Phoenix Point - new Julian Gollop turn-based strategy game

After 12 hours of PP, I decided to restart. I find that the default Veteran difficulty is just too easy. My team of 5 can take out any threats and I became bored actually. There was nothing threatening about each mission anymore. I restarted the game as Hero and, aha, I must say this is more like it. I need to use strategy to survive. In every level, the Pandorians will start to swarm you and so, early in the level, I retreated my team into a room, higher ground, and wait for them to come. After just two hours, I know I need to build a B-team, which I never did under Veteran difficulty.

On falling back and defending from inside a room, PP does not seem to encourage exploration. I used to break my team into two, combing two sides of the map. Hero difficulty though, will mean that one team usually get wiped. So, it’s best to stick together and defend and wait for them to attack. This seems to work, but the downside is that there is no exploration.

I can’t make up my mind what I like more :)

Had you gotten to any of the game’s new mechanics yet. For instance, mind control? I find that the pushback doesn’t really start on the default difficulty until that point. But this, I think is worth commenting on:

Ideally, a mission shouldn’t be threatening! You should be able to accomplish most of them without taking losses. The trick is how badly things go sideways when they go sideways. :) The real issue is whether you can absorb losses, and this is affected by two things: 1) the difficulty level, of course, but I’d say the more important factor is 2) whether you’re reloading when things go wrong.

This second factor splits Phoenix Point players into people playing two different games. If you’re playing without reloading – you don’t have to check the box for Iron Man to play this way, but that’s what it’s there for – you’re probably going to want to stick to the default difficulty. But if you’re playing with reloading, if you’re erasing your mistakes and bad fortune, then Phoenix Point might not feel challenging unless you bump up the difficulty level. But that’s on you, and not the game’s tuning. I suspect that’s also how people conclude the game is “broken” when they find a powerful combo; did the combo break the game, or did the erased misfortune leading up to the powerful combo “break” the game? And is the game “broken” because you shunted yourself into a playthrough without enough pushback?

I’m not trying to tut-tut anyone, but it’s important to take into account when you’re talking about difficulty. I’ve never been able to make much progress on the harder difficulties because I prefer to roll with the missteps and bad luck. The default difficulty and taking whatever lumps come my way has been my preferred way to play. One day, I’ll be good enough to attempt a playthrough on a harder difficulty level. But for me, that day is not today.

Keep us posted on your harder playthrough, @habibi. I’ll be curious to hear how you’re faring when the sirens come out to play. :)

-Tom

So when I get around to playing this (knowing only what we know now) should I enable any/some/all of the DLC or should I play vanilla first?

I could see all the DLCs being a bit overwhelming to a first time player. That said, a lot of the DLC is optional lines of missions. So I might recommend playing with everything but Festering Skies and just take a look at what missions kick off which DLC and just don’t get sucked into too many of those too quickly.

Ok. I have not and I don’t think you mean the mindfragger that hopped onto your soldier’s head. So, it looks like I am still early in the game? That’s shocking, in a good way. I guess there are a lot of content then.

In the Veteran mode that I started this game in, I did not reload at all. My soldiers were wounded, yes and a trip to the medical bay or med-kit fixed that. But they didn’t die, which caused me to conclude that the Veteran difficulty is too easy.

As I restarted in Hero, two of my agents died in the first mission. I also didn’t reload, as I am curious how this will progress. So far, so good. No reloading is required, but I am really early in the game now. My first Nest mission had just appeared. But, I like this difficulty level because I have to be more careful in my playthrough and plan my soldiers’ placement and overwatch properly. I now know that my team can get wiped out.

My play philosophy of playing Xcom-like is not to save every turn but if things go awry, I will restart the mission, not reload.

Now, I fear for my current playthrough after reading what you said, Tom. Maybe keeping that Veteran save game is a good idea!

And not that I’m trying to tell you how to play! Just offering a bit of my perspective after similarly struggling with the difficulty level. If you’re okay with reloading a mission after it goes south, the harder difficulty level should be do-able. Just be aware that mindfraggers are small potatoes in the overall scheme of new enemies. It’s going to get a lot worse. :)

-Tom

Met the siren in a key mission, called Phase Two. When he first appeared in the map, he was at the opposite end, so my team had time to camp into a building waiting for him. He’s one tough guy to kill. He slithered near my team and screamed, causing psychic hits and panic among the whole team! Lesson: spread out!. Fortunately for me, we have been chipping at his head as he moved towards us, so at the end, one big, melee bash into his head and we were able to turn the tide! I can’t imagine facing two or more of these guys.

I need to manufacture better weapons. The New Jericho rifles and sniper guns are not as strong anymore. I could not win any missions against “The Pure”. Should have made friends with these robots in the first place!

Don’t worry, soon enough you won’t have to. :)

That’s where my current playthrough stalled. Getting three of my best guys killed because I wasn’t prepared for mind control yet and an unexpected siren showed up. Do I reload? I don’t dare! Do I? Dare I? I mustn’t! Mustn’t I? But how else can I soldier on? The only way to avoid to agony of making the decision is…to not play! Gah! If only I’d checked the Iron Man box when I had the chance!

