Tips from PC gamer

  • Topic Archived
You're browsing the GameFAQs Message Boards as a guest. Sign Up for free (or Log In if you already have an account) to be able to post messages, change how messages are displayed, and view media in posts.
  1. Boards
  2. XCOM: Enemy Unknown
  3. Tips from PC gamer

User Info: raichudl

5 years ago#1

Building your Base

Restart after the tutorial – The XCOM tutorial is very handy for learning the basics of the game, but it’s also very linear. Starting again after you’ve finished it will give you the freedom to plan your base how you like, and ensure you don’t lose three men on the first mission.

Win the space race – If I could only give you one tip, it would be this. Build satellites. There are no second bases in Enemy Unknown, so it’s vital that you launch satellites and buy interceptors in order to spot UFOs around the Earth. Secondly, each satellite you launch will provide extra resources and calm the nation it’s launched over. Thirdly, when you complete the satellite coverage of a continent you’ll get the same bonus you would if you put your base there. This is why it’s pointless to set up in South America, since you’ll only need two satellites to do the same job as a whole base.

XCOM guide

Mine for steam – Thermal generators are way better than regular power generators, but they can only be built on steam vents. So the best way to produce power is to quickly mine down to the steam, build a thermal generator and then surround it with regular generators for the adjacency bonus.

Engineers are better than Scientists – Every item in Enemy Unknown requires a minimum number of engineers to build. Conversely, a single scientist can research everything in the game, extra ones just make it go faster. So if the game offers you a choice between engineers and scientists, go for the engineers. I’ve never built a single laboratory while playing this game, I’ve just never needed the speed boost. Workshops, on the other hand are very useful, granting you access to more items and refunding your resources.

Weapons versus armour – This one is a tough call. Armour is generally faster to research, as there are several different guns for each class, while one suit of armour fits all. If you’ve got veterans to protect, I recommend prioritising armour. If you’re dealing with a squad of rookies (often the case if you’re an iron man player) then I’d go for weapons instead. The upgraded rifles make noobs far more likely to actually kill something.

Train your officers – Building an officer training school gives you access to some powerful upgrades. You can improve experience gain, increase your squad size and make your soldiers more likely to survive. All essential if you’re going to develop a veteran squad.
Shut up and bag yourselves!!! -Cody Rhodes

User Info: raichudl

5 years ago#2
XCOM guide
Combat Tips

Keep your ears open – As you move across the battlefield, you might notice sound waves coming from off screen. These are little clues as to where the aliens on the map are positioned, Firaxis’ solution to all those old X-Com missions which ended with a half hour search for the final alien. As an extra bonus, the sound clip that plays at this point hints at what kind of alien you’ll find. Stomping and Darth Vader breathing means Mutons, while skittering insectiod movement means Chyssalids.

Overwatch is key – Overwatch is XCOM’s version of X-Com’s reaction fire, and it’s one of the most powerful weapons you have at your disposal in the field. Always have at least one or two men on overwatch to cover the rest of the squad before moving or ending your turn. The only reason not to have someone on overwatch is if you’ve already spotted the enemy and are busy filling him full of lasery death.

Exploit enemy movement – Whenever an enemy spots you, they are allowed one move action. Ranged units will panic and dash for cover, while melee units charge forwards. You can exploit this movement by putting your whole team on overwatch before moving the last man forward, this way if you provoke an enemy, they’ll run right into your firing arcs and get horribly slaughtered.

Use stealth – That enemy movement I spoke about? It happens when they spot you, not when you spot them. This means that by using a Ghost Suit’s invisibility, or the Sniper’s Battle Scanner you can spot the aliens while they’re still clustered together and they won’t react until you’ve dropped a grenade right in the middle of them.

Make your own door – Back in the original X-Com, opening a door was suicide. Things aren’t as bad these days, since you can now fire from cover at either side of the door. Still you can often surprise the enemy by simply blowing a hole in the wall with a grenade and making your own entrance.

Exploit explosions – Blowing up a UFO power source does some serious damage, but if you do it, you won’t be able to salvage it at the end of the mission. However if you’re using thermal power, you don’t actually need that many, so you can happily use it to magnify take out the enemy. The same trick also works with cars, which is why you should never stand next to a burning one.



