On my new computer, I finally had a chance to sit down and play XCOM 2 War of the Chosen by Firaxis, without the technical issues plaguing my old PC and see the game in its full light. I’ve said many times over that Firaxis’s take on the venerable franchise comes close to being my perfect game, but the issues I have with it keep it from that lofty position.
This year, I’ve been able to play a variety of tactical strategy games, and I can finally put into words why I feel XCOM and XCOM 2 just don’t work for me from a design perspective.
I’ve talked about how games have become more accessible countless times due to a variety of reasons. For today’s post, I want to talk about the greater role that abstracted mechanics and game design have had to make it easier to learn games, and why some genres are still having trouble broadening their audience.
This review and game shouldn’t need an introduction at this point. I’ve been talking about my excitement for XCOM 2 since the announcement and very frequently on the podcast. With the game finally out, it’s time for me to tear into the sequel to one of my favorite games of recent years.
One of the oddest things I keep hearing people say during my streams and recording of the Darkest Dungeon is how much the game stresses them out; to the point that it has caused people to stop playing. Yet, no matter what happens, I never felt stressed out while playing the game, even if something goes wrong or I get an unlucky break.
And yet, playing XCOM and now XCOM 2 stresses me out to no end; to the point where I once almost broke my hand from punching my desk in anger during an Enemy Within play. Thinking about the two games and how they handled progression, both titles are about long-term progression, but their executions are what set them apart.