The Let's Play Archive


by Jade Star

Part 4: Operation Zen's Wail

Operation Zen's Wail

Everyone loves escort missions right? Well they're not so bad in X-Com2. In the first game you often times had to run through a map to find the VIP before they got blasted by thin men and then escort them back to the start. In X-Com2 there are two flavors of VIP escort missions, and thankfully neither of them have the VIP at any risk of dying before you have control of them. Mostly. Today's mission we start with the VIP already in tow with our squad and all we really need to do is cross the map to the evacuation point while ensuring the VIP doesn't die in the given time limit. For a dreaded video game escort mission there isn't really much you need to do differently in this kind of mission. Make sure the VIP doesn't die, and get across the map which is pretty much the basics of every mission.

So let's talk about something a little more interesting and in depth! Weapon modifications!

X-Com2 introduces a robust weapon modification system that allows you to add parts to soldiers guns to give them extra abilities. The parts are salvaged from fallen ADVENT and aliens, or purchased from the black market, and equipped in the armory to bolster your soldiers weapons. There are six kinds of mods, ballistic weapons may equip one mod per gun while advanced guns may use two mods per gun, with a continent bonus that will increase the mod limit by one further. By default weapon mods are a one use item, once you attach them to a gun they can be replaced, but not reused. If you replace a mod with a different mod the old one is lost. This can be changed by a continent bonus. Having both of these continent bonuses can lead to some seriously powered up guns for your team to use. Each individual type of mod also comes in normal, advanced, and superior quality levels.

So what do the mods actually do? Well let me list the seven kinds and my preferred use for them;

Stocks allow missed shots to deal guaranteed damage. From 1, 2, or 3 points dependent on the quality of the stock. Guaranteed damage can not be overvalued. Being 100% sure to deal 2 or 3 damage can make a world of difference when finishing off wounded aliens. Personally I love these things on rifles. Rifles are the only weapon given to specialists, whose skills revolve around their gremlin drone and utility functions, they never really gain the ability to do great deals of damage with their rifles.

Scopes increase accuracy, exactly as you may expect. 5%, 10%, or 15% based on scope quality. In theory everyone could use a scope but are usually in much shorter supply than needed to be able to put a scope on every gun. Typically I will put these on sniper rifles first with surpluses going to grenadiers to shore up their lower aim scores, or any soldier in particular that I feel needs a boost. Every soldier can benefit from a scope, but the short supply means picking who will get the few scopes you do come across and make the most of them.

Repeaters are a barrel modification that give the weapon a small chance to instantly kill any target they hit, in game it's termed as an execution. At 5%, 10%, and 15% the odds of an execution ever going off are fairly slim. In my personal preference I prefer things that give me reliable results such as stocks working 100% of the time even if the effect of a stock isn't nearly as impressive as a repeater when it works. A single low grade repeater in a squad isn't going to do much, and would only be noticeable once every 20 shots, statistically. However, you throw 3 of the superior repeaters into a squad and suddenly the odds of seeing an execution jumps up near the point where you might expect an execution on every other turn if the whole squad is firing. I feel like repeaters are a tactic that needs to be used in mass in order to push up the chances of seeing them in action, where as a lone repeater may never make its presence felt. That all said, I will typically put repeaters on shotguns and rifles. Rangers are often times tasked to put up big damage against tough aliens and a repeater can certainly do that if they trigger. Repeaters on rifles are often times from a lack of having anything better out there, but it is worth noting the combination of a stock and a repeater; guaranteed damage every shot with a small percent chance to instantly kill the target, every shot.

Laser sights grant extra critical hit chance to weapons, starting at 40% at point blank range and diminishing as the distance to target increases. This is a fairly obvious choice for shotguns as they are meant to be used at very close ranges, and often from a flanking position to give a ranger a very, very high critical hit chance. While I haven't personally put them on other classes very often I can see some draw to it. I feel they're sort of like scopes but less powerful on non-shotguns, every gun could benefit from them but you're more likely to have better options and not likely to have a surplus of laser sights laying around.

Extended Magazines do what they say on the tin, they increase a weapons magazine size by 1, 2, or 3 shots depending on the quality of the mod. The obvious candidates for these mods are the grenadiers machine guns, whom may burn through ammo rapidly do to skills such as Suppression, Chain Shot, or Hail of Bullets, all of which require additional ammo to be spent. On top of machine guns only having three shots per reload unlike rifles and shotguns with 4 per reload. Surprisingly sniper rifles also really benefit from extended magazines. In part because firing the sniper rifle is a full turn action thus preventing a turn spent reloading as a first action and firing as a second action, as can be done with all the other weapons. So having more rounds per reload allows combat to go on longer before a sniper needs to spend a turn reloading instead of shooting. The other big use I find of extended magazines on sniper rifles comes with the skill Killzone, allowing a sniper to take as many overwatch shots as they can during one turn, one shot per target. Naturally having more rounds loaded means more potential shots being fired by this kill.

Auto Loaders allow a soldier to reload a weapon 1, 2, or 3 times in a mission with out spending an action to do so. These are always the first reloads of the map so unfortunately you can't skip using your free reload in an attempt to save it for later on in a more critical situation. Still this mod can be super handy and my auto-loaders will typically be found on my grenadiers to help make up for their below average ammo capacity.

Hair Triggers give a 5%, 10%, 15% chance to not use up an action when firing the weapon. Like repeaters this can be a huge deal, when it happens. The odds are pretty low that the effect will happen but when it does it can mean getting a second shot against a dangerous alien, moving out of harms way, or otherwise avoiding a hard time. Or it can happen when the situation is well in hand and the last alien just died. It's a big gamble on when and in what situation the effect will trigger. Typically I place hair triggers on shotguns for double shot rangers or hit and run tactics. My feelings on these are pretty similar to repeaters, they can occasionally be super useful but have too infrequent a chance of working to be relied on.