by Jose Gamaliel Felongco
It’s back to the alien-infested battlefield. Again. XCOM: Enemy Unknown came back last year to show that the tactical squad-based genre isn’t dead yet. But just to show that things aren’t over just yet, the developers released an expansion pack that adds more to an already content filled game while also making it more difficult.
Enemy Within’s campaign is basically the same as its vanilla variant. The player stands as the supreme commander in a secretive unit called XCOM, which stands as humanity’s last and only defense against extraterrestrial threat.
The player must balance between the defense against the aliens, researching technology, and improving the home base. But as always, humanity is not united in its stand against the invaders. Enemy Within capitalizes on this idea by introducing an organization opposite to XCOMs ideals in the form of EXALT.
Aside from the new maps, new enemies, and new weapons, XCOM: Enemy Within also introduces a new resource called Meld. These things are scattered around the battle map for the player to approach and acquire. Similar to in-game monetary resources, Meld can be used to spend on Gene Implants and Mechs.
Gene Implants improve a soldier’s performance and function through the integration of alien technology and human DNA. Mechs, on the otherhand, removes anything human in a soldier other than the torso and head, enabling him to wear high-powered weapons while also being an unflinching tank.
The two soldier improvements make the game more enjoyable but at the expense of the difficulty. The player can field more than one of the modified soldiers, making each sortie a cakewalk. The EXALT skirmishes stand as an additional annoyance at first, but we found it interesting to see the AI mimic human squad tactics and use them against the player. Customization also gets a makeover as the player can now equip them with new suits and distinct voices depending on the soldier’s origin.
Despite the new battle techniques, the difficulty in Enemy Within is more customizable due to the additional options which can be managed before and during a campaign. The difficulty can be tweaked down to the specifics for a more challenging playthrough.
XCOM: Enemy Within is a near-perfect expansion for a perfect game. We highly recommend this to those that played the previous game as the additional content is enough for two or more campaign runs. The Enemy Within expansion also comes with the base game together with the additional content making it a good buy for those who missed out. It may alienate those who wish fast-paced action, but if you’re of the patient and shrewd type, then give this one a try.