XCOM: Chimera Squad: Accessibility Features and Options
Have a look at what you can fiddle around with at launch.
Firaxis Games’ latest title XCOM: Chimera Squad is finally here and it brings fans of the previous installments in the series even more turn-based strategy fun. This time players take are within City 31 where aliens and humans are attempting to get along with cohabitation. But what about the options and accessibility features present within the game at launch? That’s what this article stands to take a nosey into.
If you’re interested in the article that continues below, we’ve already unraveled the options and accessibility features in Final Fantasy 7 Remake, so this makes XCOM: Chimera Squad our second dive into the options menu world. Additionally, if you’d rather read our review first, you can do you that here.
XCOM: Chimera Squad launches you right into the main menu, allowing you to jump into the options area if you wish. But while there’s no dedicated accessibility menu available from when you boot the game up, you do get a similar menu prior to starting a new game. From the new game options, you’re able to choose from a number of difficulty modes and modifiers that can make the game a little bit more suited to you.
Story mode allows you to experience the narrative with no need to be overly concerned about challenging gameplay. Normal mode is advised for those who are used to tactical games and slates itself as “challenging but fair” bringing a balance between narrative and gameplay. Expert mode brings more challenging gameplay if you’re used to the previous titles. Impossible is the highest difficulty option and attempts to give you a harder time of it. Changing the difficulty will affect the number of resources you get, the number of enemies and their strength, and accuracy.
From this area, you can also toggle a number of features such as enabling tutorials to appear in-game and whether you want subtitles to be on or off. You can also allow healing between encounters, or a half-heal option depending on how you want to play.
There are three other toggle options that add the modifiers to the game: Ironman, Hardcore, and Extended City Anarchy. With none of these modifiers enabled, if you fail a mission you can restart from the current encounter and try again. With ironman enabled, you have one save available, meaning you’re unable to go back to a previous mission, failure results in starting the mission again. Hardcore is essentially permadeath in which if you lose your save file for that game is wiped and you have to start the entire campaign again.
Extended city anarchy changes the city management strategies in XCOM: Chimera Squad to become a little easier, allowing you to make more mistakes, delving into negative points before a game loss is called. Kris touches on these features more in-depth in his review if you want to read up some more information surrounding these three modifiers.
From the main menu, or from the in-game main menu, you can access the options screen. However, if you’re taking part in the tutorial or breach mode, there is no option available to access the options menu, meaning if you want to use the tutorial as a way of “benchmarking” what works for you, you’re not able to. So let’s have a look at what you’re able to change within the options menu at launch.
From the audio menu, you’re given a number of sliders as you’d expect. You can adjust the master volume, dialogue volume, sound effects, music, and even the ambiance volume, catering the sound experience to how you want to experience it. A toggle option is also available here called, “Windows Focus Mute” which when enabled will mute the game entirely if it’s windowed and you jump into another program.
Video and Graphics
The video area allows you to adjust the usual settings such as your resolution, what monitor to play the game on, windowed, fullscreen, or borderless, adjust your gamma, lock your mouse to the window, enable v-sync, and set your maximum framerate. The graphics area allows you to change up numerous graphical options, including the ability to turn off any bloom effects and to turn off the dirty lens effect.
Gameplay and Interface
Within the gameplay area, you can select from some toggle options, being able to show enemy health, enable the Windows key, show target previews, mouse smoothing, and the option to show the radial blurring during Breach mode. With the interface area, not only can you change the camera speed, but you can assign any keybindings you want. You can also assign subtitles here but it’s a simple toggle feature with no customization whatsoever.
In fact, the subtitles seem to look rough despite looking final. The cutscene subtitles don’t have a background and the text blends into the clips with its drop shadow that feels almost non-existent. In general, the subtitles for briefings and such are fairly large, accompanied by a dark background panel. A speaker’s name is also included along with the profile of whichever character is speaking. However, once in-game, the subtitles become uncomfortably small and situated at the top of the screen, kind of like they’ve just been wedged in to fit the UI.
Here’s an example of the subtitles available in the game.The top example shows the in-game subtitles at the top of the screen, the middle example shows the larger, more readable dialogue at the bottom of the screen, and the last example is part of a cutscene.
So there you have it, XCOM: Crimea Squad’s options available at launch seems to be fairly lacking. I don’t see any colorblind options and I think there could be an option to increase the HUD elements to suit your preference. Gamepad support would also be handy, particularly for those who may wish to assign an Xbox Adaptive Controller.
Now you know what options are present in the game at launch, and if you haven’t done so already, head over and read our review on the title. XCOM: Chimera Squad is due to launch on April 24, 2020 for PC.