Gameplay Mechanics (EU2012)
In Enemy Unknown 2012 the gameplay has been simplified relative to the previous titles, possibly with the intention to a wider console audiance. Thus, unit Time Units have been removed and replaced with a two-part action system, where each unit can perform 2 Actions during its turn.
Moving and Firing
In a single turn, a soldier has two Action points. The soldier's class and abilities determine the options available for their 1st and 2nd Actions. The following rules are a brief summary of how Actions work:
- A unit may perform 1 or 2 Actions each turn.
- Some actions (firing Sniper Rifle or Rocket Launcher) may only be performed as the 1st Action and consumes both Action points.
- A unit's turn automatically ends after the unit:
- Performs any action other than Move on its 1st Action.
- Performs a 2nd Action after moving as the 1st Action.
- The following Abilities change the above rules:
- Bullet Swarm - Heavy can Fire + Fire/Move/Surpress/Overwatch.
- Double Tap - Sniper can Fire + Fire (Can also use Headshot or Disabling shot for either but not both due to cool down).
- Run & Gun - Assault can Dash + Fire but not Dash + Equipment.
- Snap Shot - Sniper can Move and Fire with a Sniper Rifle at reduced accuracy.
List of Actions
|Dash||Fast movement. Provides defensive bonus against enemy reaction fire.|
|Grapple||Move and use Grapple hook use to reach a higher position.|
|Hunker Down||Doubles cover bonus & provides immunity to critical hits, but reduces sight radius.|
|Toggle Flight||Activates flight mode on Archangel armor. Doesn't cost as an action point.|
|Ascend/ Descend||Go up/down one level while flying. Doesn't cost as an action.|
|Fire|| Shoot weapon at enemy/area.|
4 types of weapon shots: Standard, Headshot, Disabling and Free.
|Stun||Can incapacitate targets for capture, easier if target's health is reduced.|
|Suppress||Fires at the area around the target to reduce its aim.|
|Overwatch||Takes a shot at the next enemy that moves through that unit's line of sight. A small (?how much?) Aim penalty applies.|
|Reload||Spend a full action to reload weapon.|
|Psionic||Perform a series of mental and physical attacks using Psionics.|
|Heal Wound||Use Medikit to heal Health Points.|
|Stabilize/Revive||Use Medikit to stop bleeding and/or revive an injured soldier.|
|Combat Stim||Use Medikit to temporarily increase a soldier's Will and reduce damage taken.|
|Ghost||Makes the soldier invisible for 1 turn or until attacking. Doesn't cost as an action.|
|Battle Scanner||Throw a scanning device to increase your vision.|
- Both your soldiers and the aliens are able to sense one's presence by detecting any noise produced by the other side as a result of movement or firing.
- Squad members are affected by morale and can panic on the battlefield, moving and firing uncontrollably on friend and foe alike. Losing squad members increases this chance while higher-ranked squad members and Officer Training Upgrades reduce this chance.
- Everything is destructible with the exception of floors/ceilings and bringing down entire buildings.
- Explosions can start fires which can spread each turn. These prevent move across them but that can be countered with special armor.
- Entering buildings is much more dynamic than in previous games. Squad members can break through windows to enter buildings, kick down doors or quietly open them in standing on either side of the door frame. The two former options increasing the chance enemies will hear you and come to investigate.
- Roofs and elevated positions can be utilized for better line of sight and squad tactics. Beyond traditional stairs and ladders, squad members can use drain pipes or armor upgrades to grapple or jet pack to higher elevations. From the demo, it seems that you can get down from a roof anywhere, so long as the drop is less than three elevation.
- There are weather effects in the game as well as day/night however they have no effect on game play.
- Simplified and granulized encounter system: In most missions, the aliens now come in groups of roughly threes. The whole encounter feels alot like World of Warcraft instances - since "waking-up" multiple groups may overwhelm you, the best strategy is to "wake-up" and deal with one group at a time. This tactic won't work for a few mission types e.g. there is a bomb deactivating mission with a time limit.
