Here we are in lovely...Arizona? Gah, we probably are racists. The thread title was a joke.
So let's see who the main characters are. This guy's got a labcoat, so I'm betting he's Science Dude.
She's...huh. I have no idea. Plucky sidekick?
And the dude in the suit is apparently important. Because there is in fact a dude in the suit.
Uh, what are you doing with that medical implem-
Oh hey it's you guys again I was getting...
Thanks, I guess?
As expected, this is Science Guy.
Also this is apparently not his first brain surgery. See those scars? He unchipped himself
at some point. Jesus Christ.
Anyways, he'd like to check into this chip they pulled out of my head.
Okay! Now let's head up to the bridge. And trip the security, it seems.
Bradford transfers command, saying he'd prefer to have it be a little more ceremonious.
After a tutorial mission where I couldn't customize anyone so meh, we're headed down to the engineering section, to meet up with...oh hey it's plucky sidekick. Only she's not. She's our Wrench Monkey.
THIS is the plucky sidekick. Or one of them. Meet the Gremlin series of robots. If you were to imagine a mechanical dog that flies, hacks, and has a medikit or a stun gun, that would be the Gremlin. They're only available to one class, specialists.
Wrench Monkey's full name is Lily Shen, daughter of Raymond Shen from the first game.
And our ship, the Avenger, is Raymond's life's work. Judging from its size, though it's never stated anywhere, it seems likely that the Avenger is a refit of the battleship you swiped during Gangplank in the first game. And you thought that the Slingshot DLC wasn't important.
Shen is happy to see me. ROV-R, her Gremlin, seems a little less pleased and possibly eager to defend Lily's virtue. Look I admit she's cute, but I'm into blondes, okay?
Back to Science Guy. His name, since I didn't say (though he did), is Richard Tygan. He's reminiscing about the time he worked for ADVENT.
The chip in my head was running combat sims. Apparently I was literally playing XCOM for 20 years, multiple games at the same time.
The chip is similar to one Tygan was involved in designing for ADVENT officers, and he'd like to make a comparison. If we'd be so kind as to kill an officer.
It just so happens that we've got a mission planned!
I did mention the Avenger could fly, didn't I? (Apparently that place that looked like Arizona was actually in India. Huh.)
So, our mission site, and now, our mission crew. (Some of you are probably the wrong gender or nationality. If it bothers you, please speak up; I can fix that in this game.)
The Skyranger's slimmed down a fair bit, reducing its operational range. Now the Avenger has to move to the region and then deploy the Skyranger for the actual drop.
Still looks pretty close to the same inside, though.
Okay! Let's talk game mechanics. On most missions, your squad will start the mission "Concealed"; the aliens don't know you're there. That blue thing around the view shows that we're concealed right now. You can move around and set up and ambush the bad guys and they don't know a thing. Certain actions, like getting too close, breaking a window, kicking in a door, or firing a weapon, alert the enemy and cost you concealment. The game recommends putting your squad all in overwatch and then shooting somebody to trigger ADVENT running around and getting gunned down, but personally I find this solution to be sub-optimal in most cases due to lack of fire direction. Also, despite the temptation to attempt a stealth run, don't; it doesn't work.
This is one of the most formidable enemies in the game.
No, I'm not joking. The ADVENT Lamppost can detect your troops in radius around it, but its real danger is that it can be hacked for various bonuses, some of them netting improved abilities for soldiers, restoring your guys to "not moved" status, caches of material, leads on alien targets, even permanent stat boosts. However, failing the hack will alert enemies to your presence and
give them stat boosts or call in reinforcements. The temptation, in other words, is strong. In this case, we passed (it's a roll-over percentage system), and got a boost to the hacking soldier's vision radius.
Now, the Resistance set up a data tap, and ADVENT is here to kill it, so we're here to kill them and protect it. It's in this garage over here and already getting shot at. Fortunately, it's tough, because it'll take me a few turns to get over there.
Several turns later, the Data Tap is about halfway to dead and I'm finally getting everyone in place. Gortef gets the party started with a critical hit of an ADVENT Trooper who's just standing around with his thumbs up his butt. (Not literally.)
We immediately lose concealment and the ADVENT guys plus a lone Sectoid rush out to meet us. Sectoids have gotten taller, toothier, and meaner-looking. However, crizza is unimpressed and lobs a grenade. (Also pictured: my decision to risk a flank shot at crizza from the lone ADVENT Trooper not in the blast radius.)
He also sets off a propane tank, blasting a nice big hole in the building, killing a civilian who was standing around the combat zone for some reason (they're scattered around some missions and are nominally ADVENT-aligned; they'll expose your troops if you get close but otherwise can't be shot at save with explosives or the like), and injuring the Sectoid and ADVENT Officer pretty badly.
CKid finishes the Sectoid off with a rifle burst.
Meanwhile, StarSlayer demonstrates why Rangers are the CQC class: they have shotguns, yes, but they also have A SWORD
with which he puts his kendo classes to good use and cuts this ADVENT Officer up.
crizza gets shot by the remaining ADVENT Trooper as I kind of expected he would. Despite the "CRIT" it's not for much; he'll probably still count as Gravely Wounded but he could absorb another hit if he had to.
He doesn't have to, because it's GRENADE TIME! The wall, and the Trooper are promptly blasted with another grenade from crizza's launcher. ALL HAIL THE LAUNCHER.
The mission outload screen gives you some stats, if you care about stats. They're neat but they don't necessarily measure much of interest.
Then we get back to the ship and yep, crizza's Gravely Wounded and collapses to the deck while I promote people for their successes.
Also, loot. You get some of it by recovering in-mission drops (PCS and Repeater, which dropped off the Officer; StarSlayer was close enough to pick them up at once), some of it from dead dudes. This is also where on a VIP recovery mission you'll see people you picked up appear. Not every mission gives you such loot; you can always recover drops if there are any, or people if there are any, but stuff like alien bodies only occurs on missions you don't
evac from in the Skyranger.