History VideoGame / X-ComEnemyUnknown2012

21st Dec '12 9:20:30 AM EarlOfSandvich
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[[quoteright:250:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/XCOM_Enemy_Unknown_Game_Cover_9093.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:250:From the makers of VideoGame/{{Civilization}}... comes a game about civilization's last stand.]]

->''Two possibilities exist: Either we are alone in the Universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying.''
-->-- '''ArthurCClarke'''

A reboot of the original VideoGame/{{X-COM}} game, developed by Firaxis Games and published by 2K Games. [[NextSundayAD In the year 2015]], Earth comes under attack by alien forces. In response, the Council of Nations activates the XCOM project, a MultinationalTeam tasked with fighting the alien invaders and researching their technology to protect humanity. The player takes the role of the Commander of XCOM, and with the help of various [=NPC=] advisers, guide XCOM to victory (or defeat) by managing the whole organization, including base building, research, manufacturing and sending fighters to intercept [=UFOs=]. The main focus of the game, however, is on the ground combat, where the player takes control of a small squad of soldiers and fights turn-based battles against the aliens.

Several changes have been made to the original gameplay. A lot of aspects were simplified. Gone are Time Units; now each unit gets two actions (though using an action other than 'move' normally ends that unit's turn). Players only have one base rather than having multiple. There's no more InventoryManagementPuzzle - every soldier gets one primary weapon, one [[EmergencyWeapon pistol]] and one special piece of equipment (high-level Supports get two). [[OneBulletClips Spare magazines aren't counted anymore]]. Terrestrial weapons don't need to be bought anymore - they are available in unlimited quantities.

But other aspects received additional complexity. Research and Engineering production expend a variety of salvaged materials, you need to play a delicate balancing act with managing world terror levels, and most of all, soldiers now gain a class with their first promotion, which allows them to specialize in a specific role. Each promotion level of each class has different abilities to choose from, which give passive bonuses or active abilities in combat. The classes are:

* Assault: Front-line units specializing in offense and mobility, allowing them to close in on the enemy and flank more easily. They can be equipped with either assault rifles for mid-range combat or {{shotguns|AreJustBetter}} for close encounters.
* Heavy: [[{{BFG}} Heavy Weapons]] and [[StuffBlowingUp explosives]] specialists, these guys get [[MoreDakka machine guns of various flavours]] and [[StuffBlowingUp a rocket launcher]].
* Support: A CombatMedic[=/=]Fire Support specialist with support skills like smoke grenades and the ability to carry more gear. They wield versatile assault rifles.
* Sniper: Specializes in accurately dealing extreme damage at extreme range with {{sniper rifle}}s, they can also use [[ImprobableAimingSkills special shots]] to hinder enemies.

The aliens have similarly been expanded, with whole new types of aliens and most of the returning ones gaining new abilities.

The first {{DLC}} for the series, entitled ''Slingshot'', was released on the 4th of December 2012. It adds additional soldier customization options, a series of inter-connected Council missions centered on China and the Triad(s) with (among other things) a unique Hero unit as a reward, and [[spoiler:the chance to get the Blaster Launcher and Fusion Lance technologies without having to resort to the relatively hard task of shooting down a Battleship]].

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!The Game contains examples of:

