If you missed part one of this dramatic re-telling of one Commander's playthrough of XCOM: Enemy Unknown, be sure to read it through here.
Taking a U-Turn
Next up is a mission directly from the XCOM council. It’s time to head into Canada to stop aliens from moving through a neighborhood and detonating a bomb that could inflict maximum panic across the country.
Here I am playing it safe, again, as I go through the back alleys, disabling power sources that are fueling the bomb. I did a good job working up to the bomb itself. I'm using one soldier to shut down a final power source on the outside of a warehouse, but an alien shows up on top of the building, shooting down on my soldier, killing him. I switch to another soldier and kill the alien on the roof while sending another soldier into the warehouse to shut down the final power source, followed by the bomb itself. The mission appears to be wrapping up rather well as I disable the bomb. However, immediately following the shut down of the bomb, multiple aliens show up on my flank. This is the first time I meet the more human looking aliens rather than the small grey aliens. The first alien drops from the roof, landing on top of a vehicle, giving it a clear shot on Leroy, killing her. Meh! A second alien has another easy shot, killing the guy who disabled the bomb. It's my turn again and things aren't looking good as Nick Dunn is my only remaining soldier, huddled in a corner. I was able to shoot and kill the alien who shot Leroy, but then yet another alien drops from the roof, behind Dunn, and kills him.
Wow…I went from having an amazing mission to the complete opposite.
I lost the future of my XCOM unit in a mission that turned upside down so very quickly. I should have covered the roof, which would have saved two of my soldiers and possibly a third. If you don’t cover every possible route and leave something open, this game will make you pay. Unbelievable!
Well, I suppose this drama is good for a Commanders Log, but I am really regretting playing on the classic difficulty. I’m getting run over by mistakes and it's becoming hard to establish anything. I guarantee you that I’ll be watching high points much more carefully during the rest of my missions. I think this is also showing that I haven’t played in a while, so I am making a lot of mistakes. Meh! :(
It makes since, at the end of that mission, I finally get my upgraded armor that I’ve had the research team working on. At least it should help my future soldiers with their missions.
I don’t remember things going this bad, this quickly, during the last time I played it. China has withdrawn from the XCOM project. It’s not good that I’ve already lost a member. If I don’t turn things around soon and start putting together a large streak of victories, then I feel this will be game over very quickly.
Learn from my mistakes, people! Don’t play on classic! Haha.
Well, at least don’t play on classic at first, especially if you are new to the game.
My first month as Commander on iOS has gone by, receiving a B grading from the council. Since I completely botched the Canadian mission, I need to make sure to bring their panic level back down from 4 bars. Asia and Africa aren’t looking so good either, with Europe looking alright except for France and Germany, which are at 3 bars. Hopefully I can continue to keep a solid handle on North America, South America, and Europe while working on Asia and Africa.
We’ll see how this goes. Moving onward!
I just lost every soldier under my command while panic sets in India after another failed mission. Once again, I got completely outgunned. Well, from now on with my new recruits, I’m going to start using scopes instead of extra armor because of all the missed shots. It's getting a bit frustrating!
I just shot down another UFO and cleared out the crash site successfully. Better shots made a difference this time around. I still lost 2 guys, however; one to an alien and another to friendly fire because one of my soldiers panicked. This is the first time friendly fire has happened on this playthrough. It's nice to win a round, finally, though the panicking soldier still made it feel like a failure.
I finally built another satellite and placed it over Canada, bringing down the panic by a couple of bars. Still, there are countries that have four bars and two countries with five. I need to be careful not to lose them.
Oops doesn’t work with this game, not at all.
I’m pretty much showing everyone how to fail as quickly as possible at XCOM. I should start a new campaign against myself. FIRE THE COMMANDER! I should also change the title to “How to fail quickly” instead of it being a Commanders Log full of epic and wonderful battles.
To explain the oops, I didn’t pay close attention to my recruits after losing too many soldiers in back to back missions. I am down to just two soldiers for the next mission. I did just hire new recruits, but it takes three days before they arrive. So, I have a decision to make; cause panic by skipping an alien encounter or fight with the two soldiers and hope for a miracle.
Well, I went for the miracle, fighting with two soldiers, and failed. There is now full panic in nine different countries, and remember, I already lost China. That leaves me with only 6 countries at manageable panic levels. Ugh, this game is depressing.
I have now come across a new mission type; I must help save civilians in Canada by finding them on the map and getting them to safety. I just run across yet a new and more powerful type of enemy, here at the beginning, and I just don’t have strong enough equipment or soldiers to handle this. This is getting brutal. I’m expecting to see a game over screen very soon now.
I know that I need to develop the right equipment so that I can upgrade my soldiers, but I’ve been losing too many missions from the beginning to even get a handle on things. I’m not earning rewards because I am not winning missions. In other words, I’m not earning enough money to develop facilities and not earning engineers to help develop better equipment. I’m only earning a beating.
The doom tracker just went up, big surprise. I lost Canada and it’s only a matter of time before I lose the remaining countries as well.
Oh, and I just realized after losing all 4 of my soldiers, yet again, I don’t have any soldiers and nor do I have any money to hire new soldiers. This means I need to visit the gray market to sell some extra material that I have in storage.
I'm No Longer Thinking Clearly
I’m finally able to build a new lab, but I think I’m doing everything a little too late here. I’m basically playing like a complete n00b, much worse than my first time around with the 360 version. I still blame my soldiers who forgot how to shoot, even with the scope. On a previous round, I had a soldier with a 65% chance on his shot and he ended up missing twice. Grr.
