- Estimated trophy difficulty: 9/10
- Offline trophies: 71 (53, 15, 2, 1)
- Online trophies: 1 ( The Most Dangerous Game)
- Approximate amount of time to platinum: 100+ hours
- Minimum number of playthroughs: 2-3 (4 recommended; 5 with the DLC)
- Number of missable trophies: 1 in the main game ( Exquisite Timing), 4 in Alien Hunters DLC (Now I Am The Master, Enemy Adopted, Regicide and Not Throwing Away My Shot), plus 1 in Shen’s Last Gift DLC ( Make ‘em Go Boom)
- Glitched trophies: 0
- Does difficulty affect trophies?: Yes, you need to play on Commander or higher for some of the trophies
- Do trophies stack?: The difficulty trophies stack but I don’t recommend doing so for reasons below
- Do cheat codes disable trophies?: Yes, using “Hero” names (e.g. Sid Meier, Peter Van Doorn, nickname Beaglerush) will disable trophies
XCOM 2 is a turn-based strategy game developed by Firaxis Games and published by 2K Games. If you played XCOM: Enemy Unknown or XCOM: Enemy Within, you should know what to expect but there are several new twists that will challenge even the most hardened veteran of the series. XCOM 2 takes place 20 years after the events of Enemy Unknown, with you leading the resistance against the alien’s occupation of Earth. The XCOMseries is notorious for its punishing difficulty and sharp learning curve and this game is no exception. Good luck out there, Commander!
It is difficult to provide a detailed Road Map for XCOM 2. The reason for this is there are several trophies that require beating the game under specific conditions. These conditions make an already hard game much more difficult and attempting two or more of these trophies in the same playthrough is borderline insane. While you could theoretically get 100% in two or three playthroughs (more on that below), it would require so much trial-and-error and stress that I cannot recommend it. Unless you love a serious challenge and are intimately familiar with the XCOM series, I recommend the four playthrough approach.
In each playthrough, you will focus on a specific trophy that will pop after completing the very last mission. Each campaign takes about 25-30 hours (one playthrough will be significantly longer) so this won’t be a short or easy road to Platinum. You could attempt these playthroughs in any order but I listed them from easiest to hardest for your convenience. If you decide to complete the DLC (not necessary for the Platinum), it is recommended you save this for a fifth playthrough, playing on the easiest difficulty (Rookie) as the DLC bosses are extremely difficult and can absolutely wreck your main campaign.
WARNING ABOUT THE DLC: There have been reports of DLC bosses appearing in the main game, even if the option is disabled at the start of a new playthrough. To prevent this from happening, do not install the DLC until you are ready to complete it. Alternatively, you can play through the main campaign with the DLC enabled, but just be sure not to complete the DLC story mission. As long as you don’t complete that mission, the bosses will not appear.
Step 1: Play the Tutorial
First, get yourself acquainted with the game by selecting a new game on any difficulty (not Legend) and enabling the tutorial. Everything in the first mission is scripted, so just follow along. The only purpose of this step is to earn First Blood. You do not have to continue the game after completing the tutorial mission. In fact, it is recommended that you quit to the main menu, delete the save file and start a new game once you are comfortable with the gameplay, as will be explained in the next step. See First Blood for more information.
Step 2: Start a new game on Commander difficulty (do not enable Ironman), skip the tutorial and do not let any soldiers die throughout the game
The primary focus of this playthrough is The Untouchables, which requires completing the main campaign on Commander difficulty or higher without losing any soldiers. You must skip the tutorial for this step because two of your soldiers will die in the tutorial mission, negating the trophy.
It may sound difficult to beat the game without dying but it gets easier once you know what to expect and your soldiers become more powerful. Since Ironman mode is disabled, you are free to save and reload earlier saves as often as you like. The game also creates an autosave at the beginning of each turn. It does this three times before overwriting the oldest autosave, so you always have the option of going back up to three turns. Use this to your advantage!
Several trophies will come naturally in this playthrough. You don’t have to go out of your way to get trophies but you might want to read the trophy descriptions for the following: Overpowered (easiest to do in the first month of the game), Heroes of the Resistance (requires some luck), Heavy Metal (can be accomplished across multiple playthroughs but some luck is involved), The Sun Never Sets (work towards it if you want, though don’t make it a priority), Global Resistance (work towards it if you want, though don’t make it a priority) and Beginning’s Luck (just make a backup save when you get to June and you can knock this trophy off later). None of these trophies are necessary to obtain in this playthrough but it is good to know what is required to prevent having to needlessly grind later in the game.
Also, you should read the trophy description for The Few and the Proud and decide if you want to attempt that on this playthrough. If you do, you simply need to demolish the Guerrilla Tactics School before starting the final mission. This will make the final mission more difficult (because you are limited to four soldiers) but this is the easiest playthrough to attempt the trophy. You could also potentially knock off Who Needs Tygan? but you would want several Psi Op units maxed out before entering the final mission. If you decide to skip these trophies for now, you should still make a backup save before beginning the ADVENT Network Tower mission so you can always return back to this playthrough if you want to finish off some trophies.
See the “Tips to Surviving XCOM 2” section for advice on how to keep your soldiers from perishing in the line of duty.
Step 3: Play through the game on Commander difficulty (do not enable Ironman) and beat the game by July 1
The primary focus in this playthrough is Exquisite Timing. You will need to beat the game quickly but this isn’t really a speedrun. Instead, you will focus on triggering the main story events as soon as possible so that you can gain access to the final mission by June 30. This is a tight window, so you will have to prepare in advance. See Exquisite Timing for more details.
Do not go out of your way to collect other trophies in this playthrough. If you are on a mission and you see an opportunity to knock out something simple like Breathing Room or David and Goliath, go for it. This is a relatively short campaign so there is no reason to work on trophies that require a lot of in-game time, such as The Sun Never Sets or Global Resistance.
Step 4: Play through the game on Commander difficulty with Ironman enabled
Ironman mode means you get one save. Every action you take is permanent and overwrites the previous save. The primary focus in this playthrough is Valhalla, which is perhaps the hardest trophy in the game. See the trophy description for more details.
During this playthrough, you should begin working on any trophies you still need. If decide to build an army of Psi Op units (not a bad idea for Ironman), you could attempt The Few and the Proud and/or Who Needs Tygan?on the final mission. If you fail the final mission, you are given the option to replay the mission from the beginning instead of being shown a game over screen. That makes this playthrough just a little less worrisome going into the final fight.
