Posted 24 December 2015 - 08:12 PM
Some XCOM 2 footage got me in a tactical lather, so I booted this up again, and promptly had the best game I'd ever played.
Classic Ironman, selling everything I can lay my gauntleted hands on except the bare minimum to produce weapons and kit and get satellite coverage. Team comes together very quickly indeed, with only one loss in the first month. No countries lost, panic carefully retarded with frenetic uplink and satellite production, and I end up with my initial bonus (Asia) plus North America and Europe in the third month. Life is sweet. I'm sitting at +600 per month in funding, I've got two thermo generators running plus a third being built (all on the bottom floor of the base, in case you think the game took pity on me), and I'm closing in on the end of the fourth month. Two more losses during the third month, only squaddies, mean my team is comprised of:
Colonel Ernst 'Spider' Becker - sniper, first time I'd properly used gunslinger. Known for killing 60% of aliens on the mission with his pistol, and off-handedly sniping a few more when he takes the time to stop.
Major Vincent 'Pharaoh' Lefevre - classic sniper build, squad sight, good ground. Very methodically employed and the first to get the skeleton suit.
Major Youssef 'Santa' Tariq - a support built around bags of medkits and even more fire support (covering fire, suppression). Crack shot.
Major Minsu 'Rhino' Liu - assaulter in the most direct sense; lightning reflexes, close combat, rapid fire, aggression. Used almost recklessly to close with and kill the enemy.
Those four were the core of the squad and did 95% of all missions. Thanks to my somewhat cash-bereft status early on, I was a little late to the officer training school, but quickly added two stalwarts to my squad.
Sergeant Irina 'Bonus' Ignatyeva - second nickname 'Legs' as with the sprinter ability, she'd cross the map, heal a trooper, and cross back to the fight in double quick time. Crack shot.
Sergeant Pyotr 'Nuke' Kuznetsov - a heavy who can actually hit what he shoots at, and holo-targeting means he shares the love.
Everything was rosy, until OPERATION SEVERED JESTER. Terror mission in Fukuoka, Japan. It's the judicial building map, the one with the columns out front, and it is a shit puddle. Angle round to the right, check the door, slip down the alley and into the car park at the back. Pharaoh hits the roof and tells a civilian perhaps he doesn't want to hang around the site of an alien terrorist attack. Few more liberated from their mental shackles on the way to the back of the building, and we have four saved, two dead, and 12 to play for.
Nothing in the car park, and Pharaoh goes on overwatch as the others begin to move, and it all goes wrong. Pair of Chryssalids spotted inside, one charges, one runs. The laser disco begins, and my squad cut one down and wound the other. It disappears deeper inside the building to give some civilians sloppy kisses.
Cyberdisc and attendant drones spawns, and here's where it goes wrong. Mentally, I'm spoiling for a fight. I haven't lost a trooper for ages. I have lasers and carapace armour. I have six medkits. It's what-up-cunts-I-like-to-party-fuck-and-fight-o'clock. My entire team focuses on destroying that cyberdisc before it causes any damage, and fails. It tucks in close to the building, no shot for Pharaoh.
It lights up Santa, tucked into full cover behind a van. And misses.
Next turn more misses but some hits, and Spider nails it, and nails it again, and it dies. I make a second mistake here, and expend more shots on killing its drones. In the zone is a curse and a blessing. Spider and most of the squad are out of ammo. The game decides I'm not moving fast enough, and pops another cyberdisc and drones, and a trio of chryssalids inside the building.
Everyone reloads, and two more Chyrssalids pop. I make another mistake, and instead of withdrawing down the alley or moving into the car park, decide to settle in, tweaking my position but not making any big moves for fear of hitting another spawn but really because I'm happy where I am. I'm comfortable. I can handle things here, tucked behind cars and steps, Nuke and Santa the only ones in full cover on a corner and behind a van. Spider is quite happy in half cover, it's as good as full to a top sniper.
The Chryssalids and zombies charge at us through the building, and Pharaoh hops down from the roof onto the ledge over the doorway, eager to get a shot. The Cyberdisc hoves into view and picks him off from long range. His body hangs over the edge, and then slides off and hits the ground in front of the rest of the squad. Critically injured, but he can be saved. Another Chryssalid is picked off, and then they're on us. Rhino rapid fires, drops another Chryssalid, and it is too little too late. A zombie absorbs more laser fire, and clubs Spider. We now have multiple zombies and Chryssalids in close proximity and are officially fucked.
Spider kills the zombie, has another close-range pop at a Chryssalid and misses. A Chryssalid tears into Bonus. Another zombie crushes Spider's skull. Nuke hoses down a zombie, fails to kill it, and Santa finishes it off. It may be time to leave. A zombie bursts and the new-born Chryssalid kills Nuke. Santa and Rhino decide it is probably best to make a sharp exit and run, Santa burning a resurrected Bonus as he goes.
That's the mission in a nutshell, for me. Santa sticking his laser rifle in her dead face and killing her again. It's probably so vivid because her armour was red. I only bother customizing my troops when they hit sergeant. Before that, it's usually not worth the effort because their life expectancy is short.
Reaching the end of the alley, with the Skyranger in view, Rhino is out of ammo again thanks to rapid fire, and has outpaced Santa. He stops to reload, and a wounded Chryssalid tears out of the building and stops a space short. Santa moves, burns it down, and two more Chyrssalids close on him. Rhino makes it to the exfil.
Japan pulled out of the XCOM project immediately. China and India, despite brand-new satellites, followed suit at the end of the month. A team with 130+ kills between them almost wiped out. For all the arguments I have with this game, it has the capacity to make me feel.
Erfworld - the finest comic about turn-based gaming ever.