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* AlwaysOnDuty: Heavily implied for your soldiers. They're always available to go at a moment's notice when it's time to scramble the Skyranger for a mission, unless they're in the infirmary, being genetic modified, on a covert op or undergoing PSI testing. You can send the same squad on mission after mission, sometimes hours apart, without your soldiers getting time off. Taken to its logical conclusion, they live at the base, never take leave, and don't even go into town for a night out [[JustifiedTrope since the potential consequences for not being available when needed, which could happen at any given time, include the loss of Earth to the aliens.]]

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* AlwaysOnDuty: Heavily implied for your soldiers. They're always available to go at a moment's notice when it's time to scramble the Skyranger for a mission, unless they're in the infirmary, being genetic modified, on a covert op or undergoing PSI testing. You can send the same squad on mission after mission, sometimes hours apart, without your soldiers getting time off. Taken to its logical conclusion, they live at the base, never take leave, and don't even go into town for a night out [[JustifiedTrope since the potential consequences for not being available when needed, which could happen at any given time, include the loss of Earth to the aliens.]] aliens.



** New blurbs from countries at low panic will mention how reported alien sightings or people killing aliens are met with skepticism and accusations of drug usage, despite, you know, the whole alien invasion. This borders into ignorance if the country was panicking previously but has since calmed, but eventually {{averted}} as panic rises.

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** New blurbs from countries at low panic will mention how reported alien sightings or people killing aliens are met with skepticism and accusations of drug usage, despite, you know, the whole alien invasion. This borders into ignorance if the country was panicking previously but has since calmed, but eventually {{averted}} as panic rises.calmed.



* 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|Trope}}, since 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]].

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* 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|Trope}}, since Since 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]].



* 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 its 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.]]

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* 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 its 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.]]



** In full effect with XCOM's hardware, and most pronounced with lasers; {{Justified|Trope}} in that they are designed and manufactured on short notice to create a usable 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 models 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.

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** In full effect with XCOM's hardware, and most pronounced with lasers; {{Justified|Trope}} in that they are designed and manufactured on short notice to create a usable weapon, not win a design contest.lasers. The plasma weapons are decidedly ''not'' boxy, but rather rounded and (in some cases) cylindrical, but they're copied from the alien models 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.



* SuspiciouslySmallArmy: XCOM can only field 99 soldiers in total, which is barely more than two platoons at best, and then send a maximum of 6 soldiers to clear a city of aliens. Yet they're tasked with stopping an entire global invasion. Somewhat justified, as XCOM is more of a black-ops unit tasked with assaulting key objectives, while leaving the heavy fighting to the rest of the Earth's militaries. Additionally, XCOM's mandate isn't to fight the war directly, but rather to ''win'' it, by identifying the aliens' weaknesses and exploiting them to stop the invasion. XCOM isn't a conventional military organization, but rather a very narrowly-focused, specialized unit, like a self-contained Delta Force.

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* SuspiciouslySmallArmy: XCOM can only field 99 soldiers in total, which is barely more than two platoons at best, and then send a maximum of 6 soldiers to clear a city of aliens. Yet they're tasked with stopping an entire global invasion. Somewhat justified, as It's established early on that XCOM is more of a black-ops unit tasked with assaulting key objectives, while leaving the heavy fighting to the rest of the Earth's militaries. Additionally, XCOM's mandate isn't to fight the war directly, but rather to ''win'' it, by identifying the aliens' weaknesses and exploiting them to stop the invasion. XCOM isn't a conventional military organization, but rather a very narrowly-focused, specialized unit, like a self-contained Delta Force.



