Xenonauts 2 – Things to Know Before Starting Your First Campaign


Xenonauts 2 is a fun, modern adaptation of old-school XCOM-style games. The “strategic planetary defense” element of the game is incredibly creative and unique. If you feel a little lost and want to get a more solid idea of what you’re doing, this guide is for you.

The guide is split into five sections. The first three offer specific advice for each part of the game (early, middle, late). The fourth section is general tips relevant through all parts of play. The fifth and final section is WIP. I actually have no idea what to put in the fifth section so I’m just adding it for future-proofing.

It’s worth mentioning that Xenonauts 2 has a wiki. There’s a link in the main menu that will bring you directly to the Hooded Horse wiki website. You can find stats on enemies and equipment there as well.

Early Game (Day 1-40)

Where should I place my first base?

First of all, stop yelling. Second of all, a good starting location is able to shoot down UFOs over multiple continents (you receive funding from various continental blocs, like the USSR, America and Canada, Latin America, Africa, Middle East/Gulf states, etc). Being able to lower panic in as many continents as you can early on is very helpful.

To that end, a good starting location might be in western China, Egypt, or in the Israel/Palestine area. That way, your radar array will cover most of Europe, Asia, and potentially a good chunk of Africa/Middle east. North America might be a good spot for a second base. Australia can take care of itself.

How do I spend my starting money?

On the normal difficulty, you have 2.5 million buckeroos to spend from day one. I will list what I consider to be the best starting investments for your base (in no particular order)

  1. Hangar: these are super cheap at only $100k, consume no power, and building one now will allow you to produce a third interceptor later on. You have space for three interceptors to deploy against a UFO in flight, so having the ability to maximize your firepower is very important.
  2. Generator: you can only build as many buildings as you have power for. You can improve the power output from each generator later on, so having two will keep you afloat for a long time.
  3. A laboratory and hiring enough scientists to max out your scientist capacity: there are a few research projects in the game that will increase your monthly funding. It is most profitable to research these projects early and quickly. Later on in the game engineers will become more important, but at the very beginning you will do much more researching than you will engineering.
  4. Living Quarters: once you get into months 2-3, you’ll have enough money coming in to properly build out your first base. You’ll want at least 12-15 scientists and engineers each, 9-12 soldiers to fill a drop ship, plus enough soldiers in reserve to fill in for xenonauts who are dead/wounded. Building a living quarters now will ensure you have the capacity for that expansion later.
  5. Medical Center: a med center will give you two HUGELY beneficial effects. First, it will heal each of your wounded soldiers a trickle of hp passively. This will ensure your soldiers can heal faster and become available for new missions sooner. Second, a medical center will passively increase the survival chance of a xenonaut who goes down in combat. This will save your bacon if you play on iron man mode.
  6. Training Center: not essential, but definitely helpful to have early on. A training center will ensure that most of your soldiers are leveling up at the end of every mission. Soldier experience grants extra strength, time units, and bonuses to other attributes which make a really meaningful difference early in the game.
  7. (Only if you have money to spare) M.A.R.S. Combat Vehicle: the M.A.R.S. is a beast. It has decent accuracy and the autocannon is great throughout the early and mid game. However, $250k is very expensive and at this stage of the game you want to maximize your soldiers’ experience. M.A.R.S. units do not level up or gain xp at all, so bringing one at this stage of the game could be wasteful. I’m not your mom. You decide.

What weapons do I use?

A good team comp in the early game would be 1-2 shield guys, 1-2 assault rifle guys, 1-2 sniper guys, and 3-5 shotgun guys. Why so many shotguns you ask? Despite being very close range, shotguns are the most reliable weapon when it comes to accuracy and damage, especially in the early game.

Give shotguns to the soldiers with the highest Time Unit stat (TUs). That way they have more time units to move closer to the target or get to cover before shooting.

Your shield guys should have high strength so they can carry the shield and a pistol with no TU penalty.

Your assault rifle guys should have good accuracy for mid-range combat and high strength to carry grenades.

Your sniper guys can have any attribute spread. They don’t need high accuracy because the sniper rifle gives +50 accuracy so long as you haven’t moved.

Mid-Game (Day 40-100)

By now you are solidly in the mid-game. You should be on track to eliminating the Cleaners, if you haven’t already. You should have a full three angel interceptors to deploy against UFOs, or at least be in a position to construct a third interceptor. You should be getting a decent amount of income month-over-month, and your use of shield guys and shotgun guys should hopefully be keeping your casualty rate sustainable.

Best Mid-Game Investments:

  • Buy base upgrades the moment they become available. Every base upgrade is useful and it is almost always better to have access to base upgrades sooner as opposed to keeping your money and getting them later.
  • Now is the time to build workshops and hire engineers to match your science capacity, if you haven’t already. In my game I currently have 15-19 engineers and scientists each in my main base, and that feels like a good number to keep up with production.
  • Invest In Laser Weapons: Laser weapons are a game changer. Great damage, benefits soldiers with low accuracy, amazing armor destruction. The only detriment is the limited ammo capacity, but as long as your positioning is somewhat optimal and you aren’t taking risky shots, ammo shouldn’t be an issue. In my experience, five laser shotguns and then three of everything else works. Don’t waste your time on laser LMGs or Precision Laser sniper rifles. Unless I’m wrong, the Precision Laser gets no bonus to accuracy, so it’s basically an assault rifle that costs more TU to fire. Worthless. LMGs are poorly balanced to begin with.
Helena Stamatina
About Helena Stamatina 2689 Articles
My first game was Naughty Dog’s Crash Bandicoot (PlayStation) back in 1996. And since then gaming has been my main hobby. I turned my passion for gaming into a job by starting my first geek blog in 2009. When I’m not working on the site, I play mostly on my PlayStation. But I also love outdoor activities and especially skiing.

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