The XCOM War Logs – Part 8

The war will be over by Christmas…possibly.

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Straight into an important mission here!  Well, it sounds important: we have to investigate some brain co-ordinates for reasons.  Tom, Kerry (“Hollywood”), Eugene (“Gunner”), Heather (“Boomstick”), Stuart (“Cyber”), and Faizan (“Beast”) get ready for brain hunting!  Tom gets to go into action with one of our sweet exo suits that comes with a free rocket launcher!  Order now for Christmas delivery!  Anyway, after an underwhelming landing on a roof, we move forward to find a group of aliens!  A shock, I know.  He gets us started with his new toy by blowing up most of the group of aliens whilst the rest of the team finish off the stragglers.  Good start!  Then the Chryssalids turn up.  Remember the zombie making spider monsters?  Well that start by trying to  infect Stuart (who is apparently immune to zombie viruses now) and Eugene and Faizan team up to take the first one down before any serious damage is done.  Turns out the bastards are hiding in the ground.  One leaps out to attack Heather but gets a sword straight to the face before it can cause any harm.  We find the alien brain co-ordinates.  Turns out it’s some sort of warp gate with an alien eye robot defending it.  Looks tough, but luckily we have enough ammunition to grind it down before it can get a shot off.  The mission is a success!

XCOM 2
Here it is! It went down without too much trouble in the end thankfully.

We get the call to go and neutralise an alien!  The thought we’d been doing plenty of that, but we’re ordered to deal with a specific one.  Kerry (“Hollywood”), Rob (“Wildchild”), Paul (“Solo”), Richard, Caroline (“Sentinel”), and Nick (“Slider”) get their shooting on.  Very little shooting to start with as we sneak our way around.  Before long though, we come across a lot of aliens, including our target.  Rather than doing anything even close to sensible, Rob launches a grenade to kill the target straight away, but sets off all the other aliens at once.  Cue chaos, as the rest of the team pick off aliens as we madly dash for the evac ship.  Rob (deservedly) catches fire under an alien assault, whilst Kerry covers the rest of the team from her vantage point.  It’s not enough for Rob though, as his wounds mount and he eventually succumbs to them.  Rather than try to fight, the rest of the team get out of site as quickly as possible and make a run for it.  Nick gets out first, followed by Richard.  It looks pretty bad for the rest of the team though as they are blocked off from the evac point by some tough robots.  Paul tries to fight his way past a huge robot, but sadly does not make it out alive.  Caroline manages to charge past and escape but Kerry is cut off by an equally large number of soldiers and is also killed.  A successful mission, but at what cost!  Richard earns the nickname “Wolfman”

XCOM 2
This one did not go so well. That huge mech utterly destroyed us.

There is little time to worry about the previous mission sadly, as we are immediately called to “liberate” some alien resources.  Andrew (“Terminator”), Bobbilyann (“Shooter”), Josh (“Outrider”), Emma (“Warden”), Leanne, and Tom bravely step into the fray.  Bobbilyann takes up a vantage point to cover the team as they move in on the cache of supplies, spotting a group of enemies in the process.  Josh picks off one of them to get the action started.  Leanne, Tom, and Andrew team up to put the rest of the squad away in spectacular fashion.  Of course, it wouldn’t be XCOM if things went smoothly, so we end up with a zombie swarm turning up.  The team thin the herd whilst Emma gathers up the alien caches as far as she possibly can.  Everyone gets a little happy with the grenades to keep the horde at bay, causing more zombies to take notice.  Emma manages to acquire a lot of the aliens supplies for us, but finds herself somewhat alone when confronted by alien forces.  Luckily, they are pre-occupied with the zombies, giving her a slim chance to escape whilst Tom and Leanne run in to support.  In spite of this, Emma suffers some severe injuries.  If it weren’t for Bobbilyann and Andrew putting up some serious damage, she would likely have met the same fate as so many of our previous team members.  with that monster defeated, it’s time to head home.  Leanne earns the nickname “Solar” whilst Tom is now known as “Cougar”.

XCOM 2 Zombie party
Here come the locals…

We need to go and do a thing.  I didn’t bother reading this one, I just assumed it involved shooting aliens.  Harry (“Psy”), Pat (“Hat Trick”), Rhodri (“Papa Bear”), Andrew (“Terminator”), Stuart (“Cyber”), and Josh (“Outrider”) head out to do just that.  Turns out we have to go and find a data vault or something.  A slow move forward to begin with was a mistake as it turns out it’s on a timer before it explodes!  Best get a wiggle on then.  Andrew seems to have picked up a trait of randomly firing on enemies that he sees.  This revealed our position and caused all hell to break loose.  Rhodri and Harry found themselves in good positions to take down a mech whilst Josh was quite exposed forcing him to fall back before opening fire and instantly putting down a significant threat.  Taking the rest out was pretty light work and things are going well.  Then the big guns roll out in the form of a Gatekeeper (the big eye thing from earlier).  Andrew takes a huge kicking from it but somehow stays upright.  Stuart makes his move on the target and hacks it successfully, leaving us to clean out the rest of the enemies.  Pat provides cover from on high, picking off threats, whilst the rest of the team works to take down the Gatekeeper.  With concentrated fire, we finally put it down with only minor injuries to Stuart  Job done!

