X-COM: Enemy Unknown – The Second Wave Mutates Gameplay

X-COM: Enemy Unknown receives free download allowing gameplay modification and increased replay value.

The popular alien invasion turn-based strategy title from 2012 has just been injected with a big dose of replay value.

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The Second Wave is a free update which allows many gameplay factors to be changed (mostly for the more severe), giving the campaign and the tactics required a whole new lease of life. Many of these selectable mutators are only available once the campaign has been completed but will make a second attempt to hold ground against the mysterious alien incursions much more challenging.

Only four of options are available without completing the campaign:

  • Damage Roulette: Weapons have a wider range of damage.
  • New Economy: Randomized council member funding.
  • Not Created Equally: Rookies will have random starting stats.
  • Hidden Potential: As a soldier is promoted, stats increase randomly.

The remainder are available only after completing the full campaign at various difficulty levels.

  • Red Fog: Combat wounds will degrade the soldier’s mission stats.
  • Absolutely Critical: A flanking shot guarantees a critical hit.
  • The Greater Good: Psionics can only be learned from interrogating a psionic alien.
  • Marathon: The game takes considerably longer to complete.
  • Results Driven: A country offers less funding as its panic level increases.
  • High Stakes: Random rewards for stopping alien abductions.
  • Diminishing Returns: Increased cost of satellite construction.
  • More Than Human: The psionic gift is extremely rare.

In an interview with PC Gamer, X-COM: Enemy Unknown lead designer, Jake Solomon, talked about other mutators, only made available after winning on Impossible difficulty.

“There’s one called E-115. When you turn on that option, the Elerium—which is obviously your big alien resource that you need to build more advanced hardware and research—has a very short half-life. It adds a half-life to Elerium where it will begin to degrade every day. It will degrade in your storage.”

“There’s something called War-Weariness where the overall funding levels around the world drop inexorably with every month.”

So if you’re the kind of gamer who thinks impossible is too easy, Firaxis have got you covered.

Source: PC Gamer

Source: Steam


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Mat Westhorpe
Broken paramedic and coffee-drinking Englishman whose favourite dumb animal is an oxymoron. After over a decade of humping and dumping the fat and the dead, my lower spine did things normally reserved for Rubik's cubes, bringing my career as a medical clinician to an unexpectedly early end. Fortunately, my real passion is in writing and given that I'm now highly qualified in the art of sitting down, I have the time to pursue it. Having blogged about video games (well, mostly EVE Online) for years, I hope to channel my enjoyment of wordcraft and my hobby of gaming into one handy new career that doesn't involve other people's vomit.