* AlternateContinuity[=/=]ContinuityReboot: Separate from the classic games, and despite speculation, [[http://au.gamespot.com/xcom-enemy-unknown/previews/xcom-enemy-unknown-whats-new-whats-not-6364778/ canonically unconnected to the 2K Marin game]]. However, there ''is'' an Outsider alien construct that seems curiously similar to the foes from the now-TPS...
* AmbiguousRobots: When Dr. Vahlen autopsies the Cyberdisk, she notes that while it appears to be a machine, its internals are arranged in a manner similar to organs in a living creature and it possesses what amounts to a circulatory system. She states in her notes that she is unsure if it is a robot or a [[SiliconBasedLife silicon-based cybernetic life form]]. The Outsiders are also referred to as [[EnergyBeing "energy constructs"]] and "organic technology", but what they are ''exactly'' [[StarfishAliens is anyone's guess]].
* AmazonBrigade: Doable, there's even an achievement for it.
* ApocalypseHow: [[spoiler: The Temple Ship's self destruct would cause a Planetary/Physical Annihilation level event. However the Volunteer pulls a HeroicSacrifice to get it away from Earth in time.]]
* ArbitraryHeadcountLimit: Your squad is limited to 4 members, which can be expanded to 6 with some upgrades. You can also have only one squad answering alerts at once, even if you have enough soldiers to field additional squads. It seems XCOM can't afford a second Skyranger.
* [[ArmCannon Arm Pistol]]: Plasma Pistols as used by the Sectoids. They get converted to a more conventional layout if you manage to capture one intact.
* ArtificialStupidity: The pathfinding AI can be odd at times. Sometimes your troops will go up a level and then drop down to get to a piece of cover that they could have just walked straight to.
** Not to mention blithely running directly through clouds of poison rather than going around them.
* ArtificialBrilliance: The Aliens know how Overwatch works and will avoid triggering it if possible.
** They'll also throw grenades when they can't get a decent shot, will use Overwatch themselves if they know you're there, attempt tactical retreats, and most funny of all, accidentally use up their movement turns blundering into the middle of your units leaving them without cover and ripe for the slaughter. Basically they act like GenreSavvy players, occasional missteps and all, which is why you have to be DangerouslyGenreSavvy.
** Be wary of attempting to suppress an alien when his allies are about. On higher difficulties, the suppressed unit's allies ''will'' attempt to counter-suppress you if they lack a clear shot, freeing the suppressed unit back up to take unfettered action. Alternatively, if they have a clear shot, they will simply just blast the suppressor in the face. Now, if you combine multiple suppressors with smoke screen(s), or have Snipers and Assaults handy to take out the leftovers...
** The civilians in Terror missions are miles better then the ones in the old games. They will run away from the aliens, up to and including ''diving through windows'' and ''shimmying up drainpipes'' to get away, at least once their fleeing script is triggered. Up until then, though, they'll stand stock-still in the open.
* AsskickingEqualsAuthority: As your soldiers do well, they get new abilities and get promoted up through the ranks. Anyone who has reached [[ColonelBadass Colonel]] is a ''true'' badass.
* ATasteOfPower: Used in the demo, where in the second mission, your squad members all have a couple of promotions each, several pieces of nonstandard equipment and face Floaters and Thin Men during the mission (the last mission in the demo, mind).
* AttackDrone: You get your own in the form of the SHIV (Super Heavy Infantry Vehicle), with a whole tech tree dedicated to them. They function exactly like the tanks of yore, including, in one case, functioning as portable cover. There are three varieties, Basic, Alloy (which can be used as low cover) and Hover (which can fly).
** The aliens' Drones are multipurpose flyers that can repair mechanical units or fire a relatively weak energy pulse, and can also self-destruct. The Cyberdiscs, on the other hand, are apparently half-mechanical, half-organic.
** The Sectopod is a huge mechanized weapons platform, packing [[WaveMotionGun beam weapons]] galore. When those Ethereals build a robot... ''they build a robot!''
* AuthorityEqualsAsskicking: High ranking units on both sides are nastier than their lower ranking counterparts.
* BattleshipRaid: Naturally, whenever you attack a downed Battleship-class UFO. They're so large that there is nothing else on the Battlescape; the Skyranger lands ''on the Battleship itself''.
* BeamSpam: You get the option for this with with the Scatter Laser, Heavy Lasers and [[AttackDrone SHIVs]][=/=][[CoolPlane Interceptors/Firestorms]] equipped with Laser Cannons.
* TheBerserker:
** Mutons, with their new Blood Call ability.
** The [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Berserker]], an [[SuperToughness extremely durable breed of Muton]] that has the ability to [[TheJuggernaut charge through the environment]] to get to your soldiers. They also get a free (short) move towards one of your soldiers after ''any'' attack hits it. Fortunately, they charge blindly rather than stick to cover. A clever commander can exploit this and cause him to run around the map while slowly dying.
* BewareTheNiceOnes: Officer Bradford mentions that Dr. Vahlen may not look like it, but she is without a ''doubt'' the worst nightmare for any captured aliens that get brought back to the base.
* BigBad: In contrast to the original game, where the aliens were led by an "Alien Brain", [[spoiler: the Ethereals, led by the Uber-Ethereal, are very much the bad guys here. They're the guiding intelligence behind the invasion and the various alien species are the other species that they conquered first, in an attempt to find/create a species that is both physically strong and psionically gifted. It's never made clear what what they need this for, but they do mention that it's in preparation for "what lies ahead"]].
* BlackBox: Most if not all of the technology that the Science and Engineering departments come up with is this. They have no idea how exactly it all works but they can replicate it.
* BlackSpeech: The language of the aliens sounds like Satan's autodial, complete with VoiceoftheLegion
* BlastingItOutOfTheirHands: Higher level Snipers can do this if Disabling Shot is chosen, forcing the target to waste a turn on unjamming the weapon.
* BodyArmorAsHitPoints: The primary benefit of armor, though some models also reduce the enemy's chance to hit. Certain special items like Nanofiber Vests or Chryssalid Chitin also boost health. Additionally, a soldier who receives less damage than the health bonus given by their armor won't need a stay in the infirmary after the mission.
* BondOneLiner: Every time a soldier successfully stuns an alien.
-->''"Looks like you're coming home with us."''
-->''"Not so tough now, are ya?"''
** There is also a hilarious variant if the stun attempt goes wrong and the alien is still standing afterwards:
-->''"Permission to use a REAL weapon, sir!"''
* BonusDungeon: Taking down and salvaging a Fusion Core from a Battleship-class UFO isn't necessary to complete the game, but you do get some sweet technology for doing so, including [[InfinityPlusOneSword the Blaster Launcher]].
** BraggingRightsReward: That said, by the time you can successfully down and clear a Battleship-class UFO, you don't ''need'' a Blaster Launcher.
* BookEnds: The game's opening begins with civilians watching as alien-built abduction devices fall to Earth as meteors. The game's final cutscene depicts [[spoiler: the blasted remains of the destroyed Temple Ship falling to Earth as shooting stars while Earth's citizens look up in wonder.]]
* BoomHeadshot: The first ability Snipers earn, which increases the chance of a critical hit and increases the critical damage dealt based on the tech level of the rifle used.
* BottomlessMagazines: {{Downplayed}}. Your squad members have infinite ammo supplies, but they have to regularly reload their primary weapons. Ammo is not tracked 'per shot', but in chunks - and certain abilities (such as Suppression) use up more ammo than a normal attack. Played straight with [[EmergencyWeapon pistols]] though, they never need to be reloaded at all.
** One of the Foundry upgrades, unlocked by performing a Muton autopsy, increases the number of shots between reloads. It works by having the troopers' armor perform mini-reloads after every shot.
* TheBrute[=/=]DumbMuscle: Mutons are big, strong, scary and heavily armored, but in terms of Willpower and psionic resistance they're simpletons, though they're certainly [[GeniusBruiser well-versed in tactics]].
** Their Berserker variants are even more perfect fit for this trope, as they'll always attempt to Intimidate and charge blindly towards those who have attacked them (often triggering reaction fire in the process), and have a ''very'' devastating melee attack.
* BulletTime: Slo-mo effects occur when a reaction shot is triggered.
* BullfightBoss: Muton Berserkers.
* CallBack: Leaving the game overview in the Situation Room screen has Bradford spout off some idle chatter every so often... with some subtle references to the original game;
-->'''Bradford:''' ''"This is Central, I'm receiving you...what do you mean you think you saw a snake? What the hell does that have to do with anything?"''
* ConcealmentEqualsCover: Averted, cover can actually be shot through or destroyed. Aliens behind heavy cover? You can just blow the cover away with a rocket launcher or grenade.
** Inverted, too, and to your detriment: the most basic alien weapons can destroy cover, but you'll need laser weapons at least to do it regularly. Otherwise, you have to use your limited supply of explosives.
* CharacterCustomization: You can [[http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v348/CFace/uXx3k.jpg customize]] the visual appearance and names of the soldiers. Every soldier. All of them. The Elite Soldier Pack also allows you to customize the colors of their armor and includes alternate looks for standard XCOM body armor and Carapace Armor.
** It might have been even more involved at some point in development too, possibly having rookie soldiers with shiny untainted armor that would be altered as they rose through the ranks, [[http://img.gawkerassets.com/img/183381vipswskjpg/original.jpg adding some wear and tear and personal designs,]] much like actual soldiers.
* ChestBurster: [[http://img.gawkerassets.com/img/183383iprrtqsjpg/original.jpg Chryssalids.]]
* ColonelBadass: Colonel is the highest rank a character can achieve, and since ranks work essentially as levels, any Colonel you have is automatically this.
* ConservationOfNinjutsu: A pair of mutually exclusive Assault class abilities have higher benefits for having multiple enemies in sight. Tactical Sense increases the Assault's Defense (which reduces the chance of being hit), while Aggression increases their critical hit chance instead.
* CoolOldGuy: Dr. Shen.
* CoolPlane: The Firestorm. Dr. Shen, even with all the other cool gear he's built, says the Firestorms make him the most proud. Your NumberTwo also comments that humans have just leveled the playing field when he first sees it.
** There's also the trusty Skyranger, which can bring your squad anywhere on the planet ''and'' back in a few hours at most.
** The regular Interceptors are pretty cool too. They can take on highly-advanced [=UFOs=] without any reverse-engineered alien tech on them and ''win''.
* CreatorCameo: Of a sort. One of the structures you can build is named after XCOM's original creators, the Gollop brothers (Julian and Nick). It is also mentioned that said structure was designed by a "pair of brilliant young brothers".
** The Thin Man aliens take their facial features from Sid Meier.
* {{Cyborg}}: Floaters are more machine than flesh, especially the Heavy variant. Most of the aliens are also this, though not to quite the same degree.
* DamageIncreasingDebuff: The Shredder Rocket ability available for Heavies. It causes enemies in the blast area to take 33% more damage from all sources for four turns, at the cost of doing less damage compared to a normal Rocket (though it still destroys cover). Not very useful early on, but potentially much more so later in the game when you start facing tougher enemies.
* DangerouslyGenreSavvy: The aliens have shades of this [[spoiler:despite the GoneHorriblyRight aspect of their plan]]:
** Reverse-engineering the enemy's technology is a staple of the X-COM franchise. In this game, alien weaponry is programmed to self-destruct when the wielder dies.
** XCOM needs to prevent alien activity in its member countries to keep panic low and maintain its funding. What do the aliens do? Regularly arrange for multiple Abduction missions at the same time, forcing XCOM to focus their efforts on one and let the others proceed unopposed.
** Those satellites you need to scan for alien activity? The aliens will actively attempt to track and shoot them down.
* DevelopmentGag: The logo appears to be de-hyphened, much like the FPS. But then you [[http://www.xcom.com/enemyunknown/index.html look at the negative space in the last three letters]]...
** Ditto for the title itself; it's a combination of the original game's two titles (''X-COM: UFO Defense'' and ''UFO: Enemy Unknown'').
* DoubleTap: While Snipers have an ability with that name, the credit actually goes to the Assault class's Rapid Fire ability, which shoots the enemy twice in quick succession.
* DownloadableContent: Aside from releasing the pre-order Elite Soldier Pack bonus to the public, [[http://www.2kgames.com/blog/add-on-content-packs-for-xcom-enemy-unknown-coming-soon some extra story missions are going to hit soon]] in the form of the ''Slingshot'' Content Pack, with a promise of more to come after that.
* DramaticGunCock: Snipers dramatically reload their ballistic bolt-action rifles after each cinematic shot, complete with a casing flying through the air in slow motion.
** OneHandedShotgunPump: Assault-class soldiers do this after each cinematic shot... even if it's a ''laser'' shotgun. You gotta wonder if they added the pump to the Scatter Laser [[RuleOfCool just for that]] (no other laser weapon has one).
* DuelingGames: With ''VideoGame/{{Xenonauts}}'', although [[http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2012/05/05/firaxis-on-xcom-vs-xenonauts-optional-kill-cam/#more-107061 Jake Solomon is cordial about the competition.]]
* DummiedOut: Within days of the official release, enterprising programmers discovered some mostly-finished functions that weren't implemented in the final game. These include the ability to intercept Terror Ships and Abductors before they land, making it possible to avoid the associated Terror and Abduction missions altogether, as well as the so-called "Second Wave" functions: optional modifiers to gameplay that were supposed to be unlocked after finishing a game once, that modify the gameplay for added challenge (like having Rookies with random stats much like the first VideoGame/{{X-COM}}, or satellites getting more expensive the more you make). Modders have managed to reactivate most of these options.
* ElaborateUndergroundBase: Instead of the classic top-down view flat base, this game uses a side-view multi-level base nicknamed the "Ant Farm". Unlike the original game, this is the player's only base; the developers noticed most X-COM players focused on a single base and built others solely to expand their radar range, which is done via launching satellites in this game.
* EleventhHourSuperpower: For the final mission, [[spoiler: the Volunteer gets a powerful area of effect attack called The Rift.]]
* EnhancedInterrogationTechniques: XCOM "interrogates" alien captives. We aren't shown the details (As a shutter closes when interrogation starts), but it involves two arms radiating some energy, getting information straight out of the alien's brain and lots of sedatives. Also, the subject ''never'' survives the process and you always get their corpse added to your stockpile after the interrogation.
** Not to mention South America's continent bonus - "[[WeHaveWaysOfMakingYouTalk We Have Ways]]", making both Interrogations ''and'' Autopsies instantaneous, banking on the reputation of certain South American dictatorships and their employment of these.
* EscortMission: Extraction Missions. Unlike just about every other game ever, the Escort is fully controllable and has a special ability that raises their defense.
** Which is strange in the case of one potential escort, who protests loudly about being extracted against his will by XCOM while the aliens gleefully shoot at him.
* EveryCarIsAPinto: Perhaps justified by how many laser and plasma weapons are getting thrown around. Typically, they have to be set on fire first before that happens, which also gives both the XCOM troopers and aliens one turn to get away from it, though explosives will immediately cause it to blow up. Sometimes though, probably due to a bug, cars will blow up because ''another did somewhere on the map'' or for '''''no reason at all'''''.
** On the other hand, (almost) [[CutAndPasteEnvironments Every Car Is A Crown Victoria]], from Moscow to Miami.
* EvilCounterpart: Mutons have been described like this, an alien SEAL Team Six to fight your own troops. For starters, they're equipped with Alien Grenades, and they ''will'' use them on groups of your XCOM troops.
* EvilLaugh: Psionic troopers will sometimes break out an absolutely ''blood-curdling'' one when using the Mindfray ability on enemies. [[GoneHorriblyRight Makes you wonder]] if Dr. Shen is [[HeWhoFightsMonsters right]]...
* FaceDeathWithDignity: Out of all of the aliens that get interrogated, the Thin Man is the only one who doesn't panic. He glowers at the zappy-arms and starts walking towards the glass as if he's about to say something, but the shutters close on him before he says anything.
** The Ethereal attempts this, standing aloof and dignified in the containment before it starts, but loses its composure as soon as the robot arms move in.
* FanNickname: "Code Black" is a TotalPartyKill, at least on some forums, after the term used by the Skyranger pilot when your team has failed a mission and been wiped out to a man.
* FighterLaunchingSequence: When an Interceptor, a Firestorm or the Skyranger is launched, we are treated to a cutscene of its launch.
** The cutscene is longer the first time it's done. Each subsequent time, only the last part of the cutscene is played.
* {{Foreshadowing}}: The Tutorial mission hints at all of the iconic alien species you'll encounter later: a soldier that has been torn open from the inside out by a ChestBurster, a zombie trapped under some rubble, and a psionically mind controlled soldier will all be warning signs to long time fans.
* ForScience: Dr. Vahlen, a downplayed example. She shows more interest in her research than most other things - even at times the survival of the soldiers, will be irate if soldiers use explosives (which destroys valuable research material) and is always eager and interested in what she's researching, no matter how... questionable, lamenting that she can't spend more time researching each project. She's also the inventor of the alien "[[EnhancedInterrogationTechniques interrogation]]" device and personally oversees each interrogation. That being said, the game still portrays Dr. Vahlen in a good light: She'll thank soldiers for the risks they take in recovering live specimens, will acknowledge that the survival of the soldiers can come first and is disgusted by the aliens' callousness.
* [[HerrDoktor Frau Doktor]]: Dr. Vahlen.
* FunWithAcronyms: The '''S'''uper '''H'''eavy '''I'''nfantry '''V'''ehicle
* FreudianTrio: Dr. Vahlen (Id), Dr. Shen (Superego) and Officer Bradford (Ego).
* GatlingGood: The SHIV's default weapon is a minigun.
* GameMod: Several, some of which have re-enabled DummiedOut functions.
* GenreSavvy: Dr. Vahlen. Alone among the three advisers, she reacts much as the player does, not caring about the path you take to beat the aliens you can and realizing that aliens are more valuable alive than dead. When Bradford acts as though XCOM has won [[spoiler: when you destroy the alien base]], she raises an eyebrow [[spoiler: and prepares to interrogate/autopsy the Sectoid Commander as well as study the captured Hyperwave Beacon]], thinking it was too easy. She's right.
* GiantMook: Mutons in general, as well as Heavy Floaters.
* GlassCannon: The Sniper class is decently fast but can't fire their sniper rifle at all after moving, unless a specific class perk is taken, and also has lower base health progression than the other classes. Still, they can dole out an incredible amount of damage from extreme ranges with the highest base critical rate and most accurate weapons available. If you take the perk that allows the Sniper to shoot twice in one turn, it can be a bit of a GameBreaker, where a Sniper can take off 3/4 of a Sectopods health in one turn on Normal.
* GlobalCurrency: Some sort of universal currency system is in place. 10 credits is enough to pay the full hiring costs of a soldier. 100 credits is how much it costs (initially) to put a satellite in orbit. That is actually quite a lot, and you won't make much money in your first month[[labelnote:*]] As a comparison, in your first month, assuming you scrape together the money to build a second satellite (or start with the Tutorial or on difficulties below Classic, which gives you one for free) and have a satellite over Russia and the United States, the two biggest sources of monthly funding, you can expect to have, after expenses, about 180 to 200 credits added to your funds at the end of the first month[[/labelnote]].
* GoneHorriblyRight: [[spoiler: As it turns out, the XCOM project as a whole. The Ethereals invaded to motivate the creation of the project so they could weaponize the inherent versatility and {{Determinator}} outlook of the human race so we'd be useful enough to adopt as part of their alien empire and help them with ''something'' that's coming. Assuming you win, it worked too well.]]
* TheGreys: The Sectoids are back of course. By way of the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dover_Demon Dover Demon]] and VideoGame/DeusEx, by [[http://www.gameinformer.com/b/news/archive/2012/01/05/february-cover-revealed-xcom-enemy-unknown.aspx the looks of things]].
* GrapplingHookPistol: A built-in version in two of the armors.
* GratuitousGerman: Surprisingly averted with Dr. Vahlen, for the most part. She does speak German in the tutorial to a member of a [[JustifiedTrope German]] special forces team. She also shouts "Nein!" in one cutscene.
* HandCannon: Fully upgrade your pistols at the Foundry, research plasma pistols, and give them to Snipers with the "Gunslinger" ability and they will be able to kill even Mutons in one hit.
* HarderThanHard[=/=]IdiosyncraticDifficultyLevels: The difficulty levels are called "Easy", "Normal", "Classic"[[labelnote:*]]Prior to the European release and resulting patch, Classic was called {{X-COM}}[[/labelnote]] and above that, "Impossible", with "Classic" being meant to be the closest to the original game's difficulty (that could be achieved with the game mechanics of the 2012 remake) and "Impossible" even ''more'' difficult than that. There is also another difficulty modifier called "Ironman Mode", where the game will only have one save file for that playthrough, and will save for the player after every action during combat, meaning that if you make a mistake there is no reloading to before it happened. [[UpToEleven Now try that on Classic difficulty...]]
** Some designers also mentioned that the "Impossible" difficulty [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin is literally supposed to be]] {{Unwinnable}}. For most players, it's just a question of how many missions they can complete before failure. According to the staff, beating Impossible difficulty on Ironman mode is only ''theoretically'' possible. One player already managed to pull it off, though.
* HealThyself: Played with. While using the Medikit in combat immediately replenishes the lost HP, the soldier will still need infirmary time afterwards unless they're wearing sufficiently tough armor.
* HellishPupils: Thin Men have reptilian eyes, hence why they all wear sunglasses to appear more human.
* HelmetsAreHardlyHeroic: Your troops normally cannot wear helmets. It gets especially noticeable when they're wearing Titan armor, which has a high and large collar that seems to be made for being sealed while being used with a full-face helmet. The Elite Soldier Pack DLC contains cosmetic options which ''do'' have helmets, however.
* HeroInsurance: Your troops can freely blow up anything and everything during an Abduction or Terror mission with no consequences (other than potentially destroying cover you'll need later), and even accidentally killing civilians with poorly-aimed explosives will only net you a minor reduction in the mission rating. Justified in that XCOM represents the ''only'' hope of defeating the aliens and protecting humanity, and the [[ReasonableAuthorityFigure Council of Nations]] [[GodzillaThreshold is not worried about a few hundred thousand dollars worth of damage when the flip side is the possible extinction of the species]].
* HeroUnit: You can give one of your soldiers a specific name to turn them into a powerful XCOM Hero, though this will [[NoFairCheating lock out achievements]] for that playthrough.
** SidMeier "Godfather": A Psionic Support Colonel with 200 Will and ''all'' Psionic powers available to human units, [[spoiler: even the Rift]].
** Ken Levine "[[{{VideoGame/Bioshock}} Big Daddy]]": A Sniper Colonel with [[ImprobableAimingSkills 200 Aim]].
** Joe Kelly "Archangel": A Heavy Colonel with 100 Aim, higher than any non-Hero Unit.
** [[ShoutOut Otto Zander]] "Unbreakable": An Assault Colonel with [[MadeOfIron 100 Health]].
* HeroicSacrifice: [[spoiler: The Volunteer during the ending cinematic]].
* HeWhoFightsMonsters: Dr. Shen wonders if using the aliens' technology, which turned living beings into living weapons and tools, might not cause humanity to go down the same path.
* HissBeforeFleeing: Most of the time you stumble upon or are stumbled upon by a group of aliens, they have a mini-cutscene where they all turn around and look at you, growl, then they get a free turn to run to cover.
* [[spoiler: HiveMind: The Ethereal Collective]].
* HumanResources: The aliens are kidnapping humans for their own mysterious purposes, but you can turn this around on them. Many items you can create through Engineering or the Foundry require you to use up the bodies of aliens (you're ripping out their cybernetic implants or other useful material).
* HumansAreSpecial: [[spoiler:Turns out humans share the right combination of physical toughness and psionic potential, and the aliens want to make that specialness part of their empire.]]
* IDidWhatIHadToDo: [[spoiler: The Ethereals say this in response to ''something'' coming. They are not repentant about it, however: they did what they had to do ''because they could.]]''
* ImperialStormtrooperMarksmanshipAcademy: [[AvertedTrope Averted]], in stark contrast to the preceding titles' notorious reputation. Soldiers always shoot in the right direction and have a decent to-hit chance as long as they're within a reasonable range for the weapon they're holding. Most tellingly, grenades always go where they're supposed to. It makes you feel like you really ''are'' commanding the elite troopers that the original game ''claimed'' you were.
** Played straight for Heavies who miss with their rocket launchers: instead of the missile veering off-course after being fired, they blatantly aim off-target right before firing.
* InASingleBound: Thin Men are able to hop right up to the tops of buildings, yet another reason they are so nasty despite being physically frail.
** Even worse, the Chryssalids with their nasty melee attack can do it too.
* InstantWinCondition: [[spoiler: The last mission. The second you defeat the Uber-Ethereal, you win the game.]]
* InterfaceSpoiler: Even if you don't have line-of-sight to an area, and thus wouldn't know where the enemies are, you cannot make a move order into a square that contains an enemy. This is visible on the map.
** If you look at the list of global achievements on {{Steam}}, you'll see a handful that are listed as 0% other players getting them (aside from the usual NintendoHard ones) and don't show up on the stand alone list, and their descriptions seem to imply they're the kind of achievements that get awarded just for completing a story mission. Cue WildMassGuessing for future DLC.
* ItemCrafting: Most of the stuff you can research or manufacture requires you to expend more than just credits, but also various resources or items you've collected from the aliens. Alien Alloys and [[{{Unobtanium}} Elerium]] are the two big ones, but you also need to use up Weapon Fragments[[labelnote:*]]to rebuild the weapons from the broken pieces or study their structure to turn the technology to new ends[[/labelnote]] and the dead bodies of aliens[[labelnote:*]]to rip out their cybernetic implants to include in your new devices[[/labelnote]] for a lot of products.
* JackOfAllStats: The Support class has pretty average stats all-around, as do the assault rifles they wield.
* {{Jetpack}}: On the Archangel Armor and on the Floaters.
* JustPlaneWrong: In the Tutorial mission, a scanner identifies a downed German helicopter as a [=NH90=], while displaying a schematic of a UH-60 Blackhawk.
** [[FridgeBrilliance Flip "UH-60" upside down and see what it looks like.]] LawyerFriendlyCameo, maybe?
* KeystoneArmy: [[spoiler:Subverted the first time and played straight and justified the second time. Bradford thinks the aliens are done after you destroy their base... which quickly turns out to be an ''outpost'' of the main force. The Temple Ship's destruction does cripple the aliens, but given how it's destruction involves the deaths of most of the aliens' command staff and their leader, as well as how they were using it to supply their ships, that makes perfect sense.]]
* KungFuProofMook: Chryssalids, Cyberdiscs and Sectopods are immune to Stunning. Some enemies (including the aforementioned three) have the Hardened property, which drastically reduces the likelihood of a CriticalHit; more often than not, the reduction is big enough that you'll get a fat 0% chance to crit.
* LateArrivalSpoiler: Before the game's release, combing through the numerous preview videos and the demo revealed a lot of information ostensibly kept secret, such as (seemingly) the full roster of aliens, plot-important videos and details about autopsied alien invaders. If not careful, it's very easy to spoil yourself without trying.
* LeanAndMean: Thin Men.
* LightningBruiser: The Assault class is the only class that can dash/move twice and still shoot before the enemy has their turn, complete with numerous perks that significantly increase either their damage output or durability. They even get bonus hitpoints for wearing heavier armor, on top of having the best base health progression.
* LoadBearingBoss: [[spoiler: Killing the Uber-Ethereal in the final mission causes the Temple Ship to begin self-destructing from the resulting release of psionic energy and the damage caused by the alien orb going out of control, necessitating the Volunteer's HeroicSacrifice to prevent it from taking the Earth with it.]]
* LockAndLoadMontage: The introduction cutscene features this.
* MacGuffinDeliveryService: [[spoiler: How the aliens view the attack with your best psionic soldier on their Temple Ship. But since they still shoot on sight and never bother with any plan to get that soldier to join them, you will probably make them regret it. Alternatively: The Aliens wanted your best to be on that ship. Why? Its a test. Everything has been a test. This is the last to see if humanity has what it takes. To do what is left ambiguous.]]
* MadeOfIron: One of the Assault's tricks. They gain the 'Extra Conditioning' perk once they reach [[MajorlyAwesome Major]], which confers additional health depending on their armour. Give them the Titan PoweredArmour and a Chitin Vest, and they can soak up more damage than Cyberdisks and Berserkers.
** Heavies have the Will To Survive perk, which reduces all damage they take by 2 points while in any kind of cover, as long as they're not flanked.
* MadScientist: Downplayed: Dr. Vahlen, the head of Research, is definitely a lot more gung-ho about SCIENCE! than [[TheProfessor Dr. Shen]], though she does persist on [[TortureTechnician personally overseeing]] [[BewareTheNiceOnes any interrogation attempts]].
* MajorlyAwesome: Any soldier who makes it to Major, the second highest rank available, is certainly awesome.
* MauveShirt: Any Squaddie (any operative with a couple of missions or a kill under their belt, at least until you get the upgrade that gives the rank for free) is one. The customization of the troops grinds it in.
** Even moreso when they reach Sergeant, which is when your battle-hardened troopers earn themselves a custom, randomly-generated nickname (that you can then customize yourself, if you wish).
** Hell, even the highest ranking of your soldiers can qualify as Mauve Shirts. All it takes is a couple well placed shots, a single Chryssalid or Muton Berserker, or an Ethereal [[GrandTheftMe mind controlling one of your finest soldiers into shooting their buddies]] and even your most trusted and powerful soldiers can die. Made worse on [[NintendoHard Ironman mode]], wherein you can't reload your saves [[KilledOffForReal and those guys are gone for good.]]
* MechaMooks: Played with: the Drones are definitely these. They are numerous and die in one hit, but have the ability to [[ShootTheMedicFirst repair their bigger brethren]]. The Cyberdiscs and Sectopods, however, are vastly more dangerous, as they are bristling with firepower and very heavily armored.
* TheMenInBlack: The Thin Men, directly drawn from the eponymous rumors started in the 1950s about mysterious agents covering up UFO sightings. They're humanoid infiltrators with extreme agility and the ability to spray poison from a distance. It's strongly implied in the autopsy report that they are in fact genetically-altered Snakemen, or at least reptilian in origin.
** The Council representative is also a mysterious MIB, though at least he's on your side.
* MightyGlacier: The Heavy class packs some of the most powerful infantry weapons available to XCOM and are quite tough, but only have average movement speed and range. They also cannot fire their rocket launcher after moving.
* MindRape: The psionic aliens have the full range of [[SarcasmMode fun]] [[HeroicBSOD little]] [[MindManipulation tricks]] from the original, as well as [[GoddamnedBats likely]] [[PsychicAssistedSuicide even]] more. Unfortunately for them, [[HoistByTheirOwnPetard two can play at that game.]] [[spoiler: Which is exactly what the Ethereals want...]]
* MultiArmedAndDangerous: Ethereals have four arms now, though unlike other examples, this is probably more for RuleOfCool than anything else, since they attack only with psychic powers and don't even carry a weapon.
* MultinationalTeam: Much more diverse than in the original game; you can even get recruits from countries that aren't even part of the Council of Nations. It's not at all uncommon to have an entire six-person squad whose members are all from different countries. However, they all share the same pool of [[NotEvenBotheringWithTheAccent American accents]].
** In an odd twist, recruits from Scotland and recruits from the rest of the UK are treated as being from different countries, with their own flags and name pools, which might turn into FunnyAneurysmMoment given the Scottish Independence Referendum has been announced for 2014 and the game is set in....2015.
* MutualDisadvantage: It is possible to place a soldier in a position which has them flanking an enemy (negating their cover bonus and significantly increasing their chance of scoring a CriticalHit) whilst simultaneously having them be flanked by that enemy. Risky, but sometimes worth it.
