I love XCOM 2. I played it on release and gave it one hell of a score. Now Firaxis and 2K have released an expansion that’s making me love the game even more.
It’s not very common for me to return to a game for an expansion, especially not when the expansion releases so long after the main game. But XCOM 2: War of the Chosen has so much content in it and the concept of the chosen was so interesting that I couldn’t resist coming back for more.
New factions with amazing heroes and dynamics, new researches, enemies, missions, more emphasis on encounters rather than time-based missions—though those are still in there—and so many chances of being a complete badass—if like me, you’re very well into save scumming!
Now, this isn’t a review of XCOM 2: War of the Chosen, but it would be remiss of me if I didn’t touch on the stars of the show, The Chosen.
The Chosen are exactly that, the favoured agents of the Elders, the Alien leadership. They’re humanoid in appearance but clearly there’s been some alien meddling in their genome. They’re powerful, with tons of useful psychic abilities, they can summon units into the battlefield, they each have one skill that dazes enemy units—your units, if that is unclear—and they have a set of strengths and weaknesses that are completely random but add lots of lore flavour and challenge to their encounters.
There are three Chosen—and I wished there had been more—with each of them somewhat based on the classes of your XCOM soldiers:
- The Assassin is closer to a ranger, favouring a shotgun and a blade.
- The Hunter is a sniper, with a deadly rifle and long-range abilities.
- The Warlock is closer to a psi operative than a specialist, his attacks focused on psychic abilities, though he carries an assault rifle.
The Assassin is the first one you meet, and she makes her presence memorable, by being completely intimidating. But once you’ve met them, your movement around the world will determine how many of the chosen you fight at a time. They each take control of one part of the world, so there’s a good chance they’ll show up in the middle of a mission, though as far as I know, there’s no chance of them all showing up at the same time. At least it never happened to me…would’ve been AMAZING!
This list is in order of how deadly, challenging and memorable I found the chosen, from least to most.
3 – The Hunter: This dude was great, though unlike the Warlock with his ability to affect my team and summon ghostly units, he could just move around the battlefield to line up a perfect shot.
His sleeping darts had an extraordinary range and he could even mark one of my soldiers for an unmissable shot if they didn’t get out of his line of sight within the next turn—and his line of sight for that skill was unreal, even going inside buildings most of the time.
Sadly, for him, he’s still pretty much an enemy sniper, and it’s very easy to get around those. At one point, I even walking up right behind him and shot him at point-blank range. It was hilarious!
His sarcophagus fight—the Chosen regenerate endlessly until you find and storm their base and destroy their stasis pod—was the easiest for me since I knew how to position myself to take him out in the enclosed environment. It didn’t help that among his random weaknesses he had vulnerability to attacks from higher terrain.
Tensest Moment: When he first used his daze grenade on my squad, getting my heavy hitters caught in the blast.
2 – The Warlock: I didn’t spend much time with the Warlock. He was my 3rd Chosen to fight and by then I knew how to engage them safely and how to draw them out.
Having said so, he is the only one among the chosen that I’ve run away from, choosing to leave the mission site via the rendezvous point rather than taking the dude out.
His attacks are psychic in nature, as he never used his rifle on me, which meant that if he mind-controlled one of my units, I would have to deal with him as quickly as possible, taking him out before my possessed agent turned on their teammates, a tall order with his ludicrous health.
This actually happened in the final confrontation, and it was a race for survival. He mind-controlled my best Ranger, which at the time was adjacent to pretty much the entire squad and she had bladestorm—a ranger ability that gives the unit a free blade attack on enemies coming into or acting while in melee range. It meant that firing upon the Warlock had the cost of my soldiers getting a machete to the face for their troubles.
Fortunately for me, my snipers are very good!
Tensest Moment: When he mind-controlled the ranger before slipping into his “add-phase,” where he put himself into a cocoon that would dispel only after you kill the ghostly soldiers he summons. Problem with my ranger was that she had Bladestorm as a skill, meaning any enemy acting or moving in melee range with her gets an automatic slash. So taking him out was a risky affair with everybody huddled together.
1 – The Assassin: It might be the lack of proper equipment for most of my fight with her, but I truly feared the assassin showing up.
First, she went invisible and in my playthrough she had immunity to overwatch, meaning she could approach my squad and obliterate a unit with her sword without me being able to do a dam thing about it. If the soldier survived, by any chance, then they were dazed for a round and if I didn’t snap them out of it ASAP, she’d be back, extract information from their mind and leave the battlefield. Trust me, you don’t want that happening!
It didn’t matter which encounter it was, the Assassin would always dash in, smack one of my soldiers and then run out, only to return during the next round. If I was lucky, and consider what I’m saying, she would do her line-long insta-daze attack, which depending on position could affect your entire group. If I was unlucky, she would strike someone and then use her invisibility power, becoming one with the shadows in the same way my soldiers became one with their toilets.
Even in her sarcophagus fight she remained a complete threat.
Tensest Moment: The first mission I seriously fought her, she just kept dashing in and taking shots at my guys, draining my resources and leaving me guessing on how to properly defeat her! Only won because she made a bad move and hid herself within an enclosed space, allowing me to use all my explosives on her.
I’m thinking of doing another playthrough of XCOM 2: War of the Chosen after I’m done with this one, just to see what kind of bonkers ability the Chosen spawn with this time! Maybe the rankings will change!