A solid sequel with numerous welcome additions and changes, particularly mod support. XCOM 2 is superior and an overall upgrade to the first of the rebooted XCOM series and should serve to be highly enjoyable for those who were a big fan of vanilla XCOM 1, though poor performance is a concern.
Despite the advancements, vanilla XCOM 2 shadows in comparison to XCOM 1 Long War mod. Gameplay balance and rules have ultimately gone in the wrong direction when Long War went the opposite way. Super powerful abilities and equipment use, both alien and player have removed a lot of tactical mechanics and good positioning. I feel XCOM 2 is played by exploding, decoying and bluescreening your way to victory in a sorched earth, ‘cheese everything before you get cheesed’ way. Class trees lack balance and while they are more indepth than XCOM 1 Vanilla, are still inferior to the multiclass, large group system from Long War. While random maps was one of the most needed additions to XCOM, for some reason, XCOM 2s maps feel crowded and small in comparison to XCOM 1. As someone who played so much Long War, XCOM 2 had to stand up to that mod instead of the vanilla game for me and sadly it missed the mark. They have all the means in the vanilla game to artifically prolong the length of the campaign, like what Long War did, but once you play, you realise even 40 hours is nowhere near long enough. You’re rushed through the story and tech upgrades that the game is over before you get to have a feel of all the features available.
At the end of the day it’s a good start but the game *desperately* needs its own ‘Long War’ style partial conversion single mod, the tools and means are there to create something that shadows Long War, so I’m hoping someone will take up the challenge. There’s quite a large list of individual mods that are pretty mandatory in improving the game, but they hardly work, even the Firaxis supported SMG pack from the Long War team doesn’t work right now, you can’t upgrade the SMGs in game. Such an addition to the game is pointless in such a short lived game.