XCOM: Enemy Within - Recensione

Author: Fabio "Kenobit" Bortolotti
Date: 2020-07-30 21:55:39
A couple of weeks ago I wrote a long article on XCOM: Enemy Within, jokingly calling it an "antecension". A little preview, because the code I had tried was not definitive, and a little review, because in hindsight the game had all the contents of the final version, and it allowed me to enjoy twenty abundant hours of campaign. The beauty is that the same thing had happened to me even a year ago, with the preview of XCOM: Enemy Unknown. Is this a coincidence? No, and the reason is related to Firaxis' way of working. On the one hand, the firm firmly believes in its work, and is not afraid to leave it at the mercy of journalists' criticisms, even if it is not yet 100% finished. On the other hand, the developers plan the phases of the project well, spending the last few months refining the details and calibrating the parameters of weapons and enemies, the real pillars of any turn-based strategy.

Now, after a week spent in close contact with the final and reviewable version of Enemy Within, all I can do is confirm all my initial impressions. We are dealing with a great expansion, which does not upset the original but adds many small elements of gameplay, renewing the experience. If like me you loved Enemy Unknown, in Enemy Within you will find a good reason to brush up on the game, enjoying it exactly like the first time.

If you didn't understand, I like MEC Troopers. Much. BLAM!

As in the Civilization add-ons, adding new mechanics serves two purposes: the first is to reinforce (or adjust) the weaker aspects of the gameplay, while the second is to pave the way for new game styles, allowing enthusiasts to discover new strategic facets. With this in mind, MELD is the real keystone of Enemy Within. This precious alien resource is found in special containers that self-destruct after a variable number of shifts. Getting it is very important, because it allows you to empower your soldiers with cybernetic or genetic modifications, which in addition to adding a little variety to the class system prove to be an indispensable strategic advantage.

The push to recover all the MELD possible gives more rhythm to the missions, eliminating some downtimes, but above all it gives a valid reason to adopt riskier strategies. Often, in fact, to arrive in time to a container it is necessary to discover oneself, exposing at least one soldier to enemy fire (or to potential aliens not yet appeared in the visual field). For this review, in addition to continuing the campaign that started in the preview, I started a new game with the "Ironman" option, in which every move is final (read: you cannot reload), and every single container of MELD has me put before real dilemmas. If you like intense experiences, Enemy Within in Ironman will give you even more satisfactions than Enemy Unknown.

Some genetic modifications are very expensive, but investing in soldiers' DNA is never a bad idea.

The other novelty concerns the cyber and genetic laboratories, which allow respectively to create the MEC Trooper (units that lose their original class and move with large enhanced exoskeletons, which ignore the roofing system) and to modify the DNA of soldiers, to gain tactical advantages such as health regeneration and improved aim. All these operations are linked to the available MELD, which in perfect agreement with the XCOM formula is always in short supply.