* UnusableEnemyEquipment: [[ZigZaggedTrope Goes back and forth]].
** Played straight at first, but {{justified|Trope}}: alien weapons self-destruct when they're killed even if you don't use explosives (if you do, you won't get even the fragments). Subverted later on, as you can capture intact alien weapons if you use an Arc Thrower on the enemy. You still can't swap them mid-mission, [[JustifiedTrope as they're not built to human ergonomic standards and would be awkward to use at best]].
** ZigZagged in ''Enemy Within''. EXALT weapons are recovered after missions and can be used by your own soldiers. However, they're [[PaletteSwap mechanically identical]] to your own weapon counterparts and [[VendorTrash are meant to be sold to the Council once you decide you have enough]]; it's less pronounced with the Elites' laser hardware in case you didn't prioritize beam weapon production, so you can get your Heavies, Snipers and Supports or rifle Assaults all kitted out with lasers without spending a penny. Played straight with the unique gene mods on most of their Elite units, which are "Iron Skin" (Elite Heavies)[[note]]reduces damage by 25%[[/note]], "Regen Pheromones" (Elite Medics)[[note]][[HealingFactor regenerates the health of the Medic and nearby friendlies by 1 every turn]][[/note]] and "Adrenaline Rush" (Elite Operatives)[[note]][[TurnsRed increases Aim and Critical Chance by 10% with every injury]][[/note]]. {{Justified}} due to [[EveryoneHasStandards surpassing Dr. Vahlen's ethical limits]]. EXALT Elite units also carry alien grenades, which self-destruct into fragments upon death as with aliens.

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* UnusableEnemyEquipment: [[ZigZaggedTrope Goes back and forth]].
UnusableEnemyEquipment:
** Played straight at first, but {{justified|Trope}}: alien Alien weapons self-destruct when they're killed even if you don't use explosives (if you do, you won't get even the fragments). Subverted later on, as you can You can, however, capture intact alien weapons if you use an Arc Thrower on the enemy. You still can't swap them mid-mission, [[JustifiedTrope as they're not built to human ergonomic standards and would be awkward to use at best]].
best.
** ZigZagged in In ''Enemy Within''. Within'', EXALT weapons are recovered after missions and can be used by your own soldiers. However, they're [[PaletteSwap mechanically identical]] to your own weapon counterparts and [[VendorTrash are meant to be sold to the Council once you decide you have enough]]; it's less pronounced with the Elites' laser hardware in case you didn't prioritize beam weapon production, so you can get your Heavies, Snipers and Supports or rifle Assaults all kitted out with lasers without spending a penny. Played straight with the unique gene mods on most of their Elite units, which are "Iron Skin" (Elite Heavies)[[note]]reduces damage by 25%[[/note]], "Regen Pheromones" (Elite Medics)[[note]][[HealingFactor regenerates the health of the Medic and nearby friendlies by 1 every turn]][[/note]] and "Adrenaline Rush" (Elite Operatives)[[note]][[TurnsRed increases Aim and Critical Chance by 10% with every injury]][[/note]]. {{Justified}} due to [[EveryoneHasStandards surpassing Dr. Vahlen's ethical limits]]. EXALT Elite units also carry alien grenades, which self-destruct into fragments upon death as with aliens.



* 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 or incorrectly accuse them of harboring EXALT HQ in ''Enemy Within'', 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. {{Justified}}: [[spoiler: If you lose eight nations, then the aliens successfully mind control the Council.]]

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* 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 or incorrectly accuse them of harboring EXALT HQ in ''Enemy Within'', 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. {{Justified}}: [[spoiler: If you lose eight nations, then the aliens successfully mind control the Council.]]


** 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.
** Thanks to the BioAugmentation system added in ''Enemy Within'', your soldiers can be augmented to do the same.
** With the "Jetboot Module" promotion, even MEC troopers can get in on the fun!

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** Thin Men are able to hop right up to the tops of buildings, yet buildings to gain instant height advantage and the Aim bonus that comes with it. Yet another reason [[GlassCannon they are so nasty despite being physically frail.
frail]].
** Even worse, the Chryssalids with their nasty melee attack can do it too.
** Thanks to the BioAugmentation system added in ''Enemy Within'', your soldiers can be augmented to do the same. For bonus points, the gene mod that allows it, "Muscle Fiber Density", is unlocked after autopsying a Thin Man.
** With the "Jetboot Module" promotion, Lieutenant-rank skill, even MEC troopers can get in on the fun! fun. It has a 1-turn cooldown after activation, however.



** One of the Assault's tricks. They gain the "Extra Conditioning" passive ability once they reach Major, which confers additional health depending on their armour. Give them Titan Armor and Chryssalid Chitin, and they can soak up more damage than Cyberdisks and Berserkers. Upon reaching the Colonel rank, they can also get the "Resilience" ability, which makes them immune to {{Critical Hit}}s.

