Fire Emblem was the first game that Geoff recommended I buy when I got my 3DS. He and Darryn raved about it for hours on end, so eventually I bought it. They weren’t trolling me – that game is intense. With a combination of perma-death and relationships, every battle is so tense. Could anything be worse than watching your favorite squad mate die in battle? Yes, when that squad mate is actually the child of other squad mates whose relationship you carefully cultivated. And now XCOM 2 is getting some of that intensity.
XCOM 2 is already all about your squad, but now a mod is adding some emotional buffs to the experience. The Squad Cohesion mod (thanks Game Informer) brings in a loyalty system similar to Fire Emblem, but without the romance:
Characters can receive buffs for having strong ties with their teammates for stats like aiming, defense, mobility, hacking, will and critical hit chance. This means that the more your squad mates know and trust each other, the better they’ll perform on the battle field. Relationships can be built by healing a soldier, stabilizing a down soldier, carrying a squad mate off the battlefield or killing an enemy flanking a comrade.
However, there’s a downside to this as well. If a beloved teammate is killed in battle, there are penalties – the closer the bond the higher the likelihood that the comrade will become Shaken. Talk about higher stakes.
I love mechanisms like these. It adds so much to the immersion in the game. Of course my squad will grow closer through fighting alongside each other. Saving each other, healing each other – these activities grow friendships and change the chemistry on the battlefield. This can be a good and a bad thing, but either way, I’m happy to see this kind of mod coming to XCOM 2. Just don’t let my squad have children that also fight; Fire Emblem taught me that those experiences are far too high stakes.