XCOM: Chimera Squad Is An All-New XCOM With A Buddy-Cop Vibe

At this point, your heart is probably a black hunk of coal from all of the recent COVID-19 cancellations. So many great upcoming titles have been pushed off into the murky realms of “unknown release date.” So it’s nice to see a game that’s not only coming out, but coming out almost immediately. The newest game in the popular XCOM franchise, XCOM: Chimera Squad is coming out in just 10 days. And for a limited time, you can get it for just $10.

Now, I’m pretty shocked to see an XCOM game following the surprise release model. Tactics games are slow, methodical, and the community is generally very picky. You best have plenty of trailers and dev diaries if you want to coax that crowd. But Chimera Squad is looking to shake things up in more ways than one. First and foremost, the titular Chimera Squad is comprised of both human and aliens. In the years after the alien overlords left at the end of XCOM II, the remnants of the alien troops have had to learn to live with the humans in harmony. The 11 agents of the Chimera squad represent this unique mix both in visuals and combat specializations. Honestly, I’ve always wanted an XCOM where I get to play as the aliens…

The real meat and potatoes of how XCOM: Chimera Squad mixes things up is in the combat. Missions in Chimera Squad are tailored to more tightly designed individual encounters. So expect less of the searching around for enemies and then quick loading when they catch you out of position. A new Breach Mode will also allow you to enter combat with a bang, queuing up your squad at various entry points and activating unique breaching skills. The biggest change comes from the new turn system. Previous XCOM games had turns play out by team: all your dudes would move, then all the aliens would move. In Chimera Squad, units have individual initiative that place them in an overall turn order.

I’m pretty stoked by this surprise announcement. I fucking love tactics games, but have been saying for a while that the genre needs to evolve. The recent Phoenix Point was a step in the right direction, but fell flat with some balance issues and late-game slog. With XCOM: Chimera Squad‘s no focus on fast, intense action, this might just be what the genre needs to move forward.

If you want to pre-order XCOM: Chimera Squad, you can find it on Steam by clicking here. MSRP is $20, but you can get it for just $10 through May 1st.

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