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** One of the high-rank Assault's tricks. They automatically gain the "Extra Conditioning" passive ability once they reach Major, which confers additional health depending on their armour. the armour they're loaded with[[labelnote:list]]+1 for standard Body Armor, +2 for medium armors (Skeleton Suit, and Ghost and Psi Armors), and +4 for heavy armors (Carapace, Titan and Archangel Armors)[[/labelnote]]. Give them Titan Armor and Chryssalid Chitin, Chitin Plating, and they can soak up more damage than a Cyberdisks or Berserker on lower difficulties, and Berserkers. match a MEC-3 Paladin on Classic and Impossible. Upon reaching the Colonel rank, they can also have the option to get the "Resilience" ability, "Resilience", which makes them immune to {{Critical Hit}}s.



** EXALT's Elite Heavies have the "Iron Skin" gene mod, which reduces ''all'' incoming damage by 25%. [[{{Subverted}} Good thing they only have 10 Health]].
** Sectopods in ''Enemy Within'', thanks to the new "Reinforced Armor" passive ability that ''halves'' all incoming damage.
** MEC troopers in ''Enemy Within'' can soak absurd amounts of damage if the right perks are chosen. An Assault made into a Mec gets Shock-Absorbent Armor (33% damage reduction from any attack made within 4 tiles). Combine this with the Sergeant ability Damage Control (-2 damage taken on any attack for 2 turns after being attacked), the Captain ability Repair Servos (heals 2 hp per turn, up to 6 hp total per mission), and finally the Colonel Absorption Fields (cannot take more than 33% of their max health in one attack, and you have a unit that can be attacked by 3 muton berserkers at once and still have a little over 1/3 of their health left.

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** EXALT's Elite Heavies have the "Iron Skin" gene mod, which reduces ''all'' incoming damage by 25%. [[{{Subverted}} Good thing they only have 10 Health]].
health]].
** Sectopods in ''Enemy Within'', thanks to the new "Reinforced Armor" passive ability that ''halves'' all [[DamageReduction halves]] ''all'' incoming damage.
damage save for [[{EMP}} Electro Pulse]].
** MEC troopers in ''Enemy Within'' can soak absurd amounts of damage if the right perks are chosen. An Assault made into a Mec gets Shock-Absorbent Armor (33% damage reduction from any attack made within 4 tiles). tiles, including grenades). Combine this with the Sergeant Sergeant-rank ability Damage Control "Damage Control" (-2 damage taken on any attack for 2 turns after being attacked), the Captain Captain-rank ability Repair Servos "Repair Servos" (heals 2 hp HP per turn, up to 6 hp total per mission), and finally the Colonel Absorption Fields Colonel-rank "Absorption Fields" (cannot take more than 33% of their max health in one attack, attack), and you have a unit that can be attacked by 3 muton berserkers three Berserkers at once and still have a little over 1/3 a third of their health left.


* TwentyFourHourArmor: Equip your soldiers with Titan Armor and its variants, and you can see them relaxing and exercising in the Barracks with it still on. Apparently, the armor is environmentally regulating and very agile, plus probably being a real pain to take off and soldiers potentially needing to scramble at any minute. Still, one must wonder where that "evacuation" port is.

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* TwentyFourHourArmor: Equip A funny glitch in the core game: equip your soldiers with Titan Armor and its variants, Armor, and you can see them relaxing relaxing, eating and exercising in the Barracks with it still on. Apparently, the armor is environmentally regulating and very agile, plus probably being a real pain to take off and soldiers potentially needing to scramble at any minute. Still, one must wonder where that "evacuation" port is.''Enemy Within'' fixes this.


* TakeYourTime: What's that? A gigantic ship huge enough to cause earthquakes where it pleases just appeared out of nowhere? It'll wait as long as you want for you to attack it. [[spoiler:Which is exactly what it wants you to do since you'll be bringing your best Psionic Soldier on that attack.]]

