Similarly to the previous installment of the XCOM, the game uses the classic turn-based combat system - there are no additional attributes like speed, or initiate which condition the order of movement between units. All movement around the map is based on a simple rule: player movement always takes priority and after all the soldiers are done and the turn of the player is over, then it's the time for the enemies to move. Afterwards, the whole process is repeated.
Players' soldiers have (in most cases) two actions to spare - the first one is mainly used to move around the battlefield, while the second one is reserved for actions, like firing a weapon, or using an item. You should remember that executing an action, or simply attacking an enemy in most cases will end the turn of a soldier, so you should always think beforehand if you want to move the soldier before he / she acts. This work similarly in the case of enemies (together with the inability to act after attacking or using an ability), the only difference being the fact that some of them can cross longer distances in one go.
Movement is divided into two types - the first one is done within the blue area around the character, after which the soldier is still able to do something else (like firing a weapon, using an item, moving, or simply hunkering down behind cover). The second one, which can be simply described as sprinting, is done within the yellow area, allow the character to move a little further than in the case of "double action" described above, but after using that the soldier's turn will end and he / she won't be able to do anything more. Additionally, sprinting decreases the chances of the unit being hit by enemy attacks - it should be mainly used to quickly get out of the area, or to simply change your position to get into a better cover.
The movement (the range and the number of actions a unit can perform) is influenced by a number of abilities and game mechanics. The best example is the "Run and Gun" ability of the Ranger, which, after activating, allows the soldier to act (attack, using item - but not movement) even after using two "normal" actions for movement, or sprinting. Another ability influencing movement is the one from the Psi Operative, Inspire, which gives the selected unit additional action - thanks to that, you can attack, or use abilities two times in a single round.
Here's a couple of hints which should make moving around the map a little easier:
- If you aren't absolutely certain that there isn't any enemy around the corner (especially if you are not in conceal mode anymore), never, ever use sprint to move around the battlefield. By doing so you can easily fall into a group of enemies, completely unprepared.
- The same goes for moving when almost all of your soldiers are done and out of action points and only a single soldier can do something - if that's the case, and if you're not short on the timer, you should always end your turn (either by getting into overwatch, or by hunkering down) and wait for the rest of your team. There's nothing worse than running into a group of enemies when your soldiers are done with their actions and can't do anything.
- Some of the missions will have a time limit in which you must complete your objectives, but in general they are well-balanced - you can really take your time and you should still be able to complete them. You shouldn't waste 5 rounds in row by standing idly and overwatching, but you shouldn't either be rushing into your enemies without a plan.
- If an enemy hides behind a good, solid cover, yet is suspiciously non-active and refrains from attacking your soldiers, you should be cautious - there's a good chance that he's a bait, and when you close in on his position to flank him you will reveal a group of hidden enemies, waiting to trap you.