It started to dawn on me about halfway through my first XCOM: Enemy Unknown playthrough that I was still uncovering things about the game. Because of that, I started to feel like I had done some stuff wrong or too late to be effective. Looking back, I definitely would have done things differently in certain areas such as building my base out sooner, creating aircraft (and moving them) to cover other areas globally much faster, and even focus on staffing more engineers as soon as humanly possible. While too deep into my playthrough to really do anything about it, I figured I’d center this Tactical Assist around my top tips for creating an effective Alien crushing force.
While certainly not required to win, what follows just may help keep you alive and prosperous just a bit longer. While some of these tips would have helped me out earlier in the game, maybe they’ll come in handy and help you when you play.
Grab your plasma rifle, we’re going Alien hunting after the jump.
Tip 1: Build those Satellites!
Want more money at the end of each month? Satellites are your ticket. Not only that, providing more satellite coverage over a region provides additional bonuses such as more engineers and scientists. Cover the whole region and you’re granted permanent bonuses as well. In addition, satellites will also reduce panic over that particular country and allow you to shoot down and raid UFOs so there are combat benefits to having them as well. The game will start you off with the ability to create 2, but after that, you’ll need to handle creating Satellite Uplinks/Nexus yourself which will give you the ability to create more.
Tip 2: Expand your base
Don’t wait to expand your base so start digging as soon as you can. Workshops and Labs will add to your engineer/scientist totals which will decrease the research and build requirements. Two very helpful bonuses. Not only that, by building similar structures adjacent to one another, you gain additional bonuses. As you can see, placement plays a major role and I highly recommend you take this into consideration when building out your base. The adjacent bonuses definitely help. It’s been mentioned that digging for the nearest steam vent is also a key tactic. Doing so will allow you to build a thermo generator which provides a large amount of power to your base and are more efficient than regular power generators.
Tip 3: Managing Lost Countries
Don’t panic if you lose a country. Granted, you’ll want to try to keep the money countries around but losing one or two countries isn’t a deal breaker. Sure it hurts, but it’s not game over. My advice is to concentrate on keeping the big nations around as long as possible even if that means sacrificing a smaller one.
Tip 4: Unused Equipment
Near the beginning of the game, I didn’t understand how the items you made from engineering worked exactly. I ended up making more than I needed which looking back resulted in lost resources. Only create what you’ll know you use. There’s really no need to have 5 Medkits made unless you plan on making everyone use them at the same time on a mission. Items are used only during a mission and replenished after. My advice would be to make 1 or 2 things and if you need more, go back and create more. No sense in making 5 of something if you’re not going to use it. Not only that, you can’t sell off unused equipment so it’s pretty detrimental to your bottom line in the long run. Put those resources to work elsewhere!
Tip 5: Go Slow, Play Defense
Overwatch is a critical and lifesaving skill that each soldier has from the outset. I tend to play my missions at a slower pace choosing to advance without having to Dash and saving that second turn to put my soldier on Overwatch. Essentially, this ability lets your soldier who as a line of sight on an alien take a free shot at them breaking cover during their turn. While you may miss, anytime you get a free shot to potentially cause damage or kill is worth it in my book. Not only that, this ability is even more devastating when your whole team is in position and can pick off aliens without being on your turn. This tactic may be slower paced but it results in a better chance at keeping your squad safe and out of danger.
Tip 6: Eye In the Sky
If you’re planning on unleashing Satellites everywhere, you’ll also then need to make sure you can defend them and the country they’re over. That means, you should create enough fighter jets to cover yourself. Keep in mind that these resources take time to be created and then relocated so plan accordingly.
Tip 7: Plasma Power
While some may debate this issue, I’d recommend skipping over the laser weapons and going right to plasma. I’ve managed to do fine with regular weapons to the point in the campaign when plasma weapons became available. Granted, the bigger plasma weapons can get pretty pricey but if you manage your money, they’re completely worth it. They hit aliens pretty hard.
Tip 8: Spread the Experience
While it’s nice to have a core squad, don’t forget to throw a few rookies into the mix every once in a while. There’s nothing worse than having a member of your badass squad get taken out and you have only unproven rookies to fall back on when you’re halfway through the game with tougher enemies now active on missions. It pays in the long run to develop as many troops as you can. Granted, you should definitely develop a core group to roll with but it’ll pay dividends to find a way to throw your rookies in there every now and again to level them up. If you can have 7-10 power players by the end of the game, you’ll be in great shape.
Those are my tips. Anything that you’d like to add or any tactics that have proven useful you’d like to share? Let everyone know in the comments below!