Real-Time vs Turn-Based (Apocalypse)

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For each tactical mission, Apocalypse lets the player choose between Real-Time (RT) and Turn-Based (TB). Each mode provides a unique gameplay experience, added variety and replayability to the game. Although most players tend to favour one mode of combat over the other, I encourage experienced players to try an entire game using their weaker combat mode as a challenge and for a different gameplay experience.

Game play experience

In real-time mode, all humans and aliens move simultaneously. The player can issue commands at any time and the action will play out continuously in 'real time'. The battles can be frantic, with a lot of stuff going on at once, but the player can still pause or slow the game at any time to get a finer degree of control.

Turn-based mode is closer to the traditional X-COM style. Teams (eg. X-COM vs the aliens) take it in turns to move their units, each being limited to some basic automatic reactions when it is not their turn. These battles have a greater emphasis on careful unit placement and anticipation of enemy moves.

Tactical advantages

Since there are differences in the game mechanics of the two modes, it is important to develop tactics for each mode. Here are a couple of examples of advantages that the player has in one mode but not the other.

Real-time mode

  • Ability to respond to a new threat as soon as it appears - for example if you see a Popper in the distance you will have time to reposition/reorder your units to best deal with the threat. This makes fast melee enemies like Poppers, Brainsuckers and Hyperworms considerably easier in RT than TB because in TB that unit can charge and attack on the same turn that you see it.
  • Dual wielding - in real-time mode, holding a weapon in each hand allows both weapons to fire simultaneously. This effectively doubles your firing rate (at the cost of some accuracy). In turn-based mode there is no firing rate advantage to dual wielding.
  • Ability to dodge missiles, projectiles, and explosions in mid-animation. Easiest to do this with Teleporters.
  • Teleporters are instantaneous. This would be equivalent to not costing any TUs in TB.
  • Security Turrets, both in X-COM base defence and in the Alien Dimension Buildings will operate and fire until either depleted or destroyed. Turrets will rarely fire in Turn-Based play.

Turn-based mode

  • Charge attack - you can run from some distance to get directly adjacent to your enemies and kill them at point-blank range without them being able to react in any meaningful way. This works even better when launching ambushes around corners or other blind spots. Teleporters are also quite deadly for this purpose. This makes tough enemies like Megaspawn and Psimorphs considerably easier in TB than RT because you can kill them without them being able to fire.
    • Later in the game, you can obtain Personal Shields from Cult of Sirius raids by using the above method combined with Toxigun A ammo. You will require many many shots to kill a COS member with this, so trying to farm COS in this way becomes unfeasible in RT.
  • Tag team attack - you can have several agents take turns at firing through a particular choke point (a doorway, for example). The advantage of this is that it effectively means all of your agents can fire through the choke point at once, whereas in real-time mode only one agent can at a time.
  • Security Turrets, both in X-COM base defence and in the Alien Dimension only shoot in reaction fire.
  • Aliens are less likely to escape the map and flee to other nearby buildings compared to Real-Time mode.

In RT the hatched brainsuckers are easily dealt with. In TB however this weapon is monstrously effective, landing brainsucker pods next to your troops, which will hatch immediately and only your agents with good reactions will be able to fire at them before they can suck an agent.

Real Time

  • Teleporters will recharge in 12 seconds.
  • Teleporting is 100% instant. It will work when the game is paused, and can be used multiple times before resuming the game.
  • Teleporters can be used to dodge any type of incoming fire, including dimension missiles, Devastator shots, and even explosions mid-blast. Brainsuckers can find themselves leaping on to thin air!
  • Two Teleporters can be used to bait enemy fire upon themselves. Pop in, let the aliens launch their missiles/grenades, and teleport out. Add to the fun by dropping your own grenades at the same time.

Turn Based

  • The Teleporter is fully recharged every turn.
  • Activating a Teleporter will use up 55% TUs. Agents can only use and will only ever need one.
  • Teleporters can be leapfrogged to gain vision deeper into the fog of war.
  • With a handful of agents, many missions can be ended in one or two turns by teleporting to the alien spawn points and hosing it down with the Toxigun.

Mind Bender stuff

When using the mind bender in real-time combat, in addition to the initial cost of each attack, as long as any psionic effect is in place, the user's psi energy will be drained to keep up the attack. This continues the attack, and the user continues to deal morale or stun damage to the target.
Psi-energy costs differ depending on the severity of the attack used. Once psi-energy is completely drained the attack ceases to take effect. Psi Energy recharges over time. It is recommended that the psi-link is maintained only for as long as necessary to conserve psi energy.
Turn based notes
When using the mind bender in turn-based combat, there is no additional psi-energy cost as stun and panic are treated as a one-off attack against the target. Likewise, a successful mind control will only ever last until the end of the turn. Assuming they have enough PSI energy and TU, multiple psi attacks can be made by a single unit in one turn. Mind controlled units may only have a few TUs left, but since priming or dropping items does not have a TU cost it can still be a very effective tactic.
As in real-time combat, psi attacks have differing psi-energy costs. Psi-energy will slow recharge every turn. Stun and Panic attacks will affect the target immediately, the floating icon above the target is only an indication that it succeeded, there is no need to maintain further visibility nor does "breaking the link" with another action remove/decrease the effect.

See Also