** This is the Assault class' specialty, since their basic Run & Gun ability allows them to shoot after moving twice/dashing, allowing them to jump right behind the cover the aliens are in and pumping them full of buckshot/lasers/alloy shards in the same turn before they can act. They can also have the Lightning Reflexes ability, which forces the first reaction shot fired at them in a turn to miss.
* MythologyGag: (with a side of GeniusBonus)
** The Council of Nations is represented by a bald man wearing a suit sitting in the shadows. In the original game, the Funding screen and the end-of-month summary was displayed on a background with a very similar man holding a briefcase full of money.
** [[http://www.2kgames.com/blog/xcom-enemy-unknown-release-date-special-edition-and-more The pre-order bonus]] and the [[{{DLC}} Elite Soldier Pack]] includes a blonde dude with a humongous flat-top, as well as a [[VideoGame/TeamFortress2 TF2]] Hat depicting the same hairstyle.
** Manufacturing your first laser or plasma rifles has a cutscene where they're used on cardboard cutouts of the original Sectoids (for lasers) and Mutons (for plasma).
** The Thin Men are ''very strongly'' implied to be genetically-altered Snakemen. Even better, the original game implied that the Snakemen had a very dangerous and deadly poison, though it never made it into the game. One of the Thin Men's most dangerous attack is hitting you with a cloud of deadly poison.
** The Floater Autopsy report is codenamed 'Crimson Cape', a reference to these aliens' appearance in the original.
** The final mission is named 'Operation Avenger'. In the original, the Avenger was the transport ship X-Com had to build to reach the final mission on Mars.
** The Elerium research project is codenamed Project E-115, a reference to the original game where Elerium was referred to as the 115th element on the periodic table (This element, which only exists theoretically, is currently known under the provisional name [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ununpentium Ununpentium]], but like with all transuranic elements, the first research team to successfully produce it will be allowed to name it. It might be not too late to push for Elerium). In either case, its association with aliens in the original game is a reference to numerous conspiracy theories.
** The short musical cue that plays when a round of psi training is completed is from the original's Geoscape theme.
** The Achievement for building your first Firestorm is called "Ride the Lightning", which might refer to the much-maligned aircraft of the same name from the original.
** Muton Elites and Berserkers are red, just like "Mr. Angry Red Suit" who was never fought in the original.
* {{Nerf}}: Chryssalids as compared to the original, although that doesn't free them from DemonicSpider territory. Their attack no longer zombifies your units instantly (they have to ''kill'' that unit first via melee damage, which can be reduced by your units wearing the Chryssalids' ''own'' armor), and the zombies no longer need to be killed with fire to prevent a new Chryssalid from hatching (they can be killed within three turns with anything).
* NiceHat: The ''Slingshot'' DLC adds about a dozen new hair/helmet options, amongst which is a beret. There's also a beret-and-shades combo, for added {{Badass}}itude.
* NicknamingTheEnemy: Aliens in general are usually called [=ETs=] or X-rays during combat[[labelnote:*]]the "X-Ray" naming is part of the long-standing US military "theme naming", where the first letter of the enemy nationality is used to come up with a nickname. So we get '''G'''ermans becoming '''G'''erries, Viet '''C'''ong becoming '''C'''harlies, and e'''x'''traterrestrials becoming '''X'''-rays[[/labelnote]]. Also, during the Autopsy cutscenes or reports, Dr. Vahlen mentions that several aliens' designations were originally nicknames the troopers came up with that stuck.
* NoFairCheating: Turning one of your squad into a HeroUnit will disable achievements for that particular campaign.
* NomDeGuerre: Bradford's is "Central", the Skyranger is "Big Sky" and your squad is "Strike-One". Also, any soldier that makes it to Sergeant earns one, though the player can change it to whatever they prefer. They're randomly assigned, though each class has their own list of available nicknames.
* NoMouth: The Sectoids.
* NonStandardGameOver: If you fail the very first tactical mission by losing all four of your initial rookies, you don't get the option to return to base. The Council of Nations immediately decides that the XCOM project is a failure and shuts it down. You do get the option of restarting the mission, though.
* NotEvenBotheringWithTheAccent: Your soldiers are [[MultinationalTeam recruited from all over the world]], but they all speak perfect American English. Adding unique accents for every single member nation would probably be overkill for the developers, of course, which is why they went with this instead (see WeAllLiveInAmerica below).
* NoTranshumanismAllowed: Doctor Shen has shades of this on Psi abilities. Then again, it's completely new territory and the only other users/examples are the invading aliens, so his hesitation is understandable. [[spoiler:He's proven wrong, as the strongest human Psi user ever, The Volunteer, pulls a HeroicSacrifice to save the Earth.]]
** He also questions if something as cybernetically enhanced as the Floaters can even be considered a true lifeform anymore, saying "if that is humanity's future, I want no part of it". [[spoiler: The Uber-Ethereal reveals in the final mission that the Floaters were a failed project to create a resilient psionic species, and decided to rip out their organic parts to make them better weapons for the Ethereals' purposes, so Shen is exactly right in his assessment.]]
* NotUsingTheZWord: Averted, though lampshaded: Dr. Vahlen can't believe she's using the word "Zombie". You can ''lean'' on her hesitance.
* OhCrap: When things start to go against you in battles, your soldiers can freak out, panicking and losing their turn. The lower the soldier's Will score, the more likely they'll panic when another soldier dies, when they take a hit or when a Muton calls them out with their Intimidate ability. When they panic, they can shoot a random target (with an Aim penalty and randomly chosen from your other troopers, visible aliens and civilians), run for cover, hunker down or just run in general.
** In a metagame sense, you'll be saying this a lot when you encounter a new alien unit and they unleash an ability you haven't seen before. Additionally, every time you see Chryssalids (early-mid game) and Sectopods (all the time, especially if there's more than one).
* OldSchoolDogfighting: Battles between [=UFOs=] and your interceptors are pretty straightforward aerial shoot-outs. While your initial aerial weapon are the Avalanche missiles, you can later develop and equip various cannons, which force your interceptor to close in to dogfighting range. Crafting various modules in your base allows your interceptors one-time bonuses to Aim, Dodge, and Chase.
* OmnidisciplinaryScientist: Dr. Vahlen and every scientist in the labs. They are all equally versed in biology and physics, everything short of engineering (which is the domain of the engineers, who are themselves downplayed examples as they can work into anything that fits under the umbrella of "engineering"). Which is presumably why they were hired in the first place.
** Averted, just once, in a cutscene where Dr. Vahlen is trying to explain what the Outsider Crystal does. She's at a loss for words but then Dr. Shen steps in and says, "perhaps this is outside your field of expertise."[[spoiler: (It is an ''antenna''.)]]
* OneBulletClips: Another change from the original games, ammunition is no longer tracked as separate items and soldiers can reload at will.
* OneManArmy: There's an achievement for clearing a UFO crash site with just one soldier[[labelnote:*]]Specifically, you have to do it on Classic or Impossible, which only makes it worse[[/labelnote]]. It's pretty tricky ''even with'' superior equipment and tactics, and you definitely shouldn't try it with a rookie soldier.
* OperationBlank: Every XCOM ground mission gets a two-element codename (e.g. 'Operation Defiant Empire'). Most are random, but story missions and special council missions tend to have {{Meaningful Name}}s. Non-story missions may, however, end up with {{Word Salad Title}}s.
** Each research project also has a codename (e.g. 'Mobius'), which is unique to each project.
* OurWeaponsWillBeBoxyInTheFuture: Most pronounced with lasers. [[JustifiedTrope Justified]] in that they are designed and manufactured on short notice to create a useful weapon, not win a design contest. The plasma weapons are decidedly ''not'' boxy, but rather rounded and (in some cases) cylindrical, but they're copied from the alien designs rather than designed from the ground up. The Arc Thrower is essentially a cube sitting on top of a pistol grip.
** Also, going by the concept art and various in-game animations, [[http://img.gawkerassets.com/img/1833827d4wo89jpg/original.jpg they have a 'fold in' mode of sorts]], so the boxy-ness is something of a design requirement.
* PaperThinDisguise: Thin Men are only nominally human-looking. Their proportions put them right in the UncannyValley, they've got reptilian eyes under their sunglasses and they've got green scales showing right around the collar line on their necks, like their human makeup is wearing off. They never fool your XCOM team.
** Openly carrying light plasma rifles and attacking the XCOM team on sight doesn't help either. But, you'll encounter ''only'' Thin Men in some of the Council missions, so their disguise may work on the civilian population.
* PinnedDown: The Suppression ability available to Heavies, Supports, and some aliens. It penalizes the target's accuracy and allows the suppressor to take a free reaction shot if the target moves.
* PoisonousPerson: The Thin Men: they're highly toxic and can spit poison clouds at your group. They also create a poison cloud when they die.
* PostMortemOneLiner: All unit voices come with some remarks following a successful kill:
-->''"He's out of the game."''
-->''"Kill confirmed."''
-->''"Dead and gone."''
* PoweredArmor: The Titan Armor, which comes with immunity to fire and poison. You also get an achievement called "Man No More" once you build one.
* PreMortemOneLiner: Though not stated directly to the aliens, Assault class soldiers will issue one when you activate their Run & Gun skill. Made even more badass if accompanied by the Ghost Armor's invisibility and wrapped up with a provided PostMortemOneLiner:
-->''"Going silent."'' [cloaking]
-->''"Moving in for the kill."'' / ''"Gun 'em down!"'' [Run & Gun]
* {{Precursors}}: [[spoiler: The Uber Ethereal mentions "Them" who promised his kind [[AscendToAHigherPlaneOfExistence ascension]], but ultimately failed to deliver.]]
** [[spoiler: The Ethereals are AbusivePrecursors to the other alien species, having [[UpliftedAnimal uplifted]] them all to use as proxy soldiers, tools and psionic sustenance.]]
* PretentiousLatinMotto: ''Vigilio, Confido'' (possible translations include "[[http://www.pageofreviews.com/2012/08/vigilo-confido-translating-x-com%E2%80%99s-new-motto/ I am watchful, I am relied upon]]" and "[[TemptingFate watch, I am confident]]") on XCOM's logo.
* TheProfessor: Dr. Shen, the head of Engineering. [[ActualPacifist He occasionally wonders out loud if XCOM's technology will be repurposed for war if the aliens are fought off]], [[TechnicalPacifist though he quickly decides that we can jump that hurdle when it comes]].
* ProudWarriorRaceGuy: ''All'' of the Mutons. Shoot one without killing it? The guy will likely come out of cover roaring and [[BoisterousBruiser pounding his chest like no tomorrow, taunting you]], probably scaring any rookie nearby. These guys clearly enjoy their job, and it's obvious why the Ethereals like having them as bodyguards.
** They do the same thing as they enthusiastically gun down unarmed civilians.
* PsychicLink: Sectoids can use their telepathic abilities to boost the stats of their allies with an ability called Mind Merge: the target gets +10% to Aim and +1 HP for a turn. [[spoiler: What you're not told until you figure it out for yourself is that killing the Sectoid that's boosting the other unit kills them both as a result of psychic backlash.]] However, killing an alien who has mind-controlled one of your soldiers doesn't harm the soldier, who is placed under your control again.
** There is a sole exception to this rule: [[spoiler:In the final mission on the Temple Ship, when you kill the Uber-Ethereal, he releases control of whatever soldier he has undoubtedly seized control of, and all of the other enemies in the room explode; including any soldiers that the other Ethereals have control of. The ending triggers immediately afterwards, with the only thing left of your soldier being a scorch mark on the ground.]]
* PsychicPowers: The Gift comes with many more abilities than the traditional mind control. Among other things, [[spoiler:Ethereals can now ''reflect your laser and plasma shots back at you.'' Eep.]]
** You can gain them yourself, with 5 different powers available to your "gifted" soldiers: Mindfray, a damaging attack that also debuffs the target, Psi-Panic, a panic-inducing attack, Psi-Inspiration, an ability that bolsters your allies' Will, Telekinetic Field, a telekinetic defensive field, and good old Mind Control. [[spoiler: The Volunteer gains another one, the Rift, that deals massive [=AOE=] damage and can tap into the Ethereal Hive Mind.]] SidMeier can have all of them.
* PureEnergy: The Outsider constructs.
* TheQuisling: One of the {{Escort Mission}}s has a politician who (supposedly) is in collusion with the aliens as the escortee.
* ReasonableAuthorityFigure: Funnily enough, [[TheOmniscientCouncilOfVagueness the Council of Nations]] is this. In any other game, they'd be the antagonist, but here, they provide XCOM with the funding they need to keep things running, request special missions that provide the second highest decrease in panic levels (next to Terror missions), and only complain if you're failing at your job to repel the alien threat.
* {{Reconstruction}}: The game takes everything that was cheesy about the first one, brings it back, modernizes it and makes it cool. For example, Floaters are still cybernetic flying aliens, but instead of being lumpy purple guys in capes who float lazily through the air, they are legless torsos with jetpacks that zoom around the battlefield and look menacing. Mutons are still green and purple, but they do ''not'' look like humans in a suit anymore, and they're terrifying when they first appear. Chrysalids will still ruin your entire day, just like in the original, but they look like horrible blade-footed quadrupeds mixed with deep-sea fish rather than a man wearing a lobster suit.
* RedOniBlueOni: Dr Vahlen and Dr Shen. Dr Vahlen is enthused by the potential [[ForScience research and science]] that can be gleaned from examining the aliens, while Dr Shen is concerned and disgusted by what the aliens use the tech for and whether [[HeWhoFightsMonsters humanity mind wind up treading the same path]].
* {{Retraux}}: Several character sheets of the aliens were released as promotional material and [[http://i.imgur.com/zrkeH.jpg all of them included their sprite from the original game for comparison]]. What about the Thin Man, who was widely different from the Snake Man, you might ask? [[http://i.imgur.com/Bqkog.jpg Why, the developers made an entirely new old-style sprite for him, of course]].
* RoarBeforeBeating: Floaters and Mutons.
* RocketTagGameplay: Early-game works like this. Sectoids, Thin Men and Floaters don't have many hit points, but are armed with deadly plasma weapons that can kill your rookies in one hit. Your rookies only have a smattering of hit points themselves, but their starting assault rifles and frag grenades are more than enough to kill the Sectoids and Thin Men in one hit (except on [[HarderThanHard Impossible]]). Later in the game, when you have better armor and the hardier alien species show up, you'd better have a good understanding of tactics and teamwork when that Muton doesn't go down in one hit.
* RuleOfCool: Pump-action ''lasers''.
* SadisticChoice: Any time there are Abduction missions. You can only save one of the cities at a time and panic ''will'' rise on the continents you didn't deploy to. It takes some skilful juggling just to keep the panic level from going completely critical.
* SaveScumming: Just as practical and common a technique as in the original, much to the chagrin of some members of the fanbase. That said, you can't just reload a game to change the outcome: The 'seed'[[labelnote:*]]The core number the RNG uses to determine what happens[[/labelnote]] doesn't change when reloading a saved game. In layman's terms, Soldier A misses a 98% shot, he'll always miss that shot if you keep reloading from that specific save. You'll have to move another soldier, maybe have him fire, or just skip Soldier A's turn for a better probability.
* SergeantRock: As with ColonelBadass, some of your troops will probably end up like this. Can lean into DrillSergeantNasty with the right voice option;
-->'''Support, using the Medkit on another soldier:''' ''"Rub some dirt on it you wimp!"''
* SelfInsert: The {{Hero Unit}}s include Firaxis staff and Ken Levine from 2K Games.
* SequelHook: The fact that [[spoiler: the Uber-Ethereal mentions needing humanity uplifted for ''something'']] did not go unnoticed by players.
* ShoutOut: To [=GuavaMoment=]'s LetsPlay of the X-COM series. One of the hero units is Otto Zander, the hero of the series.
** This can also carry certain unfortunate, unintended implications for people unfamiliar with the Let's Play, as Otto Zander was also the name of a prominent Nazi. (It should be noted that the name choice was intentional in said LP, considering the character development Otto underwent...)
** Also several Achievements:
*** The achievement for building the base all the way to the deepest level available is called "[[TheLordOfTheRings Drums in the Deep]]".
*** Successfully [[HoistByTheirOwnPetard mind-controlling an Ethereal]] unlocks "[[XMen Xavier]]".
*** Winning a mission with an [[AmazonBrigade all female squad]] unlocks "[[RideOfTheValkyries Flight Of The Valkyries]]".
*** Staffing the research department with 80 scientists nets you "Oppenheimer".
*** Building your first SHIV gets the achievement "[[RoboCop You Have 5 Seconds to Comply]]."
*** A soldier mind-controlling an enemy might say:
-->''"[[Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries My thoughts to your thoughts.]]"''
** Bradford occasionally delivers several lines when you're in the Situation Room. Some of them are:
-->''"Are you really using our tracking terminal to play VideoGame/{{Civilization}}?! I at least hope you're going for a Military victory."''
-->''"Some nut calling himself [[{{UFO}} Commander Straker]] has been all over the news talking about 'SHADO agents'."''
** Using the Arc Thrower to stun an alien results in soldier dialog. Some of the random bits that play are:
-->''"[[BackToTheFuture 1.21 Gigawatts]], baby!"''
-->''"[[{{Music/Metallica}} Ride the lightning]]!"''
** The Chryssalid autopsy research project is codenamed [[Creator/RidleyScott Ridley]]. [[ChestBurster Appro]][[Franchise/{{Alien}} priate]].
** One of the Cyberdisc's abilities is the [[Film/TheLastStarfighter Death Blossom]].
* SinisterShades: Thin Men wear these in order to hide their HellishPupils.
* SoleSurvivor: The tutorial mission ends with only Delta 2 from Argentina surviving. Losing three-quarters of your initial squad ''in the tutorial'' sets the tone for the rest of the game: it will not be easy. People ''will'' die.
** You can avoid that if you skip the tutorial, although you'll miss the chance at some early loot and a starting Heavy. [[EarnYourHappyEnding Unless of course you use that first tactical mission to utterly annihilate every X-Ray you see and come out with zero casualties.]]
* SpySatellites: Used to search for [=UFOs=] outside of your main base's radar coverage. Keeping satellite coverage heavy is important to keep the various nations from withdrawing from the Council (and more importantly, funding ''you'', as only countries with satellite coverage will give you monthly donations) and the aliens visible and chaseable. If you don't diligently shoot down [=UFOs=] with your interceptors, your satellites can be shot down, necessitating an expensive and time-consuming replacement. Fortunately, you can also research stealth enhancements for your satellites at the Foundry, making them harder for the aliens to find.
** Satellite coverage has another, less-advertised result: if a country has coverage at the start of a month, it will no longer be possible for the aliens to start abductions in that country. Thus, in addition to giving you the continent-specific bonus, locking down a continent with complete coverage will stop its panic level from rising (assuming you don't fail any Interceptions, Raids or Terror Missions).
* StuffBlowingUp: Grenades and rocket launchers are extremely effective at completely blowing the stuffing out of the aliens. The downside is that they blow up any salvageable material (including Weapon Fragments, if you kill an alien with them) in their blast radius, but hey, if you get the opportunity to completely waste a group of weak enemies, then by all means, annihilate them! Better than losing your squad. Also, melee aliens like the Chryssalids don't provide Weapon Fragments in the first place, so feel free to blow them to pieces.
** You can also use them to just blow up the aliens' cover, allowing your other troopers to shoot them without an accuracy penalty. Using them to soften up a group of very tough enemies is also viable, as Weapon Fragments are only lost if they're ''killed'' with explosives.
* StupidityIsTheOnlyOption: The tutorial involves the initial squad charging into unknown territory and subsequently getting ambushed while investigating a German soldier acting oddly. Because of the structure of the tutorial, it happens while trying to disarm the (armed, unresponsive) German by sending one man to him in plain view and the team is unable to establish Overwatch before the ambush triggers.
** Even though you know your mind control ability is only temporary, you can't have your squad shoot or stun your mind controlled subject until he breaks free, unless you use up your limited amount of explosives. Having the aliens kill it for you gives your squad a Will penalty for the rest of the mission, since it's marked as a teammate while mind controlled, so that's out too.
* SuicidalOverconfidence: {{Zig Zagged|Trope}}. Most aliens avert this; they'll sound the retreat, fall back to better cover and call for help if they feel they're outnumbered and/or outgunned. Chryssalids and Muton Berserkers play this straight[[labelnote:*]]though this has more to do with their nature than their intelligence: they don't understand cover or falling back[[/labelnote]]; these two will (usually) charge ahead instead (note that they can move, but not attack in your turn), allowing you to shoot them point blank in the face. In the case of the Berserkers, there's a good chance an Assault can shoot one 3 times in one turn with the right abilities and when in the right position.
* SurpassedTheTeacher: [[spoiler: The entire invasion was really a training program intended to uplift humanity to the point where we could serve as part of the Ethereals' army. Unfortunately, like most other alien invaders, they underestimated just how [[HumansAreWarriors tough]] humans are. [[NintendoHard Assuming you win.]]]]
* TakeCover: The biggest gameplay change over the original (aside from the removal of Time Units) is this. Your troops will hunker down next to various objects when possible and this is absolutely vital to not getting your soldiers' heads blown off. Technically, you could take cover in the original X-Com too, but only through micro-managing your troops' time units to duck out from behind walls before ducking back in; here, it's all automatic.
* TakeThat: [[TakeThatAudience To the players]]. When assaulting the alien base, you will see a table with some lights on it. Dr. Shen remarks that it's probably what the aliens use for entertainment and follows up with:
-->''"At least they aren't playing... computer games."''
* TechnologyPorn: Once you complete certain research or just after you've manufactured some new weapons.
* TechLevels: Ballistic Weapons < Laser Weapons < Plasma Weapons. Several class abilities refer to the weapon's tech level.
* TeleportingKeycardSquad: Thin Men sometimes spawn out of nowhere after you complete some objectives in Council missions.
* TheComputerIsACheatingBastard: Though the alien AI is quite intelligent and generally plays by the same rules, they do get a few one-sided advantages.
** Enemy units get a free move to find cover when they are first spotted by one of your soldiers, making it impossible to get the jump on them. This makes some sense, since they usually start out in the open where they would be completely vulnerable, but they still get the free move even when it's already their turn. Needless to say, [[MyRulesAreNotYourRules your soldiers don't get the same luxury]]. Of course, since they get to ''move'', the aliens still trigger Overwatch.
*** Technically, they get their free move when they spot you. All units have the same sight range normally, but from an elevated position or using the Ghost Armor's cloaking ability or the Sniper's Battle Scanner, you can set up a situation where you can see them but they can't see you.
*** On the other hand, if they spot you in ''their'' turn, they don't get the opportunity to shoot at you, since they ''must'' use their full turn on the "getting into cover" maneuver.
*** Even worse, certain alien types like Berserkers and Chryssalids (usually) won't use their free move to get to cover. On their turn, they could run out with their first move, spot you, and then run again right next to your units, crossing half the map in one turn. An alternative is to spot a Berserker right at the end of your turn, and enjoy the short cutscene of him 'Taking Cover' right next to your pointman. Cue 'Alien Activity'....
** Enemies can spawn almost anywhere on the map, including behind your soldiers. However, this is never ''unfair'', because the enemies that spawn this way only do so on certain Council missions, you're warned that they're about to do so, they're ''always'' Thin Men (the second weakest enemy) and they ''never'' attack or even move when they spawn, instead just setting up Overwatch. They still trigger reaction shots, and you're shown where they show up even if you don't have line-of-sight on the area. In general, this is more advantageous to ''you''.
*** Actually, an unfortunate bug can cause aliens to spawn right within your group entirely without reason or warning. This is due to the fact that enemy 'patrols' in the fog of war are nothing more than the groups of aliens sitting in a small group, waiting several turns, and then instantly teleporting to a different location on the map.
** In general, alien units follow the same rules you do: they can move twice, move once and shoot, shoot to end their turn, or move and set up Overwatch. Sectopods, being giant, massively armed war machines, can shoot twice ''and'' still catch your soldiers with reaction fire (but only if they take the time to set up) in a single turn. Combined with their massive HP totals (more than any other unit in the game) and extremely high defense (-30% to be hit), they're incredible devastating when you encounter them, breaking the rules you've been following for the whole game. [[spoiler: And the final mission throws TWO of them at you at once! Fortunately this is why the Volunteer was given [[LastDiscMagic The Rift]].]]
* TheEngineer: Dr Shen and everyone else in Engineering. There's also a military Combat Engineer, Sergeant Carlock, in a Council mission.
* ThemeNaming: All the research project [[OperationBlank codenames]] for the various plasma weapons and the Alloy Cannon are various types of [[AnimalThemeNaming birds]].
* TheOmniscientCouncilOfVagueness: The Council, of course, complete with a mysterious man with his face framed in shadow who signs off by saying:
-->''"We... will be watching."''
** And although their entire style and word choice fulfills every ConspiracyTheorist's nightmare, they are in effect {{Reasonable Authority Figure}}s who only complain if you slack off against the aliens.
* TookALevelInBadass: Floaters. They had absolutely horrible AI combined with the worst marksmanship of the aliens in the original game, as bad as some of your rookie troopers. Now, they can drop out from the sky right behind your squad's flank from almost anywhere on the map, use their unlimited flight time to their advantage to pin down your soldiers and lastly, have a significant facelift so they look like fearsome aliens with jetpacks and not [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking a weird guy trying to look like Superman]].
* TortureTechnician: Not a character, but a continent: South America's continent bonus is called "[[WeHaveWaysOfMakingYouTalk We Have Ways]]", allowing XCOM to perform Autopsies or Interrogations instantly. Pain is the universal language!
** Dr. Vahlen, who designed the interrogation system, an off-screen process which avoids the translation barrier by almost literally ''ripping the information out of their brains and/or implants''. Officer Bradford admits that he is a bit creeped out by her methods.
* TransformingMecha: The Cyberdiscs can transform between a nigh-invulnerable but unarmed disc form and a vulnerable but heavily-armed floating insect-bot form.
* TwentyMinutesIntoTheFuture: Set in 2015. The world is almost exactly the same as it was on the game's release date in terms of technology and geopolitics, with a few exceptions. For example, military technology is slightly more advanced and Scotland seems to be an independent country.
* {{Unobtainium}}: Elerium and the alien alloy. Neither of them can be found on Earth or artificially created, meaning your only source is from the cold dead hands of the aliens.
** So far. Both Dr. Shen and Dr. Vahlen muses that, with a few years of concentrated research, they could make the stuff become widely available. Problem is, you don't have months available, let alone years.
* UnusableEnemyEquipment: Alien weapons self-destruct in this game if you kill an alien (without using explosives). If you stun them, however, you're good, though due to how the game engine works, you can't just scoop up fallen weapons in the middle of battle for use. Justified in universe in that alien gear does not follow human ergonomics and would be awkward for your soldiers to use (for example, Sectoid Plasma Pistols are wrist-mounted, while the Mutons' regular and Heavy Plasma Rifles are too bulky and uncomfortable for human use without modifications). Recovered alien gear is (off-screen, for free) modified for human use by your engineering team, according to the research reports.
** This trope also applies to alien crafts. If you secure a landed UFO intact, you should have a working alien ship. But you can only scavenge its systems and dismantle it for raw materials, even when your scientists have already reverse-engineered the UFO navigation and power/propulsion technology to build the [[CoolPlane Firestorm]] and should be able to fly it.
* UnstableEquilibrium: Early-game is typically the hardest part of the game. You've got no territory, little income, inexperienced soldiers, no technology (yet) and the aliens outnumber you. Later on, you have the option of getting goodies that even the aliens wish they had and soldiers with ImprobableAimingSkills who can mow down aliens like Rambo even with [[RockBeatsLaser basic ballistic weapons]] and snipers who can pop the aliens' heads from across the map.
** Then psi powers enter the game, and the rules change... and again, once you have one or more psi troopers of your own.
* UpliftedAnimal: [[spoiler: Most of the aliens that serve the Ethereals have been conquered and uplifted or altered to some degree in their search for "gifted" species. The Chryssalids are the most striking example, since they began as feral animals... and didn't really evolve from that state.]]
* VendorTrash: Some items, usually damaged ship components, alien surgery equipment and the like. Vendor Trash items are clearly labelled in your inventory as "having no use for research projects".
* VFormationTeamShot: On the box art. Also, your team prior to deployment will stand like this, allowing you to review them and their gear.
* VideoGameCaringPotential: Unlike the original game, you'll (probably) get attached to your soldiers this time, and not just treat them as {{Red Shirt}}s. Especially the [[SoleSurvivor Argentinian Heavy]] from the tutorial.
* VideoGameCrueltyPotential: Have four Heavies? Check. Four civilians next to a truck you wanna use for cover? Check. Sending in anyone to rescue them? Nah. Sending a rocket to blow it to hell along with the four civilians? Check. [[KarmaHoudini Earning an Excellent rating? Check]].
* VillainBall: There is a time and a place to have your AGodIAm moment. The moment when an elite and well-equipped kill team is slaughtering its way through your elite guard on their way towards you is '''not that time'''.
* WakeUpCallBoss: The Chryssalids.
* WaveMotionGun: The Sectopod has ''two'': a fusion lance for burning your dudes to a fine, ''fine'' ash, and a plasma beam for the reaction shots.
** You can also get one for your Firestorms if you salvage an intact fusion core from a downed Battleship.
* WeAllLiveInAmerica: No matter which country you deploy in, the buildings and cars (especially the yellow cabs) look like American cities or towns, not to mention the complete lack of accents for your soldiers. Since each map is hand-crafted, however, this is understandable.
** However, the planned {{DLC}}s are looking to avert this (the first one, the ''Slingshot'' Content Pack, includes maps in China, though they're only for specific Council missions).
* WeAREStrugglingTogether: Averted for the most part. The council is made up of most of the G20 countries and a few others that give you money and support to keep everyone alive. Though a few countries will bail if they feel they would be better off on their own.
** This trope is why Zhang defects to Xcom during his missions. He realizes that the Triads squabbling for money and power is kinda pointless when Aliens are attacking.
* WeBuyAnything: The good ol' Gray Market is the secret auction house for XCOM's funding nations and if you don't think you're going to be using that pile of Sectoid corpses (though you can craft stuff with them, so don't sell too many) you may as well sell them for money. Early-game, this will probably be your primary means of income.
* YouLoseAtZeroTrust: Nations have a Panic Meter that goes from 1 to 5. When it hits 5, they are in grave danger of pulling their funding from the XCOM project by the end of the month (if you fail a Terror mission in their country, they pull funding immediately, even if they have less than 5 panic), as they decide to redirect their funding to keep their own people under control. You lose the game when you lose eight nations total (half of the founding nations, in other words), regardless of the panic levels in the other nations, as the Council of Nations decides that the project is a failure. This will happen a whole lot more often on harder difficulties.
* ZombieApocalypse: The Chryssalids always show up during your first Terror mission, when your team probably isn't very well equipped or experienced, and there's 18 tasty civilians to snack on and turn into zombies. At least now, the resulting zombies only turn into Chryssalids after several turns, instead of on death.

