Home Gaming Gamescom 2015–XCOM 2’s Avenger is your new (familiar) base to call home

Gamescom 2015–XCOM 2’s Avenger is your new (familiar) base to call home

3 min read

XCOM 2 is shaping up to be a similar, albeit polished, experience that we already got the chance to play with Enemy Unknown. Sure the aliens might have won that war, shifting the narrative grounds into guerrilla warfare for the sequel, but the systems at play are extremely familiar. Such as the Avenger – your new base of operations that I got a close look at last week at Gamescom.


Your home base was central to your operations in Enemy Unknown, and its importance is no less stressed in this sequel. The Avenger is a repurposed alien ship that bears a striking resemblance to the actual Avenger’s helicarrier from the Marvel films. It’s your mobile base of operations, allowing you to co-ordinate and launch strike missions around the globe with efficiency – although XCOM 2 will still limit you to a single mission at a time.

But without a World Council looking over your shoulder, who cares right? Wrong, as resources and troops for The Avenger are directly linked to which missions you take and which you leave out for the now establish alien race to decide. Without a global council you’re also prohibited from getting reinforcements on a dime – making your platoon management far more important in the dire war for survival humanity now finds itself in.


Thankfully, the Avenger seems to be bringing back the addictive other side of XCOM that I often found more engrossing than the actual tactical combat. The aircraft is massive, but only malleable in certain ways from the start. A rogue alien AI is still surfacing around the ship from time to time, barring expansion into new areas and hindering scientific and engineering progression. It’s a neat way to contextualise why you can’t immediately repurpose the entire craft from the get go, and also offers a nice narrative detour should the writers choose to use it (alien AI containing the secrets to victory anyone?).


Expansion looks similar too, with upgrades to your various bays providing in-field enhancements to gear, soldiers and accompanying drones. What was striking was just how much detail has gone into creating what feels like a living, breathing rebellion. Navigating to the barracks shows off troops in training, while the engineering bay is constantly alight with blowtorch sparks and bustling activity. The Avenger feels like a force at work, with your overview as the Commander and Chief of the program rarely being understated.

It also allows for more personal relationships with some of the leading staff you’ll work with, with Enemy Unknown often skimping over these interactions far too quickly. In the short demo we were shown past comrades were acknowledged, while playful banter between different sections of the base was commonplace. It’s an intriguing outlook into the lives of the personal that are making your planet saving missions a reality, and an endearing link to people who might not see the future they are so desperately fighting for.


The Avenger also offers up a plethora of more customisation options for your troops themselves, who are even more likely to fall in battle than anyone back home. You can change the colour of individual pieces of armour, edit their names and just continue building emotional connections in avatars that will likely break your heart continuously. It’s an expansion of systems that were already there, but it’s nice nonetheless.

And essentially, that’s the idea I’m getting from XCOM 2 right now. Its procedural levels and enhanced combat are all layers of polish on an already really great system that was established with the previous game. Considering how great it was, that’s the best direction this sequel could possibly go in – even if things feel rather familiar from the outset.

Last Updated: August 12, 2015


  1. Must have…..Looking forward to getting XCOM 2 when it releases


    • Admiral Chief on the mend

      August 12, 2015 at 16:24

      Same here!


  2. Dutch Matrix

    August 12, 2015 at 15:39

    Why is purple suited person getting drilled in the head?


    • Captain JJ Fantasticus

      August 12, 2015 at 15:40

      Because anywhere else would be inappropriate for children.


  3. Captain JJ Fantasticus

    August 12, 2015 at 15:39

    I need to play XCOM


    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      August 12, 2015 at 15:53

      Do it! Just, DO IT!


      • Captain JJ Fantasticus

        August 12, 2015 at 15:54

        I actually got it for free somewhere. Can’t recall where.
        I’m doing a clean format tonight though. So it will be put on when Humpty Dumbty is back together again. It’s always so nice to do a clean format though, like your pc gets a second breath.


        • Alien Emperor Trevor

          August 12, 2015 at 15:59

          I hope you’ve got the expansion as well – that’s also really good. I played the original & once I finished that started again straight away with the expansion added. It’s the only AAA game I’ve replayed from start to finish in years.


          • Captain JJ Fantasticus

            August 12, 2015 at 16:02

            I’m not 100% sure. I’ll have to check on that. But I’ll start with the one and then see (or doesn’t it work like that?). I’ve only heard good things though.

          • Admiral Chief on the mend

            August 12, 2015 at 16:23

            DO IT NAO

          • Captain JJ Fantasticus

            August 12, 2015 at 16:35

            I won’t take orders from a stranger!
            Oh wait. It’s you!
            Should’ve known an Xcom article would return you

          • Admiral Chief on the mend

            August 13, 2015 at 07:52

            I’m dropping in more and more to check up on the flock

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            August 12, 2015 at 18:58

            Not really, the expansion modifies the base game – adds new units, etc. So it’s best to start a new game with it.

  4. Alien Emperor Trevor

    August 12, 2015 at 15:57

    I’m really looking forward to this. I enjoyed the last one & the sequel is expanding on everything.


  5. Brady miaau

    August 13, 2015 at 08:17

    Can it fly? I would like that, as te game progress’s to build tech to make it fly around the globe.


  6. Jon Rumble

    August 13, 2015 at 11:34

    Still waiting for this on steam. Any news on if/ when that’ll happen?


    • Sanzu River

      August 13, 2015 at 11:40

      November 2015


  7. Raymond

    August 13, 2015 at 13:03

    Tried playing the XCOM Long War mod a little recently and as great as it is I really want to just wait for XCOM 2 to come out, besides, I’ve still got The Witcher to finish!


    • Jon Rumble

      August 13, 2015 at 14:35

      That’s a good point still have to play that.


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