XCOM 2 Switch Review13 Jul 2020 0
XCOM 2 Switch Review
Released 29 May 2020
Released in June 2020, The XCOM 2 Collection on Switch brought Firaxis’ excellent turn-based tactics game to Nintendo’s handheld console. It marks the latest in a recent ‘wave’ of serious video games (not just from the strategy genre) that have released ports on the Switch. It was a big deal when the previous game, XCOM: Enemy Unknown, was released onto iPad but now being able to play XCOM 2 wherever you want as well is kind of mind blowing.
We’re not going to go down the route of reviewing this collection as we traditionally would - you can read our original reviews of XCOM 2 and War of the Chosen from back when they originally released. Instead, we’re going to talk you through the specifics of this pack and what it’s like on the Switch.
The TL;DR is that there are some shortcomings to keep in mind (technical and otherwise), but it’s been a blast to play with so far and well worth it for newcomers and vets, if they can stomach the issues raised below.
What do you get in the XCOM 2 Collection on Switch?
The Switch version of the XCOM 2 Collection is almost the same as the PC bundle of the same name. You get the base game of XCOM 2, as well as the mammoth War of the Chosen expansion. You also get the Resistance Warrior Pack, Anarchy’s Children, Alien Hunters and Shen’s Last Gift minor DLCs.
On PC these last three were bundled into a catch-all DLC called the ‘Reinforcement Pack’, which is available via the Collection there. The only difference between the Switch and the PC collection is that Switch owners won’t get the Tactical Legacy Pack, which was released specifically for War of the Chosen towards the end of 2018.
Other key differences include the lack of Multiplayer in the Switch version and of course you can’t use mods, which we’ll come back to later.
How does the XCOM 2 Collection Run on Switch?
If we’re being honest: It could be better. Load times between saves are very noticeable (up to a minute) so those with little patience may find this grating. There are noticeable pauses during tactical gameplay as well and navigating the Avenger base screen is a little clunky. None of it is game-breaking however and we’ve yet to encounter any bugs that have ruined entire saves.
This has been less of an issue for me because I remember XCOM 2’s launch build back in 2016 also being a bit clunky. Considering the dev-team have had to get this game working on the Switch, a part of me isn’t surprised these issues are still here on this version. We haven’t yet tried an Ironman run yet, so can’t comment on the bug that can cause Ironman games to crash and the save to get wiped.
It’s also worth noting that this game is a massive battery drain. You’ll notice yourself throwing the Switch onto the dock quite regularly (at least once or twice a day) if you’re going for prolonged sessions, and anyone planning on playing this while travelling might want to have their charge cable with them - you may need to take opportunities to charge out and about where you can.
XCOM 2 Collection Review
Not long after this was released onto Switch I took a couple of weeks off because of paternity leave, which gave me a lot more free time that I usually do to play around on the Switch. My previous bae had been the excellent Fire Emblem: Three Houses, but XCOM 2 is like an old friend where you can always pick up where you left off.
I would be lying if I claimed I haven't had a lot of fun plaything this - it’s honestly bonkers that I can just pick up and play XCOM 2 whenever I want. I’ve had the game on my PC since it launched but I honestly haven’t given it much time recently. War of the Chosen in general is also just a really solid version of the game, with plenty of difficulty options to help you iron out some of the annoying traits the base game had. For example, I always found the Avatar progress bar unnecessarily stressful, but there’s an option in WOTC where you can extend it now to make the strategic layer a bit easier. Alternatively, there are separate options for tactical layer difficulty, depending on which element you enjoy more.
That said, it’s also worth stating that this is also an inferior version of the PC game, so anyone coming from PC should be aware of this. The load times weren’t an issue for me personally but then again I had a lot of down time where I was rooted to the spot with a newborn lying on my chest. It’s not like I was going anywhere anyway. They are longer than they should be though and there is a general clunkiness to the game that may put people off.
The biggest thing for me is that, considering how good War of the Chosen is on its own, there’s almost no point in the vanilla XCOM 2 version also being there. It’s not that it’s bad, but it’s a more raw (and more difficult) version of the game that’s only really improved through mods… which you can’t get on the Switch. Unless you’re curious, I honestly wouldn’t recommend ever bothering with the base game which means a chunk of your purchase is wasted.
A couple of years ago I would never have guessed that one of the best platforms for strategy gamers would be the Switch. Despite the technical issues, the XCOM 2 Collection reinforces this point and if you’re looking for something new to really sink your teeth into, this is a great buy. PC vets may notice the load times more and will miss the modding potential, but thankfully WOTC is pretty good as-is.