Avenge me, @habibi! :)

-Tom

I interrupted my most recent playthrough after getting hooked on Old World but eventually I’ll get back to it. Despite having logged over 300 hours, I’ve only actually completed exactly one (1) game to victory conditions.

However, I’ve only ever played on the default (veteran?) difficulty level and I’ve never had a problem placating all of the factions. I’ve generally done the faction specific missions, but I generally don’t do any raiding, for RP reasons.

I find the strategic and tactical layer very satisfying. I’ve never played with festering skies turned on (that doesn’t look fun!) and the one game I did complete had the early dlc and the corruption dlc but none of the others.

I’ve never discovered a broken build, but maybe I’m not that good at the game, and I have trouble with builds anyway. For that matter, I’ve rarely used mutations or cybernetic. For that matter, I’ve rarely used ground vehicles (in fact I usually sell them off) because I enjoy the squad based tactics so much. But I can see how they would be useful in scavenger missions.

It sounds like I’ve barely scratched the surface. I guess I’m going to have to start another playthrough. After this game of Old World.

I save scum all the time, or ‘restart’ missions, which is kind of the same thing. You are going to get matchups occasionally that are basically impossible for your guys.

The most Sirens I’ve seen on missions is three, which sucks, but manageable depending on your tech. Helps when they don’t show up all at once. If you don’t have a good head shot, destroying their tails slows them down quite a bit. Also, don’t let them get close to soldiers with lower will points, if possible. They are super annoying, for sure.

I recently tried hero mode, and by the late game i gave up. Mission saturation was just too much late game, too many missions of base attacks, haven attacks, and air attack sucked the fun out of the game for me.

Going to take a break for a month or so and try again in comfortable Veteran mode. 😁

How’s this? A few missions after my first Siren, the Phoenix Point base was attacked. This was my first base attack and who did you think came calling? Yep, two Sirens and many other Pandorans. A couple of mind fraggers in the mix too.

My saving grace was that I recruited a Technician a few weeks ago and not knowing what to do with him, I left him in the base and he slowly leveled up to Level 4. The other coincidence was that one of my researches, which allows the fabrication plant to manufacture turrets, was also completed recently, so I had about 3 turrets to face the onslaught.

One Siren came charging face on, while the other, surprisingly, took a right turn, thinking that she could flank my team. That right corridor was long and by the time she came out to the other end, my team had killed most of the Pandorans. The Phoenix team suffered equally bad damage and the technician became another life saver as he could heal and mend broken limbs. Oh, he could also remove mindfragger with 100% success!

Anyway, that last Siren actually panicked and tried to run away to a dead end. The whole team cornered her and took our time picking at her cherry (head) but before she died, she swiped my assault guy with both of her pincers! He almost died and his last returning shot killed the Siren, ending the game immediately.

This is probably one of my best levels so far, in terms of having great tactics, luck, and a great ending.

I have never had a base invasion. I’m pretty good about clearing nests when they pop up but I’ve assumed that they were so rare I don’t even bother preparing for them. Weird.

In that last game I played, I forgot/didn’t realise that the pandoran citadel research you gain after completing your first citadel mission gives you the ability to actively detect pandoran buildings… I ended up booting it way down my research priority list due to all the extra DLC stuff to research (aircraft weapons and the like). Consequently my bases were getting raided non-stop in the mid to late game.

That said, they’re about the easiest missions you can do anyway since there’s always just a single bottleneck; I love just parking a scarab or whatever in the doorway to the hangar and blocking off all those dumb crabbies with it. It’s worth having one in every base you own (if you can afford it).


Remember the good ol’ days when every siren had mind control? And they’d show up in like mission 5 when you were still fielding nothing but those crappy starting phoenix guns? Painful.

Not all siren has mind control? Mind blown!

Nope, takes awhile for them to evolve that ability now, so even when they do first show up near the start of the game, they aren’t so punishing any more. That said, the non-mind control ones can still have psychic scream - which is still pretty bad.

You can right click enemies and go to the info screen to see what abilities they have, for when you need to prioritise targets.

Also, you can research/make slamstrike shotguns, which are pretty nifty at disabling body parts (heads) early on for well armoured targets. They can shock too. You should equip 2 or 3 weapons on all your troops for more tactical options.

Some I’m looking for a new game, and Phoenix Point.

I didn’t get it earlier goes cause got my X-Com fix, with X-Com2 and various DLCs.

My big question is initial reviews mentioned both a lot of bugs, and very poor AI.

Anybody want to comment on those now?

I don’t know…I’ve been playing it a lot, both on XBox and PC, for the last several weeks (and I have have played it a fair amount since release), and I don’t really remember any of what I’d call bugs. And playing with all the DLC, the AI seems vicious to me. (On veteran) I’m sure there are people really good at the game who can take advantage of the AI, but I certainly wouldn’t describe it as poor.

Just my experience.

The Year One Edition is perfect. No bugs so far and I started playing a few weeks ago.

If you’re looking for an X-Com fix today, there is no better option. :)