|System: PC, PS3, Xbox 360|
|Dev: Firaxis Games|
|Pub: 2K Games|
|Release: November 12, 2013|
|Players: 1 (2 PvP multiplayer)|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Blood and Gore, Strong Language, Violence|
Multiplayer has also received a much-needed upgrade from what was widely criticized as one of the weaker elements of XCOM: Enemy Unknown. It's still the same task of choosing a team of up to six using a point system to keep matches even. Of course, custom, unranked sessions can have options like turn time limit and point allocation adjusted. A 1-on-1 skirmish is yet again the only mode, but at least this time, there are thirteen maps in total to choose from, instead of the paltry five from before. Also, you now have the ability to custom build troop loadouts offline, allowing you to load your team and get right into the action. It's nothing too complex, but it’s always a new challenge playing against another human rather than an AI, with a leaderboard that tracks wins, losses, and disconnects.
The quality of the visuals is something that hasn't changed much from the original remake. There are some smoother environmental textures and better application of lighting and shaders, but the character models still look fairly rough and lack detail. However, there are a whole bunch of new color combinations, armor deco, hairstyles, and helmets to give your troops a more personalized look. Firaxis also hasn't corrected the many instances of characters being lost in walls and shooting directly through obstacles.
The musical score keeps in line with the intensity of the global threat, with heightened moments as enemies are spotted and engaged. In between missions, the tracks are subdued back at HQ, but still provide a sense of the burden you bear as the commander of XCOM. Firaxis has also taken strides to allow many of your recruits to speak the native language of their homeland. Most European vocals, from German, French, Spanish, and even Polish can be found. It's a nice touch, but I feel like at least every country on the XCOM Council should have been given a voice. Chinese and Japanese are noticeably absent, and every English accent is American, so the British and Australian contingent feels vocally out of place.
Upon first glance, you may think that the intent of XCOM: Enemy Within being more of an upgrade than an expansion makes it unworthy of a purchase. This is absolutely not the case. Nearly every feature of the game has something new, and when combined together with the original game, makes an already addictive experience that much more compelling. If you've already dumped countless hours into dozens of campaigns with XCOM: Enemy Unknown, this game is fresh enough to add countless more. If you've been on the fence about the XCOM reboot, there's no better time to find your new obsession.
Date: November 11, 2013