First take: “Enemy Within” adds bells and whistles to XCOM concept

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt November 19, 2013
Source: Wikimedia

Source: Wikimedia

I just started a new campaign on “XCOM: Enemy Within,” the pseudo sequel to “XCOM: Enemy Unknown.” I’m playing on the ancient relic known as the PlayStation 3.

For those of you unfamiliar with the series, XCOM is a strategy game pitting Earth’s best soldiers against an extraterrestrial invasion. It’s a little like chess, but with more explosives and aliens.

“Enemy Unknown” was an excellent reboot of the franchise, adding compelling narrative and visual elements that were lacking in the old-school DOS version. It took a sound core concept and somehow made it better.

“Enemy Within” doesn’t quite live up to the standards set by its predecessor. It’s essentially an expansion pack, albeit a hella expensive one at $40 a download. I am not bitter about the decision to offer this as a separate game. The game has been tweaked and modified from top to bottom, even if its fundamentals are intact.

In this version of the XCOM story, soldiers can augment their bodies and DNA with technology recovered from the aliens they encounter. There’s also a third party in this global conflict. EXALT is another military alliance that views the alien invasion as the opportunity for a coup. In addition to fighting the aliens, you’ll also engage human enemies in the turf war to end all turf wars.

I’m about five hours in and I’m doing well on “normal” mode. The designers fixed some things that bugged me about the last game. When you’re outfitting your soldiers for missions, you can scroll through them on the equipment menu. The old game allowed you to do this in the barracks but not before missions, for some inexplicable reason.

The genetics-mech tech angle is interesting, but feels more like bells and whistles to me. I have yet to run into EXALT.

I like what I’ve seen thus far. I’m interested to see where it goes.

About Dan Whisenhunt

Dan Whisenhunt is editor and publisher of

View all posts by Dan Whisenhunt

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