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Game Info:

XCOM 2 
Developer: Firaxis Games
Publisher: 2K Games
Release Date: Feburary 5th 2016
Available on: PC
Number of Players: Single player for Campaign up to 8 players for multiplayer online 
Genre: Turn-Based Strategy
Rated: T for Teen: Blood Use of Tobacco and Violence
Price: $59.99 
(Amazon Affiliate Link)

The famous science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke once wrote:  "Two possibilities exist: we are either alone in the universe or we are not  both are equally terrifying", that quote has never been truer than in the universe of XCOM.  If you have ever played the original XCOM game titled XCOM: UFO Defense  then you know how much fun it was.  However, if you're like me and got the remake, that works too.  

The story of XCOM 2  takes place twenty years after the events of XCOM: Enemy Unknown.   Instead of winning the war against the alien threat, the leaders of Earth have surrendered and XCOM the praetorian guard of Earth is defeated. It seems that all is lost right?  Wrong!  XCOM may be down, but not out after being rescued by Centeral Officer Bradford who was the Commander's right hand man in the first game. The player resumes the role of being commander of XCOM, except this isn't your ordinary XCOM,  this is a rebellious fighting force  instead of the first line of defense against alien invaders.  On the surface the aliens seem benevolent providing advanced medicine and are even revered as saviors from the stars. They  even go as far as spreading lies that XCOM struck first; which is a lie if you played the first game in order to follow the story.  There is a mention of Elders of course, but that is a nod to the Ethereals  from Enemy Unknown. Though they don't make a physical appearance, they do appear in ghost form. 

Throughout the game your objective is to reclaim Earth from the aliens and the ADVENT coalition. Now these aliens are far more nastier than their Enemy Unknown counterparts by a long shot.  XCOM 2 is a turn-based strategy game.  It's  like playing a game of chess except it's against aliens. You can use the turns to either get into cover, fire your weapon of choice, overwatch, or use the specific soldier class abilities against the aliens.  But beware, if you make a mistake and if you lose one of your troopers it's permanent, so the first rule in XCOM: Stay in cover!  The game is a bit violent, but you are defending Earth against the entrenched aliens.    Fortunately the violence is turned down to a Teen rating  whereas  Enemy Unknown had a rated M rating for strong language and violence. 

XCOM 2
Highlights:

Strong Points: Amazing story, new classes, new aliens  a new base and choosing which class you want your soldiers to be in
Weak Points: Lagging frame rate sometimes the enemies are glitchy at times but that's excusable
Moral Warnings: Violence, Aliens specifically Elders which have god-like status, Zombies when Sectoids  resurrect fallen comrades or fallen XCOM operatives  

The graphics, for an XCOM game are a work of art; imagine if Ridley Scott was a game developer instead of being a film director.  A lot of care and patience have been put into the game.  And it shows like you wouldn't believe, from the sterile ADVENT cities, to the rugged terrains of the woods, and even the Avenger itself which is a former alien supply ship now your base of operation in the game. Though XCOM Enemy Unknown had decent graphics, XCOM 2 blows its predecessor out of the water.    

The music is spectacular; my personal favorite in the game is the Avenger theme. With the synthesized  music  mixed just right,it has a robotic tone but at the same time it feels like a mix of Hans Zimmer's music of the Dark Knight from the Christopher Nolan trilogy and Vangelis' music of Blade Runner. Tim Wyn the composer of the soundtrack of XCOM 2 was brilliant in composing the music, but I like  the Enemy Unknown composer Michael McCann better.  Interesting to note Tim Wyn helped compose the music for Enemy Unknown as well but decided to fly solo which is understandable. As for the mood of the soundtrack it sets the tone perfectly and it makes you feel like you're part of the action.

XCOM 2
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 84%
Gameplay - 10/20
Graphics - 9/10
Sound - 9/10
Stability - 4/5
Controls - 4/5

Morality Score - 77%
Violence - 5/10
Language - 6.5/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 8/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 9/10

Each time you board the Avenger (which is your base in the game) you get a chance to meet some of the new characters like Dr. Richard Tygan a former ADVENT scientist who serves as Dr. Vahlen.  You'll also see Lily Shen, the daughter of the late Dr. Raymond Shen, who is determined to take Earth back from the aliens.   The new XCOM is different then Enemy Unknown because you're a freedom fighting force not a government supported paramilitary organization so choose your battles carefully.   

One amazing thing about XCOM 2 and its predecessor that I nearly neglected to mention was customization of your soldiers. While XCOM Enemy Unknown was limited XCOM 2  expands on customizing your troopers even going far as to customize them after your friends and family.    You  can even add mods to XCOM 2 there is so much you can try out for free to download.  There's even DLC as well like the Resistance Warrior pack which comes with the game (if you got a hard copy of the game like I did) Anarchy's Children and coming soon Shen's legacy which adds more face paint, masks, tattoos, cigars and cigarettes.   There is multiplayer in the game, but sadly I haven't played it yet. Once my youngest brother has the game him and I can test our skills on the field.  I can't play multiplayer offline since it doesn't work like that. 

Here's the million dollar question: Did I beat the game?  No I haven't, being a perfectionist I always had to try again and want a different result since I can't abide the idea of losing my squad.  I forgot to mention that if you fail the game, XCOM is defeated for good. That's the bad ending, try not, to let the Avatar project reach the danger zone, this is a race against the clock!

Is XCOM 2 safe to play morally speaking?  In my mind absolutely, I recommend it to people who love Turn based strategy games and science fiction.  But if you're new to the whole Turn-Based Strategy game genre give XCOM 2 a try.  You might be surprised on what you see. 

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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