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* TakeYourTime: TakeYourTime:
**
What's that? A gigantic ship huge enough to cause earthquakes where it pleases just appeared out of nowhere? It'll wait as long as you want for you to attack it. [[spoiler:Which is exactly what it wants you to do since you'll be bringing your best Psionic Soldier on that attack.]]]]
** Averted for ''Enemy Within'' if you intend to enhance your soldiers genetically or cybernetically. Those Meld canisters self-destruct after a number of turns that depends on how far away they are from your insertion point - the closer, the sooner. Take too long to discover and salvage them and they're gone for good. There are other ways to procure the stuff, but they're both less profitable and much more dangerous, so you better get a move on with a cloaked scout or two.

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* MegatonPunch: [=MECs=] with the Kinetic Strike Module can punch enemies in an adjacent tile hard enough to catapult them into nearby obstacles, and if that obstacle happens to be a car, it'll explode instantly. Dealing 18 points of guaranteed, unavoidable damage when fully upgraded, this is one of the most powerful and reliable attacks in XCOM's arsenal, one that few enemies can survive, and the ones that do won't survive the rest of Strike One's attention.

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** When an enemy psionically attacks a soldier with the Neural Feedback gene mod, the attacker suffers massive damage and gets all their psionic abilities put on forced cooldown. Not even the mighty Ethereals can defend against this passive ability. The feedback damage is enough to OneHitKill basic Sectoids and grievously wound more powerful enemy types. Best of all, a successfully mind-controlled XCOM soldier with this mod can actually save themselves if the feedback pulse manages to kill the attacker[[note]]reflecting Mind Control deals 10 damage, which spells instant doom for Sectoid Commanders, the most frequent users of this attack until the late-game Ethereals show up, and even they suffer 40% health loss[[/note]], thus ending the mind control before it can do any harm.


* 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, while "Aggression" increases their critical hit chance instead.

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* ConservationOfNinjutsu: 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, while "Aggression" increases their critical hit chance instead.instead.
** According to the game files, Easy and Normal difficulty allow a maximum of five alien units to be attacking you at a time. Classic and Impossible difficulty remove this restriction.


** A strange case can be seen in Terror missions. Depending on sound cues, line of sight quirks and cloaking (especially notable in Enemy Within due to the early game option of Mimetic Skin), you might be able to "know" where untriggered and non-patrolling enemy pods are in relation to civilians, yet civilians can still die seemingly at random. It seems like civilians in the fog of war have a chance of dying (and even getting zombified) if enemies are merely present even if not actually attacking. Normally this AI shortcut would not be too noticeable, but there are cases where your entire squad could be covering all routes of entry for an enemy yet a civilian mysteriously dies in the fog of war behind a wall or something. Can be particularly nasty if a zombie sneaks up on you from behind this way.

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** A strange case can be seen in Terror missions. Depending on sound cues, line of sight quirks and cloaking (especially notable in Enemy Within due to the early game option of Mimetic Skin), you might be able to "know" where untriggered and non-patrolling enemy pods are in relation to civilians, yet civilians can still die seemingly at random. It seems like That's because civilians in the fog of war have a chance of dying (and even getting zombified) if enemies are merely present even if not actually attacking.attacking, and the higher you set the difficulty, the more civilians die each turn. Normally this AI shortcut would not be too noticeable, but there are cases where your entire squad could be covering all routes of entry for an enemy yet a civilian mysteriously dies in the fog of war behind a wall or something. Can be particularly nasty if a zombie sneaks up on you from behind this way.


*** Fixed as of ''Enemy Within'': aliens now move around the map as they should, with defined, consistent positions every turn. You can even manipulate their movement with the Mimic Grenade to draw unseen enemies to a specific area of your choice.

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*** Fixed as of ''Enemy Within'': aliens now move around the map as they should, with defined, consistent positions every turn. You can even manipulate their movement with the Mimic Grenade Beacon to draw unseen enemies to a specific area of your choice.



* ThrowingTheDistraction: In ''Enemy Within'', after you autopsy the Sectoid Commander, you gain access to the Mimic Beacon. It makes noise and lures every single alien not currently in combat towards itself; results vary on enemies currently engaging your troops, but Berserkers and Chryssalids tend to ignore all targets in favor of standing on top of the Beacon. It's an absolute must in Terror missions to get an "Excellent" rating on civilians saved.



