XCOM: Enemy Within Preview

Commander, this is a mission worth undertaking. 

At a recent preview event I had the opportunity to sit down with XCOM: Enemy Within, the expansion and augmentation of Firaxis' prior release, XCOM: Enemy Unknown, on an iPad mini. XCOM: Enemy Unknown already proved a massive success for 2K Games on mobile devices, and the game is certainly suited for it. In a sense, it's a little odd to play a mobile port of a re-imagining of a classic game and feel like you've gotten to play what may be the most natural version, but it's the odd port that just feels correct. 


In retrospect, turn-based strategy RPGs like Enemy Within are perfect for touchscreen devices. They allow for the opportunity to play the games in a very natural way with intuitive control: point where you want your character to move and fire, or turn the camera with a swirl of two fingers. The game can be played through a series of gestures, or some of the trickier gestures have on-screen buttons that can be used instead. 

On mobile the game also suffers very little in comparison to the console experience, though I was told that some cinematic scenes wouldn't be included. It wasn't a particularly graphic-intensive game in the first place, but it still is a fantastic visual example of the genre, so it translates across almost perfectly. The cost is the limit on compatible devices; on iOS, it's compatible with iPad 3, iPad mini 2, iPhone 5, and anything following but earlier generations are not able to play the game. 

For those who haven't picked up either title in their prior forms, Enemy Within changes the game in a number of ways, with new enemies, soldier abilities, weapons, and new story missions. It also includes a new collection and upgrade mechanic by collecting an enemy resource known as MELD that can be spent on research and development as well as new multiplayer abilities, maps, and units. 

Enemy Within launches with multiplayer already available for play, which was added at a later date in the mobile release of the earlier game. Multiplayer is available via Google Play and Apple Game Center, but not Amazon devices. 

With the launch of XCOM: Enemy Within on November 13 (so it's available now), 2K is pulling Enemy Unknown from its mobile stores and replacing it with Enemy Within. This version includes the content from the original game as well as the new content, and is priced at an incredibly reasonable $12.99 on the iOS App Store, Google Play, and Amazon AppStore.