The Let's Play Archive

X-Com: Enemy Within

by Jade Star

Part 28: Operation Adamant Chemical

Operation Adamant Chemical


Council missions are usually pretty fun when ever they show up, however they aren't scaled to reflect a difficulty curve. A council mission in the first 2 weeks of the game is going to be as difficult as a council mission in the third and fourth months of the game. I think that's rather unfortunate because council missions serve a couple of useful purposes. They provide unique mission types to the player, they grant substantial rewards of cash, scientists, or engineers to the player, and they often offer a critical chance to lower panic in a country. They needed to be tweaked to check the difficulty though; in the first month of the game a rain of 12+ Thin Men is a tough challenge, often made worse by trying to manage a secondary objective, in this case the bomb and its timer. This late in the game though and my soldiers can mow right through them and not feel any pressure to beat a ticking clock.

Bomb disposal missions in particular can be very hard early on. You don't have the luxury of moving through the map at your own pace. Every turn you need to be moving forward and clearing ground to find power nodes to give yourself more time. Early game this can be the hardest kind of council mission out there, not counting DLCs. With out carapace armor your soldiers are usually in danger of being killed in one shot from a LPR, and a crit will guarantee it. Everyone is also vulnerable to poison spit early on, before tactical rigging and the respirator implants become common. LPRs will kill you, and poison spit will ensure one or two of your soldiers are slowed for a turn while the poison either wears off over time or a medkit is used to cure it. Both options costing you time while the bomb is ticking down. Yet the only winning tactic is to put your head down and clear the Thin Men as the come and keep hitting nodes or else you lose to the clock. It is very tricky sometimes. Control how you activate groups, only fight one group at a time if possible, and do what you need to to kill them quickly. Expend grenades and rockets and other usable items more readily than you might normally do.

When you've gotten the first set of armors, good MECs, and laser weapons for everyone, Thin Men do not really pose much of a problem unless you present them with a chance to group their fire all on one target. Flush them out of high cover if you have to, and keep moving still applies.

Isis and Delgado also need better nicknames, so fire away.

Colonel Assault Skills
Resilience vs Killer Instinct

Another clear defense vs offense choice. Resilience makes the soldier immune to critical hits. Straight forward and powerful for keeping your assault alive. Killer Instinct adds 50% Critical damage to any shots made after activating Run & Gun. A clear boost to their killing potential.

+ Survivability. Don't get crit through cover. More importantly, never get crit while flanked!
+ Assaults are your farthest out soldier, and R&G can leave them over extended. Resilience makes sure they live if you get caught out too far and get flanked.

Killer Instinct
+ Pure damage potential. R&G plus Rapid Fire on a flanked target would be murderous.
+ Play like Guava? Hey, have even more damage when you Run and Gun all the time.
- Requires critical hits. Have to make your R&G count and get around on targets. Minor thing, but not always a guarantee.

Again, in all defense versus offense choices I am going to lean defense. Guava will disagree, and it's not a bad choice either way. I prefer the guaranteed knowledge of my assault never being critically hit over the potential to score amazing damage critical hits. If Killer Instinct was +50% damage on R&G, with no qualifiers, we'd be having a very different conversation. But because all shots don't crit and the average crit chance on a flanked target is ~60%, I go with the safer route and take Resilience every time.