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I've completed XCOM today and I've enjoyed the experience a lot. It took me quite a while to finish it, but I managed to finish it in normal mode.

I'm now looking at the downloadable content packs. Are these content packs bolt-ons to the main game, or are they totally separate. What I mean is, do I have to start the game and base again, or are these packs totally separate from the main thread of the game?

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The Elite Soldier Pack is just a set of alternative armor skins and the ability to choose armor colors for your soldiers. There's nothing really game-changing about it, although being able to color code your troops can be helpful. I don't think you have to start a new game to unlock this, I think it's available at any point once installed.

The Slingshot Pack is a set of sidequests that will offer to replace a few of the random council missions you get in-game with another set of options. When it was first released, you had to start a new game, but apparently this is no longer the case. There's no story impact, the only rewards are a special soldier and early (or alternative, depending on when you start/finish the quests) access to the Blaster Launcher.

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  • Thanks. Once the game is completed, to be honest then these packs don't really look that attractive to me :-/ I was hoping for a totally separate smaller game that might have a different story to it. Commented Apr 1, 2013 at 18:41
  • @Amorgos, yes, the elite soldier pack was a decent preorder bonus, but I can't really see paying money for it. I wish the Slingshot DLC was meatier, but alas, it is not.
    – agent86
    Commented Apr 1, 2013 at 18:46
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    Not only do you get fusion cores for the blaster launcher, but you can also capture 2 plasma rifles and many types of aliens early, which, coupled with the "We Have Ways" instant autopsy/interrogation bonus from South America, makes the game super easy.
    – kotekzot
    Commented May 14, 2013 at 20:18
  • "When it was first released, you had to start a new game, but apparently this is no longer the case" - If you are already past the first council mission, you will not get the option to play the Slingshot DLC without starting a new game. Source: I got the DLC a few days ago, mid-game. Commented May 16, 2013 at 21:28

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