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''Good luck, Commander. [[CatchPhrase And remember,]] [[TheOmniscientCouncilOfVagueness we]] [[ParanoiaFuel will be watching.]]''

to:

[[quoteright:250:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/XCOM_Enemy_Unknown_Game_Cover_9093.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:250:From the makers of VideoGame/{{Civilization}}... comes a game about civilization's last stand.]]

->''Two possibilities exist: Either we are alone in the Universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying.''
-->-- '''ArthurCClarke'''

A reboot of the original VideoGame/{{X-COM}} game, developed by Firaxis Games and published by 2K Games. [[NextSundayAD In the year 2015]], Earth comes under attack by alien forces. In response, the Council of Nations activates the XCOM project, a MultinationalTeam tasked with fighting the alien invaders and researching their technology to protect humanity. The player takes the role of the Commander of XCOM, and with the help of various [=NPC=] advisers, guide XCOM to victory (or defeat) by managing the whole organization, including base building, research, manufacturing and sending fighters to intercept [=UFOs=]. The main focus of the game, however, is on the ground combat, where the player takes control of a small squad of soldiers and fights turn-based battles against the aliens.

Several changes have been made to the original gameplay. A lot of aspects were simplified. Gone are Time Units; now each unit gets two actions (though using an action other than 'move' normally ends that unit's turn). Players only have one base rather than having multiple. There's no more InventoryManagementPuzzle - every soldier gets one primary weapon, one [[EmergencyWeapon pistol]] and one special piece of equipment (high-level Supports get two). [[OneBulletClips Spare magazines aren't counted anymore]]. Terrestrial weapons don't need to be bought anymore - they are available in unlimited quantities.

But other aspects received additional complexity. Research and Engineering production expend a variety of salvaged materials, you need to play a delicate balancing act with managing world terror levels, and most of all, soldiers now gain a class with their first promotion, which allows them to specialize in a specific role. Each promotion level of each class has different abilities to choose from, which give passive bonuses or active abilities in combat. The classes are:

* Assault: Front-line units specializing in offense and mobility, allowing them to close in on the enemy and flank more easily. They can be equipped with either assault rifles for mid-range combat or {{shotguns|AreJustBetter}} for close encounters.
* Heavy: [[{{BFG}} Heavy Weapons]] and [[StuffBlowingUp explosives]] specialists, these guys get [[MoreDakka machine guns of various flavours]] and [[StuffBlowingUp a rocket launcher]].
* Support: A CombatMedic[=/=]Fire Support specialist with support skills like smoke grenades and the ability to carry more gear. They wield versatile assault rifles.
* Sniper: Specializes in accurately dealing extreme damage at extreme range with {{sniper rifle}}s, they can also use [[ImprobableAimingSkills special shots]] to hinder enemies.

