that can hack into mechanical units and take over defensive turrets.
Unlike the last XCOM, you can start a battle undetected and sneak around the field. We spot a group of enemies walking down a street and move two of our units into overwatch positions and then take aim and the groups leader. We immediately alert the enemy to our position, but as the enemies start to scatter, they activate our overwatch and walk into our bullets.
Unfortunately, the enemy has a few tricks up their sleeves. A new enemy called the Viper pops out of a truck. This giant snake creature looks deadly, and her looks aren’t deceiving. She uses her long tongue to grab one of our units from across the field and snap draw them out of cover before using a second ability to wrap her body around her victim and squeeze the life out of them.
Fortunately, we’re able to use our Ranger to run up to the Viper and take her down with a sword attack. Our Specialist then hacks into a nearby defensive turret and moves down a couple other attackers. Clearing the way for one of our units to run up to the statue and plant some explosives. The detonations sprays debris over the field demonstrating XCOM 2’s dynamic maps.
The mission is complete, all we need to do is extract, but Advent has called in some heavy duty reinforcements that are more than happy to extract our internal organs instead. A Berserker lunges forward and sends our Ranger into the side of a truck. She’s still alive, she’s barely breathing. We need to get her out of here and to a medical facility, so our Specialists runs up to her, picks her up, and then calls an emergency extract. The Berserker is in hot pursuit and we can practically feel her breath on our neck as the extraction ship pull us into the air, and into relative safety.
Our brief demo of XCOM 2 was so intense that we’ll need until November to calm our nerves and prepare to show our alien oppressors how much our freedom is worth.