For #7, we have the only expansion pack on the list this year. But when it’s an expansion from a veteran studio for a great game, it’s easy to see why it made the list.
#7 — XCOM Enemy Within:
Last year XCOM Enemy Unknown was one of my top ten games of 2012 so it should be no surprise that the expansion has made it on here as well. Unlike the DLC packs released earlier this year, you can tell that Firaxis spent a lot of time on what they wanted Enemy Within to include and alter.
The changes both large and small fit well into the XCOM universe: From medals personalizing your troops, new enemies, the exault faction and of course the meld abilities.
Each one adding a new piece to the puzzle to extend the life of the game. Speaking of new life, brand new second wave options have been added to further increase the randomness and unpredictability of XCOM, a feature that many people missed from the original. In fact the game was so random that I’ve yet to beat it on classic ironman with the new second wave options on.
As we talked about in my analysis, Enemy Within wasn’t a traditional expansion pack in the sense that it only adds directly to the game with new content, but instead acts as supplementary to the main game and affects the game. And while it does fix a lot of problems with the original release, it didn’t fix them all and that’s why it doesn’t rank higher on my list.
I’m still waiting for Firaxis to finally shake up the campaign structure where either you are going to win incredibly easily, or slide down that slippery slope into failure.
Hopefully this isn’t the last we’ll hear from Firaxis with Enemy Unknown and maybe there will be an expansion for next year and a possible spot on my 2014 list.