XCOM: Chimera Squad aka XCOPS

Yeah honestly just seeing everyone’s favorite trans snake lady being a player character is an insta-sale for me too

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I mean, I can’t really think of many other ways to learn about COIN strategies. You kinda can’t just go and join the Conflict Resolution or Terrorism and Non-Proliferation Studies programs at MIIS. Believe me, I tried.

The fact that you only ever got to commit arguably 0-1 terrorist acts is a grand disappointment on so many levels. Yes, I’m completely serious about that. That from the jump it just falls right into normal XCOM where your force is growing stronger and more varied to the point where you can much too soon go toe to… snake tail against the aliens obliterates any sense of tone, urgency, or theme.

Isn’t a big part of COIN ops breaking the supply chain of an insurgency? And yet here’s XCOM in their infinite fuel spaceship instantly getting supplies each month from everyone they ever raised an antenna for to use on their impenetrable armored suits with the pearlescent metallic finish of a gaudy early F&F Mazda. Everything falls apart the moment you realize that XCOM 2 XCOM is still stupid powerful.

And I doubt Firaxis can get it right from the other side but $10 is exactly the price to get me to make an impulse preorder.

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well I guess the other way is to just read a book but I totally agree that conflict sims teach a visceral and hands on lesson unavailable to most punters. I think some people (myself included!) are a little uncomfortable with the idea of playing a game for fun which is set in a real world conflict, designed by someone who was employed by an organization implicated in war crimes committed in that conflict, especially when the conflict is so recent (as is the case with Volko Ruhnke and A Distant Plain). You have to put in some hard work to come to terms with that, which might mean sitting down and playing the game a lot to understand it’s not a whitewash, but for some people it won’t ever sit right, and I’m okay with that. I always just try to make a point of acknowledging this perspective when bringing up the COIN games in polite company (and especially in progressive company) because so much other coverage of those games tend towards a kinda breathless “wow cool CIA game designer” vibe.

To be fair, the COIN games don’t really model insurgency supply lines with crunchy operational wargame rules either and I think keeping that simple is part of their success with the Euro board gamer crowd. (interestingly enough VR’s latest game Nevsky is an excellent medieval operational game which is ALL about supply) The power curve in XCOM 2 is definitely not a model of insurgency though.

What I’m really looking for on the XCOM strategic map is just ONE extra dimension of “hearts and minds”, which I think the COIN games excel at integrating into what are otherwise basically area control games. The new map looks like it has a single dimension of “unrest” but obviously maybe there is more and maybe there is some push/pull to the way you interact with it.

Yeahhh this is basically where I end up too. $10 to try out some new mechanics that they might be playing around with for XCOM 3 is a pretty good deal. I just wish those mechanics were at a different scale. But from reading the thread on the XCOM subreddit, it’s very clear I’m in the minority here and Firaxis knows the audience for these games better than I do.

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I really wish someone would get the insurgency angle of XCOM 2 right as well. And before anyone mentions The Long War 2, let me say again: I really wish someone would get the insurgency angle of XCOM 2 right.

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What would you change just curious? I’m not educated enough on the subject TBH but would love to hear some ideas from someone who is.

I’m hardly well educated about this, but I think the essential element that is missing from XCOM 2 is civilian sentiment, in other words, “hearts and minds”.

In a different kind of game, I could see XCOM as an organization being more invested in civilian attitude towards the ADVENT regime and towards the resistance, but in the actual game the civilian populace exist only as minor tactical obstacles (save them in retaliation missions, avoid being spotted by them other times), and not as long term strategic elements. Actions by XCOM (and by ADVENT) would have repercussions and side effects. In game mechanics, you might accomplish your main objective from a tactical mission but because you blew up a building along the way, civilian sympathy for XCOM degrades and you have to work to get it back. I’m not a game designer, so I recognize this would be a huge design challenge!

From a story perspective, I think it’s a bit too glib to write the entire population off as collaborators and accomplices to the occupation, but the game kind of assumes they are all brainwashed. That’s fine for the purposes of serving the “golden path” of the campaign, but it’s not a great model of insurgency.

I’m obviously a big fan of XCOM, but that’s also the reason I’ve thought about it so much, because I see such an interesting potential here. And I think the real problems start to come up when you switch sides and tell a story not from the insurgent perspective but from the counter insurgent/government/COIN perspective, since historically they are usually the side with more power.

Anyway I’ll stop hijacking this thread…

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Just before you stop hijacking the thread, I’d like to note that I think the same complications would also make any XCOM game better. [I *think* that this is something War of the Chosen tries to do a bit with the other rebel factions and your relationships with them; and something Phoenix Point tries to do similarly - but they’re both missing a “public sentiment” meter in general; just as XCOM missed any real consequences from those side offers like selling alien tech to a given country.] The same public sentiment meters that model insurgency also can be used to reflect the popularity and influence of any movement - including an extra-governmental military force like XCOM in the first game [and all of the original pre-Firaxis games].

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New videos went up with short character bios




So at least 2 of them were just straight up cops prior to the invasion :neutral_face: also who wants their call sign to be Blueblood?? That’s like asking to be called by the trope you represent. Kinda hope you can customize nicknames to an extent even if it’s just a premade list

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Yeah these make me feel like we aren’t going to get much in the way of real interrogation of the XCOPS theme but I will say the comic book style art is a nice change of pace. I loved the XCOM 2 loading screens but this style is more grounded in a way that makes me hopeful Firaxis wants to tell stories about what the invasion, occupation, resistance was like from a broader range than they have so far.

