The game is played from a top-down perspective and is a turn-based tactics title in which players issue commands to a squad of human soldiers to eliminate the hostiles in a map and depending on the mission, complete secondary objectives. Players can freely explore the map without being confined to a grid. Each character can perform three actions, such as taking cover, shooting enemies, or remain in overwatch to shoot any moving enemy in their line of sight. When an enemy unit loses most of its health, a friendly unit can move in and execute the downed enemy, which gives all units an additional action point. Players need to throw grenades to destroy erupting Emergence Holes which spawn more Locust enemies. If a friendly unit is downed, players can revive them to bring them back into battle with reduced health. The game has five distinct character classes, with each having its own unique abilities. The characters can be extensively customized with mods, armours, and they can acquire new skills after they level up. Other than story-important “hero” characters, other friendly units are procedurally generated and should these units die in combat, their deaths will be permanent.
In addition to the main campaign, players can complete different side-missions. At numerous points in the story, the player is required to complete one or more side missions to proceed. After the player finishes the campaign, Veteran Mode will be unlocked. It allows players to remix the campaign missions with different modifiers such as bonus damages and accuracy penalty. The game, however, does not have a multiplayer mode.