This article contains spoilers for XCOM 2, so read at your own peril!
When a game like XCOM 2 tells you to prepare before heading into the final assault, maybe you should listen to it. Foolishly I decided to steam ahead, my main crew were fit, however, not all of them had specialised armour or the items they ultimately needed to stay alive… which proved to be a major problem.
The final segment of the game has you pushing against a hidden Advent base in an attempt to take out the alien menace once and for all. Considering this is their base and all, there was a shit load of enemies to fight, it was truly a disgusting and unfair amount.
As you push forward through the base, waves of enemies rush at you and ambush your squad, miraculously my team managed to fight them off with no deaths… until we got to the end of the base, that’s when things got messy. It wasn’t the sheer ball shriveling number of aliens that messed my guys up, it was me being totally unprepared for the types of enemies and their repertoire of moves.
During the game you will encounter Avatars, a type of enemy that is just all of the hard to fight. After each hit these Avatars take they warp to a different spot on the map, so it becomes insanely hard to take them out. To make things worse they also heal 5HP at the start of each turn. Yeah, fuck them.
It wasn’t so much their jack in a box routine that messed me up though, it was their mind control move. Instead of equipping my team with mind shields that would make the move obselete, I gave them an extra medikit each. I figured the ability to independently heal would be better for them than having freewill. The majority of times I equipped mind shields they didn’t even come into use, so they seemed like a waste of carry space.
Anyway, you probably see where this is going. The team I had were all hardened veterans that had thought together through tons of missions. I was used to seeing them help each other out, which is why it was so devastating when two instantly got mind controlled and starting tearing into their lifelong friends.
As two of my squad lost their minds my position against the enemy was instantly sabotaged, we had held a strong line to fight off the waves, but with my own men working for the aliens everyone lost their solid positions and became flanked. I didn’t want to shoot at these brainwashed soldiers, I would still need them, but that didn’t stop them from dealing damage to my squad. In two heartbreaking moves my grenadier, who was fully leveled up and had been with me since the start, was taken out by my medic. My hacker was then shanked with a sword through the chest by my trusted ranger. As this happened two of the remaining squad members panicked. The shit had well and truly drenched the fan.
You can imagine my frustration, I came so close to rage quitting and loading up an older save, but I pushed through, their lives wouldn’t be lost for nothing. Miraculously we fought back with only two soldiers in my control, my sniper and the Commander’s Avatar. We managed to take out two of the enemy avatars, leaving just one. The two that died had been mind controlling the rest of my squad, so we got them back in time to fight back against the final one, who fell to the same ranger’s sword that had previously diced up what felt like a beloved friend. In the end we only had two fatalities, but it was enough to ruin the image I had built in my head of my powerful and heroic squad.
This team that had fought together so many times was ultimately destroyed from within, it wasn’t alien blasts that destroyed them, but their own comrades. Fuck you, XCOM, you monster, I need time to heal and mourn the dead before launching another play through.