XCOM Diary: Lessons Learned and Ignored

There are many ways to play the game, some of them leading to victory

I have already argued that XCOM: Enemy Unknown is a game about choices and patience in my full review of the new Firaxis title and I will now expand on some of the main lessons I have learned while playing the game and on why they need to be sometimes ignored.

- Always look for full cover – at first XCOM makes players believe that cover will save them from almost anything, but as the action escalates, it becomes clearer that you need the full level to be protected;

This piece of advice needs to be ignored when facing Mutons or mechanical enemies, who tend to have explosive ways of dealing with any kind of cover.

- Play to the strengths of the classes – always make sure that you designate one team member as the leader, explore his skills and then arrange the rest in order to support him because one well leveled up sniper or heavy can single-handedly win a level;

This is not the best idea on the final few story-based battles.

- Never underestimate the enemy – combinations and the way they are working together are more important than their individual strength.

- Never group large squads – during the early game groups perform very well together, but once you progress, enemies with explosives and mind control tend to make short work of those who huddle together;

- Ignore story missions – they tend to offer a challenge that’s harder than the current player level, so hang back for a few missions, level up your squad, get some better equipment and then explore the narrative.

- Aim to be more than human - the advice itself is almost a spoiler, but make sure that when the option is there, you fully explore it before committing to what is the final assault in XCOM: Enemy Unknown.

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