XCOM: Enemy Within is good, but perhaps not $30 good

Having finished XCOM: Enemy Within, I’m a bit torn on exactly what I think of it.

On the one hand, the additions do spice up the standard campaign, making what was already a solid game all around better.

On the other, it’s still 85% the same campaign, especially towards the end, and at a price of around $30, shouldn’t we be getting something a bit more meaty?

Some other nitpicks:

The biggest issue I had with the original, the satellite system, remains unchanged here, so you are still left with two options; either you play smart and rush satellites, skipping a lot of early-game options and making things difficult short-term for long-term gain, or you ‘play for fun’, mix other upgrades with satellites, and long-term end up with a few countries leaving the project and having a weaker ‘end-game’. I’d much rather just get evaluated on actual mission performance, and have that be the basis for funding/bonuses.

In terms of overall difficulty, Enemy Within is overall easier than the original. You have more options and upgrades which increase your power, while only one serious new enemy is added (the alien mec), and even they aren’t all that difficult once you hit plasma. Exalt missions are fun, but overall a cakewalk once you get some basic upgrades.

Speaking of Exalt, I wish this expansion did more with them. Their base is extremely cool, but you fight in it once. Same with fighting in your base; one-off event. How cool would it have been to play as Exalt, trying to thwart XCOM while also dealing with the aliens? That would have easily justified $30.

So yea, if you loved XCOM and your gaming budged isn’t too thin, you could do a lot worse with $30. If you are pressed for cash, or aren’t dying to play XCOM again, wait for a sale.


About SynCaine

Former hardcore raider turned casual gamer.
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3 Responses to XCOM: Enemy Within is good, but perhaps not $30 good

  1. seth says:

    I’m halfway through an EW campaign and feeling the same way. The new options are pretty awesome, and fun to play with, but the further I get the more it feels like treading old ground. Nice to have a bunch of new maps, anyway, but I’m glad I used a GMG coupon and picked it up for 20 instead of 30.

  2. anon says:

    Xcom from 94 is still a far better game. Gameplay > cinematics imo. Xenonaughts is what u should get instead of this crap. Imo if u want the real xcom experience u have to get dos box lol pretty sad really but i won’t be giving firaxis any more money, im just glad i stole the expansion to try it first, i had too after the extreme disappointment with what was maybe the best game of the early 90s.

  3. Derrick says:

    I enjoyed it, absolutely. Worth $30… well, value is very subjective. For me, I haven’t regretted a penny of that $30.

    I paid $30 for the original game, and $30 for this, and I enjoyed the original game (flaws and all) and this quite a bit. I’d probably have been a lot happier if I’d _not_ played the original game an instead bought both the original and the expansion.

    I think it’s best put: The combined game is absolutely worth $60, but if you’ve already played through it a couple times, there are issues from the original that still exist, so that detracts from new playthroughs.

    With that said, I do agree entirely with your post.

    It’s annoying that the meta game is exactly the same:

    1) Satrush – annoying. Cool toys, but you can’t use them and still get your network running on time
    2) Build team/research tech – The Fun Part
    3) Endgame – A dreary slog through largely identical missions.

    Even if you play it on harder levels, basically success or failure is determined by your success at stage one. If on Ironman, you can screw up in stage two, but generally speaking you won’t: You’ve got endless time, so even if you lose key squaddies, it’s just a matter of waiting a bit longer to level up a replacement. Stage three is a given – if you’ve got a solid team, and take your time, you’ll get it.

    MELD does help add urgency to battles, and help avoid the game devolving into OverwatchWarrior. However, that really only helps until you’ve got a modded squad. Once you get the modifications that actually matter, you can lay off on pushing for MELD a lot. Or, you can just grind longer, but that’s not a lot of fun.

    MEC Troopers are outstanding in the early game – broken, IMHO. You can get a MEC running very quick, levelled to Sentinel they’re reasonably priced and they utterly dominate. Paladin is too expensive to be worth doing, though, because…

    Gene modded troopers, once you have Titan Armor, are simply better. Late game, the inability to use cover(and thus control who the enemy targets) hurts and MEC’s no longer have an HP advantage. Gene modded soldiers in Titan Armor with Cryssalid Carapaces have comparable HP’s and through use of cover have far higher defense. MEC’s are still decent, but not the gods they are early in the game.

    The new maps are _fantastic_. They, IMHO, are what make the $30 worthwhile. They’ve really changed game balance by removing the ridiculously long sight lines everywhere that made a pair of Squadsight Snipers I-WIN buttons. They’re still very good, but not required. The new maps make the game much, much more playable, and make even the “same old same old” feel new. It took me months of play to see the same map twice, something I certainly couldn’t say of Enemy Unknown.

    Basically, Enemy Within is what Enemy Unknown should have been. It still has some of the same old flaws, but it fixes a lot of EU’s problems and expands the gameplay options significantly.

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