Downloading an extra map or three is nice, but the best mods go the extra mile and convert a game you know and love into another game you know and love. A new mod called Squad Cohesion by user "RealityMachina" won't drape XCOM 2 in Fire Emblem visuals, although it will inject the game with snatches of Fire Emblem Fates' relationship system.
"This mod puts a dash of Fire Emblem into your XCOM," explains RealityMachina in the notes included with his mod, "leveraging a ‘squadmate score’ system to give small buffs for squads that trust in each other."
The gist of the mod is buffing your squad mates by instructing them to help friends in need. Healing a squad member earns points, and relationships develop over time. Relationship perks include boots to aiming and critical hits. You'll get notifications pertaining to new stats and stat increases as relationships blossom.
But beware. Like in Fire Emblem—and, you know, real life—growing closer to someone comes with downsides, too. If two squad mates grow close and one of them falls in battle, the surviving friend gains "Shaken" status, which saps at the unit's willpower. Only time can mend a broken heart. Mental breakdowns and periods of mourning can also throw wrenches into your well-laid plans for freeing earth from the subjugation of little gray aliens.
Squad Cohesion seems like the perfect fit for XCOM 2. Since the series' inception way back in the dark ages of 1994, players have been making up stories for and ascribing personalities to their squad members. As a result, players come to care about those little clumps of pixels and polygons, as if they were real people. Squad Cohesion ups the personal drama and all-or-nothing stakes inherent in the series, and by all accounts, should go a long way in extending the lifeline of an already great strategy game.