While everyone else has been slinking about the sewers of Dunwall in Dishonored, I’ve been reliving my golden days in XCOM: Enemy Unknown. If you’ve not yet picked it up, or if you’re just diving in, I have a few tips that should help.
When equipping your soldiers early in gameplay, focus on survivability. Frag grenades might do a lot of damage, but equipping an armored vest increases your soldiers’ chance of survival, thus increasing your number of experienced, veteran troops. (Plus, explosives have a nasty habit of destroying resources you could otherwise claim post-mission.)If you don’t have veterans as you approach end game, you’d best stock up on body bags — rookies are little more than cannon fodder. Also, it should go without saying that you should focus as much research into armor as possible. Again, survivability is key.
4. Engineers and Workshops > Scientists and Laboratories
Laboratories may sound shiny and exciting with their boost to research, but Workshops and their engineers build the stuff you need. Workshops give you additional engineers, with adjoining workshops giving you a refund on their labors (also: don’t forget you can adjoin buildings horizontally or vertically). Scientists’ laboratories are a huge drain on money that could be better spent on the armor, weapons and satellites that your engineers build.
Speaking of extremely powerful veteran troops, nothing is more powerful than snipers late game. Find a pair (or three or four) and shepherd them, building them up through missions to ensure veteran status. As a tip, when moving your troops make sure snipers are the last unit you move. Their Squad Sight ability allows them to shoot at anything else your squad can see, making them useful for enemies other troops discover. Ideally, your snipers should move only once or twice in a mission so that they aren’t relegated to their pistol.
2. Enemies are visually triggered
On most maps, enemies will not “trigger” until you spot them with one of your troops. When moving troops, make sure your last move is never beyond the furthest troop on your map. For example, if your furthest unit is near a wall, your last troop should not move past that wall, lest you trigger a group of enemies who will then have the opportunity to take shots at you. As you progress in the game, enemies become increasingly accurate and dangerous, making this even more important. Use Over Watch plentifully.
1. Satellites on hand
The game has a tendency to throw panic-inducing abduction missions at you right before your council meetings at the end of the month. Abduction missions always give you three points in which an abduction will take place; you may choose one location to deploy and prevent panic. The other two locations will naturally escalate into a state of panic, which can spread depending on the location. If you ignore an abduction in the U.S., for example, panic will increase in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Deploying satellites decreases panic in that area preventing a nation from leaving XCOM. Because money is accrued at the beginning of the month, it makes little sense to launch satellites mid-month. It’s best to hold them in reserve for panicked countries.
Questions you still have about XCOM: Enemy Unknown? Sound off in the comments and I’ll be happy to share some insight.