The aliens have similarly been expanded, with whole new types of aliens and most of the returning ones gaining new abilities.

The first {{DLC}} for the series, entitled ''Slingshot'', was released on the 4th of December 2012. It adds additional soldier customization options, a series of inter-connected Council missions centered on China and the Triad(s) with (among other things) a unique Hero unit as a reward, and [[spoiler:the chance to get the Blaster Launcher and Fusion Lance technologies without having to resort to the relatively hard task of shooting down a Battleship]].

-----
!The Game contains examples of:

* AlternateContinuity[=/=]ContinuityReboot: Separate from the classic games, and despite speculation, [[http://au.gamespot.com/xcom-enemy-unknown/previews/xcom-enemy-unknown-whats-new-whats-not-6364778/ canonically unconnected to the 2K Marin game]]. However, there ''is'' an Outsider alien construct that seems curiously similar to the foes from the now-TPS...
* AmbiguousRobots: When Dr. Vahlen autopsies the Cyberdisk, she notes that while it appears to be a machine, its internals are arranged in a manner similar to organs in a living creature and it possesses what amounts to a circulatory system. She states in her notes that she is unsure if it is a robot or a [[SiliconBasedLife silicon-based cybernetic life form]]. The Outsiders are also referred to as [[EnergyBeing "energy constructs"]] and "organic technology", but what they are ''exactly'' [[StarfishAliens is anyone's guess]].
* AmazonBrigade: Doable, there's even an achievement for it.
* ApocalypseHow: [[spoiler: The Temple Ship's self destruct would cause a Planetary/Physical Annihilation level event. However the Volunteer pulls a HeroicSacrifice to get it away from Earth in time.]]
* ArbitraryHeadcountLimit: Your squad is limited to 4 members, which can be expanded to 6 with some upgrades. You can also have only one squad answering alerts at once, even if you have enough soldiers to field additional squads. It seems XCOM can't afford a second Skyranger.
* [[ArmCannon Arm Pistol]]: Plasma Pistols as used by the Sectoids. They get converted to a more conventional layout if you manage to capture one intact.
* ArtificialStupidity: The pathfinding AI can be odd at times. Sometimes your troops will go up a level and then drop down to get to a piece of cover that they could have just walked straight to.
** Not to mention blithely running directly through clouds of poison rather than going around them.
* ArtificialBrilliance: The Aliens know how Overwatch works and will avoid triggering it if possible.
** They'll also throw grenades when they can't get a decent shot, will use Overwatch themselves if they know you're there, attempt tactical retreats, and most funny of all, accidentally use up their movement turns blundering into the middle of your units leaving them without cover and ripe for the slaughter. Basically they act like GenreSavvy players, occasional missteps and all, which is why you have to be DangerouslyGenreSavvy.
** Be wary of attempting to suppress an alien when his allies are about. On higher difficulties, the suppressed unit's allies ''will'' attempt to counter-suppress you if they lack a clear shot, freeing the suppressed unit back up to take unfettered action. Alternatively, if they have a clear shot, they will simply just blast the suppressor in the face. Now, if you combine multiple suppressors with smoke screen(s), or have Snipers and Assaults handy to take out the leftovers...
** The civilians in Terror missions are miles better then the ones in the old games. They will run away from the aliens, up to and including ''diving through windows'' and ''shimmying up drainpipes'' to get away, at least once their fleeing script is triggered. Up until then, though, they'll stand stock-still in the open.
* AsskickingEqualsAuthority: As your soldiers do well, they get new abilities and get promoted up through the ranks. Anyone who has reached [[ColonelBadass Colonel]] is a ''true'' badass.
* ATasteOfPower: Used in the demo, where in the second mission, your squad members all have a couple of promotions each, several pieces of nonstandard equipment and face Floaters and Thin Men during the mission (the last mission in the demo, mind).
* AttackDrone: You get your own in the form of the SHIV (Super Heavy Infantry Vehicle), with a whole tech tree dedicated to them. They function exactly like the tanks of yore, including, in one case, functioning as portable cover. There are three varieties, Basic, Alloy (which can be used as low cover) and Hover (which can fly).
** The aliens' Drones are multipurpose flyers that can repair mechanical units or fire a relatively weak energy pulse, and can also self-destruct. The Cyberdiscs, on the other hand, are apparently half-mechanical, half-organic.
** The Sectopod is a huge mechanized weapons platform, packing [[WaveMotionGun beam weapons]] galore. When those Ethereals build a robot... ''they build a robot!''
* AuthorityEqualsAsskicking: High ranking units on both sides are nastier than their lower ranking counterparts.
* BattleshipRaid: Naturally, whenever you attack a downed Battleship-class UFO. They're so large that there is nothing else on the Battlescape; the Skyranger lands ''on the Battleship itself''.
* BeamSpam: You get the option for this with with the Scatter Laser, Heavy Lasers and [[AttackDrone SHIVs]][=/=][[CoolPlane Interceptors/Firestorms]] equipped with Laser Cannons.
* TheBerserker:
** Mutons, with their new Blood Call ability.
** The [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Berserker]], an [[SuperToughness extremely durable breed of Muton]] that has the ability to [[TheJuggernaut charge through the environment]] to get to your soldiers. They also get a free (short) move towards one of your soldiers after ''any'' attack hits it. Fortunately, they charge blindly rather than stick to cover. A clever commander can exploit this and cause him to run around the map while slowly dying.
* BewareTheNiceOnes: Officer Bradford mentions that Dr. Vahlen may not look like it, but she is without a ''doubt'' the worst nightmare for any captured aliens that get brought back to the base.
* BigBad: In contrast to the original game, where the aliens were led by an "Alien Brain", [[spoiler: the Ethereals, led by the Uber-Ethereal, are very much the bad guys here. They're the guiding intelligence behind the invasion and the various alien species are the other species that they conquered first, in an attempt to find/create a species that is both physically strong and psionically gifted. It's never made clear what what they need this for, but they do mention that it's in preparation for "what lies ahead"]].
* BlackBox: Most if not all of the technology that the Science and Engineering departments come up with is this. They have no idea how exactly it all works but they can replicate it.
* BlackSpeech: The language of the aliens sounds like Satan's autodial, complete with VoiceoftheLegion
* BlastingItOutOfTheirHands: Higher level Snipers can do this if Disabling Shot is chosen, forcing the target to waste a turn on unjamming the weapon.
* BodyArmorAsHitPoints: The primary benefit of armor, though some models also reduce the enemy's chance to hit. Certain special items like Nanofiber Vests or Chryssalid Chitin also boost health. Additionally, a soldier who receives less damage than the health bonus given by their armor won't need a stay in the infirmary after the mission.
* BondOneLiner: Every time a soldier successfully stuns an alien.
-->''"Looks like you're coming home with us."''
-->''"Not so tough now, are ya?"''
** There is also a hilarious variant if the stun attempt goes wrong and the alien is still standing afterwards:
-->''"Permission to use a REAL weapon, sir!"''
* BonusDungeon: Taking down and salvaging a Fusion Core from a Battleship-class UFO isn't necessary to complete the game, but you do get some sweet technology for doing so, including [[InfinityPlusOneSword the Blaster Launcher]].
** BraggingRightsReward: That said, by the time you can successfully down and clear a Battleship-class UFO, you don't ''need'' a Blaster Launcher.
* BookEnds: The game's opening begins with civilians watching as alien-built abduction devices fall to Earth as meteors. The game's final cutscene depicts [[spoiler: the blasted remains of the destroyed Temple Ship falling to Earth as shooting stars while Earth's citizens look up in wonder.]]
* BoomHeadshot: The first ability Snipers earn, which increases the chance of a critical hit and increases the critical damage dealt based on the tech level of the rifle used.
* BottomlessMagazines: {{Downplayed}}. Your squad members have infinite ammo supplies, but they have to regularly reload their primary weapons. Ammo is not tracked 'per shot', but in chunks - and certain abilities (such as Suppression) use up more ammo than a normal attack. Played straight with [[EmergencyWeapon pistols]] though, they never need to be reloaded at all.
** One of the Foundry upgrades, unlocked by performing a Muton autopsy, increases the number of shots between reloads. It works by having the troopers' armor perform mini-reloads after every shot.
* TheBrute[=/=]DumbMuscle: Mutons are big, strong, scary and heavily armored, but in terms of Willpower and psionic resistance they're simpletons, though they're certainly [[GeniusBruiser well-versed in tactics]].
** Their Berserker variants are even more perfect fit for this trope, as they'll always attempt to Intimidate and charge blindly towards those who have attacked them (often triggering reaction fire in the process), and have a ''very'' devastating melee attack.
* BulletTime: Slo-mo effects occur when a reaction shot is triggered.
* BullfightBoss: Muton Berserkers.
* CallBack: Leaving the game overview in the Situation Room screen has Bradford spout off some idle chatter every so often... with some subtle references to the original game;
-->'''Bradford:''' ''"This is Central, I'm receiving you...what do you mean you think you saw a snake? What the hell does that have to do with anything?"''
* ConcealmentEqualsCover: Averted, cover can actually be shot through or destroyed. Aliens behind heavy cover? You can just blow the cover away with a rocket launcher or grenade.
** Inverted, too, and to your detriment: the most basic alien weapons can destroy cover, but you'll need laser weapons at least to do it regularly. Otherwise, you have to use your limited supply of explosives.
* CharacterCustomization: You can [[http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v348/CFace/uXx3k.jpg customize]] the visual appearance and names of the soldiers. Every soldier. All of them. The Elite Soldier Pack also allows you to customize the colors of their armor and includes alternate looks for standard XCOM body armor and Carapace Armor.
** It might have been even more involved at some point in development too, possibly having rookie soldiers with shiny untainted armor that would be altered as they rose through the ranks, [[http://img.gawkerassets.com/img/183381vipswskjpg/original.jpg adding some wear and tear and personal designs,]] much like actual soldiers.
* ChestBurster: [[http://img.gawkerassets.com/img/183383iprrtqsjpg/original.jpg Chryssalids.]]
* ColonelBadass: Colonel is the highest rank a character can achieve, and since ranks work essentially as levels, any Colonel you have is automatically this.
* ConservationOfNinjutsu: A pair of mutually exclusive Assault class abilities have higher benefits for having multiple enemies in sight. Tactical Sense increases the Assault's Defense (which reduces the chance of being hit), while Aggression increases their critical hit chance instead.
* CoolOldGuy: Dr. Shen.
* CoolPlane: The Firestorm. Dr. Shen, even with all the other cool gear he's built, says the Firestorms make him the most proud. Your NumberTwo also comments that humans have just leveled the playing field when he first sees it.
** There's also the trusty Skyranger, which can bring your squad anywhere on the planet ''and'' back in a few hours at most.
** The regular Interceptors are pretty cool too. They can take on highly-advanced [=UFOs=] without any reverse-engineered alien tech on them and ''win''.
* CreatorCameo: Of a sort. One of the structures you can build is named after XCOM's original creators, the Gollop brothers (Julian and Nick). It is also mentioned that said structure was designed by a "pair of brilliant young brothers".
** The Thin Man aliens take their facial features from Sid Meier.
* {{Cyborg}}: Floaters are more machine than flesh, especially the Heavy variant. Most of the aliens are also this, though not to quite the same degree.
* DamageIncreasingDebuff: The Shredder Rocket ability available for Heavies. It causes enemies in the blast area to take 33% more damage from all sources for four turns, at the cost of doing less damage compared to a normal Rocket (though it still destroys cover). Not very useful early on, but potentially much more so later in the game when you start facing tougher enemies.
* DangerouslyGenreSavvy: The aliens have shades of this [[spoiler:despite the GoneHorriblyRight aspect of their plan]]:
** Reverse-engineering the enemy's technology is a staple of the X-COM franchise. In this game, alien weaponry is programmed to self-destruct when the wielder dies.
** XCOM needs to prevent alien activity in its member countries to keep panic low and maintain its funding. What do the aliens do? Regularly arrange for multiple Abduction missions at the same time, forcing XCOM to focus their efforts on one and let the others proceed unopposed.
** Those satellites you need to scan for alien activity? The aliens will actively attempt to track and shoot them down.
* DevelopmentGag: The logo appears to be de-hyphened, much like the FPS. But then you [[http://www.xcom.com/enemyunknown/index.html look at the negative space in the last three letters]]...
** Ditto for the title itself; it's a combination of the original game's two titles (''X-COM: UFO Defense'' and ''UFO: Enemy Unknown'').
* DoubleTap: While Snipers have an ability with that name, the credit actually goes to the Assault class's Rapid Fire ability, which shoots the enemy twice in quick succession.
* DownloadableContent: Aside from releasing the pre-order Elite Soldier Pack bonus to the public, [[http://www.2kgames.com/blog/add-on-content-packs-for-xcom-enemy-unknown-coming-soon some extra story missions are going to hit soon]] in the form of the ''Slingshot'' Content Pack, with a promise of more to come after that.
* DramaticGunCock: Snipers dramatically reload their ballistic bolt-action rifles after each cinematic shot, complete with a casing flying through the air in slow motion.
** OneHandedShotgunPump: Assault-class soldiers do this after each cinematic shot... even if it's a ''laser'' shotgun. You gotta wonder if they added the pump to the Scatter Laser [[RuleOfCool just for that]] (no other laser weapon has one).
* DuelingGames: With ''VideoGame/{{Xenonauts}}'', although [[http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2012/05/05/firaxis-on-xcom-vs-xenonauts-optional-kill-cam/#more-107061 Jake Solomon is cordial about the competition.]]
* DummiedOut: Within days of the official release, enterprising programmers discovered some mostly-finished functions that weren't implemented in the final game. These include the ability to intercept Terror Ships and Abductors before they land, making it possible to avoid the associated Terror and Abduction missions altogether, as well as the so-called "Second Wave" functions: optional modifiers to gameplay that were supposed to be unlocked after finishing a game once, that modify the gameplay for added challenge (like having Rookies with random stats much like the first VideoGame/{{X-COM}}, or satellites getting more expensive the more you make). Modders have managed to reactivate most of these options.
* ElaborateUndergroundBase: Instead of the classic top-down view flat base, this game uses a side-view multi-level base nicknamed the "Ant Farm". Unlike the original game, this is the player's only base; the developers noticed most X-COM players focused on a single base and built others solely to expand their radar range, which is done via launching satellites in this game.
* EleventhHourSuperpower: For the final mission, [[spoiler: the Volunteer gets a powerful area of effect attack called The Rift.]]
* EnhancedInterrogationTechniques: XCOM "interrogates" alien captives. We aren't shown the details (As a shutter closes when interrogation starts), but it involves two arms radiating some energy, getting information straight out of the alien's brain and lots of sedatives. Also, the subject ''never'' survives the process and you always get their corpse added to your stockpile after the interrogation.
** Not to mention South America's continent bonus - "[[WeHaveWaysOfMakingYouTalk We Have Ways]]", making both Interrogations ''and'' Autopsies instantaneous, banking on the reputation of certain South American dictatorships and their employment of these.
* EscortMission: Extraction Missions. Unlike just about every other game ever, the Escort is fully controllable and has a special ability that raises their defense.
** Which is strange in the case of one potential escort, who protests loudly about being extracted against his will by XCOM while the aliens gleefully shoot at him.
* EveryCarIsAPinto: Perhaps justified by how many laser and plasma weapons are getting thrown around. Typically, they have to be set on fire first before that happens, which also gives both the XCOM troopers and aliens one turn to get away from it, though explosives will immediately cause it to blow up. Sometimes though, probably due to a bug, cars will blow up because ''another did somewhere on the map'' or for '''''no reason at all'''''.
** On the other hand, (almost) [[CutAndPasteEnvironments Every Car Is A Crown Victoria]], from Moscow to Miami.
* EvilCounterpart: Mutons have been described like this, an alien SEAL Team Six to fight your own troops. For starters, they're equipped with Alien Grenades, and they ''will'' use them on groups of your XCOM troops.
* EvilLaugh: Psionic troopers will sometimes break out an absolutely ''blood-curdling'' one when using the Mindfray ability on enemies. [[GoneHorriblyRight Makes you wonder]] if Dr. Shen is [[HeWhoFightsMonsters right]]...
* FaceDeathWithDignity: Out of all of the aliens that get interrogated, the Thin Man is the only one who doesn't panic. He glowers at the zappy-arms and starts walking towards the glass as if he's about to say something, but the shutters close on him before he says anything.
** The Ethereal attempts this, standing aloof and dignified in the containment before it starts, but loses its composure as soon as the robot arms move in.
* FanNickname: "Code Black" is a TotalPartyKill, at least on some forums, after the term used by the Skyranger pilot when your team has failed a mission and been wiped out to a man.
* FighterLaunchingSequence: When an Interceptor, a Firestorm or the Skyranger is launched, we are treated to a cutscene of its launch.
** The cutscene is longer the first time it's done. Each subsequent time, only the last part of the cutscene is played.
* {{Foreshadowing}}: The Tutorial mission hints at all of the iconic alien species you'll encounter later: a soldier that has been torn open from the inside out by a ChestBurster, a zombie trapped under some rubble, and a psionically mind controlled soldier will all be warning signs to long time fans.
* ForScience: Dr. Vahlen, a downplayed example. She shows more interest in her research than most other things - even at times the survival of the soldiers, will be irate if soldiers use explosives (which destroys valuable research material) and is always eager and interested in what she's researching, no matter how... questionable, lamenting that she can't spend more time researching each project. She's also the inventor of the alien "[[EnhancedInterrogationTechniques interrogation]]" device and personally oversees each interrogation. That being said, the game still portrays Dr. Vahlen in a good light: She'll thank soldiers for the risks they take in recovering live specimens, will acknowledge that the survival of the soldiers can come first and is disgusted by the aliens' callousness.
* [[HerrDoktor Frau Doktor]]: Dr. Vahlen.
* FunWithAcronyms: The '''S'''uper '''H'''eavy '''I'''nfantry '''V'''ehicle
* FreudianTrio: Dr. Vahlen (Id), Dr. Shen (Superego) and Officer Bradford (Ego).
* GatlingGood: The SHIV's default weapon is a minigun.
* GameMod: Several, some of which have re-enabled DummiedOut functions.
* GenreSavvy: Dr. Vahlen. Alone among the three advisers, she reacts much as the player does, not caring about the path you take to beat the aliens you can and realizing that aliens are more valuable alive than dead. When Bradford acts as though XCOM has won [[spoiler: when you destroy the alien base]], she raises an eyebrow [[spoiler: and prepares to interrogate/autopsy the Sectoid Commander as well as study the captured Hyperwave Beacon]], thinking it was too easy. She's right.
* GiantMook: Mutons in general, as well as Heavy Floaters.
* GlassCannon: The Sniper class is decently fast but can't fire their sniper rifle at all after moving, unless a specific class perk is taken, and also has lower base health progression than the other classes. Still, they can dole out an incredible amount of damage from extreme ranges with the highest base critical rate and most accurate weapons available. If you take the perk that allows the Sniper to shoot twice in one turn, it can be a bit of a GameBreaker, where a Sniper can take off 3/4 of a Sectopods health in one turn on Normal.
* GlobalCurrency: Some sort of universal currency system is in place. 10 credits is enough to pay the full hiring costs of a soldier. 100 credits is how much it costs (initially) to put a satellite in orbit. That is actually quite a lot, and you won't make much money in your first month[[labelnote:*]] As a comparison, in your first month, assuming you scrape together the money to build a second satellite (or start with the Tutorial or on difficulties below Classic, which gives you one for free) and have a satellite over Russia and the United States, the two biggest sources of monthly funding, you can expect to have, after expenses, about 180 to 200 credits added to your funds at the end of the first month[[/labelnote]].
* GoneHorriblyRight: [[spoiler: As it turns out, the XCOM project as a whole. The Ethereals invaded to motivate the creation of the project so they could weaponize the inherent versatility and {{Determinator}} outlook of the human race so we'd be useful enough to adopt as part of their alien empire and help them with ''something'' that's coming. Assuming you win, it worked too well.]]
* TheGreys: The Sectoids are back of course. By way of the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dover_Demon Dover Demon]] and VideoGame/DeusEx, by [[http://www.gameinformer.com/b/news/archive/2012/01/05/february-cover-revealed-xcom-enemy-unknown.aspx the looks of things]].
* GrapplingHookPistol: A built-in version in two of the armors.
* GratuitousGerman: Surprisingly averted with Dr. Vahlen, for the most part. She does speak German in the tutorial to a member of a [[JustifiedTrope German]] special forces team. She also shouts "Nein!" in one cutscene.
* HandCannon: Fully upgrade your pistols at the Foundry, research plasma pistols, and give them to Snipers with the "Gunslinger" ability and they will be able to kill even Mutons in one hit.
* HarderThanHard[=/=]IdiosyncraticDifficultyLevels: The difficulty levels are called "Easy", "Normal", "Classic"[[labelnote:*]]Prior to the European release and resulting patch, Classic was called {{X-COM}}[[/labelnote]] and above that, "Impossible", with "Classic" being meant to be the closest to the original game's difficulty (that could be achieved with the game mechanics of the 2012 remake) and "Impossible" even ''more'' difficult than that. There is also another difficulty modifier called "Ironman Mode", where the game will only have one save file for that playthrough, and will save for the player after every action during combat, meaning that if you make a mistake there is no reloading to before it happened. [[UpToEleven Now try that on Classic difficulty...]]