Step 5: Play through the game on Legend difficulty but do not enable Ironman
The primary focus of this playthrough is Immortal Commander. On Legend difficulty, enemies have more health, resource costs are higher and the game is stretched out over a long period of time, thus making the main campaign about 50% longer than a normal playthrough. Fortunately, the aliens take longer to progress as well so you’re not at a complete disadvantage. In fact, this playthrough may be somewhat easier than Step 4 because you can always reload an earlier save if things go wrong. See Immortal Commander for more information.
As this is a long playthrough, it is a good opportunity to knock out those time-consuming trophies I mentioned earlier (e.g. The Sun Never Sets, Global Resistance) and any other trophies you might be missing.
Step 6: Complete an online match
Simply go to Multiplayer, start a match against another player and finish the match to obtain the only online trophy. You don’t need to win. See The Most Dangerous Game for more information.
Step 7 (optional, if you want the DLC trophies): Start a new game on Rookie difficulty and enable Alien Hunters and Shen’s Last Gift
In this playthrough, you will focus on the DLC missions and trophies. It is recommended you play on Rookie difficulty because the alien rulers are extremely powerful (Alien Hunters DLC). You will need to play far enough into the main campaign to summon an Avatar (see A God Falls), as you will need to kill it with a SPARK unit for Matter Over Mind (Shen’s Last Gift DLC). The Anarchy’s Children DLC is not necessary for 100% so it can be safely skipped.
How do you combine playthroughs for a shorter road to Platinum/100%? Well, if you’re a masochist, then you could attempt Ironman Legend (combining Steps 4 and 5) but understand that you will be playing on the maximum difficulty for 50% longer than a normal playthrough without the option to reload an earlier save. Alternatively, you could attempt to beat Ironman Commander by July 1 (combining Steps 3 and 4). This would result in a shorter Ironman playthrough but you have very little time and resources to spare on an Exquisite Timing run. You would need almost flawless execution, which is something Ironman mode doesn’t allow. Unless you enjoy that kind of punishment, you should avoid Ironman (and Legend) on your first playthrough.
If you want to combine the DLC with one of the four main playthroughs, then beware that there are three very tough DLC bosses (each stronger than the one before) which can appear at any time during a mission to make your life a living hell. If you are really turned off by having to play through the game five times, I would suggest combining the DLC with the first playthrough (The Untouchables). The problem with the others is that you won’t have time to complete the DLC during an Exquisite Timing run, you run the risk of things going horribly wrong if you encounter a DLC boss on a Valhalla run and the boost to enemies on an Immortal Commander run would make the DLC bosses much more dangerous. Another option would be to enable the DLC at the start of any playthrough but ignore the DLC story missions as these never expire. Due to this, you could save before the final mission, finish the game to get whatever trophy you were going for and then reload the save to begin the DLC. You would have strong units and could lower the difficulty to Rookie to make things easier.
The only two playthroughs you could not combine are Exquisite Timing and Immortal Commander, as you aren’t given enough time to complete the game by July 1 on Legend difficulty. The theoretical way to get 100% in two playthroughs is an Exquisite Timing run, followed by an Ironman Legend run with the DLC enabled (not necessary for the Platinum) and without losing a single soldier. If you can do that, I will personally buy you a beer.
You will develop your own strategies as you play through the game but there are some basic tactics you should always follow: keep your soldiers in cover (full shield if possible), kill the aliens that are aware of your presence before alerting more and put your soldiers into Overwatch if there are no other actions to take. If you are a beginner to the XCOM series. You should also refer to the XCOM 2 wiki throughout your playthrough, even though it’s incomplete in some places
My advice is to favor using a few soldiers over many. There is some risk to this, as a soldier is gone forever if they die in battle but you really can’t afford to level up new recruits all the time. Once you have more powerful units, the game becomes a lot easier. The most powerful unit in the game is the Psi Operative unit but it will take some time before you are able to create one. In the early game, I recommend the following classes and specializations:
- 3-4 Grenadiers (any build is good)
- 2-3 Specialists (prefer Combat Hacker over Battle Medic because you shouldn’t be taking damage on the higher difficulties)
- 2 Rangers (Phantom build but consider Run & Gun and Untouchable)
- 1 Sharpshooter (all Sniper abilities + Lightning Hands)
You should focus on getting the Guerrilla Tactics School (GTS) and the upgraded Advanced Warfare Center (AWC) as soon as possible. With the GTS, you can promote Rookie soldiers into the class of your choice, which is something you should always be doing. The GTS also allows you to buy Combat Tactic Upgrades, such as Squad Size I and II, which increase the number of soldiers you can bring into battle. The AWC, on the other hand, heals your soldiers between battle. If staffed with an Engineer, it increases the rate of healing by 100%. The AWC also gives a small chance that each soldier that levels up will learn a random skill from another class. Both of these facilities are invaluable to getting the upper hand on the aliens.
By mid-game, you want to start training Psi Op units. You shouldn’t abuse them too much, as they don’t get experience from kills (and, when wounded, are unable to learn additional skills from the Psi Lab until their health is restored) but they have several abilities that can turn the tide of battle in your favor. The most notable of these abilities is Dominate, which gives the Psi Op unit a chance to control an enemy until the mission ends. Once you have this ability, the game becomes significantly easier.
Lastly, this game seems to support save scumming. Save scumming is where you reload an earlier save if something goes wrong. This a great life insurance policy for your troops but there are some downsides. First, the load times in this game are long. Second, save scumming only works if Ironman mode is disabled. On Ironman, every decision is final. Third, your next action (that is not a 100% hit) is “locked” in place, even if you reload the save. That means if you have an 80% chance to hit a target and you miss, reloading that save and trying that same shot again will be a guaranteed miss every time. That does not apply to any actions taken after that attack. This gets tricky to explain so here is an example:
- At the beginning of a turn, an autosave is created. You have a Grenadier and Sharpshooter in range of an enemy target. The Grenadier has an 80% chance to hit the target. The Sharpshooter has a 50% chance.
- With your first action, the Grenadiers attacks. The shot misses.
- With your second action, the Sharpshooter attacks. The shot misses.
- You reload the autosave. If the Grenadier takes the first action, he will miss the target every time. The game has already decided that an 80% chance is not high enough to hit the target.
- This also means the Sharpshooter will miss the target if she takes the shot with the first action, as the odds of her hitting the target are below 80%.
