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Central's Archives is a major new game mode in the XCOM 2: War of the Chosen – Tactical Legacy Pack DLC for XCOM 2. It consists of four series of pre-defined missions, taking place between the events of XCOM: Enemy Unknown and XCOM 2:

  • Blast from the Past – After the fall of XCOM HQ, Central Officer Bradford begins his journey to build the resistance by returning to where it all began.
  • It Came from the Sea – The broadcast of a fledgling radio DJ is reaching an audience he didn’t intend. It’s up to Central to save the DJ from an endless horde of hungry listeners.
  • Avenger Assemble – Join Lily Shen as she works to retrofit the Avenger into a new home for the growing forces of a reinvigorated XCOM.
  • The Lazarus Project – ADVENT is kidnapping key members of the resistance, and it’s up to Central to rescue some of XCOM's most renowned operatives.


Each Archive consists of seven missions, with a fixed map, player team composition and enemy placement and composition. The player attempts to complete the mission objectives while maximizing their score, similar to the daily challenges. Points are earned by killing enemies and completing objectives (with a bonus for early kills) and lost for getting their troops wounded or killed or restarting the mission. If the player fails a mission they can choose to retry it.

The player starts with a small squad of Squaddie-rank troops with basic equipment, and gains new troops over the course of the operation. Troops increase in rank after each level, reaching Colonel rank after the sixth mission. The selected skills are preset and cannot be chosen by the player. Weapon and armor tiers are also upgraded at specific points in the operation. Wounds are healed and KIA troops are automatically replaced (with the new troops having the same levels and abilities) after each mission.

Picking a reward following an early mission

After each mission, the player may choose one of two provided upgrades for their squad. This may comprise such things as special grenades, special ammo types, utility items, Personal Combat Sims, special armors, and later even a choice between two Chosen weapons. Upgrades obey item slot counts and similar restrictions, so taking special ammo may replace grenades in the squad inventory, for instance. Soldiers joining in later missions will benefit from previously selected upgrades.

Central Officer Bradford is a playable character in each of the operations and provides the story narrative, except for "Avenger Assemble" where this role is fulfilled by Chief Lily Shen. Unlike their appearances in the campaign DLC missions (the Alien Nest Investigation and Lost Tower Investigation, respectively), they do not have unique abilities or gear; their only difference with generic soldiers is that they have unlimited Will and are always knocked Unconscious instead of being killed when their HP drops to zero.

Only two difficulty settings are available: "Story" (equivalent to Veteran) and "Nightmare" (Commander). Ironman mode is also enforced.

Many of the maps are based on those from the original XCOM: Enemy Unknown and XCOM: Enemy Within; e.g. the final mission of Blast from the Past takes place on a dam similar to that from Deluge.

Completing each archive unlocks content (weapons, armor, and soldier customization options) for the main campaign mode, including existing saves.


XCOM troops in Central's Archives carry weapons unique to the DLC. These have identical stats to the base game's weapons of the corresponding tier, but have unique appearances (resembling the weapons from Enemy Unknown) and come with preset weapon upgrades that cannot be changed.

Completing the Blast from the Past archive unlocks a single DLC weapon of each type (assault rifle, shotgun, cannon, sniper rifle) per campaign. This weapon is upgraded as the player researches new weapon tiers.

Assault Rifles

Tier Name Upgrades
1 Old-World Assault Rifle Scope
2 Improvised Magnetic Rifle Advanced Scope, Advanced Repeater
3 Prototype Plasma Rifle Superior Scope, Superior Repeater


Tier Name Upgrades
1 Scattergun Laser Sight
2 Augmented Shotgun Advanced Laser Sight, Advanced Hair Trigger
3 Energy Sweeper Superior Laser Sight, Superior Hair Trigger


Tier Name Upgrades
1 Light Machine Gun Stock
2 Magnetic Support Cannon Advanced Stock, Advanced Expanded Magazine
3 Energy Cannon Superior Stock, Superior Expanded Magazine

Sniper Rifles

Tier Name Upgrades
1 Marksman's Rifle Scope
2 Anti-Materiel Rifle Advanced Scope, Advanced Auto-Loader
3 Energy AMR Superior Scope, Superior Auto-Loader