Our E3 veteran in the field, Emanuel Merino, had some the chance to watch with XCOM 2. Here are his thoughts after the demo session.
The brief demo of XCOM 2 that I got to see left me impressed. The biggest takeaway is that the game is faster and more cinematic than the previous installment, Enemy Unknown.
Enemy Unknown had a cinematic camera when a character would take a shot or was under fire. That's still here, but the transitions between gameplay and non-interactive parts have been shortened to make for a more seamless experience. The turn based combat has also been spiced up with the addition of more talkative soldiers with distinct personalities. This combined with dramatic enemy and objective reveals makes the whole thing feel like you are half playing an XCOM game and half watching a TV show about a rag tag group of rebels fighting an oppressive alien regime. When characters or enemies died it was handled in such a way that it seemed like they were supposed to die then and there.
By the end of the demo most of the team was dead and another was knocked unconscious, but the objective of destroying an alien propaganda monument was completed. The last able soldier on the team designated an evac point, slung his unconscious ally on to his shoulder and quickly ran to the evac point before reinforcements closed in. It was a costly victory, but because it felt so fluid and seamless it also felt like this is the only way it could have happened which, is an amazing way to build your own personal narrative over the course of a long, highly randomized and customizable game.