It’s fair to say that every moment of my free gaming time this week I played XCOM: Enemy Unknown. After more than 75 hours, I finished the campaign on normal. I’ll be taking a small break before I start up a classic difficulty playthrough, sans ironman. Rather than spend time talking about how great and fantastic the game is for a strategy, even though that is not a slight on XCOM, I wanted to delve into some tips that are useful for not only first time players, but also those starting on other difficulties.
Engineers are a big deal if you are playing on classic difficulty. Without engineers, not only will facilities take longer to build, but also you won’t have access to important structures like the officer’s training school where you can upgrade your squad from four to six soldiers.
Start building satellites as soon as you can. Having some in reserves is great, but getting launching as many as possible as soon as possible will help prevent countries leaving the council, and therefore, funds later on.
Once you get the mission to capture the outside, wait on building the hyperwave uplink until you have a decent-sized fleet of ships. Firestorms equipped with EMP cannons will take care of nearly any UFO in the game, including battleships, in two to three shots. As long as you beeline directly to upgrade your ships and weapons, you won’t need to build any of the dodge, aim, or tracking boosts.
When heading into battle my squad usually consists of two assaults, two snipers, a support, and a heavy. I also make sure at least one soldier has psi abilities. I never found equipping my soldiers with shotguns to be that useful, but picking close combat abilities for an assault class could make them deadly up close. Snipers are weak to begin with, but once they hit the top ranks they can take out multiple enemies or single heavier enemies like ethereals and sectopods in a single turn.
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