- Your second action, however, has not been determined yet. If you take the shot with the Grenadier (which will miss), the Sharpshooter may or may not hit the target with her 50% chance. The game only make a new “roll” after each action you take; however…
- The action you take must have a chance of missing in order for the game to roll a new number. If you take a shot that has a 100% chance to hit a target or if you perform an action that does not have an accuracy rating associated with it (such as moving a unit or reloading a weapon), the roll stays the same.
- What this means is if your first action is to move the Sharpshooter, the roll does not change. The Grenadier will still miss on the second action because your first action could not fail. You must first take an action that can fail in order to re-roll the dice.
- That does not mean the action has to fail. If you also have a Ranger with a 90% chance to hit the target, it is possible that she can get a successful hit on the first action, even though the 80% Grenadier could not.
Understanding the mechanics of the game can help you to manipulate the odds in your favor. Basically, the idea is that you never want to put yourself in a position where you can only take one action and that action absolutely must hit. Instead, it is better to create a backup save when you have several actions you can take (e.g. at the beginning of a turn). As long as you have at least two soldiers with at least a 1% chance to hit a target, you can keep reloading a save and having them both attack. Eventually, the second one will get a hit, even though the first never does. That’s obviously an extreme example but it should give you an idea of how you can plan out your strategies.
If Ironman mode scares you, there is still a way to save scum. Simply backup your data to a USB device or the PS+ Save File Cloud (if you have a PS Plus account). You have to quit out of the game to do this but it’s a good strategy if you’re really worried about losing soldiers. I recommend creating a backup save at the start of each mission if you’re playing on Ironman. You may want to create several backups during the final mission.
Unlocked all other XCOM 2 trophies
Congratulations! You fought back against the alien scum and restored peace to Earth. We salute you, Commander!
Overthrow the aliens at any difficulty level
At the beginning of the game, there are four difficulties to choose from: Rookie, Veteran, Commander and Legend. Simply complete the main campaign on any difficulty to unlock this trophy. You will need to play on at least Commander for several trophies in the game.
Defender of Humanity
Overthrow the aliens on Commander difficulty
Commander is the “hard” difficulty of the game and it certainly lives up to its name. Your soldiers begin with only 4 health, while enemies have more health and a longer line of sight. In order to unlock this trophy, you must play through the entire campaign on Commander or higher. Changing the difficulty mid-game and then changing it back will negate this trophy!
Overthrow the aliens on Legend difficulty
Legend is the hardest difficulty in the game. The tutorial is automatically disabled on this difficulty, enemies are stronger and have more health, plus resource costs are higher. In addition, the game is significantly longer. In order to unlock this trophy, you must play through the entire campaign on Legend. Changing the difficulty mid-game and then changing it back, will negate this trophy!
Build an experimental item in the Proving Grounds
The Proving Ground is a facility that allows you to create experimental items, such as ammo or grenades and specialized suits of armor for your troops. To build it, you must first collect the corpse of an ADVENT Officer (random chance to drop every time an officer is killed) and then have Dr. Tygan perform an autopsy on it from the Avenger’s Research Lab. The cost of the Proving Ground is $100 ($125 on Legend), it requires 3 power, the build time is 7 days and the monthly upkeep is $25. It will take a few days to create an item (less if you have an Engineer staff the facility) but you do not have to suspend other research projects to do this. To build an experimental item, you will need an Elerium core (which is an uncommon drop from enemies and can sometimes be purchased from the Black Market). You can choose the category of experimental item you want to create (Ammo, Grenade, Armor, Heavy Weapon or Powered Weapon) but the actual item you receive is chosen at random from a list of several possibilities. You may need to research the same experimental category several times before getting the item you want. This trophy will pop after the first experimental item has been created.
Rise of the Resistance
Make contact with a region
From the Avenger, you can access the Geoscape (which is a digital map of the earth that shows several radio towers spread out across the globe). These radio towers are located in various regions, indicated by a glowing blue outline. When you begin a new game, you are given access to a random region (where the XCOM HQ is located) and are required to “contact” other regions by scanning radio towers with the Avenger on the Geoscape. This takes a few in-game days and costs Intel (can be earned as a mission reward or by scanning the HQ). You can only contact regions adjacent to regions you are already in contact with and the amount of Intel required to contact a region increases with distance from the HQ. You can somewhat offset this cost by building Radio Relays at any radio tower you have contacted. Contact any region for this trophy. You must make contact with a region to access a mission in that region so this should come naturally.
Complete the tactical tutorial
When you start a new game, you are given the option of playing through the tutorial (unless you select Legend difficulty). The tutorial mission is rather short and all of the events and actions within the mission are scripted,but the “tutorial” actually continues well into the main campaign by giving you suggestions on how to build your base, what to spend your money on, the aliens you encounter etc. You are free to play through the entire game this way but you only need to complete the first mission to unlock this trophy.
It is advised to disable the tutorial on all of your playthroughs. There are two reasons for this:
- The tutorial forces you to do certain things that you may not want to do (usually related to research or base building) and can actually make the game harder.
- Playing through the tutorial negates The Untouchables, despite you having no control over the events that take place in the first mission. As such, it is best to simply play through the tutorial once but play through a few extra missions to get the hang of things if you want, then delete the save file and start a new game with the tutorial disabled.
Build Resistance Comms
Resistance Comms is a facility that increases the number of regions you can make contact with. It requires researching Resistance Communications (which requires completing a Guerilla Ops mission, which you will do early in the game). The cost of this facility is $110 ($160 on Legend), it requires 3 power, the build time is 16 days and the monthly upkeep is $25. Each Engineer assigned to the facility increases the total number of contacts by 2. You will need to build a few of these if you want to contact every region on the map (needed for Global Resistance) so this trophy should come naturally. You can see the total number of contacts you have by opening up the Geoscape and looking in the upper right corner of the screen.
Build the Shadow Chamber
Story-related and cannot be missed.
The Shadow Chamber is a facility that can be used to research several projects and allows the player to see how many aliens (and what species) are located in a mission from the Geoscape. In order to build it, you must first research Alien Encryption. The cost of the Shadow Chamber is $125 ($300 on Legend), it requires 5 power, the build time is 14 days and the monthly upkeep is $30. You can only research one project at a time so you will have to suspend any research you have going on with Dr. Tygan to begin working on the Shadow Chamber projects. You must complete all of the Shadow Chamber projects in order to unlock the final mission so you should get started on these projects as soon as possible.
Room to Grow
Upgrade a facility
For this trophy, you need to build a facility on any of the available slots on the Avenger and then upgrade it. Not all facilities can be upgraded. You will know one can if there is a purple arrow in the lower left corner of the facility. Simply highlight a facility and press to see what upgrade options are available. Unlike facility construction, which takes time (dependent on the total number of Engineers you have), upgrades are instantaneous. A good choice to upgrade is a Power Relay, as you will need additional power later in the game to run all of your facilities.
