Gameplay Mechanics (EU2012)

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Action System

In Enemy Unknown 2012 the gameplay has been streamlined regarding the previous games, with the intention use a simpler system than the one used by the predecessor of the original game. Thus, the Time Units have been removed and replaced instead with an action system, where each unit can perform 2 Actions during its turn.

Move and Fire

A normal turn will have the unit doing Move + Fire or just take 1 Action. The soldier's class and abilities also determine the options available for the 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 in a turn.
  • A unit's turn automatically ends after the unit:
  1. Performs any other action other than Move on its 1st Action.
  2. 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 can Fire + Fire.
    • Run & Gun - Assault can Dash + Fire but not Dash + Equipment.
    • Snap Shot - Sniper can Move and Fire with a Sniper Rifle.

List of Actions

These are general actions that can be perform by your soldiers during the fight, depending on their Equipment and Class.

Movement Actions
Action Description
Move Walk
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.
Ascend/ Descend Go up/down one level while flying. Doesn't cost as an action.
Weapon Actions
Action Description
Fire Shoot weapon at enemy/area.
4 types of weapon shots: Standard, Headshot, Disabling and Free.
Grenade Throw grenade.
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.
Other Equipment Actions
Heal Wound Use Medikit to heal Health Points.
Stabilize/Revive Use Medikit to stop bleeding and/or revive an injured soldier.
Combat Stim 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.

Sound

  • 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.

Morale

  • 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.

Environments

  • 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.
  • There are weather effects in the game as well as day/night however they have no effect on game play.

Tactics

  • 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.