XCOM 2
Harry looks to take out a mech at close range.

One of our contacts gets in touch to ask us to rescue a survivor from some event or other.  There’ll be zombies in the area, so we send Heather (“Boomstick”), Tim (“Big Money”), Faizan (“Beast”), Leanne (“Solar”), Bobbilyann (“Shooter”), and Karl (“Lightning”) off for some target practice.  Things start horribly with Bobbilyann alerting the enemy to our location as she heads straight for the VIP.  Karl moves up to rescue her whilst the rest of the team deal with a Sectopod.  In spite of the early setback, Bobbilyann carries on towards the VIP as the team hold back the zombie horde that obviously turned up.  Tim does a top job of mowing down the zombies as we move the VIP towards the evac point, whilst Faizan empies his whole magazine trying to hold of the horde chasing us.  Other than a couple of minor cuts and bruises, we make it out pretty unscathed.  An easy job in all!

XCOM 2
Heather has an ability that lets her take a free sword swing at anyone that enters melee range. Obviously she gets the best sword and monsters anyone that gets close.

The final few missions approach.  This will all be over by Christmas.  In a good way.  With any luck no one else will get killed by my carelessness…

The team as it stands:

Heather “Boomstick” – Ranger (Bond: Stuart)

Rob “Wildchild” – Grenadier *DECEASED* 12 missions/35 kills

Stuart “Cyber” – Specialist (Bond: Heather)

Kerry “Hollywood” – Sniper *DECEASED* 15 missions/36 kills

Andrew “Terminator” – Ranger (Bond: Bobbilyann)

Rhodri “Papa Bear” – Grenedier

Emma “Warden” – Specialist (Bond: Josh)

Lorna “Ice” – Ranger

Pat “Hat Trick” – Sniper

Danny “Boom Boom” – Genadier (Bond: Tiago)

Karl “Lightning” – Specialist

Eugene “Gunner” – Grenedier

Catherine “Longshot” – Sharpshooter

Josh “Outrider” – Reaper (Bond: Emma)

Bobbilyann “Shooter” – Sniper (Bond: Andrew)

Tiago “Mox” – Skirmisher (Bond: Danny) *DECEASED* – 3 missions/14 kills

Caroline “Sentinel” – Specialist

Paul “Solo”– Ranger *DECEASED* 7 missions/17 kills

Saf “Witch” – Templar *DECEASED* – 2 missions/2 kills

Dave “Ether” – Templar *DECEASED* – 5 missions/12 kills

Ben – Sharpshooter *DECEASED* – 3 missions/11 kills

Nick “Slider” – Specialist

Richard “Wolfman” – Ranger

Leanne “Solar” – Specialist

Tom “Cougar” – Ranger

Faizan “Beast” – Marauder

Harry “Psy” – Templar

Tim “Big Money” – Grenadier

My Top 5 Games of 2017

Game of the Year Edition!

2017 was the year of the loot box.  Random chance to get something good in exchange for hard cash started cropping up every other game.  It’s not gambling though because the people making money from them say so.  The thing is though, 2017 was actually an incredible year for games.  You could exchange hard cash for pretty much any box in a game store this year and the chance of getting something good was pretty damn high.  That was a very laboured way of saying “Loot boxes suck” and “Amazing games came out”.

Overwatch
2017 in a single image.  Although this image isn’t actually from 2017…

I played surprisingly few of the big name games this year, so the bulk of the favourite games this year were lower tier releases.  Even then, narrowing it down to just five was very difficult.  At any rate, here are the best gaming experiences I had this year.  I’ve included all the games I’ve played down the bottom, just in case you think I missed something…

Get Even

Get Even

A story driven FPS/walking simulator with a bizarre, horror themed story.  You play Cole Black (he’s a manly man!) on a mission for find out where the hell he is and what happened to the girl with a bomb strapped to her that he was trying to rescue.  Within an hour, you find yourself in an abandoned asylum with a machine that allows you to enter your memories and begin to unravel just what the hell is going on.

Get Even
Most of the game isn’t terribly pretty, but it does have its moments.

Yes, the FPS sections are flawed, and the stealth doesn’t work quite as well as I might hope, but there really isn’t another game that plays like this.  There are events that play out differently depending on your choices without make these choices explicit, the game plays with interconnected memories in interesting ways, and the sound and music is fantastic.  It’s not perfect, but it’s well priced and I doubt you’ll have played anything quite like it before.

Stories Untold

Stories Untold

Damn I loved this one.  Four seemingly unconnected stories told in very different ways, culminating in a final revelation.  I won’t say more from a story standpoint as it really should be experienced with as little prior knowledge as possible on that front.  I will say that it’s a very well put together package.  It starts out as a text adventure that seems to have more power over you than you over it.  A bizarre point and click adventure and puzzle game involving microfilms follow before culminating in a walking simulator of sorts.

Stories Untold Episode 2
Part of the second episode. I will say nothing more about this.

I know, I’m not really selling it at all.  But it’s a great couple of hours for a low price and it’s very unlikely that you’ll have played anything quite like it before.  I have a soft spot for games that mess with your expectations, and this one certainly does that.  Plus, the intro music will stick in your mind for weeks after.

