Long War for XCOM 2 was released last week, in what was essentially a surprise reveal and immediate surprise release. And, oh do I love it.
Sadly, XCOM has been misbehaving for me. It repeatedly crashes to desktop when I first start it (the second time, however, works). During gameplay, my graphics card crashes and forces me to terminate the process (though this is probably a byproduct of my current hardware/software). I don’t believe it has significantly improved performance-wise from the last time I played it. I’ve had enough issues that I’ve both considered just pressing that Debug button on the CTD screen, and simply stopping altogether.
That said, however, the changes Long War have introduced are, so far, great. The change from going to a mission in the moment to infiltrating your squad before executing said missions means that the entire roster will get used. It also makes it a balancing act between sending in more people, or pushing that infiltration further (which results in more, or less enemies in map, respectively).
Likewise, the districts are now havens you can manage, which means you will have members tasked with finding resources, or recruiting or even finding missions. And the more active the resistance is in a district, the more advent will put resources there. It makes me wonder just how far should I push and take advantage of the early missions before I finally make contact with another haven? Hopefully, it won’t take me long.
There are also more classes, some of which come from the Long War class mod. Classes were, in general, reworked, and there is much more from where to choose. The AWC was also reworked to allow soldiers to train and obtain, as long as you are willing to have them unavailable for a while, perks from other classes.
On the tactical level, I’ve have not noticed so far any huge changes. Sure, there is now the technical (they have a gauntlet with flamethrowers and a rocket), and grenadiers are not gunners anymore, and so on, when it comes to the classes. I also know officers will mix things up. However, when compared to my previous playstyle, the biggest change is that throwing grenades by hand now has a one turn cool down. Grenadiers are thus now much more valuable (and I hope to get salvo soon) since, not only does the launcher give them more reach, they can also use their grenades every turn, instead of every other turn. Grenades also don’t cause as much environmental damage as they did before, so cover destruction from basic grenades in the hands of untrained soldiers has been toned down significantly.
I’m inclined to say that Long War game the tactical game more nuance, specialization and options instead of radically changing it. I’d have to compare it to the changes from base XCOM: EU/EW to the original Long War mod. Familiar, yet still different in so many little areas that there is plenty to learn and discover.
I’ll definitely complete at least one campaign, though I’d hope to first solve my stability issues. It has been a while since I’ve felt challenged in this way, not just in “how do I kill ayys and survive?” but also in having to decide “do I take an extra rookie so I have proper backups? Should I perhaps skip this mission since it is too difficult?” that the vanilla experience simply doesn’t provide.