23 March, 2016

Review – XCOM 2, Anarchy’s Children

The musk of abused, unwashed leather and riotous hormones has completely suffused the alien halls of my XCOM 2 Avenger, with new Mohawk-based fear tactics employed in the field. Here are my thoughts on the first XCOM 2 add-on, Anarchy’s Children.

Review – XCOM 2, Anarchy’s Children banner

Anarchy’s Children


The punk aesthetic is likely not one that will leave you indifferent. Therefore, the one question you should probably ask yourself before purchasing Anarchy’s Children is, whether or not you are comfortable with the Sex Pistols and their ilk. You know, the Brit punk act responsible for such albums as, “Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols” and more aptly, “Agents of Anarchy”.

If you find yourself repulsed by the very notion of guys n’ gals with Mohawks and leather straps, freeing humanity from the crushing weight of the fascist alien state, then I might advise that you give Anarchy’s Children a wide birth. It’s dripping with a dirty, sprayed-on melange probably ill-suited to a household like yours.

Review – XCOM 2, Anarchy’s Children yellow grenadier

If however, you’re the kind of Commander who can turn a blind eye to paint huffing, or better still, welcome parent-loathing teens wearing Kaiser Helmets into your ranks, then this solely cosmetic add-on may be up your alley. It adds more than one-hundred new cosmetic items, with which to personalise your fleshy fodder. Don’t think though that each item was created equal, or that the distribution of new content is even across the early, mid, and late game gear sets.

Review – XCOM 2, Anarchy’s Children machete mohawk

Helmet’s, hairstyles, and facepaint, form the core of the content and all are wearable by any soldier, regardless of gender or rank. The gear customisation options, the props, start out strong with a range of personalised and painted armours, cut-off leather jackets, and excruciatingly tight pants. There are also new arm and shoulder slots, allowing the mixing and matching of vambraces and pauldrons. ‘Start out’ is key here, because this wealth choice is only found in the earliest, Kevlar armour type.

The mid-game Predator armour and its variants, have far fewer options. While the late game Warden and its variants are physically unchanged, with only a couple of spray-painted designs printed upon the old shells. Pitiful really.

Review – XCOM 2, Anarchy’s Children red helmet fire

The late game waning of gear-specific customisation options is by no means a new phenomenon in Firaxis’ XCOM games. My ire would be mitigated somewhat, if I could set early-game visual options on late-game armour sets; my soldiers usually go into battle without helmets and never suffer a health penalty, just let them wear leather jackets and call it power armour! However, I do understand the reason against doing so; visual progression of ones soldiers is hugely important, you have to see their development for it to mean something, but simply offering fewer options isn’t an agreeable solution. Of course, it is the kind of restriction that the XCOM 2 mod community is poised to overcome, should they care to.

Review – XCOM 2, Anarchy’s Children gas mask spiked sniper

The tireless efforts of the community continue to achieve far more than merely fixing my perceived problems, such as crafting new and decidedly free gear, which is an issue for Anarchy’s Children and quite possibly the future add-ons. I can and have, downloaded several free collections of cosmetic items from the Steam Workshop including; the Capnbubs Accessories Pack, and Military Camouflage Patterns, which are both at least equal in quality to the items of Anarchy’s Children.
Review – XCOM 2, Anarchy’s Children 2/5 poor

The very existence of the XCOM 2 modding community actively erodes the value of Anarchy’s Children. However, it would not be hyperbole to say, there is no other style I’d rather see added to a custom character-centric game like XCOM 2, than punk. Even then, the front-loaded distribution of content is a real killer.

For a look at the entirety of the pack's contents, check out What’s In XCOM 2's Anarchy’s Children.

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