XCOM Enemy Unknown Top 5 Research

Xcom enemy unknown for xbox 360 for ps3

XCOM Top 5 Items To Research

In strategy war games and war in general, the side with better technology usually wins. One of the best examples of this philosophy is seen in the new XCom game “XCom: Enemy Unknown” where Earth’s elite soldiers defend the world against invading aliens. Initially, your titular XCom team will stand on relatively equal ground against the scouting alien force. But like previous XCom games, fail to research alien technology and you’ll find that your team’s basic assault rifles might as well be shooting spitballs when facing a Sectopod assault robot.

The amount of shiny alien technology for XCom Chief Scientist Dr. Vahlen to research looks daunting, but here are the top 5 things to research that will make your war against the aliens a bit easier whether playing XCom for Xbox 360 or XCom for PS3.

By K Valentine

1: XCOM Arc Thrower

Prerequisites: Xeno-Biology

Time: 12 Days

Cost: 10 Weapon Fragments

Top priority to the point that the story won’t progress until you research it, the Arc Thrower combines the thrill of tazing an intruder with capturing wild Pokemon. With an Alien Containment facility, captured aliens are ripe for interrogation that results in research credits that reduce research time on whichever category of research associated with the captive alien class. Faster research means more available technology and equipment for XCom to use against aliens. Additionally, the weapons equipped on a captured alien are confiscated for XCom use. This allows your troops to grow strong on what the enemy leaves behind—once you research how to use those weapons. Researching its upgrades at the Foundry enable the Arc Thrower to have a higher capture success rate, hack enemy drones for combat use, and even repair SHIVs on the field. Speaking of the Foundry…

2: XCOM Experimental Warfare

Prerequisites: Weapon Fragments or Alien Materials

Time: 5 Days

Cost: None

This research is an investment in the future as it makes the Foundry facility available to build. The Foundry allows XCom engineers to research improvements to most of the equipment that XCom soldiers rely on. Unlike the research facility, Foundry projects can be researched simultaneously. The only limiting factor is whether you have enough salvaged materials and engineers on hand. Get the Foundry operational to at least make those Medkits to heal injuries that are more serious than a paper cut.

3: XCOM Light Plasma Rifle

Prerequisites: Alien Plasma Pistol

Time: 17 Days

Cost: 5 Elerium, 1 Light Plasma Rifle, 40 Weapon Fragments

Light Plasma Rifles are easy to confiscate with each capture of a weak Thin Man (one zap with an Arc Thrower or Improved Arc Thrower usually does the trick). While Plasma Rifles do more damage, the Light Plasma Rifle is generally more useful for most of the XCom trooper classes thanks to the +10 Aim bonus. Combining the Light Plasma Rifles aim bonus with a SCOPE makes it easier for an XCom rookie to advance beyond their Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy training and actually hit their targets.

4: XCOM Titan / Ghost / Archangel Armor

Prerequisites: Varies

Time: Varies

Cost: Varies

XCom’s default armor is paper thin depending on difficulty so anything that boosts the defense and HP of their soldiers is a good thing. Researching, purchasing, and equipping these specialized armor for the various XCom soldier classes will yield a more durable fighting force. Assaults with Ghost Armor can perform stealthy Run & Gun attacks to surprise enemies with 100% critical damage. The Extra Conditioning ability gives the Assault class even more health with such armor. Snipers with Archangel Armor can spend the entire battle in flight, which gives them the high ground and excellent line of sight to do what snipers do best. Titan Armor gives the remaining classes a fighting chance with a good health boost as well as immunity to fire and Thin Man poison.

5: XCOM New Fighter Craft

Prerequisites: Alien Nav Computer, UFO Power Source

Time: 7 Days

Cost: 10 Elerium, 10 Alloys, 75 Weapon Fragments

If XCom basic assault rifles eventually become spitballs, XCom’s basic Raven Interceptors eventually become paper airplanes when dog-fighting advanced alien UFOs. Researching New Fighter Craft will make Firestorms available, which are faster and more durable for UFO combat. Equip them with additional researched weapons to take down those UFOs and battleships and so your XCom team can raid the crashed ships for more materials to salvage for research and engineering.


With the recent Second Wave features released to add more challenge, “XCom: Enemy Unknown” still packs an entertaining punch that is sure to keep turn based strategy game fans coming back for more until there’s another announced Xcom release date promoting more DLC missions or new features.

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