Super Mario Odyssey

Super Mario Odyssey logo

Look, I don’t want to jump on the bandwagon, but this is just a fantastic game.  I’ve never really been a big fan of the 3D Mario games, finding the controls a pain and the hunt for whatever the magic item is this time.  But this was a wonderful experience.  The environments are interesting and creative, it’s utterly beautiful, and the capture mechanic!  Taking over the body of you enemies (as horrifying that may be for a Mario game) was a masterstroke in creative platforming and puzzles.  The caterpillar creatures in the Lost Kingdon are adorable and fun the play as.

Mario Odyssey
Kidnapping Goomba towers is my new favourite thing.

At the time of writing, I haven’t finished the main story, but as I understand it, there’s a lot more high quality content after completing it, which is saying something when the content already there is quite so good.  I can see me spending a lot of time playing this.  I bought a Switch especially for this game, and I don’t for a moment regret that.

XCOM 2: War of the Chosen

XCOM 2 Logo

Yes it’s an expansion rather than a new game BUT I DON’T CARE DAMMIT!  I’ve kept it a closely guarded secret, but I’ll tell you anyway.  I really like XCOM.  I’m sure those War Log posts didn’t make it obvious.  Anyway, War of the Chosen is what an expansion should be.  It changes the game in so many ways, adding new ways to play and increasing your power, but also putting dangerous new enemies in your path.  The titular chosen can be a significant thorn in your side if you don’t deal with them, but dealing with them means you have to put off dealing with the greater alien threat.  Deciding what to do when is even more important than ever.

XCOM 2
The new factions give you some very powerful new abilities to play with.

To keep you in the game, you have access to new factions that grant you very powerful soldiers.  The sniper rifle wielding Reapers can detonate explosives at will, whilst the Skirmishers draw enemies in to finish them at close range.  Templars use psychic powers to control the battlefield by putting up new points of cover and making enemies more vulnerable.  The number of new options in this is fantastic, and when coupled with an already impressive base game you have yourself one hell of a package.

Nier: Automata

Nier Automata

I’m not going to pretend this is anything other than a stunning creative success.  Platinum’s trademark fast paced combat combined with the most bonkers yet simultaneously devastating story in a genuinely interesting world is one of the best things I have played this year.  For a couple of weeks all I wanted was to get home from work and play more.

Nier
This boss appears simply as a machine gone insane, but your second playthrough reveals something much darker about her as well as the game’s world as a whole.

I, like many others, had not played the original Nier.  Whilst the story here does tie into the previous game (and a number of others in fact) it isn’t needed in the slightest to enjoy this.  The cast of characters, the world itself, the brilliant combat that changes styles constantly.  And the music!  The music is incredible!  Being told I had to play through the game three times to see the real ending put me off this one for a while, but each playthrough is so utterly different that it makes each one feel like an almost new experience.  If you haven’t played it, play it.

SUPER SPECIAL BONUS MENTION!

Doki Doki Literature Club

Doki Doki

Oooooh if there’s one game this year that I would class as the most memorable, it would be this.  A few paragraphs back I mentioned that I have a soft spot for games that mess with your expectations, and this manages that and then some.  It’s a free visual novel in which you join the school’s literature club and find it run by a number of attractive girls!  This is a visual novel, so obviously you set about trying to impress them with your poetry.  I will say no more than this: I knew it was going to subvert my expectations (thanks to the Steam reviews), but the way it went about it thoroughly surprised me.

Doki Doki
For a free game, this is incredibly well put together.  Hell, for a full priced game this is incredibly well put together.

If you do play it (and you really should), it takes about 3 hours before things start to really happen, so do play through the early stages, even if you find them tiresome (I did).  And carry on playing even after it ends.  There’s a lot of great stuff here and I can’t talk about it without spoiling it!

Below is the list of games that I played this year.  It was stunningly hard to pick out 5 from a list of such stupendous games.  I didn’t want to overlook The Sexy Brutale thanks to its inventive puzzles and memorable music.  Late Shift was a genuinely enjoyable FMV experience.  Everspace combined rogue-lites with a space sim to create something quite unique.  The Evil Within 2 surprised me by not being nearly as bad as the first one and turning out to be a genuinely fun experience.  And that soundtrack!  2017 should go down as another one of those years that should be brought up when anyone asks what the best year in gaming was.

How about you?  What would you suggest for a list like this?  Have I got it utterly wrong?  Obviously I haven’t, but you’re welcome to argue.  Let me know!

The Sexy Brutale

Yooka-Laylee

Nioh

Resident Evil 7

Halo Wars 2

The Surge

Injustice 2

Everspace

Late Shift

Get Even

Little Nightmares

Slime Rancher

Sonic Mania

Stories Untold

Marvel vs Capcom Infinite

Nier: Automata

Torment: Tides of Numenera

Conarium

>Observer_

XCOM 2 WOTC

Doki Doki Literature Club

Ruiner

The Evil Within 2

Super Mario Odyssey

The XCOM War Logs – Part 7

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more!

Well, we start of with some serious business!  Emma and Josh improve their bond.  Yep.  Thrilling stuff right there.