I’m always a little wary to venture into places like gaming subreddits and Steam forums but I was looking around for some threads about what kind of modding support there will be at launch and stumbled onto a vocal group of the usual gamer suspects (a vocal minority presumably but I have no idea as I’m not about to do some kind of survey) nerd raging about Chimera Squad’s apparent theme of a diverse team working to integrate humans & aliens. Some of what I read was predictably but dissappointly filled with truly vile ideas… made me very grateful to have a community like Waypoint to hang out in

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the tone in XCOM is really interesting to me. i honestly still get kinda spooked on nighttime crashed UFO missions, or any time chryssalids show up, in a way very few non-horror games do to me. and it swings from that into just the goofiest sci-fi tropey stuff very quickly, like… just look at the Thin Men. its obv not the first game to do the mix of cartoony/pulpy visuals with punishing difficulty and violence, but i always think back on it as more intense/serious than it actually is.

which is maybe why i know i probably shouldn’t be too put off by the idea of XCOPS as a concept being handled poorly, but kinda still am. i dunno. all that said, i’m still optimistic! i love EU/EW a ton and hope this is good.

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I’ll edit if they add any others today.

Redeeming of the ADVENT clones was a great part of War of the Chosen and good to see it continues.

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Yeah outside of them being cops I really like how they’ve written it where once the elders power over them is gone the alien races are not just all barbarians.

This could have easily been a game about mopping up the remaining alien forces but so far does not seem to be that. It’s optimistic about how removing terrible leaders actually leads to change.

I am still a bit worried about the game in that we still don’t know yet who the enemy is outside of what seems to be a crime group of some kind?

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My money is on the enemies being some new take on EXALT from Enemy Within, just because it fits the setting. But on the other hand they’ve been teasing TFTD stuff since 2012, and the setting resembles Apocalypse, so it could be anything.

My main prediction, plot-wise, is that there will be a big reveal at the end that sets up for XCOM 3.

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I guess technically given what happens in 2 EXALT will not have been a thing right?

Given the ending with the Templars I have to believe this some how ties into 3 being a TFTD spiritual sequel. Really curious if the long running theory that the forgotten The Bureau XCOM Declassified plot ties into the plot of EU and XCOM 2 because that would be wild.

Well, I’ve always been partial to the idea that EXALT cut a deal with the Elders and became ADVENT. The popular theory is that the Speaker is a Thin Man, but EXALT had the same neck speckles and affinity for sunglasses. So I’ve always kind of thought that the heads of EXALT ended up in charge of ADVENT. And while the Speaker was killed, that doesn’t mean the other EXALT/ADVENT leaders were.

Then again, they could go with something more like the Cult of Sirius from Apocalypse, or something else. If it’s a TFTD thing, I don’t think we’ll actually know what the true big bad is until like the final mission. I feel like they’d save that for a full-on XCOM game.

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The, what’s supposed to be midgame but happens late early game because Firaxis isn’t very good at this, reveal that EXALT is building a portal the aliens can use to stage another invasion of Earth.

Hot Take: Enemy Within was a better expansion than War of the Chosen. My genetically modified psionic soldiers were badass.

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I think this is something that was alluded to on a recent pod, that War of the Chosen because it has to hit these specific narrative beats is an expansion that plays great the first time around, but becomes much less welcome with each subsequent playthrough. Anyway yeah, the mech/genetically modded soldiers in Enemy Within were awesome even if it kinda messed up the balance of the strategy layer of the game.

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Played about 3 hours now and I like it. It’s definitely different compared to XCOM EU/EW and XCOM 2/WotC.

Narrative so far is about what I would expect from an XCOM game while also managing to be a bit better then the previous ones I would say but it’s also a game that is definitely more focused on story missions.

The breach mechanic seems pretty cool especially since it feels like it should probably change quite a bit based on who and what equipment you bring on a mission. I like that the game is much more aggressive at throwing reinforcement units at you instead of just ending the mission abruptly once the task is done. I feel like that is something Long War 2 did that I wish War of the Chosen had done more of to make it feel like you are definitely in a place where you can not win and you just need to get out ASAP.

The game does feel much more like a puzzle then the previous ones but I don’t think that’s a bad thing it’s just a different thing. I’m actually really surprised that the out of combat strategy stuff turned out better then I expected.

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Just played the first few missions. Each room is like a little puzzle in a neat way. It’s fairly simple right now but there seem to be a lot of equipment and ability options already so I’m excited to see what comes next. My only complaint so far is that I don’t seem to be able to use any equipment or abilities during breach mode.

Unrelated but is anyone having trouble with the game not seeing their video card. I have a laptop with a beefy Nvidia but it’s only seeing the integrated card.

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I do like the new combat design more than I thought I would and it actually is pretty fun to think about what you can use for each breach based on how many encounters.

Also the snake lady is rougher than you might have wanted your snake lady but, eh, if you wanted it, you got your snake lady. She hisses, she coils, she calls out your teammate when she thinks their showing off that they have legs, she has the understandable backstory of rather being shot at than sit around bored as a POW, and she hates your boss, which is fair. The boss kinda sucks.


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