Xcom 2 is already an excellent game in its own right, and now fans have a new bit of downloadable content called War of the Chosen to dig into as well, which manages to make it even better, bringing features and mechanics even the most gifted of modders can't do. New enemies are met with new allies and basically more of everything else, too.
Downloadable content has a mixed reputation amongst players and rightfully so. Sometimes the pickings are too slim compared to the price, and sometimes they feel tacked-on and unnecessary to the greater whole. Xcom has had its share of both, with expensive mech-based add-ons like Shen's Last Gift, and the better (if originally badly balanced) Alien Hunters. With War of the Chosen, the lack of content isn't an issue, as it builds and expands upon almost every facet of the game from strategic view to tactical combat, with only the main campaign story against ADVENT forces remaining the same.
The first of many major additions are the new factions and hero classes. Reapers, Skirmishers, and Templars are your unforeseen allies with many very handy abilities, and you can have them all, which is nice. It's possible to favour one faction over the other in the strategic department, but all their heroes will be at your disposal. In addition to unique abilities, they also have rather unique voice actors too. Mox the Skirmisher, for example, is voiced by Michael Dorn - better known as Worf from Star Trek fame.
The faction itself excels at rapid movement and sub machinegun-based close quarters combat. Reapers are your stealthy snipers best used for scouting and grabbing those hard-to-reach objectives far behind enemy lines, whereas Templars take psionics into melee combat with psi-blades and other handy abilities. Hero units stay one pay-grade above your regular grunts for pretty much the entire time, so losing them is a big (but not necessarily irreplaceable) blow. In addition to factions, you also get cool new high-tech toys and weapons to play with, which is always appreciated.
Regular ADVENT forces wouldn't stand a chance against your new allies, so War of the Chosen brings its namesake nemesis to the mix as well. The three amigos Assassin, Hunter, and Warlock are a thorn in your side from beginning to end, and one of them can appear randomly in any mission depending on whose turf you're fighting on. This can spell disaster during the early game, as all the Chosen are strong, agile, and eager to punch a hole or three through your rookies in an instant. If they manage to stun your soldiers, they're whisked away for interrogation, which in turn makes your enemies even stronger. All are rather mouthy, too, taunting and criticisng your moves on the campaign map and during missions as well. This brings out a nice bit of character to the normally mute bunch of alien invaders.
The Chosen are not your only new concern, though, as ADVENT has also diversified its portfolio with three new enemy types. Purifier brings joy and light to the world with its rather spectacular-looking flamethrower; ADVENT priests are flexible support troops; and Spectre is, well, interesting with its unique abilities. All fit well into the enemy roster and while a menace in the early game, don't pose a huge threat during the later parts. One noteworthy addition is the "third faction" of Lost, and these zombie-like hordes of once-alive humans appear when the sounds of battle gets loud enough. One Lost doesn't pose a threat to anyone with a loaded gun in their hand, but they never come alone, and you could kill tens or hundreds of the pests on a single mission, should you want to. They also don't pick sides between ADVENT or Xcom , and this can be tactically exploited. Human resistance has also raised their game a bit and sometimes appear with basic weapons to help your cause.
War of the Chosen touches almost every single aspect of the base Xcom 2 experience, and if you thought the vanilla title was too simple, this is right up your alley. If you felt there was too much to do already, move along citizen. It makes the game harder, more versatile, less predictable, and infinitely more replayable. The only sticking point is the price tag of £34.99. Firaxis mentioned War of the Chosen was almost Xcom 3 and it shows here, but even then, this is a big asking price for a DLC. The studio also has to contend against free mods such as the excellent Long War here in this department, too, and although these can't created new mechanics or cutscenes like War of the Chosen can, the value proposition of "free" is a tough one to contend against. All in all, though, we'd still say the DLC is a must-have for a Xcom 2 fan even if the price of admission is a bit on the steep side, as it freshens up both the campaign and tactical gameplay in meaningful ways.
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