Sell goods worth 1000 supplies to the Black Market (Can span multiple games)
Unlike the previous XCOM games, where the Black Market was available from HQ, you can only access the Black Market in XCOM 2 from the Geoscape but it is not available at the beginning of the game. After a few missions, you will be tasked with investigating the local Black Market and an icon will appear on the world map. You will need to scan it to gain access to the Black Market. You can do this whenever you want (the icon never disappears) but the Black Market has lots of rare items that can be purchased with Intel or supplies and its stock is updated frequently.
For this trophy, you will need to sell $1000 worth of goods at the Black Market. This does not have to be in a single visit or even in a single campaign. Money is in high demand and short supply in XCOM 2 (particularly on the higher difficulties) so you should use the Black Market to get an edge whenever you can. Be careful with what you sell, though. You don’t want to get rid of something that you might need later on. Most often, this relates to alien corpses, which are required for autopsies at the Research Lab but are also necessary components for weapons or armor that you unlock throughout the game. Unfortunately, it’s hard to give a comprehensive list of things that are “safe” to sell because it really depends on your playstyle.
Fortunately, this isn’t a hard trophy. You could always wait until right before the final mission, visit the Black Market and then sell off all of your unused items. By the time you reach the final mission, you will likely have more than $1000 worth of goods in your inventory.
Complete a Rumor
A rumor is a point of interest on the Geoscape that you can scan with the Avenger to obtain a reward, such as Intel, supplies, new missions or recruits. These occasionally appear after completing a mission but only remain on the map for a few days or until a new rumor of the same type appears. If you select a rumor, you can see the reward and the number of days it will take to investigate. Rumors are fairly common in the game (and there’s usually no reason to pass up goodies) so this trophy should come naturally.
A Horrible Truth
Recover the Blacksite Data
Story-related and cannot be missed.
This is one of several story-based missions. In this mission, you will be tasked with infiltrating an enemy facility and recovering the ADVENT Blacksite Vial. This mission is longer and has more enemies than you might be used to so make sure you are prepared and bring along your strongest soldiers. Also, be aware that reinforcements will be called when you pick up the vial. You will need to lead your troops out of the facility and into the EVAC zone to finish the mission.
A Grim Key
Recover a Codex Brain
Story-related and cannot be missed.
To recover a Codex brain, you must find build the Proving Ground (see Tinker) and research the Skulljack. Next, you must equip the Skulljack on one of your soldiers (preferably a Specialist, as they benefit the most) and find an ADVENT Officer. They are a relatively common enemy. If you have the Shadow Chamber, you can check the Geoscape to see what enemies are present in a mission. Once you locate an ADVENT Officer, you simply need to use the Skulljack on him (With Extreme Prejudice will pop). Make sure to kill any enemy units around him first, though, as your soldier will likely not be in cover after using the Skulljack, and you want to be prepared for what happens next.
If the Skulljack connects, the officer will be killed and the single most annoying enemy in the game (a Codex) will appear. While the Codex is relatively weak, it can teleport (bypassing Overwatch and flanking your troops), cast an area-of-effect attack called Psionic Rift that empties the ammo of any gun in its range (and explodes on the next turn, damaging any units still in range) and it automatically creates a clone of itself if it takes any damage that does not outright kill it (and those clones can make additional clones if they are attacked and so on). Fortunately, the original Codex and its clone will split their remaining health so they become progressively easier to kill but they are still arguably the most dangerous unit in the game.
There are a few ways to deal with a Codex. One option is to use a Flashbang Grenade or any weapon that disorients a target, as this will prevent the Codex from cloning. A second option is to fire a ranger’s shotgun at point-blank range and pray you get a critical hit. A third option is simply to keep attacking until the Codex and its clones until all are dead. If there are no other enemies on the map to worry about, this isn’t so bad. The problem, is that the clone always appears in a random location on the map and it is possible that none of your soldiers will have a direct line of sight. If you have consumables, such as grenades, then this is a great time to use them.
This trophy will pop once you have successfully summoned and killed your first Codex. There is a chance that your Skulljack can fail so you may want to create a manual save right before using it. Note: You can use the Skulljack once per mission so you can always try again on a later mission if you fail and forget or don’t want to load an earlier save. The Skulljack is actually a great item to use because it can kill ADVENT soldiers instantly, regardless of their health and it has a decent success rate. Also a Codex won’t appear the next time you use it so Skulljack away!
A Dark Doorway
Recover the Psi Gate
Story-related and cannot be missed.
This is one of several story-based missions. To access this mission, you must first have Dr. Tygan research the Codex brain (see A Grim Key). As with the other story-based missions, this one has a lot of enemies and is guaranteed to have at least one Gatekeeper (one of the most powerful enemies in the game). These look like gigantic metal orbs with fleshy tentacles inside. Gatekeepers have a lot of health so it is unlikely you will kill them in a single turn. The best strategy is simply to Dominate them with a Psi Op unit, which you should have at this point in the game. Otherwise, use a Grenadier to shred its armor and make use of Flashbang/Gas/EMP Grenades. Don’t cluster your units too close together, as it favors using its Gateway attack. Not only does this attack do a lot of damage to a large area but it turns any humanoid enemies (dead or alive) into psionic zombies.
A Line Crossed
Complete the Avatar Autopsy
Story-related and cannot be missed.
The Avatar Autopsy is a Shadow Chamber project (see Codebreaker). You must complete all other Shadow Chamber projects before you can complete this one. See A God Falls for more information.
A God Falls
Kill an Avatar
Story-related and cannot be missed.
This is similar to A Grim Key, except now you must use a Skullmine (created from the Proving Ground) on a Codex. Doing so will kill the Codex and summon an Avatar, which is the only Avatar you will encounter in the main game (aside from the final mission). As you might expect, the Avatar is an extremely powerful unit and it is advised to wait on summoning one until you are fully prepared. Do not attempt to summon an Avatar if you are on a timed mission as it may take several turns to kill. Also, do not attempt to summon an Avatar unless the Codex is one of the last enemies on the map. Like the Codex, the Avatar has the ability to teleport and it wreak havoc on your team if you have to deal with other enemies at the same time. The Avatar can mind control your units, has a huge health pool (30 on Commander and 35 on Legend), regenerates health (+5 health every turn) and has several powerful attacks. He will also teleport every time he is attacked.
