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Firaxis Announced XCOM: Enemy Within – Loads Of Details Revealed!

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Firaxis have today announced XCOM: Enemy Within, a massive expansion pack for XCOM: Enemy Unknown on PC and a standalone expansion for console players. On PC the expansion has been revealed as costing $30, while console players can pick up the game for $40 without needing the original XCOM: Enemy Unknown to play it.

As a standalone title all of the basic concepts behind Enemy Unknown remain intact, so you’ll stay fight for the world, build up your base and take part in missions. As of the moment it’s unclear whether PC players will also have the option to buy Enemy Within as a standalone expansion pack, or if that option is limited to console players only.

Firaxis has also seen fit to reveal a shed-load of information about the new expansion, so let’s get down to this.

First of all there’s going to be a total of 40 new maps, bringing the total count up to 120.

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A new soldier type is also being introduced: the MEC trooper. To utilise these awesome new units you’ll need to construct the correct building type in your base. Once that’s done you can convert any soldier into a MEC, replacing their flesh and blood body with metal and pure awesomeness! When a soldier is converted he or she will lose all of their current abilities, but gain an entirely new skilltree full of cool stuff. MEC won’t be able to equip standard gear, instead they’ll have their own upgradeable weaponry, including for the first time in XCOM a flamethrower.

MECs sound bloody awesome. right? There is a reason to keep your troops from all becoming mechanised killers, though, and that’s genetic enhancements. Each soldier will have a grand total of five enhancement slots (Eyes, chest, arms, legs, brain) with two options available per slot.

Firaxis have kindly revealed details on two of these sets. For the brain you can choose between Neural Feedback which damages any foe attempting to attack your soldiers mind, and Neural Dampening, which renders soldiers immune to panic. Neural Dampening also stops your soldiers from being mind-controlled by making them unconscious instead. Meanwhile on the legs you can have Muscle Fiber which allows soldiers to clamber up walls without a skeleton suit or Adaptive Bone Marrow which provides health regeneration.

Both the mechanised and genetic upgrades are governed by an interesting new resource called Meld, which is collected out in the field. The catch is that Meld is randomly distributed across the map, in the same way that enemies are, in canisters, and those canisters are set to self-destructed after a certain amount of time. The idea is that these might encourage players to make riskier players rather than remaining on cover with Overwatch continuously on. While this might sound bad to some players Meld is completely optional, so it’s up to you to weigh up the risk vs reward factor. If done right this could provide a nice new dynamic to the game.

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Soldier abilities have also be rebalanced to address the fact that many players never used  Up Close and Personal, Covering Fire and Snap Shot because they felt rather useless at times. Up Close and Person will now give your soldier a free shot when within four tiles of an enemy, making hit and run tactics more viable. Covering Fire has been changed so that youre soldier gets to take the first shot rather than waiting for the enemy, giving you a chance to polishing off your foe before they inflict any damage. Finally Snap Shot has had its aim penalty reduced from 20 to 10.

There’s going to be two new enemy types introduced, one of which is the Mectoid, the MEC version of a standard Insectoid.

A load of Second Wave options are also being introduced, including one that randomises soldiers skills so that you could end up with some rather odd classes. By far the most interesting to me, though, makes flanking a far more devastating strategy by decreasing an enemies cover bonus, bringing in a lovely risk vs reward factor, asking you to choose between potentially doing more damage by putting your soldier at risk.

Firaxis are promising new upgrades and other stuff to play around with, but are keeping tight-lipped about those.

On the multiplayer front there’s a total eight new maps to play on, and you’ll also be able to configure your squads offline before heading online, which will make things much smoother.

Check out the imbedded video from the awesome Rev3 games for more details.

Enemy Within will be available as a traditional downloadable expansion on November 12th for PC users, and on the same day as a complete download for console users under the moniker of the Commander Edition, which will also feature all previously released DLC for XCOM: Enemy Unknown.

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