The Heavy has two main weapons, a big machine gun and a rocket launcher. He excels at laying down suppressive fire and destroying cover, in addition to dealing big one shot damage.

Recommended perks:

Burst of Steel – Firing in XCOM usually means the end of your soldier’s turn, but with Burst of Steel if you stand still and fire you can take a second action. That action can be to move, reload, go into overwatch or even fire twice for maximum dakka.

Suppression – Suppressing fire is a special kind of shot. It doesn’t do any damage, but it does reduce aim, destroy cover, and grant you a reaction shot if your target moves. It’s a very useful weapon in your armoury, especially if the enemy is stupid enough to hide behind something explosive.

H.E.A.T. rounds – Doubles your damage against robotic enemies. This ability may not seem useful when you first get access to it, but two of the strongest enemies in the game, Cyberdiscs and Sectopods, are robotic, and this really helps you deal with them.
Shut up and bag yourselves!!! -Cody Rhodes

User Info: raichudl

5 years ago#3

Assaults are the guys who get up close and shotgun the enemy in the face. Their signature move is Run and Gun, which lets them move twice and still fire or go on overwatch.

Recommended perks:

Lightning Reflexes – One of my favourite perks in the game. Lightning Reflexes forces the first overwatch shot against your soldier to miss. This not only keeps him alive and lets him close in on the enemy, but can be used to clear the way for the rest of your soldiers.

Close Quarters Fighting – Grants a reaction shot against anyone who approaches within four squares of the assault soldier. I’ve lost count of the number of times this has saved my ass from being injected with Chyssalid eggs.

Rapid Fire – Fires a double shot, but at reduced accuracy. At close range this can be devastating, and if you use a pistol, it works at a distance too. There’s also a second reason to get it, it’s counterpart, Flush, is far less useful, and often doesn’t seem to work at all.


Snipers can do massive damage at range, capable of taking out even tough enemies like Mutons with a single shot. But they can’t move and shoot with a sniper rifle, and struggle to hit enemies up close.

Recommended perks:

Snap Shot – Lets you move and fire with a sniper rifle at reduced accuracy. The choice between this and Squad Sight (shoot anyone any soldier can see) is a hard one, but the latter is often foiled by inconvenient walls, while Snap Shot lets your sniper keep pace with the rest of the squad and still be useful.

Battle Scanner – An overlooked skill, since it’s one of the few Sniper abilities that doesn’t involve shooting people. Tossing this scanner reveals part of the battlefield, including any enemies nearby. However it does so without alerting the enemies to your presence, meaning they don’t scramble for cover.

Opportunist – Removes the accuracy penalty for overwatch attacks. This lets a Sniper climb to high ground and cover the entire squad with ease. Opportunist helps compensate for the aiming penalty for Snap Shot, or pull off some amazing trick shots with Squad Sight.


Supports are one of the most versatile classes in the game. They use standard rifles and can toss smoke grenades, but their main draw is their superb medic abilties. I usually take two Supports per squad, they’re that useful.

Recommended perks:

Field Medic – This incredibly useful ability allows you to get three uses from every medpack, turning your support into a roving medic. It’s an absolute must have, the best way to keep your squad on their feet throughout the mission.

Revive – The second strong medic ability in the support tree. This one means that critically injured squad members can be revived instead of merely stabilised, because nothing can stop an XCOM soldier from kicking alien ass.

Deep Pockets – Every Support gets this ability at Major, but it’s worth pointing out just how good it is. It allows you to take two inventory items instead of just one. Letting you carry a grenade or protective vest in addition to your standard medpack.
Shut up and bag yourselves!!! -Cody Rhodes

User Info: raichudl

5 years ago#4
Psi Ops

When a soldier is found to have psychic powers, they unlock a second, smaller skill tree. Using these powers grants you the experience to climb that tree, making your best soldiers even more potent.

Recommended perks:

Mindfray – The one ability every psychic has. It deals five damage and reduces the target’s aim, willpower an mobility. It’s extremely accurate over long range, kills weak aliens quickly and sets up tougher ones for other mental attacks.