The end of the month just came around and I gained some extra cash and another scientist. Let’s see what I can build. Still, I did lose 3 more countries and six are on the verge of backing out of the XCOM project.
Three difficult missions have just come up. I took the mission with the reward of gaining engineers, because I need engineers to develop better armor for my soldiers. I’m now hoping for another miracle.
…and I just failed the mission.
I am awful. I’m wondering if I am more focused on my writing than I am on the gameplay, because I am simply making too many mistakes. I just let two soldiers get killed by an exploding vehicle.
Watch out guys for cars that can explode! Dare I say it again? Yes. I am playing like a n00b. I have no clue how I didn't notice that the car was on fire. The aliens have drained our spirits!
I really hope this is helpful to you guys. If you are not overly cautious and strategic with every move you make, this is the type of beat down you can expect. Classic is difficult, but I guarantee you that Normal can be just as challenging if you don’t develop weapons and armor at a quick pace. You need to be smart with every mission, because every mission counts toward the outcome of your game. Even if you don’t realize it right away, your progress at the end can be faltered by mistakes at the beginning, dooming your chances of being successful.
It’s time that I rescue a VIP. Well, attempt to at least. Again, I really can’t believe the amount of misses that my soldiers are going through.
I had 88% CHANCE ON A SHOT AND NOTHING!!! Wow! Mission failed. ‘Nuff said.
I also lost both my interceptors, followed by my only satellite. My monthly spending surpasses my income, so the XCOM project is going into debt until I get another satellite up in the air and order more interceptors to protect it.
I still can’t develop armor because I don’t have enough engineers and I’m finally close to getting my laser weapons, except I need more material to build them because I sold all my previous material to buy more soldiers and build a foundry.
Finally! There's an easy mission to select! I’m going in with Thunder-1 and Thunder-2, my first two S.H.I.V. units. (Super Heavy Infantry Vehicle)
Finally! A mission complete! Yay! There were only 4 aliens to clear out. My SHIV units did most of the hard work, though I still lost one unit. It feels great to finally get a win even though I know it’s too late to turn things around.
Going Out With A Win
There it is, folks! The end of the month report has come and everyone has left the XCOM project. It is over, the game is over.
That was absolutely brutal. I lasted 92 days, only. I fought in just 12 battles, winning half. I killed 46 aliens and lost 31 soldiers.
I can’t believe how quickly things moved, I definitely wasn’t prepared for the beat down I received. I wasn’t able to gain any traction at the beginning by winning missions so that I could earn rewards to quickly build the items my soldiers needed. Only at the end did I finally have the infantry vehicles. Also, I could never build better armor because I never had enough engineers. I was just getting ready to build my laser weapons, too! I simply wasn’t prepared for the game and shouldn’t have played on Classic. I should have saved that for a later date after I remembered all the ins and outs of the game.
Take these words of advice.
Go slowly and pay attention to every little detail after every single mission. Obviously, there isn’t much you can do if the aliens continuously outgun your soldiers. If you’ve never played XCOM, I recommend starting on an easier level. I’ve played XCOM before and yet I still became overwhelmed by how badly my soldiers were and how quickly things fell apart. I had good cover on most occasions, and when I didn’t, the aliens were better with their movement. I would also recommend that you play all easy missions at first to gather as much material as possible and earn the rewards!
I still absolutely love this game even after the beat down, it's an amazing game. The mission where I killed 10 aliens and lost 0 soldiers was an amazing round that I can hold onto with this experience. I love the strategy of it all and how every detail matters when it comes to your research and what items you build. I don’t remember the aliens becoming so difficult so fast in my original playthrough, and that's probably because I started on a higher difficulty.
However, I am a little annoyed with the accuracy of my soldiers. I know a lot of them had 50/50 chances, but it felt more like 10% chances while the aliens have nothing but sharp shooters on their side. I had multiple occasions where I had 65% chances miss and even an 88% chance miss. That’s just absolutely annoying. XCOM will play with your head and drive you crazy, unfortunately, but it's worth it.
Another thing that didn’t happen during my playthrough was a chance to build a connection with a soldier. Only 8 of my 31 soldiers went on multiple missions while only 4 made it to a third mission. Three missions were the longest any soldier made it. Cpl. Nick Dunn had 10 kills in his 3 missions. It’s too bad Cpl. Dunn and I couldn’t have done more together. It’s sad looking at the memorial of my soldiers. I almost don’t want to share this experience with you. Haha. Whatever, I’m keeping it real. We are not always perfect gamers. We make mistakes and sometimes let a game totally kick us where it hurts. Plus, this game is known for doing that.
Character connection is part of the fun in this game, but if you don’t play well at all, you’ll never experience it. You’ll never have the missions like I did during my first time playing the game where my only Colonel totally dominate the battlefield, saving a VIP, all by herself. I would also play her cautiously while sending the rookies forward so that she never got into bad situations. That’s part of the fun, being worried about your favorite soldiers and ensuring that you do everything you can to keep everyone alive.
Oh well, I’ll play again and begin on an easier difficulty. I’m sure I’ll win most of my rounds at the beginning, earning multiple rewards that allow me to more quickly unlock the material I need to upgrade my soldiers.
Final note: I saved halfway through my experience and decided to play some of it again. I took on a couple of easier missions, winning on back to back occasions. It figures that I actually had some good shots and was able to keep my soldiers alive under good cover. I also noticed that I was finally able to build an officer training school to increase my squad size which would have helped tremendously. Oh well, here is a great article on the difficulty of XCOM and how quickly things can start going downhill.
I wish you all the best of luck and hope you have a far more successful time with the game than I did. There is so much more for you to discover on your journey into the XCOM project and so much to enjoy.
Good luck, Commanders.