Bite Sized Letdown – XCOM: Chimera Squad

A lot of the time I wander Fanatical, Humble Store and Green Man Gaming to see if there are any sweet deals on games that I refuse to pay full price for. I Scrolled passed an XCOM game that was pre-selling at a RIDICULOUSLY low price. Now I haven’t played an XCOM in quite some time so I decided to give it a try. This week I unintentionally hinder myself with accidentally buying an expensive drone and slogging through game breaking bugs and play XCOM: Chimera Squad!

Five years after the events of XCOM 2’s DLC: The War of the Chosen, Earth has won the war and now aliens and humans coexist peacefully. This is until one day the Mayor of City 31 is held hostage and is ultimately killed. It is up to the rag tag group called Chimera Squad to investigate three different resistance groups in attempts to uncover the reason who and why the Mayor was killed.

The Progeny is group of psionics that ideology envisions a world of psions. They abduct civilians and convert them to thrall for their revolution. Gray Pheonix is a group of individuals that consist of a wide array of races that abduct skilled engineers in hopes of obtaining and fixing vehicles to return to their home worlds. Sacred Coil is a religious movement that consists of ex-Advent personnel and species that were part of the invasion of Earth in previous games. They recruit masses by claiming to have a cure for a disease that ravages hybrids. Each faction has their own investigation that has its own specific missions that culminate a very cohesive intent and end game.

Game play is not too much different of that of previous XCOM games. The only exception is that of Breaches. Breaches are moments that the player positions squad mates at entry points into the next area with either a positive or negative buff attached. The number of enemies in the viewable breach point and the chances of danger are also present to allow players to determine if it is worth it to place an agent at an area to risk damage. After the player has chosen a entry point for each agent, the agents blow the door and are granted with a pre-game turn to slay a few enemies and obtain knowledge about the area and enemies. Breaching adds a small amount of strategy to the game; it allows the player to take note of how many enemies there are and of what type so that they can plan ahead.

The management aspect of the game has been simplified. There are a maximum of eleven unique agents to pick from. Each agent has core stats of health, armor, crit, dodge, aim, mobility and psi if the agent is a psionic. Each agent can level up from cadet to principle agent and with that rewards skills and passive abilities. Agents can carry a primary weapon, an armor upgrade and a number of slots for items equal to the amount of research done on the agents gear. There is no more perma-death this time around because there are no more agents to replace those who die, SO if one of your agents die during a mission, then game ends and you must restart.

Research is back and it is still simple. The player chooses an idle agent to research something like breaching equipment, armor and gun upgrades. There is also a section to allow agents to go on solo missions to achieve currency or even to reduce the overall anarchy of the city. City 31 has been in unrest since the death of the mayor and if the unrest hits the cap of fourteen, the game ends, so being on top of city unrest is key.

The map of City 31 is at the forefront of the game. It shows all of the activities the player can do while they are waiting for main missions to to crop up. Some missions may be just scouting missions that end the day automatically, some missions are not as urgent and allow the player to choose the mission that’s rewards suit their needs. Missions that are critical need to be done that day and that day only. Field teams are introduced to allow the player to add extra intel, elerium and credits in the background.

I had a miserable time playing this game. Not to the game’s fault but I accidentally bought a drone for 150 credits and decided to continue to play on with that choice, hindering myself in the beginning. It wasn’t until later on that I started to see the glaring flaws of the game. Character animations are garbage tier, enemy AI, at times, was completely clueless and ran around the stage not engaging with my team. During the mid section of the game Torque (the snake lady) lost all of the weapons and gear. The game just ended up losing everything she had and I wasn’t able to equip her with anything. She was perpetually stuck in the research department of my game. There was another point where I began researching Mastercrafted items and everything but the armor was unobtainable. I was just NOT allowed to have Mastercrafted weapons. I had researched and wasted precious credits on weapons that I couldn’t own. The game told me that I had to use mid-tier weapons during the most difficult parts of the game and there was nothing I could do about it.

XCOM is always fun. Chimera Squad helps iron out the spaced out plot that is XCOM, gun play is still enjoyable. Making difficult choices and hitting difficult shots make the wins feels great. Management is still fun even though it is simplified but Christ help me those bugs ruined my enjoyment of the game.

If I would have bought this at the full price at $20 and the game treated me this way, I’d be pissed. The game was sooooooo good in the beginning and then shit hit the fan and the game broke.

I had fun. Blueblood is the best agent HANDS DOWN.

I would advise that if you plan on purchasing the game, that it may just shit the bed.

UPDATE! Firaxis Games released an 1.4gb update that fixes literally all of the things I complained about, so Chimera Squad is probably worth it now 100%.

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