** Some designers also mentioned that the "Impossible" difficulty [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin is literally supposed to be]] {{Unwinnable}}. For most players, it's just a question of how many missions they can complete before failure. According to the staff, beating Impossible difficulty on Ironman mode is only ''theoretically'' possible. One player already managed to pull it off, though.
* HealThyself: Played with. While using the Medikit in combat immediately replenishes the lost HP, the soldier will still need infirmary time afterwards unless they're wearing sufficiently tough armor.
* HellishPupils: Thin Men have reptilian eyes, hence why they all wear sunglasses to appear more human.
* HelmetsAreHardlyHeroic: Your troops normally cannot wear helmets. It gets especially noticeable when they're wearing Titan armor, which has a high and large collar that seems to be made for being sealed while being used with a full-face helmet. The Elite Soldier Pack DLC contains cosmetic options which ''do'' have helmets, however.
* HeroInsurance: Your troops can freely blow up anything and everything during an Abduction or Terror mission with no consequences (other than potentially destroying cover you'll need later), and even accidentally killing civilians with poorly-aimed explosives will only net you a minor reduction in the mission rating. Justified in that XCOM represents the ''only'' hope of defeating the aliens and protecting humanity, and the [[ReasonableAuthorityFigure Council of Nations]] [[GodzillaThreshold is not worried about a few hundred thousand dollars worth of damage when the flip side is the possible extinction of the species]].
* HeroUnit: You can give one of your soldiers a specific name to turn them into a powerful XCOM Hero, though this will [[NoFairCheating lock out achievements]] for that playthrough.
** SidMeier "Godfather": A Psionic Support Colonel with 200 Will and ''all'' Psionic powers available to human units, [[spoiler: even the Rift]].
** Ken Levine "[[{{VideoGame/Bioshock}} Big Daddy]]": A Sniper Colonel with [[ImprobableAimingSkills 200 Aim]].
** Joe Kelly "Archangel": A Heavy Colonel with 100 Aim, higher than any non-Hero Unit.
** [[ShoutOut Otto Zander]] "Unbreakable": An Assault Colonel with [[MadeOfIron 100 Health]].
* HeroicSacrifice: [[spoiler: The Volunteer during the ending cinematic]].
* HeWhoFightsMonsters: Dr. Shen wonders if using the aliens' technology, which turned living beings into living weapons and tools, might not cause humanity to go down the same path.
* HissBeforeFleeing: Most of the time you stumble upon or are stumbled upon by a group of aliens, they have a mini-cutscene where they all turn around and look at you, growl, then they get a free turn to run to cover.
* [[spoiler: HiveMind: The Ethereal Collective]].
* HumanResources: The aliens are kidnapping humans for their own mysterious purposes, but you can turn this around on them. Many items you can create through Engineering or the Foundry require you to use up the bodies of aliens (you're ripping out their cybernetic implants or other useful material).
* HumansAreSpecial: [[spoiler:Turns out humans share the right combination of physical toughness and psionic potential, and the aliens want to make that specialness part of their empire.]]
* IDidWhatIHadToDo: [[spoiler: The Ethereals say this in response to ''something'' coming. They are not repentant about it, however: they did what they had to do ''because they could.]]''
* ImperialStormtrooperMarksmanshipAcademy: [[AvertedTrope Averted]], in stark contrast to the preceding titles' notorious reputation. Soldiers always shoot in the right direction and have a decent to-hit chance as long as they're within a reasonable range for the weapon they're holding. Most tellingly, grenades always go where they're supposed to. It makes you feel like you really ''are'' commanding the elite troopers that the original game ''claimed'' you were.
** Played straight for Heavies who miss with their rocket launchers: instead of the missile veering off-course after being fired, they blatantly aim off-target right before firing.
* InASingleBound: Thin Men are able to hop right up to the tops of buildings, yet another reason they are so nasty despite being physically frail.
** Even worse, the Chryssalids with their nasty melee attack can do it too.
* InstantWinCondition: [[spoiler: The last mission. The second you defeat the Uber-Ethereal, you win the game.]]
* InterfaceSpoiler: Even if you don't have line-of-sight to an area, and thus wouldn't know where the enemies are, you cannot make a move order into a square that contains an enemy. This is visible on the map.
** If you look at the list of global achievements on {{Steam}}, you'll see a handful that are listed as 0% other players getting them (aside from the usual NintendoHard ones) and don't show up on the stand alone list, and their descriptions seem to imply they're the kind of achievements that get awarded just for completing a story mission. Cue WildMassGuessing for future DLC.
* ItemCrafting: Most of the stuff you can research or manufacture requires you to expend more than just credits, but also various resources or items you've collected from the aliens. Alien Alloys and [[{{Unobtanium}} Elerium]] are the two big ones, but you also need to use up Weapon Fragments[[labelnote:*]]to rebuild the weapons from the broken pieces or study their structure to turn the technology to new ends[[/labelnote]] and the dead bodies of aliens[[labelnote:*]]to rip out their cybernetic implants to include in your new devices[[/labelnote]] for a lot of products.
* JackOfAllStats: The Support class has pretty average stats all-around, as do the assault rifles they wield.
* {{Jetpack}}: On the Archangel Armor and on the Floaters.
* JustPlaneWrong: In the Tutorial mission, a scanner identifies a downed German helicopter as a [=NH90=], while displaying a schematic of a UH-60 Blackhawk.
** [[FridgeBrilliance Flip "UH-60" upside down and see what it looks like.]] LawyerFriendlyCameo, maybe?
* KeystoneArmy: [[spoiler:Subverted the first time and played straight and justified the second time. Bradford thinks the aliens are done after you destroy their base... which quickly turns out to be an ''outpost'' of the main force. The Temple Ship's destruction does cripple the aliens, but given how it's destruction involves the deaths of most of the aliens' command staff and their leader, as well as how they were using it to supply their ships, that makes perfect sense.]]
* KungFuProofMook: Chryssalids, Cyberdiscs and Sectopods are immune to Stunning. Some enemies (including the aforementioned three) have the Hardened property, which drastically reduces the likelihood of a CriticalHit; more often than not, the reduction is big enough that you'll get a fat 0% chance to crit.
* LateArrivalSpoiler: Before the game's release, combing through the numerous preview videos and the demo revealed a lot of information ostensibly kept secret, such as (seemingly) the full roster of aliens, plot-important videos and details about autopsied alien invaders. If not careful, it's very easy to spoil yourself without trying.
* LeanAndMean: Thin Men.
* LightningBruiser: The Assault class is the only class that can dash/move twice and still shoot before the enemy has their turn, complete with numerous perks that significantly increase either their damage output or durability. They even get bonus hitpoints for wearing heavier armor, on top of having the best base health progression.
* LoadBearingBoss: [[spoiler: Killing the Uber-Ethereal in the final mission causes the Temple Ship to begin self-destructing from the resulting release of psionic energy and the damage caused by the alien orb going out of control, necessitating the Volunteer's HeroicSacrifice to prevent it from taking the Earth with it.]]
* LockAndLoadMontage: The introduction cutscene features this.
* MacGuffinDeliveryService: [[spoiler: How the aliens view the attack with your best psionic soldier on their Temple Ship. But since they still shoot on sight and never bother with any plan to get that soldier to join them, you will probably make them regret it. Alternatively: The Aliens wanted your best to be on that ship. Why? Its a test. Everything has been a test. This is the last to see if humanity has what it takes. To do what is left ambiguous.]]
* MadeOfIron: One of the Assault's tricks. They gain the 'Extra Conditioning' perk once they reach [[MajorlyAwesome Major]], which confers additional health depending on their armour. Give them the Titan PoweredArmour and a Chitin Vest, and they can soak up more damage than Cyberdisks and Berserkers.
** Heavies have the Will To Survive perk, which reduces all damage they take by 2 points while in any kind of cover, as long as they're not flanked.
* MadScientist: Downplayed: Dr. Vahlen, the head of Research, is definitely a lot more gung-ho about SCIENCE! than [[TheProfessor Dr. Shen]], though she does persist on [[TortureTechnician personally overseeing]] [[BewareTheNiceOnes any interrogation attempts]].
* MajorlyAwesome: Any soldier who makes it to Major, the second highest rank available, is certainly awesome.
* MauveShirt: Any Squaddie (any operative with a couple of missions or a kill under their belt, at least until you get the upgrade that gives the rank for free) is one. The customization of the troops grinds it in.
** Even moreso when they reach Sergeant, which is when your battle-hardened troopers earn themselves a custom, randomly-generated nickname (that you can then customize yourself, if you wish).
** Hell, even the highest ranking of your soldiers can qualify as Mauve Shirts. All it takes is a couple well placed shots, a single Chryssalid or Muton Berserker, or an Ethereal [[GrandTheftMe mind controlling one of your finest soldiers into shooting their buddies]] and even your most trusted and powerful soldiers can die. Made worse on [[NintendoHard Ironman mode]], wherein you can't reload your saves [[KilledOffForReal and those guys are gone for good.]]
* MechaMooks: Played with: the Drones are definitely these. They are numerous and die in one hit, but have the ability to [[ShootTheMedicFirst repair their bigger brethren]]. The Cyberdiscs and Sectopods, however, are vastly more dangerous, as they are bristling with firepower and very heavily armored.
* TheMenInBlack: The Thin Men, directly drawn from the eponymous rumors started in the 1950s about mysterious agents covering up UFO sightings. They're humanoid infiltrators with extreme agility and the ability to spray poison from a distance. It's strongly implied in the autopsy report that they are in fact genetically-altered Snakemen, or at least reptilian in origin.
** The Council representative is also a mysterious MIB, though at least he's on your side.
* MightyGlacier: The Heavy class packs some of the most powerful infantry weapons available to XCOM and are quite tough, but only have average movement speed and range. They also cannot fire their rocket launcher after moving.
* MindRape: The psionic aliens have the full range of [[SarcasmMode fun]] [[HeroicBSOD little]] [[MindManipulation tricks]] from the original, as well as [[GoddamnedBats likely]] [[PsychicAssistedSuicide even]] more. Unfortunately for them, [[HoistByTheirOwnPetard two can play at that game.]] [[spoiler: Which is exactly what the Ethereals want...]]
* MultiArmedAndDangerous: Ethereals have four arms now, though unlike other examples, this is probably more for RuleOfCool than anything else, since they attack only with psychic powers and don't even carry a weapon.
* MultinationalTeam: Much more diverse than in the original game; you can even get recruits from countries that aren't even part of the Council of Nations. It's not at all uncommon to have an entire six-person squad whose members are all from different countries. However, they all share the same pool of [[NotEvenBotheringWithTheAccent American accents]].
** In an odd twist, recruits from Scotland and recruits from the rest of the UK are treated as being from different countries, with their own flags and name pools, which might turn into FunnyAneurysmMoment given the Scottish Independence Referendum has been announced for 2014 and the game is set in....2015.
* MutualDisadvantage: It is possible to place a soldier in a position which has them flanking an enemy (negating their cover bonus and significantly increasing their chance of scoring a CriticalHit) whilst simultaneously having them be flanked by that enemy. Risky, but sometimes worth it.
** This is the Assault class' specialty, since their basic Run & Gun ability allows them to shoot after moving twice/dashing, allowing them to jump right behind the cover the aliens are in and pumping them full of buckshot/lasers/alloy shards in the same turn before they can act. They can also have the Lightning Reflexes ability, which forces the first reaction shot fired at them in a turn to miss.
* MythologyGag: (with a side of GeniusBonus)
** The Council of Nations is represented by a bald man wearing a suit sitting in the shadows. In the original game, the Funding screen and the end-of-month summary was displayed on a background with a very similar man holding a briefcase full of money.
** [[http://www.2kgames.com/blog/xcom-enemy-unknown-release-date-special-edition-and-more The pre-order bonus]] and the [[{{DLC}} Elite Soldier Pack]] includes a blonde dude with a humongous flat-top, as well as a [[VideoGame/TeamFortress2 TF2]] Hat depicting the same hairstyle.
** Manufacturing your first laser or plasma rifles has a cutscene where they're used on cardboard cutouts of the original Sectoids (for lasers) and Mutons (for plasma).
** The Thin Men are ''very strongly'' implied to be genetically-altered Snakemen. Even better, the original game implied that the Snakemen had a very dangerous and deadly poison, though it never made it into the game. One of the Thin Men's most dangerous attack is hitting you with a cloud of deadly poison.
** The Floater Autopsy report is codenamed 'Crimson Cape', a reference to these aliens' appearance in the original.
** The final mission is named 'Operation Avenger'. In the original, the Avenger was the transport ship X-Com had to build to reach the final mission on Mars.
** The Elerium research project is codenamed Project E-115, a reference to the original game where Elerium was referred to as the 115th element on the periodic table (This element, which only exists theoretically, is currently known under the provisional name [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ununpentium Ununpentium]], but like with all transuranic elements, the first research team to successfully produce it will be allowed to name it. It might be not too late to push for Elerium). In either case, its association with aliens in the original game is a reference to numerous conspiracy theories.
** The short musical cue that plays when a round of psi training is completed is from the original's Geoscape theme.
** The Achievement for building your first Firestorm is called "Ride the Lightning", which might refer to the much-maligned aircraft of the same name from the original.
** Muton Elites and Berserkers are red, just like "Mr. Angry Red Suit" who was never fought in the original.
* {{Nerf}}: Chryssalids as compared to the original, although that doesn't free them from DemonicSpider territory. Their attack no longer zombifies your units instantly (they have to ''kill'' that unit first via melee damage, which can be reduced by your units wearing the Chryssalids' ''own'' armor), and the zombies no longer need to be killed with fire to prevent a new Chryssalid from hatching (they can be killed within three turns with anything).
* NiceHat: The ''Slingshot'' DLC adds about a dozen new hair/helmet options, amongst which is a beret. There's also a beret-and-shades combo, for added {{Badass}}itude.
* NicknamingTheEnemy: Aliens in general are usually called [=ETs=] or X-rays during combat[[labelnote:*]]the "X-Ray" naming is part of the long-standing US military "theme naming", where the first letter of the enemy nationality is used to come up with a nickname. So we get '''G'''ermans becoming '''G'''erries, Viet '''C'''ong becoming '''C'''harlies, and e'''x'''traterrestrials becoming '''X'''-rays[[/labelnote]]. Also, during the Autopsy cutscenes or reports, Dr. Vahlen mentions that several aliens' designations were originally nicknames the troopers came up with that stuck.
* NoFairCheating: Turning one of your squad into a HeroUnit will disable achievements for that particular campaign.
* NomDeGuerre: Bradford's is "Central", the Skyranger is "Big Sky" and your squad is "Strike-One". Also, any soldier that makes it to Sergeant earns one, though the player can change it to whatever they prefer. They're randomly assigned, though each class has their own list of available nicknames.
* NoMouth: The Sectoids.
* NonStandardGameOver: If you fail the very first tactical mission by losing all four of your initial rookies, you don't get the option to return to base. The Council of Nations immediately decides that the XCOM project is a failure and shuts it down. You do get the option of restarting the mission, though.
* NotEvenBotheringWithTheAccent: Your soldiers are [[MultinationalTeam recruited from all over the world]], but they all speak perfect American English. Adding unique accents for every single member nation would probably be overkill for the developers, of course, which is why they went with this instead (see WeAllLiveInAmerica below).
* NoTranshumanismAllowed: Doctor Shen has shades of this on Psi abilities. Then again, it's completely new territory and the only other users/examples are the invading aliens, so his hesitation is understandable. [[spoiler:He's proven wrong, as the strongest human Psi user ever, The Volunteer, pulls a HeroicSacrifice to save the Earth.]]
** He also questions if something as cybernetically enhanced as the Floaters can even be considered a true lifeform anymore, saying "if that is humanity's future, I want no part of it". [[spoiler: The Uber-Ethereal reveals in the final mission that the Floaters were a failed project to create a resilient psionic species, and decided to rip out their organic parts to make them better weapons for the Ethereals' purposes, so Shen is exactly right in his assessment.]]
* NotUsingTheZWord: Averted, though lampshaded: Dr. Vahlen can't believe she's using the word "Zombie". You can ''lean'' on her hesitance.
* OhCrap: When things start to go against you in battles, your soldiers can freak out, panicking and losing their turn. The lower the soldier's Will score, the more likely they'll panic when another soldier dies, when they take a hit or when a Muton calls them out with their Intimidate ability. When they panic, they can shoot a random target (with an Aim penalty and randomly chosen from your other troopers, visible aliens and civilians), run for cover, hunker down or just run in general.
** In a metagame sense, you'll be saying this a lot when you encounter a new alien unit and they unleash an ability you haven't seen before. Additionally, every time you see Chryssalids (early-mid game) and Sectopods (all the time, especially if there's more than one).
* OldSchoolDogfighting: Battles between [=UFOs=] and your interceptors are pretty straightforward aerial shoot-outs. While your initial aerial weapon are the Avalanche missiles, you can later develop and equip various cannons, which force your interceptor to close in to dogfighting range. Crafting various modules in your base allows your interceptors one-time bonuses to Aim, Dodge, and Chase.
* OmnidisciplinaryScientist: Dr. Vahlen and every scientist in the labs. They are all equally versed in biology and physics, everything short of engineering (which is the domain of the engineers, who are themselves downplayed examples as they can work into anything that fits under the umbrella of "engineering"). Which is presumably why they were hired in the first place.
** Averted, just once, in a cutscene where Dr. Vahlen is trying to explain what the Outsider Crystal does. She's at a loss for words but then Dr. Shen steps in and says, "perhaps this is outside your field of expertise."[[spoiler: (It is an ''antenna''.)]]
* OneBulletClips: Another change from the original games, ammunition is no longer tracked as separate items and soldiers can reload at will.
* OneManArmy: There's an achievement for clearing a UFO crash site with just one soldier[[labelnote:*]]Specifically, you have to do it on Classic or Impossible, which only makes it worse[[/labelnote]]. It's pretty tricky ''even with'' superior equipment and tactics, and you definitely shouldn't try it with a rookie soldier.
* OperationBlank: Every XCOM ground mission gets a two-element codename (e.g. 'Operation Defiant Empire'). Most are random, but story missions and special council missions tend to have {{Meaningful Name}}s. Non-story missions may, however, end up with {{Word Salad Title}}s.
** Each research project also has a codename (e.g. 'Mobius'), which is unique to each project.
* OurWeaponsWillBeBoxyInTheFuture: Most pronounced with lasers. [[JustifiedTrope Justified]] in that they are designed and manufactured on short notice to create a useful weapon, not win a design contest. The plasma weapons are decidedly ''not'' boxy, but rather rounded and (in some cases) cylindrical, but they're copied from the alien designs rather than designed from the ground up. The Arc Thrower is essentially a cube sitting on top of a pistol grip.
** Also, going by the concept art and various in-game animations, [[http://img.gawkerassets.com/img/1833827d4wo89jpg/original.jpg they have a 'fold in' mode of sorts]], so the boxy-ness is something of a design requirement.
* PaperThinDisguise: Thin Men are only nominally human-looking. Their proportions put them right in the UncannyValley, they've got reptilian eyes under their sunglasses and they've got green scales showing right around the collar line on their necks, like their human makeup is wearing off. They never fool your XCOM team.
** Openly carrying light plasma rifles and attacking the XCOM team on sight doesn't help either. But, you'll encounter ''only'' Thin Men in some of the Council missions, so their disguise may work on the civilian population.
* PinnedDown: The Suppression ability available to Heavies, Supports, and some aliens. It penalizes the target's accuracy and allows the suppressor to take a free reaction shot if the target moves.
* PoisonousPerson: The Thin Men: they're highly toxic and can spit poison clouds at your group. They also create a poison cloud when they die.
* PostMortemOneLiner: All unit voices come with some remarks following a successful kill:
-->''"He's out of the game."''
-->''"Kill confirmed."''
-->''"Dead and gone."''
* PoweredArmor: The Titan Armor, which comes with immunity to fire and poison. You also get an achievement called "Man No More" once you build one.
* PreMortemOneLiner: Though not stated directly to the aliens, Assault class soldiers will issue one when you activate their Run & Gun skill. Made even more badass if accompanied by the Ghost Armor's invisibility and wrapped up with a provided PostMortemOneLiner:
-->''"Going silent."'' [cloaking]
-->''"Moving in for the kill."'' / ''"Gun 'em down!"'' [Run & Gun]
* {{Precursors}}: [[spoiler: The Uber Ethereal mentions "Them" who promised his kind [[AscendToAHigherPlaneOfExistence ascension]], but ultimately failed to deliver.]]
** [[spoiler: The Ethereals are AbusivePrecursors to the other alien species, having [[UpliftedAnimal uplifted]] them all to use as proxy soldiers, tools and psionic sustenance.]]
* PretentiousLatinMotto: ''Vigilio, Confido'' (possible translations include "[[http://www.pageofreviews.com/2012/08/vigilo-confido-translating-x-com%E2%80%99s-new-motto/ I am watchful, I am relied upon]]" and "[[TemptingFate watch, I am confident]]") on XCOM's logo.
* TheProfessor: Dr. Shen, the head of Engineering. [[ActualPacifist He occasionally wonders out loud if XCOM's technology will be repurposed for war if the aliens are fought off]], [[TechnicalPacifist though he quickly decides that we can jump that hurdle when it comes]].
