After it was announced a few weeks ago, the new expansion to XCOM: Enemy Unknown has been garnering hype among fans. Along with new enemies to combat, XCOM: Enemy Within’s trailers emphasised upon the reverse-engineering of alien genetic enhancements and cybernetic upgrades to soldiers. Each was depicted as a major new dimension to the title, but what gained the most interest was a number of new achievements which appeared on Steam. Among those listed were mentions of XCOM base personnel in combat, suggesting the return of the much desired base defence missions where aliens dropped battleships on the organisation’s HQ. While that has not yet been confirmed, the real new enemy has been unveiled in a recent trailer: Fifth columnists.
While the original game suggested infiltration efforts via the presence of the Thin Men, Enemy Within offers an organisation of humans known as Exalt collaborating with the alien invaders. Their reasons are unknown but their tactics are far more similar to the likes XCOM employ and their weapons are advanced alien designs.
This offers a new dimension to gameplay, with the player being forced to deal with multiple Exalt cells in various countries, take them down via infiltration by soldiers and deal with counter efforts. Trailers already depict various mind-controlled members of XCOM personnel assaulting the base from within. New missions meanwhile consist of data gathering efforts/counter-efforts to prevent them from learning of your movements. These elements look to provide a much more cover ops element to the open conflicts of Enemy Unknown, despite the mini-mecha sized cyborgs now on your side.
While not the return of Lobstermen some people wanted (damn it) it’s definitely a new direction which could add an interesting dimension to the campaign. Especially with previews of the expansion mentioning having to remove experienced soldiers from the frontlines in order to infiltrate and destroy the organised cells.
XCOM: Enemy Within is set for release in December the 11th later this year.
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