XCOM 2 promises to be one of the most challenging XCOM games ever, with more enemies than ever, you’ll have to plan for everything when assembling your squad and your base. Speaking of your base, that’s a whole other thing you’ll have to manage. On top of having to plan your expansions, the new XCOM headquarters is no aboard an alien ship which can change locations all over the world.

That’s not all though, the game is full of tweaks and all new features that may catch even the wiliest XCOM veteran off guard. Here is our list of XCOM 2 new features to be aware of.

All New Aliens to Shoot!

XCOM 2 features a whole whack of new alien creatures to destroy (or be destroyed by), plus all of the old mainstays have been tweaked and enhanced by the Human DNA they’ve been processing since taking over the planet.

The new aliens also come with a new bag of tricks. For example, the new Viper alien unit can pull your forces right into its coiling grip before it chokes the life out of them. An effective commander always makes sure he knows his enemy. You best bet would be to check out the XCOM 2 wiki to scout over the alien unit page.

Randomly Generated Maps

If you played XCOM Enemy Unknown, you know that the maps were pretty easy to predict after you had played a few. The developers are hoping to fix that with their new procedural map generation system that should hopefully provide an endless supply of unique mission maps to play in. Could we finally have an XCOM that can be played indefinitely? Here’s hoping.

Unit Customization

One of the unique aspects of the XCOM series is how involved you tend to get with your squad members. You train them, deploy them on endless missions and watch them evolve into crazy killing machines, but up until now you couldn’t really customize them all that much.

XCOM 2 changes that, by allowing you to swap many aspects of a soldier’s appearance like accessories, hair, and even the sex. Just don’t get too attached. Seeing one of your favorite soldiers fall to a Muton is one of the most heart wrenching things that can happen in a video game.

You Can Ambush the Enemies Now

Previously when you would run across the alien forces they would be able to immediately react upon being discovered in the fog of war. With the new system, you can actually get sight on a target without them being immediately notified of your presence. This leaves the door wide open for all sorts of stealth gameplay that would have been impossible in the previous XCOM.

New Classes to Choose From

There are some new classes to assign to your soldiers in XCOM 2. From the hard hitting distance game of the sharpshooter, to the up close and personal sword wielding ranger, you’ll have more than enough options to counter any alien threat.

One of the most interesting is the specialist class. Rather than do all the hard work themselves, specialists employ a flying drone called the Gremlin, that can be retrofitted to assist and heal allies, and/ or attack and disable enemy units. 

Secondary Objectives

In XCOM Enemy Unknown you had one objective per mission (mostly kill all the aliens), but now you will have to decide whether to risk your units to complete the optional objectives that will be available. In a world controlled by the aliens, trying to kill them all risks the lives of your already small team needlessly. Instead you’ll be given a specific task like hacking a terminal, rescuing a civilian, or destroying a target. If you can do that by stealthing your way through most of the enemies no problem, mission success.

More Timed Missions

In XCOM Enemy Unknown we were thrown into a couple timed missions, but now we get a real challenge many of the missions we’ll face in XCOM 2 will have a limited amount of turns in which to complete the primary objective. The key word here is primary objective. Once you pull that off you are free to fulfil any of the secondary ones at your own pace.

Many players have gotten up in arms about the new limits, but we’ll have to wait and see how Firaxis planned it out. If the turns are f an amount that discourages campy gameplay but leaves enough to take your time, I’m all for it. If I’m going to be constantly stressed and on the verge of a panic attack, I may have a problem.

XCOM 2 brings back all of the old, and spices it up with some new mechanics, a new story, and some new enemies we can reduce to steaming piles of plasma. Paired with the newly enhanced procedurally generated levels, I can see this being a game I’ll be playing for a long time to come.

To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our XCOM 2 Game Page.

Last Updated: Mar 21, 2016

About The Author

A man of many hats, Greg divides his precious gaming time between competitive games like League of Legends and Dota 2 and Action/ Adventure Games like GTA, and Destiny. At Ten Ton Hammer he specializes in making guides for new and veteran players alike.