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Firaxis Games’ story-driven XCOM spin-off, XCOM: Chimera Squad, is now live on Steam. The game offers an opportunity to play as the aliens trying to subdue the human population that isn't too fond of them. Which in gameplay term means new abilities, new characters, and new systems. Right now, the game is priced at $9.99 or your regional equivalent, which is 50% of what it will cost starting May 1, 2020.
Here’s the official description:
XCOM: Chimera Squad delivers an all-new story and turn-based tactical combat experience in the XCOM universe.
After years of alien rule, humanity won the war for Earth. But when the Overlords fled the planet, they left their former soldiers behind. Now, five years after the events of XCOM 2, humans and aliens are working together to forge a civilization of cooperation and coexistence.
Welcome to City 31, a model of peace in a post-invasion world. However, not all of Earth's inhabitants support interspecies alliance. Chimera Squad, an elite force of human and alien agents, must work together to destroy the underground threats driving the city toward chaos.
Your agents are unique: each of them equipped with special tactical abilities and driven by a different motivation for joining Chimera Squad. Deploy targeted team members to investigate and combat the dangers that pervade the districts of City 31. Lead Chimera Squad through a new experience that innovates on XCOM's turn-based legacy, utilizing strategy, teamwork, and new breach-and-clear gameplay to complete your mission objectives.
The future of City 31 depends on you.
Unique Alien and Human Agents
Each of the 11 agents have their own distinct personality and tactical abilities, including species-specific attacks like the Viper’s tongue pull.
Specialized and Complementary Classes
Execute devastating combos by teaming the right agents and utilizing cooperative actions. The difference between mission success and failure can depend wholly on team composition.
Re-Envisioned Tactical Combat
Missions are structured as a series of discrete, explosive encounters, keeping the action intense and unpredictable.
Shape the battlefield to your advantage with a new combat phase that injects your squad right into action. Strategically assign your agents to different entry points and coordinate their assault with a range of Breach-specific skills.
An automatic initiative system slots individual agents and enemies into an alternating turn order, creating new strategic possibilities based on what unit is queued to act next—and what unit is at the greatest risk when they do.
Suspenseful Strategy Layer
Outside of combat, manage the operations of a high-tech HQ, where you must prioritize competing tasks, investigations, and agent assignments in the face of a ticking clock: the constantly rising unrest in the city’s various districts, driving City 31 closer and closer to total anarchy.
You might also want to read some reviews before picking the game up. If that’s the case, you can find some below:
PC Gamer 72/100:
It's still an involving tactics game though. It's a curious XCOM experiment with a neat setting that I'd like to explore more. It's fantastic value, too. This isn't budget XCOM exactly, it's an attempt to rework the series' rules into a snappier experience. There's a version of Chimera Squad I can imagine that's even more elegant and streamlined, but I still felt the familiar feelings of elation when a combo comes off, and annoyance when that 90 percent shot misses. If anything, it's convinced me to start yet another XCOM 2 campaign, and that's no bad thing.
XCOM: Chimera Squad may be a full XCOM spin-off, but it feels more like testing ground for radical departures from the previous two games than a proper sequel. It plays with bold changes to the existing mechanics and story, but only props them up with a thin bit of scaffolding rather than a cohesive whole. Its unique characters are wonderful and its new ideas are certainly an interesting change of pace, even if they sacrifice some of the deeper strategic choice and dynamically generated storytelling I love the series for. Thankfully, none of those changes stop its combat from still being XCOM, and that tried-and-true formula (even with initiative-based turns) goes a long way toward keeping it fun in the face of its frustrating bugs and occasional missteps.
Game Informer 8/10:
The XCOM series is well-known for its intricate turn-based action. Chimera Squad augments those systems with a few clever ideas, but some of the new systems don't play well with XCOM's existing foundation. The interwoven turn order and removal of permadeath are fun experiments, but they ultimately weaken XCOM's delicately balanced action. Chimera Squad is a neat standalone project, but it doesn’t stand as tall as the rest of the series.
Chimera Squad experiments with smaller encounters, more unique characters, and a change in the combat order with remarkable success. Although still weighed down by the traditional issues of the series, Chimera Squad excels in what it set out to achieve and is an incredibly satisfying tactical game.
If you do feel overwhelmed by the thought of playing XCOM 2, or simply the time investment needed to do so, then Chimera Squad is a more obvious place to start. It removes or simplifies some of the series’ best elements but the turn-based combat at the heart of it is essentially the same and still just as compelling whether you’re shooting aliens or playing as them.
XCOM: Chimera Squad does a great job introducing players to alien and human characters alike. Each of which has a distinct personality and feel to them, bringing their own special abilities along for the ride. Being able to force your way into the enemy’s mind and have them attack their allies with Verge's Berserk move was a welcome addition to the power at my fingertips, and I can honestly say I wouldn’t mind seeing more XCOM experiences in the same vein as Chimera Squad.
Whether you’re picking it up at full-price, or grabbing it during the special launch sale, XCOM: Chimera Squad is a fantastic gem, and an excellent spin-off for one of gaming's most celebrated strategy franchises.