But then!  Aliens attack a civilian target, forcing Nick, Dave (“Ether”), Karl (“Lightning”), Eugene (“Gunner”), Kerry (“Hollywood”), and Paul (“Solo”) into action!  Cryssalids are the first thing we run into.  They have too many legs, so Nick proceeds to try to shoot them off.  He misses of course and needs Paul to bail him out.  The problem with cryssalids is that they’re bloody fast and can infect people to turn into them.  Before long we end up with a large horde to deal with.  Dave uses his psychic knives to clear a path, allowing Paul to rescue some civilians…who turn out to be shape shifting flesh monsters.  Going from bad to worse here!  This time Nick rescues Paul before any real damage can be done.  Kerry makes a number of VERY long range shots to try to keep the team in this, but the numbers are overwhelming.  Civilians are mutated left, right, and centre, whilst Dave suffers some severe wounds and sadly succumbs to the poison inflicted upon him whilst rescuing the few survivors.  If not for him it likely would have been a lot worse for the team.  As it stands, Karl and Eugene suffered some severe wounds, but everyone else made it out unscathed.  Nick earned the nickname “Slider”…

XCOM 2
Paul woke this friendly looking chap up.

No rest though!  In spite of our losses, we head straight to an alien facility to slow down their weapons development.  How?  By shooting aliens of course!  Ben, Nick (“Slider”), Heather (“Boomstick”), Kerry (“Hollywood”), Rob (“Wildchild”), and Rhodri (“Papa Bear”) head out to do just that.  It starts badly, with a run into a group of mutons with an alien in a diving suit (reasons!) leaving Ben in a lonely position.  Diving suit man destroys the tower Ben was hiding in, leaving him just clinging on to life.  Concentrated fire put down this enemy, but not before Heather was spotted by a group of alien soldiers.  Sadly, one decided to finish off Ben before Nick could get to him to heal him up.  Another death!  Pushing forward, we come across a fairly solid defence for the facility.  Kerry and Rhodri team up to put down the biggest threats, allowing us to plant the charges to destroy the facility.

XCOM 2
Ben facing down the diving suit alien. It did not end well.

And now for a crucial mission.  You may remember that Caroline (“Sentinel”) was abducted.  Well, Stuart (“Cyber”), Heather (“Boomstick”), and Josh (“Outrider”) have found where she is being kept and are heading in to rescue her!  A very gradual sneak along the sides of the compound means we avoid any contact with enemies.  With such a small team, we can’t risk an all out gun fight here.  Unfortunately the cells were well guarded and there was no way to avoid a fight.  Heather was spotted by a guard on patrol and we were forced to break cover.  Stuart took a quick shot to avoid any immediate damage to the team.  Heather manages to hack the door and drags Caroline out whilst Josh provides cover.  The facility is on full alert now and we have an enemy drop ship on the way in.  With Josh out of ammo and Heather unable to fight back, we make a hasty retreat towards the evac point as Stuart holds back the aliensas best he can.  The mission ends in success, which is a surprise considering our recent luck!

The time has now come!  The final Chosen (the hunter) has been found and we’re going to go and murder his face off.  He’s had it coming to be fair.  I’m expecting this to be a disaster, but we send in Josh (“Outrider”), Emma (“Warden”), Andrew (“Terminator”), Danny (“Boom Boom”), Bobbilyann (“Shooter), and Lorna (“Ice”) anyway.  Everyone is kitted out with our best equipment (including Emma in our first exo-suit) so our first battle goes by with little trouble.  The second encounter looks a bit nastier, as an overly aggressive Lorna exposes us to a group of well armoured foes.  She takes some early wounds as we try to drive them back.  Danny goes grenade crazy and removes all the cover the aliens have, allowing the rest of the team to pick them off at their leisure.  Hopefully we won’t need that sweet boom-fruit later on.  Then there are the cryssalids.  Remembe them?  Time to murder more of them!  Lorna and Andrew put them down whilst Emma provides healing support.  And now, it’s time for the showdown.  We pile into the magic transporter gate and prepare for shooty action!  Progressing through the chamber reveals absolutely no opposition; it has that “it’s too quiet” feeling to it.  Then, the hunter appears and it’s show time.  Josh goes mental and empties an entire magazine into him, putting him down long enough to allow us to start taking down the hunter’s magic regeneration thing.  SCIENCE!  All it takes is a shot from each team member and it goes down, signalling victory!  Much easier than I expected, and now the Chosen are no more.

XCOM 2
Danny puts down a mech. Through a wall.

Due to death and injury, our next mission is sent out with rookies and 3 (count ’em!) snipers.  Leanne, Pat (“Hat Trick”), Kerry (“Hollywood”), Richard and, Catherine (“Longshot”) head into battle.  A battle that turns into a huge mess of zombies.  Catherine kicks us off with some fancy shootin’, but things get very messy, very quickly with a big shoot out in an abandoned building.  Alien soldiers, our troops, and zombies in a three-way murder party.  Richard has a tough time of it and he acts as zombie catnip, before the giant stompy robots show up to make things harder still.  Massive amounts of concentrated fire bring it down, but not before it can demolish Pat’s cover, leaving her dangerously exposed.  She suffers critical wounds and begins to bleed out.  Thankfully the rest of the team clear out the surviving zombies and get her to the evac ship in time.  Mission complete!

XCOM 2
Low ammo, enemies everywhere, and a giant killer robot about to arrive. Things could be going better.

