The XCOM series has continually pitted hapless humans against a blitzkrieg of technologically superior alien invaders. Now comes the intriguing XCOM 2, in which small bands of human rebels are the interlopers, and they are attempting to overturn a corrupt system and stop the aliens from exploiting the human race.

The game is divided into two parts. One of the meatiest components is the combat layer, where you manage a squad of up to six rebels who tactically dismantle the alien forces without becoming dismembered in the process. The alien overlords give players plenty of reasons to be terrified. Beastly Berserkers run straight toward your forces, threatening to break your squaddies in half if they get within striking distance. Other enemies, such as the angelic-looking Archons, get stronger as you attack them and can call down a torrent of expositions from the sky.

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As your characters unlock more weapon upgrades and class abilities, your pool of available maneuvers grows deeper, giving you a wider variety of ways to approach every combat encounter. Between battles, you’re pulled back to your home base, a mobile airship called the Avenger. Onboard, teams of scientists and engineers eagerly await your orders to build new tech and research alien artifacts. Much like the combat layer, the Avenger continues to evolve as you journey deeper toward disrupting the alien hierarchy. You can outfit the Avenger with new facilities that allow you to better train your warriors, upgrade weapons and equipment, and patch up soldiers after battle.

At times XCOM2 can be stressful, but the battles are so compelling that it’s easy to pick yourself up after defeat and jump back into the fray. Successfully navigating XCOM 2’s storm of difficult choices is enough to make you feel like a true legend.