The difficulty level of the game is average, which XCOM veterans will most likely find too easy. Those not accustomed to the XCOM universe however should start with the Easy or Normal difficulty, which are great for training. XCOM veterans wanting a challenge should start off with Classic, otherwise the game will appear far too easy for them. Higher difficulty levels increase the statistics of the enemies, such as their accuracy and health, but they also increase the capabilities of the AI. In easy mode, all enemies will remain completely immobile for you to go and find where they are, allowing your soldiers to reload and reposition themselves every time you clear out a group. In classic mode however, there will be many instances where you are trying to take out one group from cover while another group jumps at you from the side.
Aside from an "impossible" difficulty setting, the game developers also included an "Ironman" mode, which removes the possibility of saving the game yourself; Ironman mode autosaves the game every time you make any choice, leaving you no turning back if things go awry. Nevertheless, the game is well balanced and it usually is possible to recover from a mission where you lost more than a few of your best soldiers. As the game advances, robotic "troops" will be finding their way into your ranks, which can replace humans if most of your troopers end up recovering or dead.
Upon starting the game, the user will have to choose the location of their base and receive a respective bonus. Sadly, unlike with older versions, you can only have a single base in this XCOM game. You will still have to assign fighter craft to every continent but no base is required in order to do so. All missions originate from your initial base, using a super-fast transport craft which can travel around the globe in 30 minutes and carries all soldiers and equipment. At this point we should also note that the aliens will never assault your base directly.
View of the global map with the European XCOM base automatically being situated in…Poland.