** The Sniper's [[EnemyDetectingRadar Battle Scanners]], which are good for revealing distant enemies or invisible foes.

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* GameMod: Although neither ''EU'' nor ''EW'' natively support modding, knowledgable players quickly provided countless mods that tweak or rebalance the gameplay, fix bugs and annoying mechanics, add more customization options for your soldiers, or even [[VideoGame/XCOMLongWar overhaul the entire game]]. It's also fairly easy to adjust pretty much anything to your liking on your own by fiddling with the various INI files, which are simple, well-commented text files.


* EasyLevelTrick: The FinalBattle can be won in a very anticlimactic way by [[spoiler:sending in a mimetic-skinned Sniper packing plasma heat and the Double Tap skill. There's cover aplenty to activate their cloak, the [[InstantWinCondition Uber-Ethereal]] is an easy target that won't do anything because they have no target in sight, and two good hits from a plasma sniper rifle are enough to kill them, starting and ending the battle in the same turn.]] Actually ''getting there'' in the first place is the tricky part, however, considering the MarathonLevel that comes before.



* EasyLevelTrick: The FinalBattle can be won in a very anticlimactic way by [[spoiler:sending in a mimetic-skinned Sniper packing plasma heat and the Double Tap skill. There's cover aplenty to activate their cloak, the [[InstantWinCondition Uber-Ethereal]] is an easy target that won't do anything because they have no target in sight, and two good hits from a plasma sniper rifle are enough to kill them, starting and ending the battle in the same turn.]] Actually ''getting there'' in the first place is the tricky part, however, considering the MarathonLevel that comes before.

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* EasyLevelTrick: The FinalBattle can be won in a very anticlimactic way by [[spoiler:sending in a mimetic-skinned Sniper packing plasma heat and the Double Tap skill. There's cover aplenty to activate their cloak, the [[InstantWinCondition Uber-Ethereal]] is an easy target that won't do anything because they have no target in sight, and two good hits from a plasma sniper rifle are enough to kill them, starting and ending the battle in the same turn.]] Actually ''getting there'' in the first place is the tricky part, however, considering the MarathonLevel that comes before.

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* {{Expospeak}}: During the final mission, [[spoiler:Strike One faces every enemy type there is in increasing order of lethality while the Uber-Ethereal regales the Volunteer with some exposition on how each of them was subjugated by the Ethereals, and why they ended up considered failures in their eyes.]] It mostly just confirms what Vahlen and the player already deduced by themselves over the course of the campaign, but it's a nice touch anyway.


** [[{{Cyborg}} MEC Troopers]] get their limbs cut off and augmented to properly interface with the [[MiniMecha MEC Suit]]. They lack the subtlety of biological soldiers (cannot take cover), but almost nothing can win against them in pure brute force combat. To put in perspective, they send [[TheJuggernaut Muton Berserkers]] flying with a punch, and 2 of them with upgraded [[PowerFist Kinetic Strike Module]] can pound a [[BossInMookClothing Sectopod]] from full hp to scrap ''in a single turn'', with overkill damage to boot.

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** [[{{Cyborg}} MEC Troopers]] get their limbs cut off and augmented to properly interface with the [[MiniMecha MEC Suit]]. They lack the subtlety of biological soldiers (cannot take cover), but almost nothing can win against them in pure brute force combat. To put in perspective, they send [[TheJuggernaut Muton Berserkers]] flying with a punch, and 2 two of them with upgraded [[PowerFist Kinetic Strike Module]] Modules]] can pound a [[BossInMookClothing Sectopod]] from full hp HP to scrap ''in a single turn'', with overkill damage to boot.boot[[note]]until ''Enemy Within'' came along, that is, which made Sectopods far too tough to be destroyed that easily[[/note]].


* SkewedPriorities: Save for few examples, aliens in Terror! missions will often target civilians even when there are soldiers about to shoot them.

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* SkewedPriorities: Save for few examples, aliens in Terror! missions will often target civilians even when there are soldiers about to shoot them.[[note]]It should be noted that the aliens that do this are the dumb or entirely mindless species that were explicitly created as terror weapons without survival instincts of their own. Anything with half a brain will instead try to stop XCOM from preventing more civilian deaths. So, as far as obedience to their orders is concerned, every alien on Terror! missions has their priorities very much in order.[[/note]]

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