The best tactic is to spread out your troops so that you can attack the Avatar regardless of where he teleports. Attack with the units that are closest to him first, especially if you have a ranger with a shotgun. Critical hits are great for taking him down quickly. You can potentially kill the Avatar in one turn, so throw everything you have at him. Grenadiers are good for shredding his armor and Psi Op units (especially those with Dominate) are invaluable for this fight. Remember: This is the only time you will have to face an Avatar outside of the final mission so don’t be stingy with your consumables.
Meat Over Metal
Kill a Sectopod on the same turn you encounter it (in Single Player)
Sectopods are basically what the aliens came up with when they watched too much Star Wars. These AT-ST wannabes are big hunkering metallic beasts with a large health pool (32 on Commander and 40 on Legend) and some very deadly attacks. Sectopods don’t appear until August (mid-October on Legend) but you are guaranteed to encounter at least one in a specific story mission (see A Better Human Being). Killing a Sectopod is not an easy task and killing one a single turn is ridiculous on the higher difficulties. There are two ways to approach to this:
- Wait until late game, when you have a bunch of soldiers maxed out. Bring a party of six. You will want Grenadiers for shredding armor, a Sharpshooter with Lightning Hands, a Specialist with Combat Protocol and maybe a Psi Op unit or two (preferably with Dominate). Make sure not to trigger the Sectopod until you are in position to attack. To make this easier, equip your soldiers with Bluescreen Rounds and Dominate the most powerful enemies you can find. With enough firepower, you should be able to take down the Sectopod in a single turn. Create a manual save before you start attacking just in case you are unsuccessful.
- Equip a Superior Repeater on one or more of your soldiers. This upgrade gives every shot a 15% chance to be an instant kill and it can even trigger on Overwatch shots. From here, you can either play through the game normally and hope it triggers whenever you encounter a Sectopod (they are rare but later missions often have one) or you can save scum until it happens. The final mission has two Sectopods right next to each other so that might be a good time to work on this.
Complete a successful ambush
Whenever you encounter a “pod” of enemies (usually a group of three), they will react by immediately scattering and taking cover. This can happen either on your turn, because you moved a soldier within the alien’s line of sight or the enemy’s turn, if they are patrolling an area and spot one of your soldiers. In order to unlock this trophy, you must kill an entire pod as they scatter. To do this, your soldiers will need to have Overwatch activated. As soon as the aliens begin to run for cover (you will see a short cutscene first of them spotting your troops), Overwatch will activate for any soldier who has a line of sight on one of the fleeing aliens. There’s a lot of luck to this and you will see many missed shots but this trophy will likely come naturally just because of how often you will be using Overwatch.
It is probably easiest to get this trophy early in the game when the enemies have the least amount of health. In fact, you could do this trophy in the very first mission if you willing to reload your save a few times.
Hack a Sectopod
This can only be done by a Specialist with the Haywire Protocol ability. With this ability, you can either stun mechanized enemies (such as MECs or Sectopods) or “hack” them, which means taking control of the enemy for a few turns. When you use Haywire Protocol, you are given the success rate of both of these options. It is always easier to stun an enemy than to hack them and a failed attempt at either will boost the enemy’s stats, thus you will need to decide for yourself whether it is worth the risk.
For this trophy, you must successfully hack a Sectopod. These creatures appear in the late game (see Meat Over Metal) and the odds of hacking them are low. You can increase the odds by increasing the Hack attribute of the Specialist (generally done by levelling up, equipping a Skulljack or higher tier GREMLIN or gaining it as a reward for a successful hack) or you can save scum until the hack is successful.
Nick of Time
Evacuate a soldier whose bleed-out timer is still running
When a soldier’s health is reduced to zero, they are either killed or put into critical condition. It is not clear what the chances of this happening are but you can increase the odds of a soldier not dying by purchasing the “Stay With Me” upgrade from the Guerrilla Tactics School. If a soldier is put into critical condition, he or she will collapse to the ground and be unable to move. A timer will appear over the body to let you know how long before the soldier bleeds out. As with most things in XCOM 2, “time” is measured in number of turns and you only have three turns to rescue the soldier. To unlock this trophy, pick up the fallen soldier with another unit and call in an EVAC by pressing . You must do this before the bleed out timer reaches zero, which will permanently kill the unit.
Locked and Loaded
Upgrade a weapon
Upgrades are permanent modifiers that can be attached to a soldier’s weapon from the Loadout screen. Upgrades are unique to the weapon on which they are attached and can be replaced by another upgrade but not reused. Higher tier weapons have additional upgrade slots. You can obtain upgrades as random loot from slain items or by purchasing them from the Black Market. You only need to add a single upgrade to a weapon for this trophy but you should be equipping upgrades every time you find one.
Completely upgrade a beam weapon with superior grade weapon upgrades
There are three tiers of upgrades: Basic, Advanced and Superior. For this trophy, you simply need to equip any beam weapon (requires researching Beam Weapons from Dr. Tygan) with two Superior upgrades. See Locked and Loaded for more information.
David and Goliath
Kill a Berserker in melee combat
The Berserker is a mutant that first appears in May on Commander difficulty. It has an enormous health pool (24 on Commander and 28 on Legend) and high mobility but it can only perform melee attacks. In order to unlock this trophy, you will need to kill it with a Ranger’s blade attack. You can (and should) weaken the Berserker with other units before attacking it with your Ranger. Only the killing blow needs to be from the blade.
Kill a Viper who is strangling a squadmate
The Viper is a snakelike unit that appears in April on Commander difficulty. One of its most common attacks is Tongue Pull, where it will grab one of your units and bind him on her in place. When bound, your unit will be unable to move and will take damage at the beginning of each turn. The unit can be freed by doing damage to the Viper. In order to obtain this trophy, however, you will need to do enough damage to the Viper to kill it while it is binding one of your units. Either weaken the Viper before it does Tongue Pull, or wait for it to use Tongue Pull a second time if you don’t kill it in one shot. The Viper has 8 health (10 on Legend) and no armor.
Come Back To Me
Kill a Sectoid who is currently mind controlling a squadmate
These are not the cute little aliens you remember from Enemy Unknown. Sectoids are bigger now and they can use mind control. This is typically the first attack they will use so be ready for it. If the mind control is successful (the chances of it depend on your soldier’s Will stat), your soldier will lose its next turn and then be able to move/attack your units on your opponent’s next turn. You can break the mind control by killing the Sectoid, because they only have 8 health (10 on Legend) and no armor so it should only take a few hits. Kill a Sectoid while it is possessing one of your units for the trophy to pop.
