X-COM: Enemy Unknown was praised for what it didn’t do almost as much as for what it did do. A remake of a classic strategy game about soldiers defending Earth from an alien invasion, it could very easily have become your typical first-person shooter. The footage shown for it in 2010 implied it would be one.
Instead, it remained true to its source and delivered an addictive and unique game experience. Mixing role-playing elements with turn-based combat and improving on the original, the game was well-liked by long-time fans. The shooter version later became The Bureau: X-COM Declassified, which, going by the reviews, was not as good as Enemy Unknown.
X-COM: Enemy Within is a fully-developed expansion pack for Enemy Unknown. The main story is the same, as is the core gameplay, but quite a few new bells and whistles have been added. This actually feels like the sort of expansion pack that deserves its price tag.
Among new gameplay elements are the titular enemy within, the EXALT, a cell of traitors who want to use the aliens’ own tech to conquer the world for themselves. X-COM scientists can now commandeer some of the alien tech as well to upgrade their own operatives. To use these, they can obtain Meld, a resource available through missions.
X-COM: Enemy Within adds excellent levels to an already-superb game, like chocolate sauce on a sundae. That being said, if you weren’t a fan of Enemy Unknown, this expansion pack won’t do anything to entice you back to the game.