More random thoughts on the Long War 2 mod for XCOM 2 today.
The random map generator is on full display in the mod, since you play a lot more missions than in the base game, and it’s pretty great. I’ve yet to play on a map that didn’t make sense due to the randomness (blocked doors, or buildings in a nonsensical spot for example), and with the tile set that is used being based on the location of the mission, you start to ‘recognize’ areas not on their exact map layout, but instead by their general feel. Upper US missions are often in the snow, while missions in Mexico are often in arid areas. A mission in a rural area feels like it, and are very different from a mission set in a major city.
Adding to the ‘more is better’ concept, the greater variety of enemies also helps keep things interesting. In the base game it wasn’t uncommon to only see a certain enemy a few times before you progressed beyond them. In Long War 2, since you not only run more missions overall, but mission difficulty varies based on region and infiltration rating, one squad might face mid-tier enemies, while your more rookie squad will still be facing early tier enemies on their mission. And with the enemy able to raid your areas, and those missions you have civilians fighting on your side, you really get a fully spectrum of power and abilities as you play the game.
I especially like this because the early tier of the game, with more human enemies and traditional firearms, is my favorite, and Long War 2 gives me a lot more of it. I don’t hate the more sci-fi stuff later, but IMO nothing beats blasting an enemy in the face with the starting shotgun, or the feel/sound of the base sniper rifle taking down a Sectiod from a mile away.
Speaking of weapons, the slower pace also filters down into research, so you don’t jump up in weapons/armor so quickly, and you can’t instantly equip all your soldiers with the new gear anyway due to more limited supplies. This is further protracted by the fact that you use multiple squads at the same time, so even if you get your original five soldiers geared up, you will likely still have another 5-10 guys that need the better gear, along with the better weapon mods and such.
XCOM 2 felt too fast for me, because the game greatly increased the amount of stuff over XCOM 1, but didn’t extend the total number of missions you ended up running to beat the game. Since XCOM 1 didn’t feel rushed to me, I never felt a huge need for the first mod. For XCOM 2 I think it hits a certain sweet spots in terms of extending the game in order to better allow you to see all of the fun stuff, and how it all interacts over multiple missions.
All of that said, I’m not sure I’ll actually finish my Long War 2 game (which I’m very OK with, as I’ve seen the story/ending anyway), mostly because I don’t think I’ll find upper-tier gameplay as fun, and since there will be more of that as well to progress, I might hit a wall. I most certainly haven’t yet, but I could see that happening. Either way though the mod is absolutely fantastic, and gets the most out of XCOM 2, which itself really was an excellent game. Highly recommended to anyone looking for deeper TBS gameplay.