The team as it stands:

Heather “Boomstick” – Ranger (Bond: Stuart)

Rob “Wildchild” – Grenadier

Stuart “Cyber” – Specialist (Bond: Heather)

Kerry “Hollywood” – Sniper

Andrew “Terminator” – Ranger (Bond: Bobbilyann)

Rhodri “Papa Bear” – Grenedier

Emma “Warden” – Specialist (Bond: Josh)

Lorna “Ice” – Ranger

Pat “Hat Trick” – Sniper

Danny “Boom Boom” – Genadier (Bond: Tiago)

Karl “Lightning” – Specialist

Eugene “Gunner” – Grenedier

Catherine “Longshot” – Sharpshooter

Josh “Outrider” – Reaper (Bond: Emma)

Bobbilyann “Shooter” – Sniper (Bond: Andrew)

Tiago “Mox” – Skirmisher (Bond: Danny) *DECEASED* – 3 missions/14 kills

Caroline “Sentinel” – Specialist

Paul “Solo”– Ranger

Saf “Witch” – Templar *DECEASED* – 2 missions/2 kills

Dave “Ether” – Templar *DECEASED* – 5 missions/12 kills

Ben – Sharpshooter *DECEASED* – 3 missions/11 kills

Nick “Slider” – Specialist

Rich – Ranger

Leanne – Specialist

Tom – Ranger

Faizan “Beast” – Marauder

The XCOM War Logs – Part 6

XCOM should only be consumed as part of a calorie controlled diet.

There’s only one Chosen left now.  A hunter apparently.  I reckon he’s friendly deep down, and just needs a hug.

First up, a quick job to rescue a Templar from some no good aliens.  Catherine (“Longshot”), Eugene (“Gunner”), Rob (“Wildchild”), Pat (“Hat Trick”), Andrew (“Terminator”), and Bobbilyann (“Shooter”) head off to do some shooting.  So 3 snipers then.   It didn’t proove to be too much of a problem though.  Catherine took some nasty injuries after being smacked in the face with a big stick, but that was about all the trouble we had.  We reached the VIP only to find an ambush waiting!  Such threat!  Things started to get a bit hairy, so we beat a hasty retreat to escape with no more harm coming to us.  Success once more!

XCOM 2
Catherine faces down a charging alien with nothing but a pistol and a set of badass aviators.

Time to go and “Neutralize a target”.  A nice vague way to say kill some aliens I’d say!  Emma (“Warden”), Josh (“Outrider”), Kerry (“Hollywood”), Rob (“Wildchild”), Ben, and Rich head on out.  With guns.  It seems this target is pretty important as there’s a good number of enemies protecting it when we arrive.  Emma takes some early wounds but we press on!  it’s at this point the aliens decide to deploy the prototype of their most powerful weapon.  The Avatar (not a blue cat person sadly) is a very powerful psychic that could mess us up.  Thankfully, Emma, Josh, and Ben were in positions that allowed us to get the drop on him and force a retreat.  Kerry blows a hole in the side of a building to get to our target, knocks him unconcious and carries him out towards the evac point!  Just as reinforcements arrive and things start to look a little bad for us, Ben throws out an overwatch shot that detonates an alien flame-thrower unit, detonating it and wiping out the whole enemy squad!  In spite of some serious injuries (Josh nearly burned to death), we make it out in one piece.  Rich gets promoted to Ranger whilst Ben becomes a Sharpshooter.

XCOM 2
Well that’s pretty damn anime.

We’ve found the location of an alien forge.  Which sounds imposrtant so we’d better go and shoot some stuff.  Bobbilyann (“Shooter”), Heather (“Boomstick”), Stuart (“Cyber”), Eugene (“Gunner”), Dave (“Ether”), and Nick head out to do just that!  We find ourselves up against a Sectopod – a huge alien mech that quickly sets about wounding everyone.  Stuart and Bobbilyann take some serious damage in the battle.  Dave uses his psychic powers to find a weakness in its armour allowing the rest of the team to cause more damage to it, which is all the opening our expert soldiers need to put it out of comission.  Getting closer to the facility, we find small patrols to deal with, but nothing as dangerous as the Sectopod.  We find a pod (not of the secto variety) with a humanoid inside it, so obviously it needs stealing.  Dave picks it up and we make a run for the evac.  Nick misses a crucial shot leading to him being mind controlled by an alien.  He starts taking shots at our own team, but Heather manages to disable the controlling alien, freeing Nick.  After a run through enemy fire, everyone boards the evac ship and makes it out to treat those wounds.

XCOM 2
Eugene looks to lay down some serious pain on whatever the hell that thing is.

Up next, hacking a workstation on a alien train!  Because aliens use public transport now.  Leanne, Tom, Ben, Caroline (“Sentinel”), Catherine (“Longshot”), and Paul (“Solo”) suit up for action.  Turns out the whole place was crawling with zombies as well as aliens.  A careless dash forward from Catherine revealed our location and lead to a full on fire fight.  Ben empties an entire magazine to hold off the horde and keep the aliens from advancing.  Just to add to the fun, our friendly Chosen hunter turns up.  I’m sure we’ll have no trouble having put him down a couple of times already.  He forces us out of cover multiple times, but Caroline manages to get close to the workstation, only for a zombie horde to block her path.  This one is getting messy.  Leanne and Tom put down countless zombies to allow Caroline to successfully hack the workstation, now to clear out the area.  Tom finds himself taking some serious damage but is covered by Catherine from a rooftop.  Love those snipers!  Sadly they couldn’t protect Caroline, who was captured (but not killed!) by the Chosen hunter.  We will get her back!  Tom gets promoted to Ranger whilst Leanne gets promoted to Specialist.

