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Default XCom - The Long War (mod)

October 22nd, 2013, 04:24
I've been playing this mod to XCom - Enemy Unknown for a few weeks now and I'm really liking it. As the name implies, it makes the game longer. A *lot* longer. I think I've put 60 hours into the mod and I still haven't unlocked the enemy base yet (though I'm close).

As you can see by the description page, it makes a ton of changes. You start out with six soldiers and work up to eight (which is a little buggy in the soldier selection screen). Aliens come in larger groups (3-4 most the time but I've seen as many as six) and gain hit points and some accuracy as the game progresses. You've got four new classes plus eight new skills to help with the variety. Enemy AI is improved and some bugs are fixed. Non-infinite equipment gets removed from soldiers after a mission. New equipment has been added. Panicked soldiers mostly just hunker down or, if they are exposed, run for cover instead of SHOOTING THEIR FRIENDS (lawdy how I hated that feature). SHIVs actually become useful. And so on and so forth.

Mostly, though, battles are a LOT more common. They typically happen every 2 or 3 days. Given that soldiers are now tired for five days after a battle, you can forget about having a small group of core soldiers and a few "second string" backups. You're going to need at least 40 and probably more like 50! I've got 49 and last night I found myself with just two medics and seven 0-mission rookies in fighting shape. (I pulled a sniper and an assault out of tired and still made it through with just one dead rookie, thank goodness no cyberdiscs showed up.)

I actually hated having so many soldiers at first. Rookies are just random faces and having to cycle through so many means it takes a long time to get anyone with a nickname. Once they do get there, though, you can really get some character going. I've already got 10 with a dozen or more missions.

The effect on the game is pretty profound. Getting hurt for a month REALLY hurts when you're getting 10 missions a month! I'm also having to pay a lot more attention to my interceptors. I've also had to do something I never had to do before: run like hell! I'm sure folks playing in ironman mode have hit that plenty but this mod is convincing me to do it even when reloading saves. I never once even thought about doing that in vanilla.

I think the best thing about this mod is that it puts FEAR back into the game. Every time I think I'm getting a handle on this war, something knocks me right back into desperation mode. Maybe it will be the sudden appearance of a new alien or maybe it will be like last night where I get a few rapid-fire missions that force me to hand over my precious laser rifles to a squad of rookies, but the feeling of just barely holding on has been strong the whole time I've played.
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