XCOM 2: Yes, it’s harder, but you also care more

XCOM 2 has just landed on consoles with a decent port of the PC version – a bit stuttery when loading missions, but otherwise fine, as far as I can tell. Meanwhile, how bad am I at XCOM 2? By way of an answer, here are a few of my recent save file names: Everyone Dead. Big Error. Oops. These sound like cocktails served at the world’s worst theme party, but they also, to their credit, sound like the sort of thing an inexperienced soldier might radio back to base when things go horribly wrong. Okay, maybe not Oops, but when I’m the soldier in question nothing is ever entirely off the table.

So XCOM 2 is hard – although, now I’m playing on Xbox One, there’s at least the slight balm of being reunited with the first game’s really beautiful console control system. As I play, I’m starting to realise that it’s hard for a variety of interesting reasons, and not all of them are down to ingenious mechanical changes following on from Enemy Unknown.

I will come clean here. After a good few hours of play, I am still on the first mission, the one right after the tutorial, where you head out and capture an unstable alien energy source to power your base with. I have played this mission many, many times. I can complete it, but I can’t yet complete it in the manner I wish to, which is: everyone alive, a few bits of loot picked up, and nobody even remotely wounded. That last part is the current sticking point.