XCOM 2
Leanne takes a few pot shots at an alien over long range.

The current team:

Heather “Boomstick” – Ranger (Bond: Stuart)

Rob “Wildchild” – Grenadier

Stuart “Cyber” – Specialist (Bond: Heather)

Kerry “Hollywood” – Sniper

Andrew “Terminator” – Ranger (Bond: Bobbilyann)

Rhodri “Papa Bear” – Grenedier

Emma “Warden” – Specialist (Bond: Josh)

Lorna “Ice” – Ranger

Pat “Hat Trick” – Sniper

Danny “Boom Boom” – Genadier (Bond: Tiago)

Karl “Lightning” – Specialist

Eugene “Gunner” – Grenedier

Catherine “Longshot” – Sharpshooter

Josh “Outrider” – Reaper (Bond: Emma)

Bobbilyann “Shooter” – Sniper (Bond: Andrew)

Tiago “Mox” – Skirmisher (Bond: Danny) *DECEASED* – 3 missions/14 kills

Caroline “Sentinel” – Specialist

Paul  “Solo”– Ranger

Saf “Witch” – Templar *DECEASED* – 2 missions/2 kills

Dave “Ether” – Templar

Ben – Sharpshooter

Nick – Specialist

Rich – Sharpshooter

Leanne – Specialist

Tom – Ranger

The XCOM War Logs – Part 5

After our successful takedown of the assassin, we head off to capture some alien stuff.  Vague I know.  Lorna, Tiago (“Mox”), Eugene (“Gunner”), Catherine, Pat, and Danny suit up for the task at hand.  We came across some psychic aliens that caused Lorna to totally lose her shit.  Couldn’t keep her down for long though, as she quickly recovered and started hunting the aliens down.  Other than a few knocks to Eugene‘s armour, everything here went quite well!  We’re pretty damn tough now it seems.  Tiago and Danny seemed to get on very well here and are now bond mates.  Cute!

XCOM 2
Catherine lines up what will certainly be a deadly shot.

Heather (“Boomstick”), Karl (“Lightning”) and Rhodri (“Papa Bear”) were trying to hunt down the Chosen warlock’s house, but found themselves being hunted when they were ambushed.  A very small team against a very large enemy seems like a bad situation to be in.  Early exchanges go our way as we make a mad dash towards safety.  Things were looking good right up until we approached the extraction point and came across a horde of reanimated corpses and an alien mech.  Heather left herself dangerously exposed, so Karl charged forward to deal with the zombies.  He and Rhodri effortlessly put down the zombies whilst Heather dispatches the mech with ease.  For an ambush, this didn’t prove to be much of a challenge.

XCOM 2
Zombie go boom!

Next, we are sent off to destroy an alien relay station.  Emma (“Warden”), Josh (“Outrider”), Tiago (“Mox”), Paul (“Solo”), Lorna (now known as “Ice”), and Danny (nicknamed “Boom Boom”) handle this one.  A careless mistake by Emma reveals our location causing the aliens to close in on us early on.  Josh makes a quick decision to blow up a car close to the alien team moving in, taking out 2 of them quickly.  Lorna finds herself flanked and suffers some serious wounds, but Paul manages to rescue her before she is overwhelmed.  Lorna then piles forward to destroy the relay just as alien reinforcements arrive.  Tiago finds himself in a lot of trouble, confronted by two alien brutes.  In spite of Paul charging into the fray to rescue him, it proves too much and Tiago falls in battle causing Danny, his bond mate, to go psychotic and charge madly towards the surviving alien.  He dispatches him quickly, allowing the team to return home.

XCOM 2
We break into the Warlock hideout. Subtle as ever.

We’ve finally found out where the Chosen warlock is hiding thanks to our recent covert operations.  Australia obviously.  We send in Stuart (“Cyber”), his bond mate Heather (“Boomstick”), Emma (“Warden”), and her bond mate Josh (“Outrider”), Rhodri (“Papa Bear”), and Kerry (“Hollywood”) for what will likely be a tough encounter.  Early confrontations with poisoners spider monsters go well, with little realy threat posed.  Rhodri made a mad charge into a room only to be faced with a mech and a number of soldiers.  Emma suffered minor injuries rescuing him from the predicament.  In clearing them out, Heather becomes poisoned and also ends up on fire, which I imagine is a bad combination.  At any rate, we move on and arrive at the warlock’s chamber.  Having little in the way of additional forces, taking down the warlock himself was not a huge challenge considering everything else we’d come through.  There was no way we should have all come back in one piece!

XCOM 2
Josh puts down some alien scum.

