XCOM: Enemy Unknown

XCOM: Enemy Unknown mod enables "Second Wave" advanced campaign options

Omri Petitte at

When helplessly watching your squad of veterans get disemboweled for the umpteenth time feels like a dull affair in XCOM: Enemy Unknown, it's time for a psi-blast of extra variety with Second Wave. First scoped by hawk-eyed gamers on the Nexus modding network forums, Second Wave was a planned feature by Firaxis to furnish extra gameplay options and tweaks for commanders starting a new single-player campaign after completing it once. And most of it is recoverable.

Former Community Manager "2K Greg" revealed Firaxis' intent to implement the extra bay of options, but time constraints caused the feature to be scrapped. The majority of Second Wave's files remain intact within XCOM, however, and a salvo of INI and profile tweaks -- all packaged neatly in a handy walkthrough over at XCOM's Nexus hub -- enables (mostly working) toggles for various mutations to weapon performance, soldier stats, and even guaranteeing critical hits while flanking.

Here's the full list of options Second Wave provides:

  • Damage Roulette: Weapons have a much wider range of damage
  • New Economy: The funding offered by individual council members is randomized
  • Not Created Equally: Rookies will have random starting stats
  • Hidden Potential: As a soldier is promoted, his or her stats increase randomly
  • (Bugged) Red Fog: Any wounds taken in combat will degrade a soldier's stats for that mission
  • Absolutely Critical: A flanking shot guarantees a critical hit
  • The Greater Good: The secret of psionics can only be learned from interrogating a psionic alien
  • (Bugged) Marathon: The game takes considerably longer to complete
  • Results Driven: A country offers less funding as its panic level increases
  • High Stakes: The rewards granted for stopping alien abductions are randomized
  • Diminishing Returns: The cost of satellites increases per construction
  • The Blitz: Aliens target a larger set of cities during abduction attacks
  • More Than Human: The psionic gift is extremely rare

XCOM Enemy Unknown Second Wave