XCOM 2 has support for a range of community mods via the Steam Workshop. I plan to try out a few of these mods over the coming months and produce these “Mod Reports”, where I will discuss the good, the bad and the downright insane!
For my first Report, I’ve been experimenting with a few simple mods that (mostly) don’t affect the actual gameplay all that much, but which add nice little tweaks to save time, enhance the information available to the player or turn off minor annoyances. But do they work?
I’m going to start with the only mod I’m using that actually alters the gameplay experience and, arguably, makes the game a little easier. ‘Timer Tweaks’ is a simple mod that just adds four extra turns to each mission with a countdown timer.
I chose this because I think the main reason I failed my first playthrough of the game is that the timed missions are questionably balanced. There were a few that I managed to just about survive, but in most of them I had to take stupid risks that lead to my soldiers getting killed, but I couldn’t see any other way to beat the mission. I’d save the game at the start of each mission, and replay it if things went badly, but some of them were just brutally challenging and came across as unfair. Either the objective is just too far away or there are too many enemies to get past…
Even with the mod, there were still several missions where I felt under pressure to finish on time, and I still lost several soldiers and had to leave one behind, but it feels much more fair now. It doesn’t help when the objective is to stop the aliens destroying a device, however. Maybe there should be a mod to give the devices just a little more health…?
This mod prevents Central, the player’s assistant, from complaining about civilian deaths in the retaliation missions. The character would always complain about the first civilian to die (which is inevitable) as if you’d let them all die and were about to fail the mission, which is very annoying. This mod stops that.
‘Overwatch All’ and ‘Evac All’
These are two similar mods that aim to simplify the times when you want to quickly issue an order to the entire squad, without having to go through them one by one and wait for their animations to finish. ‘
Evac All’ evacuates all of your squad members who are in the evac zone at once. It’s a nice little time-saver and it looks much cooler when they all leave together. ‘Overwatch All’ is another handy little time-saver, that lets you put the whole squad into overwatch. It also lets you ‘overwatch others’, putting all of the squad members except the selected soldier onto OW, which is perfect for setting up ambushes.
‘Bleed Out Mod’
This mod increases the chances that your soldiers will bleed out rather than dying flat out. It’s only an increase in the odds, not a guarantee, and my only bleeding out soldier so far died anyway. But in my entire previous playthroughs I never had any soldiers bleed out, they all just instantly died, so I wanted to even the odds a bit. Again, this makes the game less unfair without making it too easy and taking the edge of the tension altogether.
‘Full Character Customisation’
This mod allows you to fully customise all of your soldiers right from the start of the game, instead of having to wait for them to get to the rank of Sergeant. I installed this because I didn’t like how my imported Character Pool characters were being given the wrong personalities or scars that weren’t there when I made them. This avoids that problem and lets you customise randomly generated characters straight away.
One of my soldiers died, but I really liked her and wanted to save her to the Character Pool, but it was too late. I thought it was odd that you couldn’t add a soldier to the Pool from their page on the Memorial wall and this mod lets you do just that. ‘Longshot’ Larrson lives again!
This mod adds little icons to the squad select screen to remind you when you have unused upgrades and your soldiers have free slots for them. A useful little UI addon that makes sure potentially useful upgrades don’t go to waste.
‘Capnbubs Accessories Pack’
Finally, there’s ‘Capnbubs Accessories Pack’, which adds a number of extra customisation items to the game. I like to colour-code my soldiers and accessorise them to identify them in battle, and my medics in XCOM: Enemy Unknown always used to wear berets (a glaring omission from the default customisation options), which is why I installed this mod. There are some other nice accessories too, like a raised welding visor that works well on Combat Specialists.
All of these mods have helped to alleviate the few little things I didn’t like about XCOM 2, or have added extra useful information or time saving devices. So far, I like them all. And, as far as I am aware, none of them have disabled achievements or broken the game in any noticeable way. There have been some performance issues since I installed them – the occasional temporary lock-up – but never a full crash or any other glaring new bugs. Given all the other performance issues with the base game, it’s pretty hard to tell whether the mods are responsible, however!
Check them out on the Steam Workshop for more detailed descriptions and some screenshots, but I’d recommend all of them if you’ve had any of the problems or frustrations that I have.