* ProudWarriorRaceGuy: ''All'' of the Mutons. Shoot one without killing it? The guy will likely come out of cover roaring and [[BoisterousBruiser pounding his chest like no tomorrow, taunting you]], probably scaring any rookie nearby. These guys clearly enjoy their job, and it's obvious why the Ethereals like having them as bodyguards.
** They do the same thing as they enthusiastically gun down unarmed civilians.
* PsychicLink: Sectoids can use their telepathic abilities to boost the stats of their allies with an ability called Mind Merge: the target gets +10% to Aim and +1 HP for a turn. [[spoiler: What you're not told until you figure it out for yourself is that killing the Sectoid that's boosting the other unit kills them both as a result of psychic backlash.]] However, killing an alien who has mind-controlled one of your soldiers doesn't harm the soldier, who is placed under your control again.
** There is a sole exception to this rule: [[spoiler:In the final mission on the Temple Ship, when you kill the Uber-Ethereal, he releases control of whatever soldier he has undoubtedly seized control of, and all of the other enemies in the room explode; including any soldiers that the other Ethereals have control of. The ending triggers immediately afterwards, with the only thing left of your soldier being a scorch mark on the ground.]]
* PsychicPowers: The Gift comes with many more abilities than the traditional mind control. Among other things, [[spoiler:Ethereals can now ''reflect your laser and plasma shots back at you.'' Eep.]]
** You can gain them yourself, with 5 different powers available to your "gifted" soldiers: Mindfray, a damaging attack that also debuffs the target, Psi-Panic, a panic-inducing attack, Psi-Inspiration, an ability that bolsters your allies' Will, Telekinetic Field, a telekinetic defensive field, and good old Mind Control. [[spoiler: The Volunteer gains another one, the Rift, that deals massive [=AOE=] damage and can tap into the Ethereal Hive Mind.]] SidMeier can have all of them.
* PureEnergy: The Outsider constructs.
* TheQuisling: One of the {{Escort Mission}}s has a politician who (supposedly) is in collusion with the aliens as the escortee.
* ReasonableAuthorityFigure: Funnily enough, [[TheOmniscientCouncilOfVagueness the Council of Nations]] is this. In any other game, they'd be the antagonist, but here, they provide XCOM with the funding they need to keep things running, request special missions that provide the second highest decrease in panic levels (next to Terror missions), and only complain if you're failing at your job to repel the alien threat.
* {{Reconstruction}}: The game takes everything that was cheesy about the first one, brings it back, modernizes it and makes it cool. For example, Floaters are still cybernetic flying aliens, but instead of being lumpy purple guys in capes who float lazily through the air, they are legless torsos with jetpacks that zoom around the battlefield and look menacing. Mutons are still green and purple, but they do ''not'' look like humans in a suit anymore, and they're terrifying when they first appear. Chrysalids will still ruin your entire day, just like in the original, but they look like horrible blade-footed quadrupeds mixed with deep-sea fish rather than a man wearing a lobster suit.
* RedOniBlueOni: Dr Vahlen and Dr Shen. Dr Vahlen is enthused by the potential [[ForScience research and science]] that can be gleaned from examining the aliens, while Dr Shen is concerned and disgusted by what the aliens use the tech for and whether [[HeWhoFightsMonsters humanity mind wind up treading the same path]].
* {{Retraux}}: Several character sheets of the aliens were released as promotional material and [[http://i.imgur.com/zrkeH.jpg all of them included their sprite from the original game for comparison]]. What about the Thin Man, who was widely different from the Snake Man, you might ask? [[http://i.imgur.com/Bqkog.jpg Why, the developers made an entirely new old-style sprite for him, of course]].
* RoarBeforeBeating: Floaters and Mutons.
* RocketTagGameplay: Early-game works like this. Sectoids, Thin Men and Floaters don't have many hit points, but are armed with deadly plasma weapons that can kill your rookies in one hit. Your rookies only have a smattering of hit points themselves, but their starting assault rifles and frag grenades are more than enough to kill the Sectoids and Thin Men in one hit (except on [[HarderThanHard Impossible]]). Later in the game, when you have better armor and the hardier alien species show up, you'd better have a good understanding of tactics and teamwork when that Muton doesn't go down in one hit.
* RuleOfCool: Pump-action ''lasers''.
* SadisticChoice: Any time there are Abduction missions. You can only save one of the cities at a time and panic ''will'' rise on the continents you didn't deploy to. It takes some skilful juggling just to keep the panic level from going completely critical.
* SaveScumming: Just as practical and common a technique as in the original, much to the chagrin of some members of the fanbase. That said, you can't just reload a game to change the outcome: The 'seed'[[labelnote:*]]The core number the RNG uses to determine what happens[[/labelnote]] doesn't change when reloading a saved game. In layman's terms, Soldier A misses a 98% shot, he'll always miss that shot if you keep reloading from that specific save. You'll have to move another soldier, maybe have him fire, or just skip Soldier A's turn for a better probability.
* SergeantRock: As with ColonelBadass, some of your troops will probably end up like this. Can lean into DrillSergeantNasty with the right voice option;
-->'''Support, using the Medkit on another soldier:''' ''"Rub some dirt on it you wimp!"''
* SelfInsert: The {{Hero Unit}}s include Firaxis staff and Ken Levine from 2K Games.
* SequelHook: The fact that [[spoiler: the Uber-Ethereal mentions needing humanity uplifted for ''something'']] did not go unnoticed by players.
* ShoutOut: To [=GuavaMoment=]'s LetsPlay of the X-COM series. One of the hero units is Otto Zander, the hero of the series.
** This can also carry certain unfortunate, unintended implications for people unfamiliar with the Let's Play, as Otto Zander was also the name of a prominent Nazi. (It should be noted that the name choice was intentional in said LP, considering the character development Otto underwent...)
** Also several Achievements:
*** The achievement for building the base all the way to the deepest level available is called "[[TheLordOfTheRings Drums in the Deep]]".
*** Successfully [[HoistByTheirOwnPetard mind-controlling an Ethereal]] unlocks "[[XMen Xavier]]".
*** Winning a mission with an [[AmazonBrigade all female squad]] unlocks "[[RideOfTheValkyries Flight Of The Valkyries]]".
*** Staffing the research department with 80 scientists nets you "Oppenheimer".
*** Building your first SHIV gets the achievement "[[RoboCop You Have 5 Seconds to Comply]]."
*** A soldier mind-controlling an enemy might say:
-->''"[[Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries My thoughts to your thoughts.]]"''
** Bradford occasionally delivers several lines when you're in the Situation Room. Some of them are:
-->''"Are you really using our tracking terminal to play VideoGame/{{Civilization}}?! I at least hope you're going for a Military victory."''
-->''"Some nut calling himself [[{{UFO}} Commander Straker]] has been all over the news talking about 'SHADO agents'."''
** Using the Arc Thrower to stun an alien results in soldier dialog. Some of the random bits that play are:
-->''"[[BackToTheFuture 1.21 Gigawatts]], baby!"''
-->''"[[{{Music/Metallica}} Ride the lightning]]!"''
** The Chryssalid autopsy research project is codenamed [[Creator/RidleyScott Ridley]]. [[ChestBurster Appro]][[Franchise/{{Alien}} priate]].
** One of the Cyberdisc's abilities is the [[Film/TheLastStarfighter Death Blossom]].
* SinisterShades: Thin Men wear these in order to hide their HellishPupils.
* SoleSurvivor: The tutorial mission ends with only Delta 2 from Argentina surviving. Losing three-quarters of your initial squad ''in the tutorial'' sets the tone for the rest of the game: it will not be easy. People ''will'' die.
** You can avoid that if you skip the tutorial, although you'll miss the chance at some early loot and a starting Heavy. [[EarnYourHappyEnding Unless of course you use that first tactical mission to utterly annihilate every X-Ray you see and come out with zero casualties.]]
* SpySatellites: Used to search for [=UFOs=] outside of your main base's radar coverage. Keeping satellite coverage heavy is important to keep the various nations from withdrawing from the Council (and more importantly, funding ''you'', as only countries with satellite coverage will give you monthly donations) and the aliens visible and chaseable. If you don't diligently shoot down [=UFOs=] with your interceptors, your satellites can be shot down, necessitating an expensive and time-consuming replacement. Fortunately, you can also research stealth enhancements for your satellites at the Foundry, making them harder for the aliens to find.
** Satellite coverage has another, less-advertised result: if a country has coverage at the start of a month, it will no longer be possible for the aliens to start abductions in that country. Thus, in addition to giving you the continent-specific bonus, locking down a continent with complete coverage will stop its panic level from rising (assuming you don't fail any Interceptions, Raids or Terror Missions).
* StuffBlowingUp: Grenades and rocket launchers are extremely effective at completely blowing the stuffing out of the aliens. The downside is that they blow up any salvageable material (including Weapon Fragments, if you kill an alien with them) in their blast radius, but hey, if you get the opportunity to completely waste a group of weak enemies, then by all means, annihilate them! Better than losing your squad. Also, melee aliens like the Chryssalids don't provide Weapon Fragments in the first place, so feel free to blow them to pieces.
** You can also use them to just blow up the aliens' cover, allowing your other troopers to shoot them without an accuracy penalty. Using them to soften up a group of very tough enemies is also viable, as Weapon Fragments are only lost if they're ''killed'' with explosives.
* StupidityIsTheOnlyOption: The tutorial involves the initial squad charging into unknown territory and subsequently getting ambushed while investigating a German soldier acting oddly. Because of the structure of the tutorial, it happens while trying to disarm the (armed, unresponsive) German by sending one man to him in plain view and the team is unable to establish Overwatch before the ambush triggers.
** Even though you know your mind control ability is only temporary, you can't have your squad shoot or stun your mind controlled subject until he breaks free, unless you use up your limited amount of explosives. Having the aliens kill it for you gives your squad a Will penalty for the rest of the mission, since it's marked as a teammate while mind controlled, so that's out too.
* SuicidalOverconfidence: {{Zig Zagged|Trope}}. Most aliens avert this; they'll sound the retreat, fall back to better cover and call for help if they feel they're outnumbered and/or outgunned. Chryssalids and Muton Berserkers play this straight[[labelnote:*]]though this has more to do with their nature than their intelligence: they don't understand cover or falling back[[/labelnote]]; these two will (usually) charge ahead instead (note that they can move, but not attack in your turn), allowing you to shoot them point blank in the face. In the case of the Berserkers, there's a good chance an Assault can shoot one 3 times in one turn with the right abilities and when in the right position.
* SurpassedTheTeacher: [[spoiler: The entire invasion was really a training program intended to uplift humanity to the point where we could serve as part of the Ethereals' army. Unfortunately, like most other alien invaders, they underestimated just how [[HumansAreWarriors tough]] humans are. [[NintendoHard Assuming you win.]]]]
* TakeCover: The biggest gameplay change over the original (aside from the removal of Time Units) is this. Your troops will hunker down next to various objects when possible and this is absolutely vital to not getting your soldiers' heads blown off. Technically, you could take cover in the original X-Com too, but only through micro-managing your troops' time units to duck out from behind walls before ducking back in; here, it's all automatic.
* TakeThat: [[TakeThatAudience To the players]]. When assaulting the alien base, you will see a table with some lights on it. Dr. Shen remarks that it's probably what the aliens use for entertainment and follows up with:
-->''"At least they aren't playing... computer games."''
* TechnologyPorn: Once you complete certain research or just after you've manufactured some new weapons.
* TechLevels: Ballistic Weapons < Laser Weapons < Plasma Weapons. Several class abilities refer to the weapon's tech level.
* TeleportingKeycardSquad: Thin Men sometimes spawn out of nowhere after you complete some objectives in Council missions.
* TheComputerIsACheatingBastard: Though the alien AI is quite intelligent and generally plays by the same rules, they do get a few one-sided advantages.
** Enemy units get a free move to find cover when they are first spotted by one of your soldiers, making it impossible to get the jump on them. This makes some sense, since they usually start out in the open where they would be completely vulnerable, but they still get the free move even when it's already their turn. Needless to say, [[MyRulesAreNotYourRules your soldiers don't get the same luxury]]. Of course, since they get to ''move'', the aliens still trigger Overwatch.
*** Technically, they get their free move when they spot you. All units have the same sight range normally, but from an elevated position or using the Ghost Armor's cloaking ability or the Sniper's Battle Scanner, you can set up a situation where you can see them but they can't see you.
*** On the other hand, if they spot you in ''their'' turn, they don't get the opportunity to shoot at you, since they ''must'' use their full turn on the "getting into cover" maneuver.
*** Even worse, certain alien types like Berserkers and Chryssalids (usually) won't use their free move to get to cover. On their turn, they could run out with their first move, spot you, and then run again right next to your units, crossing half the map in one turn. An alternative is to spot a Berserker right at the end of your turn, and enjoy the short cutscene of him 'Taking Cover' right next to your pointman. Cue 'Alien Activity'....
** Enemies can spawn almost anywhere on the map, including behind your soldiers. However, this is never ''unfair'', because the enemies that spawn this way only do so on certain Council missions, you're warned that they're about to do so, they're ''always'' Thin Men (the second weakest enemy) and they ''never'' attack or even move when they spawn, instead just setting up Overwatch. They still trigger reaction shots, and you're shown where they show up even if you don't have line-of-sight on the area. In general, this is more advantageous to ''you''.
*** Actually, an unfortunate bug can cause aliens to spawn right within your group entirely without reason or warning. This is due to the fact that enemy 'patrols' in the fog of war are nothing more than the groups of aliens sitting in a small group, waiting several turns, and then instantly teleporting to a different location on the map.
** In general, alien units follow the same rules you do: they can move twice, move once and shoot, shoot to end their turn, or move and set up Overwatch. Sectopods, being giant, massively armed war machines, can shoot twice ''and'' still catch your soldiers with reaction fire (but only if they take the time to set up) in a single turn. Combined with their massive HP totals (more than any other unit in the game) and extremely high defense (-30% to be hit), they're incredible devastating when you encounter them, breaking the rules you've been following for the whole game. [[spoiler: And the final mission throws TWO of them at you at once! Fortunately this is why the Volunteer was given [[LastDiscMagic The Rift]].]]
* TheEngineer: Dr Shen and everyone else in Engineering. There's also a military Combat Engineer, Sergeant Carlock, in a Council mission.
* ThemeNaming: All the research project [[OperationBlank codenames]] for the various plasma weapons and the Alloy Cannon are various types of [[AnimalThemeNaming birds]].
* TheOmniscientCouncilOfVagueness: The Council, of course, complete with a mysterious man with his face framed in shadow who signs off by saying:
-->''"We... will be watching."''
** And although their entire style and word choice fulfills every ConspiracyTheorist's nightmare, they are in effect {{Reasonable Authority Figure}}s who only complain if you slack off against the aliens.
* TookALevelInBadass: Floaters. They had absolutely horrible AI combined with the worst marksmanship of the aliens in the original game, as bad as some of your rookie troopers. Now, they can drop out from the sky right behind your squad's flank from almost anywhere on the map, use their unlimited flight time to their advantage to pin down your soldiers and lastly, have a significant facelift so they look like fearsome aliens with jetpacks and not [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking a weird guy trying to look like Superman]].
* TortureTechnician: Not a character, but a continent: South America's continent bonus is called "[[WeHaveWaysOfMakingYouTalk We Have Ways]]", allowing XCOM to perform Autopsies or Interrogations instantly. Pain is the universal language!
** Dr. Vahlen, who designed the interrogation system, an off-screen process which avoids the translation barrier by almost literally ''ripping the information out of their brains and/or implants''. Officer Bradford admits that he is a bit creeped out by her methods.
* TransformingMecha: The Cyberdiscs can transform between a nigh-invulnerable but unarmed disc form and a vulnerable but heavily-armed floating insect-bot form.
* TwentyMinutesIntoTheFuture: Set in 2015. The world is almost exactly the same as it was on the game's release date in terms of technology and geopolitics, with a few exceptions. For example, military technology is slightly more advanced and Scotland seems to be an independent country.
* {{Unobtainium}}: Elerium and the alien alloy. Neither of them can be found on Earth or artificially created, meaning your only source is from the cold dead hands of the aliens.
** So far. Both Dr. Shen and Dr. Vahlen muses that, with a few years of concentrated research, they could make the stuff become widely available. Problem is, you don't have months available, let alone years.
* UnusableEnemyEquipment: Alien weapons self-destruct in this game if you kill an alien (without using explosives). If you stun them, however, you're good, though due to how the game engine works, you can't just scoop up fallen weapons in the middle of battle for use. Justified in universe in that alien gear does not follow human ergonomics and would be awkward for your soldiers to use (for example, Sectoid Plasma Pistols are wrist-mounted, while the Mutons' regular and Heavy Plasma Rifles are too bulky and uncomfortable for human use without modifications). Recovered alien gear is (off-screen, for free) modified for human use by your engineering team, according to the research reports.
** This trope also applies to alien crafts. If you secure a landed UFO intact, you should have a working alien ship. But you can only scavenge its systems and dismantle it for raw materials, even when your scientists have already reverse-engineered the UFO navigation and power/propulsion technology to build the [[CoolPlane Firestorm]] and should be able to fly it.
* UnstableEquilibrium: Early-game is typically the hardest part of the game. You've got no territory, little income, inexperienced soldiers, no technology (yet) and the aliens outnumber you. Later on, you have the option of getting goodies that even the aliens wish they had and soldiers with ImprobableAimingSkills who can mow down aliens like Rambo even with [[RockBeatsLaser basic ballistic weapons]] and snipers who can pop the aliens' heads from across the map.
** Then psi powers enter the game, and the rules change... and again, once you have one or more psi troopers of your own.
* UpliftedAnimal: [[spoiler: Most of the aliens that serve the Ethereals have been conquered and uplifted or altered to some degree in their search for "gifted" species. The Chryssalids are the most striking example, since they began as feral animals... and didn't really evolve from that state.]]
* VendorTrash: Some items, usually damaged ship components, alien surgery equipment and the like. Vendor Trash items are clearly labelled in your inventory as "having no use for research projects".
* VFormationTeamShot: On the box art. Also, your team prior to deployment will stand like this, allowing you to review them and their gear.
* VideoGameCaringPotential: Unlike the original game, you'll (probably) get attached to your soldiers this time, and not just treat them as {{Red Shirt}}s. Especially the [[SoleSurvivor Argentinian Heavy]] from the tutorial.
* VideoGameCrueltyPotential: Have four Heavies? Check. Four civilians next to a truck you wanna use for cover? Check. Sending in anyone to rescue them? Nah. Sending a rocket to blow it to hell along with the four civilians? Check. [[KarmaHoudini Earning an Excellent rating? Check]].
* VillainBall: There is a time and a place to have your AGodIAm moment. The moment when an elite and well-equipped kill team is slaughtering its way through your elite guard on their way towards you is '''not that time'''.
* WakeUpCallBoss: The Chryssalids.
* WaveMotionGun: The Sectopod has ''two'': a fusion lance for burning your dudes to a fine, ''fine'' ash, and a plasma beam for the reaction shots.
** You can also get one for your Firestorms if you salvage an intact fusion core from a downed Battleship.
* WeAllLiveInAmerica: No matter which country you deploy in, the buildings and cars (especially the yellow cabs) look like American cities or towns, not to mention the complete lack of accents for your soldiers. Since each map is hand-crafted, however, this is understandable.
** However, the planned {{DLC}}s are looking to avert this (the first one, the ''Slingshot'' Content Pack, includes maps in China, though they're only for specific Council missions).
* WeAREStrugglingTogether: Averted for the most part. The council is made up of most of the G20 countries and a few others that give you money and support to keep everyone alive. Though a few countries will bail if they feel they would be better off on their own.
** This trope is why Zhang defects to Xcom during his missions. He realizes that the Triads squabbling for money and power is kinda pointless when Aliens are attacking.
* WeBuyAnything: The good ol' Gray Market is the secret auction house for XCOM's funding nations and if you don't think you're going to be using that pile of Sectoid corpses (though you can craft stuff with them, so don't sell too many) you may as well sell them for money. Early-game, this will probably be your primary means of income.
* YouLoseAtZeroTrust: Nations have a Panic Meter that goes from 1 to 5. When it hits 5, they are in grave danger of pulling their funding from the XCOM project by the end of the month (if you fail a Terror mission in their country, they pull funding immediately, even if they have less than 5 panic), as they decide to redirect their funding to keep their own people under control. You lose the game when you lose eight nations total (half of the founding nations, in other words), regardless of the panic levels in the other nations, as the Council of Nations decides that the project is a failure. This will happen a whole lot more often on harder difficulties.
* ZombieApocalypse: The Chryssalids always show up during your first Terror mission, when your team probably isn't very well equipped or experienced, and there's 18 tasty civilians to snack on and turn into zombies. At least now, the resulting zombies only turn into Chryssalids after several turns, instead of on death.