Stop Hitting Yourself
Kill an enemy with a hacked turret
Similar to Mechlord. Here, you must use your Specialist’s Haywire Protocol ability to hack a turret and then kill any enemy with that turret. Unfortunately, turrets are not very strong and cannot move but they can attack three times per turn and can also use Overwatch. If you are having trouble with this, it might be a good idea to weaken an enemy with another unit first and then finish him off with the turret. You will have plenty of opportunities to get this trophy.
Build a facility in every Avenger slot
Facilities are buildings that can be constructed in the Avenger. There are 12 available slots, which are arranged in a 3×4 grid. At the beginning of the game, only the top row of slots will be available for construction. The rest are blocked by debris. You will need to assign an Engineer to “clear out” these slots. You can only clear out slots that are adjacent to open slots so you will have to work your way to the bottom. Clearing out slots costs time and money (and gets more expensive as you move down) but you gain resources for each slot you open and you will need to open several slots to construct all of the facilities that are necessary to complete the game. All of the facilities are beneficial in some way and most can be staffed by Engineers, which increases their usefulness. Due to this, Engineers are the most important resource in the early game and it is a good idea to start clearing out slots as soon as possible. Get as many Engineers you can and never let them sit idle!
For this trophy, you will need to construct 12 facilities, one in each slot.
Bring It Down
Sabotage an alien facility
After you have completed the ADVENT Blacksite mission, you will begin seeing red icons appear on the Geoscape from time to time. These are alien facilities and you will be alerted to their presence. In order to sabotage a facility, you must first make contact with the region it is in (see Rise of the Resistance) and then successfully complete the mission, which requires planting an X4 bomb in the facility and getting your soldiers to the EVAC zone. Doing this once will net you the trophy but you will likely sabotage several alien facilities throughout the campaign, as they are critical to regulating the Avatar Project.
Have a Nice Trip
Cause an enemy to fall to its death
There are several ways to cause an enemy to fall to its death but the easiest is to throw a grenade at an enemy who is standing on a rooftop. This also works on turrets. Just make sure the enemy dies by the fall and not the explosion.
Cause an enemy to die in a car explosion
Cars can explode in one of two ways. The first is the most obvious way, which is hitting the car with a grenade or rocket. This will cause the car to explode immediately, damaging any units who were using it for cover and potentially setting them on fire. The other way to make a car explode is by doing enough damage to it (usually from stray bullets) to cause is to go up in flames. In this case, however, the explosion won’t happen until the nextturn. The easiest way to get this trophy is to throw a grenade at a car that has an enemy using it for cover. ADVENT Troopers or Sectoids make for good targets because of their low health. Sometimes, however, an enemy will move next to a car that is on fire and inadvertently blow itself up. Either way will get you this trophy.
Beat the game on Commander+ difficulty by July 1st
If you are following the Road Map, then this will be your second playthrough. The game begins on March 1 and you must begin the final mission no later than June 30 in order to unlock this trophy, giving you only four months to complete all of the story missions. You will need to manage your time very carefully in order to accomplish this.
The guide includes a complete calendar playthrough, done in spreadsheet format, which lists each day, research and facility progress, and unit status. You don’t have to follow the guide perfectly (and you won’t be able to anyway, as many events and mission rewards are random) but you can see the author only had about 14 days to spare at the end of his run. I followed the guide as closely as I could and had about 10 days to spare at the end, so there is some room for leeway.
During this playthrough, you must try to ensure that every mission you undertake is flawless or near flawless. “Flawless” means not having any of your units take damage. You need to create an elite group of soldiers who can accompany you into every mission and you will have to make do without any Psi Op units (there is not enough time in this playthrough to create them). Pay close attention to what the author of that guide built and researched, and make sure that your first mission scan reward is an Engineer or Scientist. You can afford to deviate from the guide somewhat later on but you want the beginning of the playthrough to be as close to what he does as possible.
Who Needs Tygan?
Beat the final mission using only conventional gear
To obtain this trophy, you must complete the final mission without equipping any upgraded gear.
Basically, you must stick to Tier 0 items, which means basic soldier weapons (Assault Rifle, Pistol, Shotgun, Cannon, Sniper Rifle, Sword, Gremlin Mark I, Psi Amp, Grenade Launcher) and Frag Grenades. You are allowed to equip basic purchases from Engineering (Medikits, Flashbangs and Smoke Grenades, as well as the upgrades to these items) and any PCS or weapon upgrades you find. You cannot, however, equip anything that required researching from Dr. Tygan, which includes all of the Proving Ground items but for some reason, you are still allowed to use the Nanofiber Vest.
The easiest way to obtain this trophy is to bring as many Psi Op units as you can into the final mission. These units are so ridiculously overpowered that it won’t even matter that they are using basic armor and weapons. The more abilities they know, the easier it will be. Dominate, Mind Rift and Null Lance will make short work of all of the enemies in this mission. This trophy is probably best achieved when going for Valhalla (to make the final mission easier) or Immortal Commander (because you will likely have several maxed out Psi Op units due to the extended length of the campaign) but can be done on almost any playthrough (except Exquisite Timing).
WARNING: Be sure to check the equipment of your soldiers before entering the final mission! If even one upgraded item is equipped (with the exception of the Medikit/Flashbang/Smoke Grenade upgrades), this trophy will be negated. Create a backup manual save before going into the final mission just in case (not possible in an Ironman run, unless you use a USB drive or PS+ Save File Cloud).
The Few and the Proud
Beat the game on Commander+ difficulty without buying a Squad Size upgrade
Squad Size I and II are purchases you can make from the Guerrilla Tactics School (GTS) to increase the number of soldiers you can deploy per mission. In order to obtain this trophy, you must not purchase either of the Squad Size upgrades. This would make the game significantly harder but there is an extremely useful workaround available i.e. if you demolish the GTS before beginning the final mission, you will lose your Squad Size upgrades and the trophy will still pop upon completing the final mission. You will still have the beat the final mission with only 4 soldiers (5, if you count the special unit you are given) but you can play the rest of the campaign with as many soldiers as you want.
If you want to do this legitimately, I suggest having one soldier of each class on every mission. You may find it useful to replace your Sharpshooter from time to time (particularly on timed missions) and you will eventually want to find a permanent spot on your team for a Psi Op unit. I do not recommend attempting this trophy on an Ironman playthrough.