- Grenades: To accommodate a simpler game, most aspects of the battlescape game is smaller compared to previous titles. This includes the size of battlefield (especially the width), the number of units allowed, the number of equipment allowed etc. A smaller scale battlescape also means firing ranges has been drastically reduced. This in turn makes grenades overpowering, and to compensate, the grenades have been made to deliver very little damage. They're ineffective in the beginning and become utterly useless in mid-end game.
- Overwatch: Overwatch only allows a shot against the first unit spotted. For example, if you put a soldier on overwatch and they fire at the first enemy to move, any subsequent enemies moving through that soldier's line-of-sight will not be fired upon. The same applies to aliens overwatching against you. For example, you could use a high-HP unit (e.g., SHIV) to draw enemy reaction fire and then follow-up with a more vulnerable unit's move. This could also work against you if you're being flanked by multiple units the same turn. Take notice that overwatch has reduced chance to hit, cannot crit and only happens if unit moves within your sight range, so if you stop as soon as you get into overwatching unit's view, overwatch will not trigger.
- Alien encounters: Sometimes aliens are setup to spawn at a given point on the map, such that they do not move until discovered by one of your units. Upon discovery, the aliens interrupt your squad's turn and immediately move (but do not take action/attack). They tend to move relative to the unit discovering them and either attack that position (e.g., aggressive Floaters) or take cover against that unit's position (e.g., Sectoids, Thin Men). Therefore, if you're on a mission where time/turns don't matter (e.g., mission brief indicates no civilians; no countdown timer for mission objectives) you should move units one movement each at a time. In other words, don't immediately dash a unit as far as possible, especially without overwatch protection. Cycle through your whole squad giving each unit their first move before deciding whether to move each again or take action. Otherwise, you may encounter a group of aliens that can quickly flank that forward unit while the rest of your squad is out of moves/actions. Also, you may hinder your ability to purposefully flush the aliens toward a choke point, bunch them up in range of a specific unit (e.g., Heavy who can still fire his rocket, in Sniper LOS), or limit them to an area of the map with poor cover (e.g., explodable vehicles, half-cover).
- Taking advantage of alien squad script: Aliens can never attack you unless you "awaken" them first (a cinematic has played where camera shows a bunch of aliens) and when alien squad is provoked, they never take any offensive action or overwatch, only move. This means that you are never in danger of receiving any damage unless you have an unfinished alien alive from a provoked pack on the map. Therefore, there is not much incentitive to stay in cover when there are no "provoked" aliens alive - rather, having suitable cover in range of 1 movement is enough. Taking advantage of this fact, you can beat enemy in tactical quite easilly and without casualties. If you keep your people together (you can even stand in the open and on adjacent tiles), and advance slowly, every time going on overwatch with all your soldiers, you can make it so that aliens pop up on their turn (all except immobile squads, which are rare). This will make them trigger your overwatch, and then run to cover, and give you a full turn to either take them down or retreat into cover and setup an overwatch ambush. When having 2 squad sight snipers on a team, this usually lets you take down any alien squad before they even get a chance to fire a shot at you, and if they live, you retreat into cover which is beyond their line of sight, so that your snipers can squad-sight-overwatch enemy advance, which will finish them off. Take opportunist on snipers to have better hit chance on overwatch and lightning reflexes on assault to discover remaining enemies (letting snipers take care of them) without getting damage.
- Do not provoke more aliens: Each extra tile you reveal (get sight on) can have next alien pack waiting. Provoking them when you are not ready can prove fatal. This means that for example, if you've just finished fighting cryssalids and have only one soldier with action points remaining, never move him in a position where he'd uncover new are, because if you happen to find new aliens there, they'll get to attack you before you can do something about it. However, ending turn, you either get aliens on their turn (they do their free movement, you get your turn to attack them) or dont (again, you have full action points to do something).
- The changes in the action system are most notable when fighting Chryssalids. While fundamentally the same as their counterparts in the original, they are significantly less dangerous this time around because of the two action system. Instead of moving to a position where they can reach you next turn, they will dash up to your squad and end their turn standing right next to you, allowing them to be easily picked off.