Every now and then, we’ll see a game on the App Store that pushes the hardware of iPhones or iPad to another level. Back in the day, Infinity Blade showed us what mobile gaming could become and that opened the doors for many other graphically-intensive games. That includes XCOM 2 Collection, a game brought by Feral Interactive that’s trying to replicate that and push mobile gaming even further.
If you’re familiar with the XCOM franchise, then you need to know introductions for this. It’s the typical story of humans vs. aliens. In a future where the world’s being controlled by beings from outer space, many humans decide to live under their control while the ones who try to fight are quickly eliminated.
However, not everything is lost. The XCOM force is still alive and it’ll do everything it can to stop the alien invasion. You’ll play as the commander, a recently rescued, well, commander, who’s a key part of the XCOM organization. It’ll be your job to complete missions, recruit more fighters, and run the base all by yourself. You’ll start doing that literally 1 minute after you’re rescued, and they pull an alien chip out of your skull. No time to rest!
XCOM 2 focuses on two main types of gameplay. First, is the strategic side. You’ll have to take care of the XCOM base, make sure every department is doing their job to improve the base, your weapons, and giving ranks to the soldiers who need it. Think of it as a more complicated version of Fallout Shelter.
Taking care of your base, and assigning jobs to all your crew isn’t the most exciting part of the game, but it does help in the long run. Crafting new items, and raking your soldiers is extremely helpful when you're on the battlefield.
There’s also a more tactical side of the game. You’ll go to missions with a few other soldiers. You’ll be dropped on the battlefield, and you’ll have to plan your strategy to complete the mission. You do this in turn-based combat. You’ll move your soldiers across the battlefield and place them in the right position to attack the aliens. Depending on where your troops are located, you can shoot, hack some devices, and even throw grenades.
I’m really oversimplifying it. Once you’re on the field, you’ll understand how complicated it might be, especially at first. You’ll need to learn about positioning, abilities, how your guns work, and what your soldiers’ abilities are. It’s a handful, and it’s awesome.
Despite all the things that make XCOM 2 unique, the first word that comes to mind when talking about the game is “demanding”. If you want to play XCOM 2, you’ll need to have at least 8 GB of storage. Plus, Feral Interactive recommends you to have 17GB of free space to avoid any installing issues.
Plus, the graphics on this game might be too much for some iPhones and iPads to handle. I decided to add some screenshots of the cutscenes here so you could see how hard it was for my iPad to run these graphics, and it did it with some compromises in quality. To clarify, I used an 11-inch 2020 iPad Pro, arguably one of the iPads with the best performance on the market right now.
If you go to the XCOM 2 Collection App Store page, you’ll see the team says this game can run on at least an iPhone 7 Plus. I’m sure they made their own tests, but I wouldn’t recommend you spend $25 for this game under those circumstances. Fortunately, if you have any doubts, there’s an email in the game description, if you want to ask them about your device before buying it. We've spoken with Feral Interative, and they've stated that everything runs at full speed from that point upward, for clarification.
The good news is, the gameplay itself didn’t suffer from any low-quality graphics, and it ran as smooth as I’d expected. If you don’t care about how the cutscenes look, you won’t have any issues when playing this game. Although you need to keep in mind, there are a lot of cutscenes, especially in the beginning.
The bottom line is not if you should play XCOM 2 or not, because you totally should. The strategy in the game is one of the best in any mobile game. Combine that with all the missions, the maintenance, and the story you need to cover, plus four DLC packs included in the game, you’re looking at one of the most complete games on the App Store. And it’s totally worth the $25, although it’s one of the most expensive games out there.
This is a matter of whether you can actually play XCOM 2. If you have enough storage, you already checked if your Apple device can run it, and you’re craving some intense and fun strategy game, and if you have $25 to spare, then you should consider buying the game when it comes out or preordering it right now.
On the other hand, if you can’t run XCOM 2, or you just don’t want to pay that much for a game, here are the best strategy games for iPhone and iPad that you can get right now.