After completing XCOM: Enemy Unknown, 4 years ago. The long awaited sequel came out which is the continuation of the story of the previous XCOM.
Earth has been taken over by the aliens regardless of what you did in the previous series. Humans are subjugated to alien rule known as the Advent, they wield militaristic and political powers over humans and are portrayed as the savior of mankind. We lead the resistance force that rejects the Advent rule because we know of the atrocities they hide behind the savior mask.
Now let’s talk about some of the changes in each soldier class.
The heavies of the XCOM world, use BIG ASS GUNS, but with poor aim unfortunately. You’re able to improve on their aim and they do have a skill that has a 100% hit but down side, it uses all your ammo. Not that the Grenadier class even has ammo to spare. They carry so little grenades and ammo on them, that even giving them the utility armour doesn’t really improve their chance to use explosives.
This bad boy Grenadier here should have taken center stage as the poster boy for destruction but it does have some key weaknesses. If you manage to rank up your boy to the max I’d still consider it an awesome powerhouse.
Snipers are by far my favourite soldier class and in XCOM 2 the Snipers are made even deadlier with pistols. Talk about insane range with squad sight and crowd control with a pistol. It’s practically overkill if you have more than 2 snipers in the team when your pistol skills let you attack everyone in range once. Feels more like a gunslinger than a sharpshooter at this point.
The Sniper class was definitely fun to play with and in order to balance them, the game has removed the ability for you to go into overwatch with your sniper rifle when you move, replacing it instead with an overwatch pistol. All in all, in each mission I go on I, must take a sniper.
Hacking is a new mechanic that has been introduced into XCOM 2. The medics in the previous game have been given more functionality as they command Gremlins, flying probes that can magically remain unseen while it tries to breach alien tech firewall with a dice roll concept.
There are 2 options, the less risky one and the more risky one. The benefits are random and usually tied to weather you are hacking a lamp post or hacking a robotic unit. The benefits of the less risky one yields small rewards but failure will make the enemy stronger with steroids. The more risky one yields bigger rewards but can also screw up your entire team by making the entire enemy team stronger with steroids and morphine, the ultimate enemy cocktail.
Pick your poison well or just make sure you equip your specialist with skulljack. It increases your hacking ability and impales certain humanoid looking aliens that have their brain wired up to the psychic network killing them instantly after you have literally prodded deep into their brains for information.
Your special melee sword wielding soldier that prefers steel over bullets, they’re built for close combat. Overall I would say that they inflict the most amount of damage compared to other classes. Their double shot from a shotgun at close range is no joke. When enemies mind control my Ranger, none of my other soldiers can take a hit from his shotgun without being instantly killed.
However with great damage comes great vulnerability. The Ranger unit forces you to get up close and friendly with your foes. If they don’t die when you attack you’re going to be in a world of hurt. Which is why rangers are the ones that mostly end up with severe wounds that take forever to heal in the infirmary.
They have skills that cover a lot of ground and can give you time to run if you manage to kill a target (which isn’t that hard to do). Only complaint is the double attack isn’t instant. They attack once, go back into their hiding position and then attack again.
The Psi Operative
New to XCOM 2 is ‘The Psychic‘ character class. This soldier class is only available after you’ve done the appropriate research. There are a huge arsenal of skills available, allowing skills to bypass armor and directly hit the HP of its target. The best thing about this class is the “Mind Control” ability, one of the enemies’ most annoying signature move! However you can only use it once in every mission. I still have yet to test out if I can actually make a conga line of mind controlled sectoids.
In the beginning if you’re playing on Veteran mode, there are a few soldier classes that I’d recommend to be a must have to train in every mission. Sniper would definitely be one of them. You’ll start off with 1 class each except for the Psi Operative which requires research to unlock. So I would get another Sniper trained early on.
So each mission in the early game I would try to get 2 Snipers, 1 Specialist and depending on your gameplay either a Ranger or a Grenadier. I’d recommend taking a Ranger first, as it would prove to be more damaging and versatile than the Grenadier with properly upgraded weapons. It’s not too late to start training a Grenadier in the middle of the game when you have more research to make the Grenadier more efficient and have a variety of more grenades.
The Specialist will be your best defense and saving grace when you have them properly skilled up because their skills in commandeering alien AI units will give you an extra fodder to keep your soldiers safe from being shot at. Plus they make a great distraction when all other enemies try to take out their rogue AI.
Your Grenadier only becomes important when you enter the mid-part of the game. The shredder skill is the most important skill to have when enemies not only have longer health but also have armor stats that reduce your primary damage. The Grenadier’s skills can destroy that annoying armor stats 1-2 points for each successful shot made.
It’s good to start your research early to give you access to Psi Operatives, they are time consuming to train but the results they give out is worth the time spent on training them. The psionic attacks bypass armor which makes them ideal to finish of hardened enemies. They have a wide range of area effect attacks as well, so you can make good use of this to replace your Grenadier if you don’t wanna invest in using your cores to create a new type of grenade from the proving grounds. Mind control will also prove useful beyond measure for its permanent till the end of the game.