----

''Good luck, Commander. [[CatchPhrase And remember,]] [[TheOmniscientCouncilOfVagueness we]] [[ParanoiaFuel will be watching.]]''
[[redirect:VideoGame/XCOMEnemyUnknown]]
19th Dec '12 3:00:10 AM REV6Pilot
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* HelmetsAreHardlyHeroic: Your troops normally cannot wear helmets. It gets especially noticeable when they're wearing Titan armor, which has a high and large collar that seems to be made for being sealed while being used with a full-face helmet.
** The Elite Soldier Pack DLC contains cosmetic options which ''do'' have helmets, however.

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* HelmetsAreHardlyHeroic: Your troops normally cannot wear helmets. It gets especially noticeable when they're wearing Titan armor, which has a high and large collar that seems to be made for being sealed while being used with a full-face helmet.
**
helmet. The Elite Soldier Pack DLC contains cosmetic options which ''do'' have helmets, however.
18th Dec '12 11:15:14 PM VutherA
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Added DiffLines:

* HelmetsAreHardlyHeroic: Your troops normally cannot wear helmets. It gets especially noticeable when they're wearing Titan armor, which has a high and large collar that seems to be made for being sealed while being used with a full-face helmet.
** The Elite Soldier Pack DLC contains cosmetic options which ''do'' have helmets, however.
17th Dec '12 3:49:48 AM randomfox
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** This can also carry certain unfortunate, unintended implications for people unfamiliar with the Let's Play, as Otto Zander was also the name of a prominent Nazi.

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** This can also carry certain unfortunate, unintended implications for people unfamiliar with the Let's Play, as Otto Zander was also the name of a prominent Nazi. (It should be noted that the name choice was intentional in said LP, considering the character development Otto underwent...)
16th Dec '12 8:04:18 AM REV6Pilot
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* WeAREStrugglingTogether: Adverted for the most part. The council is made up of most of the G20 countries and a few others that give you money and support to keep everyone alive. Though a few countries will bail if they feel they would be better off on their own.

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* WeAREStrugglingTogether: Adverted Averted for the most part. The council is made up of most of the G20 countries and a few others that give you money and support to keep everyone alive. Though a few countries will bail if they feel they would be better off on their own.
14th Dec '12 8:22:16 PM aoirann
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* BlackBox: Most if not all of the technology that the Science and Engineering departments come up with is this. They have no idea how exactly it all works but they can replicate it.


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* WeAREStrugglingTogether: Adverted for the most part. The council is made up of most of the G20 countries and a few others that give you money and support to keep everyone alive. Though a few countries will bail if they feel they would be better off on their own.
** This trope is why Zhang defects to Xcom during his missions. He realizes that the Triads squabbling for money and power is kinda pointless when Aliens are attacking.
13th Dec '12 3:23:16 PM NeoSilverThorn
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** The Thin Man aliens take their facial features from Sid Meier.
11th Dec '12 9:11:47 PM Ecthel
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* HeroUnit: You can give one of your soldiers a specific name to turn them into a powerful XCOM Hero, though this will [[NoFairCheating lock out achievements]] for that playthrough.
** SidMeier "Godfather": A Psionic Support Colonel with 200 Will and ''all'' Psionic powers available to human units, [[spoiler: even the Rift]].
** Ken Levine "[[{{VideoGame/Bioshock}} Big Daddy]]": A Sniper Colonel with [[ImprobableAimingSkills 200 Aim]].
** Joe Kelly "Archangel": A Heavy Colonel with 100 Aim, higher than any non-Hero Unit.
** [[ShoutOut Otto Zander]] "Unbreakable": An Assault Colonel with [[MadeOfIron 100 Health]].



** That still doesn't excuse Heavies who miss with their bazookas: instead of the missile veering off-course when fired, they blantantly aim off-target right before firing while still saying it's a targetting error.

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** That still doesn't excuse Played straight for Heavies who miss with their bazookas: rocket launchers: instead of the missile veering off-course when after being fired, they blantantly blatantly aim off-target right before firing while still saying it's a targetting error.firing.



* NoFairCheating: Turning one of your squad into a [[HeroUnit hero unit]] will disable achievements for that particular campaign.

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* NoFairCheating: Turning one of your squad into a [[HeroUnit hero unit]] HeroUnit will disable achievements for that particular campaign.
11th Dec '12 7:22:16 PM Arca
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* NiceHat: The ''Slingshot'' DLC adds about a dozen new hair/helmet options, amongst which is a beret. There's also a beret-and-shades combo, for added {{Badass}}itude.
10th Dec '12 8:14:22 PM Arca
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The first {{DLC}} for the series, entitled ''Slingshot'', is scheduled for release late this year. It will add a series of inter-connected Council missions centered on China and the Triad, with, among other things, a unique Hero unit as a reward and [[spoiler:the chance to get the Blaster Launcher and Fusion Lance technologies without having to resort to the relatively hard task of shooting down a Battleship]].

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The first {{DLC}} for the series, entitled ''Slingshot'', is scheduled for release late this year. was released on the 4th of December 2012. It will add adds additional soldier customization options, a series of inter-connected Council missions centered on China and the Triad, with, among Triad(s) with (among other things, things) a unique Hero unit as a reward reward, and [[spoiler:the chance to get the Blaster Launcher and Fusion Lance technologies without having to resort to the relatively hard task of shooting down a Battleship]].
This list shows the last 10 events of 465. Show all.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/article_history.php?article=VideoGame.X-ComEnemyUnknown2012