Sport & Auto
- About Future
- Digital Future
- Cookies Policy
- Terms & Conditions
- Investor Relations
- Contact Future
Running a clandestine agency devoted to fighting diabolical alien invaders is tough, but as XCOM: Enemy Unknown taught us, it gets a lot easier if you can steal things out of the enemy's playbook. And when those things include extreme genetic modifications and hulking robot exoskeletons — two of the biggest features introduced by the Enemy Within expansion — the fight doesn't necessarily get easier, but it does get a lot more interesting.
More than simply adding content to the stellar tactics/resource-management game, Enemy Within (ported to Mac by Feral Interactive, which previously did a bang-up job on Enemy Unknown) alters XCOM's playing field with new abilities, weapons, upgrades, enemies, story-driven missions, and characters – and, of course, the option to trick out your soldiers with alien DNA and mech suits. The former can give your troops cool superpowers, including mimetic skin that makes them invisible, or improved eyes for better targeting, while the latter removes their limbs and gives them huge cyborg (or "MEC") bodies, able to deal and withstand immense damage (but unable to take cover during firefights).
It's all made possible by the addition of "Meld," an alien substance that now pops up on battlefields in fast-expiring canisters; if you can grab it before it goes bad, you can use it to power augmentations and upgrades. Aside from adding a valuable new resource to manage between missions, it gives combat a new, faster dynamic; since the Meld disappears in a few turns, its presence pushes players to charge toward alien death squads to snag it, instead of simply cowering behind cover and waiting for the aliens to show themselves.
Another big change: Not all of your enemies are alien this time around. EW adds a network of alien-sympathizing terrorists called EXALT to the mix, and given that their tactics and weaponry are largely identical to your own, they can be a much bigger challenge than the aliens. Taking them out requires a series of covert missions, during which you'll have to send an agent undercover, wait a few days, and then fight waves of EXALT soldiers in order to retrieve them. Each covert operation reveals a little more about the location of EXALT headquarters, which you'll be able to raid once you've crossed enough countries off the list of possibilities.
If that's not enough, Enemy Within adds some stunningly tough story missions — including one that features a monster-infested whale, and a semi-randomized win-or-die scenario that sees XCOM's underground base attacked by overwhelming waves of aliens. It also ramps up the frequency of alien encounters, especially early on (which can actually get kind of annoying, if you're waiting on important R&D or for troops to heal). It's enough to make it feel like a new game (which is especially important if you've already finished Enemy Unknown, as you'll have to start over to take advantage of EW's changes), but it still retains the tense atmosphere, addictive tactical combat, and personal investment (in your very customizable troops) that made Enemy Unknown great.
The bottom line. If you enjoyed Enemy Unknown and are ready for more, XCOM: Enemy Within's additions and alterations make it a must-buy.
XCOM: Enemy Within
XCOM: Enemy Unknown, Mac OS X 10.7.5 or later, 2.0 Ghz processor, 4GB RAM, 256MB VRAM
Adds a ton of new content that alters the feel of the game while still retaining its better aspects. Teams of augmented operatives, once powered up, can be empoweringly devastating against even the strongest aliens.
Increased frequency of UFOs and alien abductions means you often won't have time to prepare or recover before the next attack. The surprise base-invasion can effectively end your game if the random operatives it picks aren't powerful enough to handle it.