Psychic Inspiration – Finally! A way to stop those weak willed rookies from panicking and shooting their pals. Psychic Inspiration removes panic and Mindfray effects and boosts willpower, a massive boost to your men’s resolve.

Mind Control – The power you’ve finally been waiting for. Mind Control lets you pull the same tricks as Sectoid Commanders and take control of the enemy units. Sadly, your version isn’t as effective as theirs. The aliens have several units that are immune to or resistant to psychic powers, and will happily shoot down their own soldiers before you can use them much. It’s still incredible fun when you pull it off though, especially when paired with Mindfray to lower their defences.


S.H.I.V. Units – These are small tanks that can take the place of an XCOM soldier. They can’t take cover, and don’t have much more health than well armoured soldier, but they do have decent weapons and (if upgraded) can use the Suppressing Fire ability. Generally speaking a S.H.I.V is better than a rookie, but inferior to a veteran soldier. Their one saving grace is immunity to mind control, making them handy for taking out psychic aliens.

Skeleton/Archangel Armour – Both of these work the same way, they give their wearers the ability to reach higher ground, either by grappling hook or by flight. They are best used by Snipers, who benefit most from increased elevation.

Ghost Armour – While Archangel Armour’s function is obvious, Ghost Armour is a little more uncertain. The grappling hook and light protection fits a Sniper, but the invisibility seems more suited to Assaults. In the end I preferred it on the latter, using the grappling hook to quickly close in on enemies and drop down on them from above, Spiderman style.

Grenades – Frag Grenades do three damage to all enemies in their radius, usually less damage than merely shooting someone, but their ability to fly over cover and destroy terrain makes up for that. They’re a useful tool, and it’s always worth taking a couple on mission. Autopsying a Cyberdisc will let you upgrade to Alien Grenades, which do five damage, and it’s well worth doing.
Shut up and bag yourselves!!! -Cody Rhodes

User Info: raichudl

5 years ago#5
Nano Vest/Chitin Plating – Both of these increase your health by a small amount, which useful in the early missions, but rapidly irrelevant when you have strong armour. You’ll get more mileage out of Chitin Plating’s secondary ability, which reducing incoming melee damage. This is a great way to protect yourself from Beserkers and Chryssalids.

S.C.O.P.E. – This offers an simple +10 bonus to aim, and also extra critical chance when upgraded. This is very useful to Snap Shot using Snipers, letting them overcome the penalty for moving and shooting. As your troops reach higher levels it becomes less useful, as their aim will be high enough already.

Medpacks – It’s always worth taking a couple of Medpacks on a mission, they can restore hitpoints, cure poison and stabilise dying soldiers. Medpacks are best carried by Support soldiers, who can take several perks to enhance them. Be sure to autopsy a Thin Man as soon as possible in order to double the amount of damage you can heal.

Arc Thrower – The Arc Thrower is essential to the completion of the game, as it’s the only way to stun and capture a live alien, but it’s also a useful tool. It can easily take out low health enemies at short range, and the first captured alien of each type offers a research bonus. It declines in usefulness as aliens get more health, but becomes interesting again if you grab the upgrade that allows it to repair SHIV units.

Combat Drugs – Psychic powers getting you down? Why not snort the crushed bones of a Muton Beserker? Well for lots of reasons obviously, but there are positive effects too. Taking these Combat Drugs boosts your willpower and grants extra movement speed and damage resistance, making them useful for taking out psychic aliens.

The rest is enemies and they may be consider spoilers.
Shut up and bag yourselves!!! -Cody Rhodes

User Info: prouddesi

5 years ago#6
Hey thanks a lot for taking the time and posting:)!

User Info: Hypereia

5 years ago#7
Great info, bumping for justice.
Steam/BF3: Hypereia | FFXIV: Valroque Allard (Excalibur)
i7 3820 (G1.ASSASSIN2) | GTX 680 | 16GB DDR3 | Sandisk Ext.
  1. Boards
  2. XCOM: Enemy Unknown
  3. Tips from PC gamer

Report Message

Terms of Use Violations:

Etiquette Issues:

Notes (optional; required for "Other"):
Add user to Ignore List after reporting

Topic Sticky

You are not allowed to request a sticky.

  • Topic Archived