The team as it stands:

Heather “Boomstick” – Ranger (Bond: Stuart)

Rob “Wildchild” – Grenadier

Stuart “Cyber” – Specialist (Bond: Heather)

Kerry “Hollywood” – Sniper

Andrew “Terminator” – Ranger (Bond: Bobbilyann)

Rhodri “Papa Bear” – Grenedier

Emma “Warden” – Specialist (Bond: Josh)

Lorna “Ice” – Ranger

Pat – Sniper

Danny “Boom Boom” – Genadier (Bond: Tiago)

Karl “Lightning” – Specialist

Eugene “Gunner” – Grenedier

Catherine – Sharpshooter

Josh “Outrider” – Reaper (Bond: Emma)

Bobbilyann “Shooter” – Sniper (Bond: Andrew)

Tiago “Mox” – Skirmisher (Bond: Danny) *DECEASED* – 3 missions/14 kills

Caroline “Sentinel” – Specialist

Paul – Ranger

Saf “Witch” – Templar *DECEASED* – 2 missions/2 kills

Dave “Ether” – Templar

The XCOM War Logs – Part 4

Who survives? YOU DECIDE. Well, actually I do.

Our first job is to take out an alien facility that is fueling their plans for DESTROYING HUMANITY!  So fairly high stakes.  Danny (our newest Grenadier), Andrew (“Terminator”) with his bond mate Bobbilyann (“Shooter”), Josh (“Outrider”) with his bond mate Emma (“Warden”), and Stuart (“Cyber”) roll out ready to work.  Of course, a Chosen turns up to defend the place.  Our favourite hunter causes some early problems as Stuart is apparently obsessed with killing it and goes off plan to chase him down.  This leaves other soldiers more vulnerable, resulting in Bobbilyann suffering some serious wounds.  She remains standing though!  He more than makes up for it though, by managing to force it to fall back…for now.  Andrew goes on an absolute killing spree, clearing out most of the outpost with little trouble, allowing the rest of the team to set explosives to level the building and escape.

XCOM 2
Oh I’m sure he’s pretty friendly when you get to know him.

Up next is a rescue of a friendly scientist.  We send Stuart (“Cyber”), Paul (“Solo”), Rhodri (“Papa Bear”), Kerry (“Hollywood”), Emma (“Warden”), and Karl into the region.  Considering this was meant to be a prison, there is next to nothing in terms of defence.  We freed the scientist, and that’s when the snake monsters turned up (sentences you never thought you’d say…).  One snagged Rhodri and gave him a big, big hug, needing Emma to blast him free before he finished it off.  Paul almost suffers the same fate, but Rhodri mimics Emma by rescuing him.  Cue a mad dash for extraction to get everyone out in one piece whilst Karl (earning the nickname “Lightning”) covers the retreat.

XCOM 2
Rhodri smashing down doors and kicking ass.

A concerned human let’s us know about some sort of device that may be of interest to us, so Stuart (“Cyber”), Josh (“Outrider”), Dave (“Ether”), Bobbilyann (“Shooter”), Andrew (“Terminator”), and Rhodri (“Papa Bear) head on out to take a look.  I reckon there might be some of those gosh darn aliens around.  Into the sewers we go (for some reason) and meet only mild competition again.  We have recently invested in more powerful weapons so they pose only a limited problem.  The aliens never stood a chance against an insanely overpowered team.

XCOM 2
Bobbilyann doesn’t need a rifle for dealing with aliens.

Josh, Stuart, and Andrew head out to finally find a way for us to deal with that damn Chosen assassin.  Covert missions forever!

Emma (“Warden”), Heather (“Boomstick”), Bobbilyann (“Shooter”), Catherine, Eugene (“Gunner”), and Lorna head on over to rescue some civilians from the local wildlife.  By which I mean aliens.  It seems that the civilians are actually quite well armed, as they manage to put down most of the aliens without much help from us.  What a waste of time!  A couple of scrapes was the worst of our problems.

XCOM 2
Me launching some grenades. Just like my day job really.

Our covert team return, allowing us to attack the Chosen assassin and deal with her once and for all.  We send in a crack team, including Kerry (“Hollywood”), Rob (“Wildchild” still), Andrew (“Terminator”), Stuart (“Cyber”), Dave (“Ether”), and Caroline.  Early on, Rob suffers the effects of mind control and finds himself in a spot of bother.  Thankfully Kerry puts a stop to this by kiling the alien responsible.  Dave tries to get into fist fights with giant alien brutes and finds they’re even tougher than they look.  He takes some early hits.  Caroline gets attacked repeatedly, taking some major injuries, but survives the early exchanges.  Stuart patches her up to keep up our momentum.  As we advance, we come across crysalids.  Literally the worst thing in the world.  Spider-alien monsters that lay eggs inside their still living victims, turning them into zombies.  Whilst we manage to put them down, Andrew becomes infected by their poison.  We finally confront the assassin and use Stuart‘s ability to reveal hidden enemies to gain an advantage.  Kerry takes this chance and put’s them down only to find that they have a nearby device that can revive them.  We madly rush to take it out before the assassin can return.  Against all the odds, we succeed in spite of everyone being within moments of dying (other than Kerry who was hiding at the back!) and make it back in one piece.  Caroline earns the nickname “Sentinel” for her successes.

XCOM 2
Kerry kills an alien lobster monster. It had it coming.

