While not a stealth game – the devs reassure us XCOM 2’s focus is still on the combat, rather than sneaking through an entire mission unseen – there is a lot to be gained by creeping up on foes and kicking things off on your terms. You’ll need every advantage you can get, too. The aliens are more evolved, and significantly scarier, than ever before. Muton Berserkers have almost doubled in size into huge, skinless monstrosities; Sectoids are now deadly psychic predators, able to bring their allies back from the dead; and the new snake-like Vipers can whip their tongues halfway across the battlefield to grab your soldiers, before squeezing the life out of them with their tails.
Outnumbered and outgunned, XCOM is forced to rely on a mix of old-fashioned and high-tech gear. One of the new classes, the Ranger, can get medieval, slicing away in melee with a sword; while another, the Specialist, uses a ‘Gremlin’ drone to hack into enemy gun turrets and robots, shutting them down or even taking control. The missions themselves aren’t quite what you’ll be used to either. Rather than simply clearing the maps of warm bodies, you’ll be going after procedurally-generated objectives – and potentially cutting and running once you’re done, as enemy reinforcements roll in. The question is, can you beat those alien rotters this time?