Beat the game on Commander+ without losing a soldier
If you are following the Road Map, then this will be your first playthrough. Before you begin, make sure you do not enable the tutorial. The events that happen in the tutorial will negate this trophy. You also probably want to attempt this trophy with Ironman disabled, as that will allow you to reload an earlier save as and when things go wrong. Seriously, your soldier can have a 97% chance to hit a target and they will find a way to miss. You will have enemy pods appear in places you didn’t expect, critical hits to your soldiers at the worst possible time and failed attempts at hacking a device that puts your entire squad at risk. Due to this, you are going to need a Plan B.
If you are not playing with Ironman enabled, the game will create an autosave at the beginning of every turn. It does this for three turns and then begins overwriting the oldest autosave with each subsequent turn. Don’t be afraid to abuse this system. Take an action, see what happens and then reload an earlier save if things don’t go your way. That may sound like you’re abusing the system but it’s a useful tactic and a great learning experience. Over time, you will get more comfortable with the game and find yourself relying less on backup saves. Even so, I would recommend making a manual save every now and then (e.g. at the beginning of each mission) so that you are not completely reliant on an autosave that may eventually get overwritten.
The good thing about this trophy is that its requirements are directly in-line with how you should play XCOM 2. You should never let your soldiers die. In fact, it’s very likely you will complete the requirements for this trophy in most of your playthroughs anyway. The soldiers you have are your most valuable resource. Yes, you can recruit new soldiers from the Barracks but they start out weak and take time to learn new skills. That’s time you don’t have because the aliens will not wait for you to catch up. By mid-game (around June) you want to have a small group of soldiers that you are using on every mission, because stronger aliens will continue to appear at the start of each month (until August anyway, when they finally plateau out) and you will want to be able to match them with equally strong units. Bringing a bunch of Rookies into later missions is suicide.
In order to get this trophy, you cannot allow a single soldier to die. A soldier dies when their HP is reduced to zero. Sometimes. Other times, they are put in critical condition. You will know this happens because a message and a “bleed out” counter will appear, allowing you three turns to reach that soldier before they officially die. To prevent a soldier from bleeding out, you can:
- Stabilize them with a Medikit
- Call in an EVAC helicopter
- Complete the mission before the counter reaches zero
The first two options require moving another unit next to the fallen soldier. That soldier must be carrying a Medikit to stabilize them or they must pick up the fallen soldier and call for an EVAC by pressing . Calling for an EVAC will remove both soldiers from the field of battle but it will prevent the wounded soldier from dying. You will need to do this once for Nick of Time.
You can purchase the “Stay With Me” upgrade from the Guerrilla Tactics School to increase a soldier’s chances of bleeding out when their HP reaches zero. Also, from the Avenger, you can check out the Memorial, which shows a list of all of the soldiers who have fallen in battle. Obviously you want that list to remain empty in order to get this trophy so feel free to check it if you’re in the middle of the game and can’t remember if you lost a soldier at any point.
Pile ‘Em Up
Kill 500 aliens. (does not have to be in same game)
This trophy should come naturally. Each mission has a random number of aliens but I found most missions have somewhere between 8 and 15 (some have a lot more) and you will need to play through dozens of missions in each playthrough. I received this trophy on my first playthrough but it works across multiple campaigns so don’t panic if it doesn’t pop before you reach the final mission.
The Most Dangerous Game
Play in a multiplayer match
This is the only online trophy and fortunately it is very easy to obtain. All you need to do is complete an online game. You don’t have to win but you do need to stay until either the match is over or your opponent quits.
Beat a mission on Commander+ with a squad of soldiers only of the same class (but not Rookie)
This is easiest to accomplish in the first month of the game, as the enemies are still relatively weak. You can use any class for it (except Rookie) but the best options would be a full team of Grenadiers or Rangers. Either one can absolutely tear through the early game enemies. The difficult part is getting four soldiers (or more, if you have the Squad Size upgrades) of the same class that early in the game. You should build the Guerrilla Tactics School as soon as possible, as that will let you promote a Rookie to the class of your choice. It takes five days to complete the promotion on Commander difficulty.
I suggest attempting this trophy with a full team of Grenadiers, as you may find it more useful to have lots of Grenadiers throughout the game. Rangers are great as well but it’s not really necessary to have more than a couple.
Heroes of the Resistance
Beat a Retaliation mission with 3 or less civilian deaths
Your first Retaliation mission will come at the end of the first month, and others will appear every five weeks (or sooner, if they are part of a Dark Event). If you fail or ignore a Retaliation mission, then you will lose contact with the region that mission was in so it’s not advised.
In these missions, your objective is to save civilians. Really, your objective is to minimize causalities. Civilians willdie, usually on the first turn, with you being completely unable to do anything about it. Civilians are spread out across the map and enemies will happily pick one or two off each turn. Civilians die in one hit. In order to “save” a civilian, you must move one of your soldiers into range of the civilian (indicated by a glowing blue circle). The civilian will then realize a war zone is a bad place to stand and they will flee the map. Until then, they will remain in place, although they might run to another location if they get spooked by enemy movements.
You need to save at least 6 civilians to successfully complete a Retaliation mission. For this trophy, however, you can only allow up to three civilians to die. There is a lot of luck in that because sometimes you simply can’t reach them in time. To make matters worse, some civilians are actually the Faceless, which are hideous monsters disguised to look like humans (similar to the Thin Men in Enemy Unknown). The Faceless won’t reveal themselves until you approach but they can be nasty to deal with, as they have a long-reaching swipe attack and a decent amount of health. They often reveal themselves and move/attack on the same turn, which is rather cheap. To unlock this trophy:
- Just accept that some Retaliation missions make it impossible to get this trophy. You will have other chances later on.
- Notice the placement of the Faceless remains the same on the map, even if you reload an earlier save. If you want, you could make a manual save at the beginning of the mission, learn which civilians are real and which are the Faceless, then reload the earlier save and plan out your strategy accordingly.
It should also be noted that enemies would prefer to kill you over civilians. Given the opportunity, ADVENT troops will almost always target your soldiers first so you should spread out your troops. The more ground you cover, the more civilians you can save, and the more likely you are to “trigger” an enemy pod that will begin concentrating its attacks on you. Rangers are great for Retaliation missions because they have high mobility and can absolutely slaughter the Faceless up close with a shotgun or blade.
