In XCOM: Enemy Unknown and XCOM: Enemy Within, close-quarter combat options were fairly limited – even more so for melee. That all changes with XCOM 2’s new class of soldier, the Ranger.

The Ranger carries the usual shotgun or assault rifle loadout, depending on the player’s choice, but the Ranger’s secondary weapon, a sword, offers more unique methods of dispatching aliens. No longer will all XCOM operatives be forced to withdraw back to cover when confronted face-to-face with the enemy. The Ranger can stand tall and cut down would-be aggressors at very intimate distances.

What's the last thing a Sectoid sees before it dies?

The Ranger is an evolution of the Assault class from XCOM: Enemy Unknown. In XCOM 2, the Ranger can support your other troops as a nimble scout-type, deftly moving about the battlefield conducting recon or assisting lone troops, or you can simply jack up the damage output and make your Ranger a dealer in death, to be feared by all xenos across the planet.

And, the best part about the Ranger is that swords never require a reload. Slice, shake off the blood, move on and slice some more. 

A Ranger eyes its prey from afar

The Ranger can also take advantage of the concealment phase in unique ways. By focusing on the Ranger’s damage output, players can set up this soldier in such a way that he/she takes on the biggest baddies on the battlefield – which is an invaluable proposition when taking on ADVENT’s strongest units. Or maybe you’ll use your Ranger as a tip of the spear and unit for the enemy to focus on while the remainder of your squad takes shots from a comfortable distance? 

The Ranger walks with a satisfying swagger after cutting down a Sectoid

No matter how you’ll plan to use the Ranger, one thing is certain: This is one incredibly versatile unit, and will be essential to XCOM’s march toward victory when XCOM 2 launches February 5, 2016. 

Learn more about XCOM 2’s other classes: