XCOM 2 - manual

XCOM 2Manual


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Welcome to the XCOM 2 web manual.

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Warnings & Ratings

Important Health Warning About Playing Video Games

Photosensitive Seizures

A very small percentage of people may experience a seizure when exposed to certain visual images, including flashing lights or patterns that may appear in video games. Even people who have no history of seizures or epilepsy may have an undiagnosed condition that can cause these “photosensitive epileptic seizures” while watching video games.

These seizures may have a variety of symptoms, including lightheadedness, altered vision, eye or face twitching, jerking or shaking of arms or legs, disorientation, confusion, or momentary loss of awareness. Seizures may also cause loss of consciousness or convulsions that can lead to injury from falling down or striking nearby objects.

Immediately stop playing and consult a doctor if you experience any of these symptoms. Parents should watch for or ask their children about the above symptoms—children and teenagers are more likely than adults to experience these seizures. The risk of photosensitive epileptic seizures may be reduced by taking the following precautions: Sit farther from the screen; use a smaller screen; play in a well-lit room; and do not play when you are drowsy or fatigued. If you or any of your relatives have a history of seizures or epilepsy, consult a doctor before playing.

Precautions to take during use

  • Sit a good distance away from the monitor.
  • Avoid playing if you are tired or have not had much sleep.
  • Make sure that the room in which you are playing is well lit.
  • Rest for at least 10 to 15 minutes per hour while playing a video game.

Legal logos

©1994–2016 Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc., 2K, Firaxis Games, XCOM, XCOM 2, and their respective logos are trademarks of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. Unreal® Engine, Copyright 1998-2016, Epic Games, Inc. All rights reserved. Unreal® is a registered trademark of Epic Games, Inc. This software product includes Autodesk® Scaleform® software, ©2016 Autodesk, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Portions hereof ©2002–2016 by NVIDIA® Corporation. NVIDIA®, NVIDIA®GameWorks™ and PhysX™ are trademarks of NVIDIA Corporation. All rights reserved. Facial animations generated with FaceFX. ©2002–2016, OC3 Entertainment Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. Originally developed by Firaxis Games. Developed for and published on Linux and Mac by Feral Interactive Ltd. Linux is the registered trademark of Linus Torvalds in the U.S. and other countries. Mac and the Mac logo are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. Feral and the Feral logo are trademarks of Feral Interactive Ltd. All other marks and trademarks are property of their respective owners. The content of this videogame is fictional and is not intended to represent or depict an actual record of the events, persons, locations or entities in the game’s setting. The makers and publishers of this videogame do not in any way endorse, condone or encourage engaging in any conduct depicted in this videogame.



The world you knew is no more

Twenty years have passed since Earth surrendered unconditionally to the alien invaders.

Now, the aliens rule under the guise of the ADVENT administration. They’ve built opulent new cities, where gene therapy clinics offer the populace the latest breakthroughs in medical technology and the hope of a brighter future. However, behind the cities’ brilliant facade hides a darker purpose. As ADVENT’s propaganda machine rewrites the story of Earth’s invasion, only small pockets of resistance continue to fight.

XCOM is scattered, but not defeated. It operates from the shadows, disrupting ADVENT and coordinating the efforts of the resistance. The Avenger, a repurposed alien transport ship, serves as its mobile headquarters.

It’s up to you to rebuild the XCOM project, expose the truth behind ADVENT, and reignite humanity’s will to fight.

Earth is counting on you, Commander.



As part of the Steam download process, the game has already been installed on your computer. To start playing the game, read the Getting Started section.

Getting Started

  1. Double-click on the Steam application icon. By default this is located in the Applications folder on your computer’s hard drive.

  2. If you are not already signed in, the Steam Login dialog will appear. Enter your account name and password, then select Login.

  3. The Steam application will launch. Select Library.

  4. Highlight XCOM 2 in the list of games on the left-hand side of the window, then select Play.

  5. The XCOM 2 pre-game Options window will appear. Click on the Play button. The game will launch.

  6. After the loading screens, the Main Menu will appear. Select New Game.

  7. The Select Difficulty screen will appear. Select a difficulty level. If this is your first time playing, we recommend that you leave the Tutorial checkbox enabled, so that the game will provide instructions as you play.

  8. Select Start Game.

  9. After the opening video, you’ll find your squad planning to use the distraction of the twentieth anniversary of Unification Day to recover a very important package…



The default keyboard controls are detailed below. You can customize your keyboard configuration by selecting OptionsInterfaceBindings from the Main Menu.

Navigate up/down/left/right /// or W/S/A/D
Confirm Return (↩) or Space
Cancel Escape (esc) or Right Mouse Button
Quick save F5
Quick load F9
Push to talk B
Text chat J
Geoscape 1
Research 2
Engineering 3
Armory 4
Commander’s Quarters 5
Shadow Chamber 6
Move camera (Geoscape) W/S/A/D
Next soldier (in Armory) Tab (⇥) or Mouse Button 4
Open shot HUD/confirm action Space or Return (↩)
Cancel/pause Escape (esc)
Move unit to cursor Right Mouse Button
Waypoint movement Control (ctrl) + Right Mouse Button
Interact with objects V
Next unit/target Tab (⇥)
Previous unit/target Shift (⇧)
Ability 1 – 10 10
Overwatch Y
Reload R
Camera move up/down/left/right W/S/A/D
Camera rotate left/right Q/E
Camera zoom in/out G/T
Toggle zoom level Z
Camera free zoom Middle Mouse Button
Center camera on active unit Home (↖)
Ascend/descend floor F/C or Mouse Wheel
End turn End (↘)
Call Skyranger P

Game Screen

game screen

1 – Concealment Status

If an icon of a hooded figure is displayed here and a blue overlay appears at the corners of the screen, it means that the enemy is unaware of your squad’s presence. This is known as concealment. Your squad begins most missions in concealment; use this advantage to engage the enemy on your terms.

2 – Objectives

Your primary and secondary mission objectives are tracked here. The primary objective for most missions is to kill all enemies, but your secondary objectives vary with each mission.

3 – End Turn / Squad Select / Camera Rotate / Call Skyranger

These buttons can be used to end your turn, switch between squad members, rotate the camera, or call a Skyranger for evac.

4 – Unit Flag

This shows detailed information about the currently selected soldier, including health, armor, action points, cover, overwatch status, concealment, and any other positive or negative effects.

5 – Weapon / Ammo

This shows the weapon used by the currently selected soldier, and its remaining ammo.

6 – Actions

This shows all of the actions available to the selected soldier. To find out what the effects of performing an action would be, click once on the action icon. Actions that cannot be performed are greyed out; a number may be displayed indicating the number of turns before the action can be used again. Red, yellow and grey icons above the action icons indicate the number of enemies within the soldier’s line of sight.

7 – Soldier Name and Special Actions

This shows the name, class and rank of the selected soldier, as well as any special actions that they can perform.


Tactical Layer

The “tactical layer” of XCOM 2 refers to any gameplay that occurs while on a mission. Most tactical maps in XCOM 2 are procedurally generated, which means that every mission is a unique experience.


health bar The rectangular markers on a soldier’s unit flag represent their health. You can restore a soldier’s health or stabilize a critically wounded soldier in the field by using medikits or the Gremlin drone, an ability of the Specialist class. Medikits are built by engineering; to use one during a mission, you must equip it on a soldier before the mission begins.

Soldiers killed in combat are permanently removed from your squad: they cannot be resurrected. Your soldiers can attempt to evacuate the bodies of dead, unconscious or critically wounded comrades using the Carry Unit action. If you successfully evacuate a dead soldier, you keep any weapons, items, and equipment that they were carrying. Critically wounded soldiers heal over time and will eventually rejoin your squad.

Action Points

action point chevrons Each soldier has two “action points” to use each turn. These are represented by chevrons on the unit flag and can be used to move, attack or use an ability. When you select a soldier, a blue outline indicates the range that they can move by spending a single action point, while a yellow outline indicates the range that they can move by spending two action points to “dash”.

Areas marked with a red eye icon are within an enemy’s line of sight and entering them breaks concealment. Different icons are displayed to indicate that moving through a tile will break concealment by making too much noise (e.g. breaking glass) or that the unit will pass through an environmental hazard such as fire.

You can use waypoint movement to set a soldier’s exact path. To do so, hold down the Control (ctrl) key while selecting tiles. This allows you to avoid moving through hazards or tiles that would break concealment.



concealment icon At the start of most missions, your squad is in “concealment”, meaning the enemy is unaware of its presence. Concealment is represented by a blue overlay visible in the corners of the screen and an icon of a hooded figure visible at the top of the screen and on your soldiers’ unit flags. Concealment is broken when you fire a weapon, move into an enemy’s line of sight (represented by tiles with a red eye icon), or make too much noise. Use concealment to set up ambushes and engage the enemy on your terms.


cover shield icon Cover reduces the chances of your soldiers being hit by enemy fire, and is essential to ensuring your troops’ survival. Most physical objects provide some form of cover, which is represented by shield icons on the map: a half-shield represents low cover, while a full shield represents high cover. Positions with high cover provide the greatest defense to your soldiers, but even low cover is better than none at all.

NOTE: cover shield iconA yellow shield icon indicates that an enemy is currently flanking the soldier in the direction of the shield. A red shield icon indicates that the unit will be flanked if they move to that location. Flanked units are exposed and are especially vulnerable to attack from the flanking enemy.



Actions are commands that members of your squad can carry out during a mission. All soldier classes share a number of basic actions:

fire weapon Fire Weapon: The soldier attacks their designated target. Highlighting a target shows the soldier’s odds of landing a successful hit, the projected damage and the chances of performing a critical hit.

reload Reload: The soldier reloads their weapon. When a weapon’s magazine is empty, the soldier must reload before firing again.

overwatch Overwatch: The soldier remains in position and automatically attacks any enemy that moves within their line of sight, but with a penalty to their accuracy. If overwatch is used during concealment, the soldier will only attack once concealment is broken.

hunker down Hunker Down: The soldier gains a boost to their defense, but their line of sight is reduced until the next turn.

hack Hack: Certain objects and enemies can be hacked, shutting them down or placing them under your squad’s control. To attempt to hack, move a squad member within range and use the hack action. The rewards for a successful hacking attempt are ranked in tiers: higher tiers are more difficult to achieve, but offer much greater rewards. Any squad member can hack, but only the Specialist class can use the Haywire Protocol ability to hack mechanical/robotic enemies.

interact Interact: This action is used to open or close doors, plant explosives, or for any action that requires interacting with the environment.

loot Loot: When defeated, enemies sometimes drop loot, which contains resources and equipment. When dropped, the loot appears on the map with a radius marker and a turn timer. Move a soldier within the radius marker before the timer expires to collect the loot. Loot may be destroyed if the enemy is killed using an explosive. Any loot left on the map when the mission is completed will be recovered automatically.

evac Evac: Evacuation zones are used to rescue VIPs and fallen squad members, or to end a mission by extracting all of your soldiers. You can set an evac zone by using the Call Skyranger action, found in the top-right corner of the screen. A colored grid will appear, on which you can place the evac zone. Red areas indicate invalid locations; you can only place the evac zone in an area where the grid is entirely blue. Some missions have pre-placed evac zones.

carry Carry Unit: This action is used to pick up a dead or wounded solider. If you successfully deliver a dead soldier to an evac point, you recover any items and equipment they were carrying. If you deliver a wounded soldier, you prevent them from bleeding out.

Other Actions: Each soldier class has several unique abilities, and additional abilities are unlocked each time a soldier gains a rank. Certain facilities also provide additional abilities that can be used in the field.


Soldier Classes

A soldier’s class determines their role on the battlefield. Each class has several unique abilities that can be unlocked as soldiers gain ranks. Their abilities are divided into two different “specializations”.


ranger Rangers are experts at remaining undetected and are highly effective in close-range encounters. The Scout specialization focuses on abilities that maintain concealment. The Assault specialization focuses on abilities that enhance the Ranger’s combat and movement options.


specialist Specialists use the Gremlin drone to assist their squad in the field. The Battle Medic specialization focuses on abilities that heal allies or grant them bonuses. The Combat Hacker specialization focuses on abilities that boost the Specialist’s aptitude for breaking into and attacking enemy systems.


grenadier Grenadiers like to hit hard with big, heavy weapons and things that go boom. The Demolitions Expert specialization focuses on abilities that improve the effectiveness of explosive weaponry, including the Grenadier’s grenade launcher. The Heavy Gunner specialization focuses on abilities that increase the effectiveness of the Grenadier’s armor and cannon.


sharpshooter The Sharpshooter is an expert with sniper rifles and pistols. The Sniper specialization focuses on long-range attack abilities. The Gunslinger specialization focuses on abilities that improve the Sharpshooter’s skill with pistols.

Psi Operative

psi operative Born from advanced research into ADVENT technologies, Psi Operatives are the latest addition to the XCOM squad. Little is known about their abilities, but it’s rumored they can boost ally effectiveness or disrupt enemy actions in the field. Psi Operatives rank up through training in the Psi Lab, rather than as a result of their performance in the field.


Strategy Layer

The “strategy layer” of XCOM 2 refers to the actions you take between missions. This includes choosing your next mission, and expanding the Avenger, XCOM’s mobile headquarters.

The Avenger

the avenger

A massive, mobile base liberated from ADVENT, the Avenger is the place XCOM calls home. You begin with only a few basic facilities: the majority of rooms in the Avenger are filled with alien debris. As the need for new facilities arises, you can assign engineers to clear these rooms, gaining valuable resources in the process.

Starting Facilities

Commander’s Quarters: View the monthly Avenger report, XCOM Archives and current objectives.

Bridge: Access the Geoscape, search for ADVENT activity and expand the resistance.

Research: Research and development happens here. You are prompted to visit when new research projects become available. Only one project can be researched at a time. You can also view research archives and a list of your current scientists.

Armory: View and manage your soldiers: give them promotions, customize their names and appearances, recruit new soldiers, change loadouts and apply weapon upgrades.

Engineering: You can build new items, weapons, armor and facilities here. You can also view your current inventory and a list of your engineers.

Bar/Memorial: This is where you will find your staff unwinding after work or combat. You can also view a memorial to fallen soldiers here.

Living Quarters: Soldiers, engineers, and scientists live here. Visit the quarters to view a list of your personnel and their current assignments.


You can assign scientists, engineers and Gremlins to specific rooms to provide bonuses, such as reduced research times or increased healing for wounded soldiers. Engineers are required to excavate new rooms in the Avenger before new facilities can be built.



geoscape view

Accessible from the bridge of the Avenger, the Geoscape is where you oversee the operations of XCOM. You can scan for hostile alien actions, contact resistance cells, seek out valuable resources, and move the Avenger. To monitor for ADVENT activity and advance time, click on the scanning icon next to the Avenger’s current location.

Dark Events: ADVENT is hard at work on their own plans to topple the resistance; if completed, they provide bonuses to the enemy. Dark events inform you of ADVENT’s progress towards completing their goals. You can counter their progress by choosing certain Guerrilla Ops missions.

Mission Types

Priority Missions: Disrupt ADVENT’s mysterious Avatar Project.

Guerrilla Ops: Disrupt ADVENT’s secondary objectives (dark events) and help supply the resistance.

Resistance Council Missions: Strengthen and spread the resistance.

Retaliation Missions: Stop ADVENT from taking out resistance outposts and save as many people as possible.

Rumors from the Resistance: Investigate rumors in the hopes of discovering valuable resources and information. Your squad is not deployed on these missions: instead, the missions are completed after a set amount of time.

Avenger Defense Missions: The Avenger has come under attack from ADVENT forces and must land for repairs. Defend the Avenger until repairs are complete.

Supply Raids: Attack ADVENT supply lines and claim valuable resources.

Alien Facility Missions: Bring down critical ADVENT facilities and prevent them from contributing to the Avatar Project.



XCOM 2 lets players face off in head-to-head combat against other players online, using squads comprised of a mix of XCOM soldiers, ADVENT units and aliens. You can also play local multiplayer matches over a LAN.

To access the multiplayer modes, select Multiplayer from the Main Menu.

Ranked Match

Ranked matches count toward your standing on the XCOM 2 leaderboards, accessible via the Multiplayer menu.

Quick Match

When you select a quick match, the game will automatically search for the next available unranked public match.

Custom Match

You can host a custom public or private match, choosing your own rules and options. Alternatively, you can join a custom match hosted online by other players.

Character Pool

character pool

The character pool lets you create custom units, who will appear in the game as new soldiers you can recruit or as VIPs in missions.

To access the character pool, select Character Pool from the Main Menu.


Technical Support

Every effort has been made to make XCOM 2 as compatible with current hardware as possible. However, if you are experiencing problems when running XCOM 2, please read on.

The latest version of the FAQs can be found by selecting the FAQs button in the Support tab of the XCOM 2 pre-game Options window (this is the window that opens when you launch the game), or by going straight to the Feral website: http://support.feralinteractive.com

Contacting Feral

If the FAQs and/or updates do not solve your problem, then please feel free to contact us. The following information must be obtained before contacting Feral Technical Support:

  • The error message displayed when the problem occurred (if any).
  • An XCOM 2 Report.txt file. This contains:
    • An Apple System Report of your Mac
    • Any crash logs that exist for XCOM 2
    • A list of the game's contents

All the information required can be obtained by opening XCOM 2 and clicking on the Support tab in the XCOM 2 pre-game Options window. In the Support tab, click on the Generate Report button. Once the report is generated it will appear as a file in your ~/Downloads folder (the “~” symbol refers to your home directory). Now click on the Create Email button. Remember to attach the XCOM 2 Report.txt file to your email.

In your email, please include a brief description of the problem you have experienced with XCOM 2.

email: support@feralinteractive.com



Please check the warranty information provided by Steam.


Originally developed by:
Firaxis Games
Originally published by:
Macintosh development by:
Feral Interactive
Macintosh publishing by:
Feral Interactive

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