How to play your next XCOM 2 run

Adding more content

There are piles of cosmetic mods and voicepacks on the Workshop, ranging thematically from serious tactical accessories to a mod that adds wizard hats and clown noses. For this article, I’ll leave those mods up to your personal taste and instead recommend some extra gameplay content that anyone can appreciate.

First off, more map diversity is a no brainer.

More Maps Pack, World Expansion Project: ADVENT and Maps by Vozati all share the same goal—add more options for XCOM 2’s map generator to use. Conveniently enough, they all work nicely together, so subscribe to all three for a huge boost to your random battlefield variety.

Speaking of diversity, there’s also a huge range of custom soldier classes for you to choose from on the Workshop. While again your own taste is what matters, my personal recommendations are Lucubration’s Infantry, Sniper and Escalation (Scout, Rocketeer and Gunner) classes—if you’ve heard of XCOM 1’s Long War mod, these soldier types reprise many of its popular roles. Of course, I designed the Escalation classes myself, so it’d be hard to say I’m not biased; be sure to check out all the classes available on the workshop and try out the ones that draw your interest.

Finally, while I won’t tell you what cosmetic add-ons or accessories to download, I will give you some ways to organise them once you’ve picked some yourself.

Uniforms Manager is a wonderful mod that gives you all sorts of options for quickly creating, saving and applying customisation presets to single soldiers or your entire squad all at once. As someone who insists on dressing their troopers up in the right type of camo for snow, desert and woodland maps, take it from me - this mod will save you a lot of precious time if you’re at all interested in staying colour co-ordinated.

Free the Hood allows you to mix and match more headgears with upper and lower face props, removing limitations that prevent you from, say, chewing on a cigar while wearing a leather hood, or wearing sunglasses underneath your full face helmet. Is wearing aviators underneath a full helmet stupid? Yes. Should you be allowed to do it? Hell yes.

Full Character Customization From Start unshackles you even further, allowing complete control over soldier cosmetic choices even if they’re a lowly rookie. While the desire to prevent players from spending an hour customizing a low-ranked trooper only to have them die on the very next mission is commendable, the optimists among us prefer to get attached to our rookies now and cry inconsolably over their deaths later.

And while you’re customizing those rookies, make use of these Military Camoflauge Patterns—an extensive and detailed mod that adds more than fifty new camo types for your soldiers and their weapons, each an accurate recreation of real patterns used by armed forces around the world. If the words MARPAT, EMR or Flecktarn mean anything to you, this is the mod you’ve been looking for. On the other hand, if your knowledge of camouflage extends as far as painting your Deagle with Golden Tiger Stripe, please download and learn from this mod immediately before alien UFOs spot you from orbit.

That sums up our look at adding new content to your game without significantly altering the difficulty—but if you’re interested in a bit more of a challenge, read on as we look at some mods to improve our difficulty.