XCOM's 'Second Wave' DLC available today, adds new gameplay options
Today marks the announcement and release of XCOM's second batch of DLC, "Second Wave," on all available platforms. The new content comes via a free update, adding multiple new options designed to appeal to players looking for a new and different challenge. Specifically, the update adds a new menu of options that significantly alter the way XCOM is played.

Damage Roulette, for example, gives all weapons a much wider range of damage – potentially stealing a killing blow or possibly bestowing a last ditch pistol shot with extra punch. Another option, Not Created Equally, gives all rookie soldiers random stats, while Hidden Potential causes stats to increase randomly with each promotion. Firaxis designer Jake Solomon tells Joystiq these options allow for more versatile soldiers, even some that go against the grain of their classes. Heavies with incredible accuracy? It could happen.
The goal in creating Second Wave, he says, was to offer experienced players more extraterrestrial bang for their buck. "One of the values we offer people who play our games is [that] we really want to reduce the dollar cost per hour spent on our games. We want to consider ourselves to be one of the greatest game values that there is."

Furthermore, many of the new options make XCOM much more difficult and demanding, something fans of the original game are sure to appreciate. Marathon, for example, makes the campaign take much longer, confronting players with higher costs and longer research periods and soldier healing times. Diminishing Returns, meanwhile, raises satellite construction costs for each satellite built. You know, because they didn't cost enough already.

Some options are available immediately to new players, while others are unlocked by completing the game at different difficulty levels. Again, The Second Wave is available today on Xbox, PS3 and PC, so get to cracking some alien skulls. See the full list of new options below.
  • Damage Roulette: Weapons have a wider range of damage.
  • New Economy: Randomized council member funding.
  • Not Created Equally: Rookies will have random starting stats.
  • Hidden Potential: As a soldier is promoted, stats increase randomly.
  • Red Fog: Combat wounds will degrade the soldier's mission stats.
  • Absolutely Critical: A flanking shot guarantees a critical hit.
  • The Greater Good: Psionics can only be learned from interrogating a psionic alien.
  • Marathon: The game takes considerably longer to complete.
  • Results Driven: A country offers less funding as its panic level increases.
  • High Stakes: Random rewards for stopping alien abductions.
  • Diminishing Returns: Increased cost of satellite construction.
  • More Than Human: The psionic gift is extremely rare.
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Extend XCOM®: Enemy Unknown Experience with Second Wave Content

Variety of advanced gameplay modifiers available for fans after completing campaign

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New York, NY – January 8, 2013 - 2K Games and Firaxis Games announced today that Second Wave content is now available for XCOM®: Enemy Unknown for Windows PC, the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft and PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system. The Second Wave content allows fans to choose a variety of new gameplay modifiers to enhance the XCOM: Enemy Unknown experience after completing the main campaign. The Second Wave content is available free of charge and is issued via a downloadable* title update to XCOM: Enemy Unknown.

The XCOM: Enemy Unknown Second Wave content offers a series of advanced gameplay options that unlock a new level of depth, challenge and replayability. The Second Wave content includes:
• Damage Roulette: Weapons have a wider range of damage.
• New Economy: Randomized council member funding.
• Not Created Equally: Rookies will have random starting stats.
• Hidden Potential: As a soldier is promoted, stats increase randomly.
• Red Fog: Combat wounds will degrade the soldier's mission stats.
• Absolutely Critical: A flanking shot guarantees a critical hit.
• The Greater Good: Psionics can only be learned from interrogating a psionic alien.
• Marathon: The game takes considerably longer to complete.
• Results Driven: A country offers less funding as its panic level increases.
• High Stakes: Random rewards for stopping alien abductions.
• Diminishing Returns: Increased cost of satellite construction.
• More Than Human: The psionic gift is extremely rare.

The Second Wave content is the second of two add-ons for XCOM: Enemy Unknown. With the Slingshot Content Pack, the first add-on content for XCOM: Enemy Unknown, players meet an enigmatic Triad operative, divert an alien ship's course, and do battle with the aliens in the skies over China in a new set of linked Council missions. The Slingshot Content Pack includes three new maps tied to the Council missions, a new playable squad character with a unique story and voice, and new character customization options. The Slingshot Content Pack is available for $6.99 (PlayStation®Network) / 560 Microsoft Points (Xbox LIVE® online entertainment network) / $6.99 (Windows PC).

Developed by the strategy experts at Firaxis Games, XCOM: Enemy Unknown has won more than 50 end-of-year awards worldwide to date. Released in October 2012 to wide critical acclaim, XCOM: Enemy Unknown received review scores of 5 out of 5 from GameSpy, 9.1 out of 10 from GameTrailers.com, and 9.5 out of 10 from Game Informer - earning "Game of the Month" honors in their November 2012 issue. In XCOM: Enemy Unknown, players oversee combat strategies and individual unit tactics, as well as base management and resource allocation while playing as the commander of a secret global military organization, XCOM. With equal emphasis on deep strategy and intense tactical combat, XCOM: Enemy Unknown allows gamers to control the fate of the human race by defending against a terrifying global alien invasion.

A free playable demo* of XCOM: Enemy Unknown is available for Windows PC via Steam, Xbox 360 and PS3TM. Gamers who download the demo will be guided through two levels of the single-player tutorial campaign, experiencing the combat controls and effective tactics for defending humanity against the alien threat. The two tutorial missions will also introduce players to the XCOM base, where soldier training and researching alien technology takes place, and offers a chance to experience the tactical and strategic layers of XCOM: Enemy Unknown.

XCOM: Enemy Unknown, the Slingshot Content Pack and the Second Wave content are all available now for Windows PC, Xbox 360 and PS3TM.

XCOM: Enemy Unknown is rated M for Mature by the ESRB.

For the latest news and information on XCOM: Enemy Unknown, become a fan on Facebook.

* Xbox LIVE® online entertainment network for Xbox 360, PlayStation®Network for PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system or Internet connection and acceptance of Steam Subscriber agreement required.

2K Games is a division of 2K, a publishing label of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (NASDAQ: TTWO).

All trademarks and copyrights contained herein are the property of their respective holders.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.