XCOM 2: War of the Chosen review (PC)

War of the Chosen is the hefty new addon for XCOM 2, and available now for PC users with the PS4 and Xbox One versions being just around the corner.

When War of the Chosen was announced, our initial reaction was something along the lines of “alright, another DLC for XCOM 2 coming in”, until we saw the intended price tag for War of the Chosen. Costing almost as much as the base game, it started to feel like this could very well be the Enemy Within to XCOM 2 – echoing the excellent expansion that XCOM – Enemy Unknown received.

In many ways, this is actually the case – War of the Chosen adds a ton of new content, and most of it is merely intended to increase the depth and diversity of the base game. That’s what Enemy Within did as well, and they’re the kind of differences where you can’t imagine going back to vanilla XCOM 2 afterwards.

xcom 2

Since there is no new campaign, and the content of War of the Chosen is mixed in with the base game, the best way to enjoy it is to start over with the campaign from scratch. The experience isn’t as familiar as Enemy Within’s was though, because levels in XCOM 2 are more randomly generated and War of the Chosen mixes a variety of new environments into the mix, including levels that take place underground and in the wilds outside of the cities.

New enemy types have also been added, including the “Chosen”, which are three strong alien adversaries that you run into multiple times and who thus become a plot line of their own. They grow in strength as they learn from the tactics you used against them before, and also gain new abilities between encounters.

Other equally and less impactful enemies are also introduced, including “The Spectre” who generated XCOM soldier clones to fight against you. There are also zombie-like aliens this time, who are equally interested in taking down your characters and the other enemies that are present in the level. Taking them down will give you additional action points, but staying out of their way might see them damage or even defeat some of the more menacing enemies in the level – making for interesting tactical choices.

xcom 2b

Of course it’s not just about new enemies and environments, as War of the Chosen also introduced three new factions to work with and gain units from. Reapers focus on stealth and sniping, Skirmishes prefer to get up close and personal, and the Templars grow in strength over time – adding an almost roguelike quality to the tactical layer as you’ll want to hold on to these characters for a long time. This is especially true because all three of these new factions require you to work with their faction leader prior to gaining/recruiting new units from them – so it’ll always take an extra mission.

War of the Chosen improves the already excellent XCOM 2 is nearly every way, and it’s hard to imagine the game with its additions. Our only gripe is that you’ll have to buy both the base game and this expansion, with both of them full price titles. Having a re-release including the new content would have made more sense, especially for newcomers – though XCOM 2’s been for sale a few times already. That small gripe aside, this is a strategy experience not to be missed.

Score: 8.7/10

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