XCOM 2 has seen a lot of great mods since its release early last year, but few if any have been more hotly anticipated than Long War 2.
Pavonis Interactive (formerly known as Long War Studios) released the total conversion mod just last week, and it already has well over 100,000 subscribers on the Steam Workshop. Following in the tradition of Long War, Pavonis not only improved the gameplay and strategic depth, but they also worked with 2K to add additional mechanics.
Now, instead of being limited to only one mission at a time, you can have multiple squads prepped and infiltrating targets around the globe. So instead of that six-man squad of elite, cyborg/psionic/psychotic killers capable of bringing down an Avatar with a single glare, players must carefully ration out their best units to support rookies so they can level up and eventually fill the shoes of dead heroes.
And the difficulty has been ramped up. According to some gamers, the difficulty selection is upgraded by at least one setting, so XCOM 2 Easy = Long War 2 Normal, Normal = Hard, and so on. In fact, the Legendary difficulty is likely to be impossible for most players to beat.
Adding to the Long War 2 challenge is the sheer number of changes made to the Advent and cover. Advent forces are much more likely to use cover and abilities in addition to being better equipped than before. Engineers will flashbang your troops, sentries will take a shot and go into overwatch, and that’s not counting the other upgrades (and totally new units) integrated.
Cover values have been jacked up through the roof in Long War 2. The cover values are much higher, so half cover is essentially old XCOM 2 full, and new full is way better. The value of cover has also been significantly improved, especially for the Advent. No longer do grenades take out most cover, but instead just damage enemies around. On the plus side, grenadiers have become much more valuable as they can take an upgrade that allows them to destroy cover.
Long War 2 adds in a new class, the Technical, equipped with a rocket/flamethrower combo. It’s not overpowered, as the rocket is fairly inaccurate (reminiscent of the old Long War) and the flamethrower has both short range and does not go through cover (without upgrades). There are also two new tiers of weaponry, laser, and coilguns.
Infiltration is one of the two new big mechanics added. In order to reduce the Advent presence to a reasonable level, Long War 2 requires players to send a squad out in advance to “infiltrate” the target. A value less than 100 percent means more enemies and reinforcements will be on the map. Squad size and equipment are all factored into the equation.
Haven management is the other major mechanic in the overhaul. Players now can manage the resistance, rescuing and recruiting members to boost intel, supply, and recruitment opportunities. On the downside, sometimes that Resistance member you just rescued is actually a Faceless Advent and will siphon off resources.
There are also a few pleasant surprises in the game the official Steam page does not mention. For instance, there is a new tier of weapon upgrades, Elite (as opposed to Superior). The bonuses from Elite add-ons are very substantial. The revamped research allows you to chop up alien corpses for alloys, improve your research and engineering capabilities, and has additional technologies to choose from.
And if you ever get confused, according to the Long War 2 Steam page, “Many of the mod’s new mechanics are described in game in the XCOM archives. Players are strongly encouraged to read those entries immediately after finishing Gatecrasher.”
Pavonis did a superb job with the Long War 2 mod for XCOM 2, and if you are a fan of the series, it will feel like a free major DLC.
Have you played the Long War 2 mod? Tell us what you thought in the comments section below!
[Featured Image by Pavonis Interactive]