XCOM 2 Challenge Mode is a single-player score attack mode that pits you against other Commanders' efforts to achieve leader board ranking for each of the daily challenges.
Taking control of a pre-determined squad of troops, be they XCOM soldiers, ADVENT Troops, Alien Forces or a mix of all three, you'll tackle single-level mission objectives in a bid to out-manoeuvre the AI and out-score your leader board opposition.
How XCOM 2 Challenge Mode works
Each of the daily challenges will feature an objective that you'll be familiar with, from wiping out all enemy troops to securing a VIP and escorting them to an Evac point.
The challenge comes from using unfamiliar troops to achieve your objective, and doing so in a manner that scores the most points. Points scored are based on a number of key factors:
- Complete the Objective
- Enemy Kills
- Uninjured Soldiers
- Surviving Soldiers
- Civilian Rescues (if applicable to the mission type)
- Time Remaining
One of the key differences here, apart from the troops you'll have at your disposal, is that each challenge is limited to 30 real minutes. Plus, you only get one attempt at completing the level regardless of whether you are successful or not (reloading is not an option!).
How to storm the leaderboards in XCOM 2 Challenge Mode
Practice of both the main game and Challenge Mode will help improve your game, but it's also well worth taking in the following pointers:
- Pay attention to the intel: Before hitting "Accept Challenge", head to the Squad Info tab to see what troops you'll have at your disposal. Take some time to familiarise yourself with the abilities of each type of ally. Some you'll be intimately familiar with already, others may surprise you. Reading and understanding each ability type, and considering how they might interact with other soldiers/ADVENT/aliens you'll be taking control of can save you time and heartache out in the field.
- Review the scoring opportunities: After hitting Accept Challenge and prior to starting the level proper, take a look at the points available for each of the above score items. Depending on the difficulty of the mission, and the specific objectives, the point distribution will be weighted differently for each challenge.
- Less speed, more haste: The fewer turns you take to complete the challenge the higher you'll score. The less time you take of the 30-minute limit, the higher you'll score. However, do not be tempted to rush your turns. Rushing turns in XCOM is how you make mistakes, be it suboptimal target selection or simply moving a squad member too far or to the wrong location. Play aggressively, but not rashly and don't let the timer force you into mistakes.
- Don't stand so close to me: Avoid grouping your troops too closely together. Enemies appear to be more explosives-happy than they are in the main game, and will happily pop the pin on a grenade if just two of your troops are within range of one another.
- Remember your training: For the most part, whether you're taking control of XCOM, ADVENT or Alien troops you should apply your normal strategies to taking down the enemy. Seek cover, look for flanking opportunities, scout ahead with stealth/armoured units and do your damage calculations. If you don't have enough firepower to take out the biggest and baddest enemy on the field in one go, consider picking off weaker enemies first so you have fewer attacks to endure during the enemy turn.
If you need more help with XCOM 2's expansion, our XCOM 2: War of the Chosen guide and tips can explain everything you need to know, from how to beat The Chosen Assassin, Warlock and Hunter and the new The Lost, Spectre and Advent units. Combat them by learning about each new faction with our Reaper abilities and skill tree, Skirmisher abilities and skill tree and Templar abilities and skill tree pages, as well as learning about the new Challenge Mode, Resistance Ring, Ability Points, Fatigue and Bonds systems. Good luck, Commander!
- Learn from the best: Once you've completed the challenge, you'll be able to view replays of how other people on the leader board went about the mission. Take a few minutes to watch one of the highest scoring entries and take note of the strategies. The more of these videos you watch, the more likely you are to find tips and tricks that could be applicable to future challenges. What's more, once the replay has started you can watch it in fast-forward mode meaning that each replay takes very little time.
Remember, you'll only get one shot at each challenge but another will be along the next day. Good luck, commander!