The current team:

Heather “Boomstick” – Ranger (Bond: Stuart)

Rob “Wildchild” – Grenadier

Stuart “Cyber” – Specialist (Bond: Heather)

Kerry “Hollywood” – Sniper

Andrew “Terminator” – Ranger (Bond: Bobbilyann)

Rhodri “Papa Bear” – Grenedier

Emma “Warden” – Specialist (Bond: Josh)

Lorna – Ranger

Pat – Sniper

Danny – Genadier

Karl “Lightning” – Specialist

Eugene “Gunner” – Grenedier

Catherine – Sharpshooter

Josh “Outrider” – Reaper (Bond: Emma)

Bobbilyann “Shooter” – Sniper (Bond: Andrew)

Tiago “Mox” – Skirmisher

Caroline “Sentinel” – Specialist

Paul – Ranger

Saf “Witch” – Templar *DECEASED* – 2 missions/2 kills

Dave “Ether” – Templar

The XCOM War Logs – Part 3

XCOM gonna give it to ya.

A successful scouting team make contact with a faction of psychic warriors, and Saf (“Witch” for some reason) joins our team.

She is quickly sent out with Karl (our Specialist), Eugene, Andy (“Terminator”), and Kerry.  Alien tech has allowed our opponents to notice us more easily and this team aims to disrupt that.  Whilst Karl hacks into the alien facility from outside, the rest of the team methodically take down the alien forces.  One moment of note was Kerry taking down multiple enemies with a well placed rifle shot to an explosive container.  It was so cinematic that she earned the nickname “Hollywood”.

Josh (“Outrider”), Paul, and Bobbilyann (“Shooter”) return from their covert mission to inform us that the Chosen assassin is hiding in an underground facility in India.  At least we’ve narrowed it down somewhat.

Not a lot of rest for Josh though, as he takes his bond mate Emma, Saf, Eugene, and Catherine out for a job to protect a resistance camp from the Chosen warlock.  Saf‘s crazed charge to rescue Josh from an enemy soldier flanking him ended succesfully as Josh survived.  Saf sadly did not as she was left exposed to an alien mech that killed her with a missile barrage.  Thanks to this sacrifice, the rest of the team managed to rescue the civilians and clean up the remaining aliens.  Our first death!

XCOM 2
Arriving for what would prove to be Saf’s final mission.

Things go from bad to worse.  It seems that the information the aliens took from Caroline‘s brain last time have revealed our location.  Our air-base has been found and attacked.  Andrew (“Terminator”), Bobbilyann (“Shooter”), Rob (“Wildchild” – I still hate that), Heather (“Boomstick”), Stuart (“Cyber”), and Eugene (“Gunner” now.  Because of all the guns) all team up to repel the attack.  The squad head out and are confronted by a large alien horde.  Kerry (“Hollywood”) refuses to let the team face this and leaves the safety of the ship to join them.  Holding off wave after wave of aliens seems like it would begin to be too much.  Heather and Stuart take some heavy wounds, but somehow we manage to hold the swarming enemies off.

XCOM 2
Kerry come’s out to confront this absolute beast.

Onto other tasks.  Josh (obviously), Emma (“Warden”), Paul, Rob (“Wildchild”), and Karl head off to “rescue” some intel from an alien data vault.  It starts out fairly well until the Chosen hunter turns up and starts messing with our ability to move around securely.  Still, with careful movement, we manage to get into a position to hack the target.  Emma successfully gets the intel whilst the rest of the team struggle to subdue the Chosen.  Proves to be dangerous at range.  Karl has to protect Rob to keep him in the fight.  In an incredibly ballsy move, Paul scales a nearby wall to get in behind the hunter and force him to retreat.  Everyone makes it back alive once more.

XCOM 2
The hunter proved to be a bit of a problem.

The aliens made the decision to set down a UFO in the middle of nowhere.  Totally undefended…probably.  It’d be rude to pass up the chance to murder a few of them.  Dave (“Ether”, a new Templar on the team), Paul (“Solo” now for some reason), Emma, Eugene (“Gunner”), and Catherine (our designated sharpshooter) go out for a party.  Due to bad luck, we begin with the enemy knowing we’re there so we get attacked early.  Dave makes multiple crazy runs into aliens to subdue them with psychic knives.  That may be my favourite sentence I’ve ever written.  Unfortunately, we didn’t have long to get to the UFO before it sent a distress signal, so lots of mad rushing around here.  Emma (who seems to be becoming our designated hacker) gets there in time.  In spite of a few wounds, we manage to get out in one piece without reinforcements arriving.

XCOM 2
Dave being an absolute badass.

Much success in spite of that loss.  The current squad looks like this:

Heather “Boomstick” – Ranger (Bond: Stuart)

Rob “Wildchild” – Grenadier

Stuart “Cyber” – Specialist (Bond: Heather)

Kerry “Hollywood” – Sniper

Andrew “Terminator” – Ranger (Bond: Bobbilyann)

Rhodri “Papa Bear” – Grenedier

Emma “Warden” – Specialist (Bond: Josh)

Lorna – Ranger

Pat – Sniper

Danny – Genadier

Karl – Specialist

Eugene – Grenedier

Catherine – Sharpshooter

Josh “Outrider” – Reaper (Bond: Emma)

Bobbilyann “Shooter” – Sniper (Bond: Andrew)

Tiago “Mox” – Skirmisher

Caz – Specialist

Paul – Ranger

Saf “Witch” – Templar *DECEASED* – 2 missions/2 kills

Dave “Ether” – Templar