Earn a second tier hack reward
Whenever you hack a target (such as a door or computer but not an enemy), you will be given the choice between two rewards. The second reward is generally better but has less of a chance of success. In order to obtain this trophy, you must be successful in obtaining the second tier reward. There is no penalty for failing to obtain the reward (the hack itself will still be successful) so you could simply hack objects and selecting the second reward until you get lucky. Alternatively, you can increase your chances by having a Specialist do the hacking (any classes are capable of hacking but Specialists are better at it). You can increase your odds further by equipping the Specialist with a Skulljack or higher tier GREMLIN. Both of these increase the hacking ability of the Specialist.
Kill an enemy with every heavy weapon in the game (doesn’t have to be in the same game)
You will need to build the Proving Ground facility (see Tinker) and research Experimental Heavy Weapons and Experimental Powered Weapons. The cost of each project is one Elerium core and the weapon you receive is randomized. There are seven Heavy Weapons in the game so you will need to continue researching until you have them all. The weapons you can obtain are:
Experimental Heavy Weapons
- Rocket Launcher
- Shredder Gun
Experimental Powered Weapons
- Blaster Launcher
- Plasma Blaster
- Hellfire Projector
- Shredstorm Cannon
Heavy Weapons can only be equipped on soldiers wearing the E.X.O. Suit or W.A.R. Suit. Both of these require researching at the Proving Ground, but the the suits are more expensive than the weapons research. Since there is better armor in the game (e.g. Warden Armor), it is advised that you only obtain one or two of these suits.
Once you have either of the suits and one of the Heavy Weapons equipped, you will need to kill any enemy soldier with the Heavy Weapon. You should target enemies with low health, such as ADVENT Troopers but keep track of which Heavy Weapons you have used. Once you killed at least one enemy with each of the seven Heavy Weapons, the trophy will pop. This does not have to be done in a single playthrough.
The Sun Never Sets
Build a radio relay on every continent
To obtain this trophy, you must make contact with every continent on the Geoscape (see Rise of the Resistance) and build at least one Radio Relay on every continent. Ignoring or failing a mission can cause you to lose contact with a region. If that happens, you will have to make contact again and build another Radio Relay.
Get all of the continent bonuses available in a single campaign
There are six continents in the game: Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, South America and Oceania. By establishing contact with every region within a continent (see Rise of the Resistance) and having at least two Radio Relays built on that continent, will unlock a continent bonus. In order to obtain this trophy, you need to contact every region on the map and build at least two Radio Relays on each continent. Ignoring or failing a mission can cause you to lose contact with a region. If that happens, you will have to make contact again and build another Radio Relay.
Beat a mission in June or later using only Rookies
This can be difficult on higher difficulties. It is recommended you make a backup save in June (on any playthrough) and change the difficulty to Rookie before beginning the mission. You should have Squad Size II so that you can bring six Rookies and you should equip them all with the best grenades you have. Be prepared to save scum.
Skulljack each different type of ADVENT soldier (does not have to be in same game)
There are only four types of ADVENT soldiers in the game that this trophy is referring to: Trooper, Officer, Stun Lancer and Shieldbearer. You are required to Skulljack an ADVENT Officer for With Extreme Prejudice as part of the main campaign so you only need to go out of your way to Skulljack the other three types All of them are relatively common but remember the Shadow Chamber allows you to see what enemies are present in a mission via the Geoscape screen. See A Grim Key for more information about obtaining the Skulljack.
With Extreme Prejudice
Skulljack an ADVENT Officer
Story-related and cannot be missed.
See A Grim Key.
A Better Human Being
Recover the Forge Item
Story-related and cannot be missed.
This is one of several story-based missions. This mission will become unlocked after analyzing the ADVENT Blacksite Vial from the Shadow Chamber. You will be tasked with infiltrating an alien facility and recovering a suit, which you must then carry to the EVAC zone. Be prepared for enemy reinforcements upon picking up the suit. This mission is guaranteed to have at least one Sectopod (see Meat Over Metal).
A Final Stand
Create the Commander’s Avatar
Story-related and cannot be missed.
This trophy will pop at the beginning of the final mission.
Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger
Apply a PCS upgrade to a soldier
Personal Combat Sims (or PCS) are neural enhancements that permanently increase a soldier’s stats. There are three types (Basic, Advanced and Superior) and five stats that can be increased (Speed, Conditioning, Focus, Agility and Perception). Each soldier can equip one PCS, via the Loadout screen from the Barracks in the Avenger but you are free to overwrite that PCS if you find a better one. You cannot, however, reuse a PCS once it has been equipped to a soldier. Any soldier class can equip any PCS and you can’t really go wrong with your choices but you should assign each PCS to a class that makes sense e.g. Mobility/Dodge to a Ranger or Aim to a Sharpshooter.
PCS can be found as random loot from slain enemies or purchased from the Black Market using Intel. You can also increase the benefits of PCS by purchasing the Integrated Warfare enhanced from the Guerrilla Tactics School. PCS tend to be relatively rare during playthroughs (I usually end up with 5-10) so save them for the soldiers you use the most. You only need to equip one PCS to a soldier for this trophy.
Now Am I Become Death
Kill 3 enemies in a single turn, with a single soldier, without explosives
The easiest way to get this trophy is to get a Psi Op unit with Void Rift + Rupture and use it on a group of enemies that are huddled together. You may want to weaken them with other units first.
Beat the game on Commander+ difficulty in Ironman mode
If you are following the Road Map, then this will be your third playthrough and is arguably the hardest trophy in the game. In Ironman mode, every decision is final. There is only one save file and it is constantly being overwritten by every decision you make so if you make any mistakes at all, then you have to live with them.
First of all, recognize you are not going to have a perfect playthrough as there’s no such thing in this game. Mistakes will happen and the game does seem to punish you for it but not every mission has to be a success for the game to be a success as you can fail a lot of missions and have things go wrong, though still be okay because you will eventually reach the turning point. In every playthrough, there’s this moment where you stop playing catch-up with the aliens and start steamrolling them. Generally, this happens once you have a few Psi Op units on your team, you have established contacts across the globe and you suddenly have enough cash to buy all the things you want. There will come a time when the enemies stop getting stronger and you don’t. This game was designed to make you work to get to that point but you can do it. The hardest part of the game will be the first few missions.
If you’re really worried about this playthrough, there is still a way to save scum. It’s a bit more work but you can create a backup either to a USB device or the PS+ Save File Cloud (if you have a PS Plus account) and revert to that if things go horribly wrong in your game. I don’t recommend doing this often, as the load times in XCOM 2 are pretty long (even with the latest patch) and it would be tedious to keep quitting the game to overwrite the save file but making a backup at the start of each mission isn’t a bad idea.