Phoenix Point - new Julian Gollop turn-based strategy game

I’ve tried to play through this twice.

Both times, I gave up late game when all the strongholds on the map started getting regularly invaded. I had enough soldiers and fliers to fight these, but it got really boring having 3 out of every 4 missions be these rote, time consuming stronghold defenses.

Have any patches/DLCs changed that?

This. I won’t ever play PP again because of how sloggy it gets – how much meaningless and time-consuming activity is forced on the player late game. I really got into my playthrough of the updated version of PP, but, given their resource limitations, I would rather have less content padding, no bullet modeling in combat, etc., and a tighter experience.

The XCOM reboot series has the tension of each battle going for it. It’s very tight; and it clearly sacrificed some “realism” for drama and quality of the player experience. Despite its annoyances, it rarely fails to deliver excellent tactical challenge – at least at the highest difficulty level. PP is all over the map (pun intended) with this – sometimes it’s fun and interesting, sure, but almost as if those qualities are emergent rather than designed.

I agree with the late game slog (that’s where I petered out) but I’d take PP over the XCOM reboots any day. I just think the decision space is so much more interesting, from creative hybrid classes to a much more eventful and simulated geoscape (including faction alliances that open up different types of tech) to the VATS-style limb damaging and projectile modelling. I rarely felt like I couldn’t escape tight spots in PP thanks to the more deterministic combat.

With all the DLC now out and mod support coming, I hope that PP’s quirks and shortcomings get addressed by the community. It’s a fantastic send-off from Snapshot.

nailed it!

I can’t repair an augmentation on one of my soldiers. It’s showing as damaged. I can go into the screen to repair it and I have enough materials/tech. And the button to repair it is lit up. But clicking it does nothing. Anyone seen this?

This is where I am, too. Seems to me Hotfreak’s complaint is endemic to these kinds of games, much like complaints about the endgame in a 4X. As such, I feel like Phoenix Point learned a lot from XCOM and subsequently improved on it by providing more content, gameplay, variety, and meaningful choice during the late game. I expect the next game of this type by a developer with the insight, experience, and skill of Firaxis or Snapshot will do even better.

But until then, Phoenix Point is easily my game of choice for leveling up little dudes through tactical battles.

-Tom

Ain’t no slog in the Xcom games, in my experience. You either get crushed or you have tense, meaningful, variety-packed encounters with significant consequences and progress.

In that case, you will definitely appreciate Phoenix Point’s endgame. As I said, they benefitted a lot from XCOM’s experience.

-Tom

So with all de DLC out, I’ve started this again (I’ve started several times, but never finished while waiting for the next DLC).

I was playing in Veteran and all was going just fine until Festering Skies started.

Oh my! I did not like this one. Too much pressure with so little reward. I don’t know if I’m playing it right, but the hunt for resources only to keep my ships up to date is exhausting, and the aerial minigame after 5 times is boring AF.

Some tips regarding the other DLCs?

I’ll start again and try to finish the game. I’ve thought of playing with all the DLCs except Festering Skies, of course, and maybe Legacy of the Ancients (I’ve read that it becomes too grindy, and the game is long enough as it is).

It sounds like you’re where I am, @Grenyes. Getting accustomed to all the new stuff in this world, now that it’s gotten so much DLC.

The Festering Skies stuff is quite a lot, and I’ve by no means mastered it, but it seems to me that it’s a balancing pass to assist the aliens. Previously they had to crawl onshore from out of the mist, which was always rolling in from the sea, so settlements were always attacked from a fixed front. You could always see where they were coming from, and it was always the shore that was threatened, and you had a convenient way of shutting down the threat by whacking alien nests.

But Festering Skies is a way to let the aliens strike deeper inland, more persistently, and more predictably. Early on, you won’t be able to do much about it. Don’t try! Just stay out of the way! You are going to lose large swathes of territory and population, so just accept that it’s going to happen. In the words of that Disney movie about snowmen and princesses, just let it go!

The trick is figuring out when you’re tough enough to start hitting back and fighting the recon, supply, and raid flights to drive the Behemoth back into the sea. You might not know when you’re ready, but it will be painfully obvious when you’re not ready, in which case, try again later. :)

But until that happens, until you can reliably shoot down the Behemoth’s flights, just let it do its thing. It’s just a way to give the aliens a fighting chance by letting them strike at population that would otherwise be effectively invulnerable.

Are you winning? Because if you’re winning, “boring AF” is good! But I’m guessing you’re not into the full aerial game yet (I might be wrong about this, but I think the Behemoth’s first appearance might be a gimmie; you can just drive him back into the sea after shooting down a couple of non-committal recon flights). But there will eventually be difficult decisions about weapon loadouts, countermeasures, and breaking off! It’s never going to be as hearty as an actual ground fight, but air combat should involve actual difficult decisions and risky choices once it comes into its own.

Snapshot was certainly true to their word to flesh out the vehicle gameplay! I was already a big fan of how vehicles worked (a must for scavenging missions!), but now they’re even more badass with the Kaos market upgrades. In fact, that Kaos marketplace basically violates the entire game progression! I love it. If you’re willing to pay the resources – it’s not cheap – you can break Phoenix Point in some very interesting ways with careful use of the Kaos market.

Otherwise, it seems like the DLC is basically fleshing out side options for developing your team, right? With mutoids, bionic advancement, and the forsaken body mods as three separate “threads” of squad development. I’m guessing you could ignore any of these if you wanted?

In my current playthrough, I’ve been “crafting” mutoid scouts to great effect. Basically, semi-disposable drones with high perception values that I can send out onto the map before venturing out with my higher-value teammates. I feel like the DLC is full of options for this sort of creative expression, and it’s an absolute joy to discover how it all fits into the Phoenix Point world.

Thanks to the DLC and Snapshot’s post-release support, I’m in love all over again!

-Tom

Oh! Thanks for your detailed response!

Ok, so maybe I won’t throw my save into the trash and just let the aliens do their festering thing.

By no means I’m winning! But the minigame, at least for now, it’s very shallow and tedious, or it’s just not for me. You just have to shoot when in range and defense when attacked, it could be automated (indeed it is, but I don’t trust auto-resolve in games). My main problem is that I’m behind the aerial tech, and I have very few resources.

Yes, Kaos Engine for now I like it a lot. Those acid shotguns are very helpful (until they jam in the worst possible time)

Corrupted Horizons I like it too. My main worry is about the Legacy of the Ancients. Is as grindy as I’ve read?

By the way, I’m playing Iron man (always do in this kind of game) so save scum is not an option for me. So maybe is a good idea to experiment the game without some of the most unforgiving DLC’s?

This indeed is a favourite of mine alongside XCOM2: WOTC. I’d like a Phoenix Point with the production values of XCOM. One thing I miss from XCOM2 is the variety and quality of maps and mission objectives, in Phoenix Point very fast all the maps look the same.

On the other hand the last time I’ve tried XCOM2 I was missing with all my heart the ballistics and localized damage of Phoenix Point.

It sounds like you’re not “playing” the aerial game yet, at least not fully. I promise the “minigame” will feel less tedious once you’re actually able to take advantage of the different systems (targeting components, matching countermeasures to weapons, and using different types of weapons from different ranges, for instance). Right now you’re probably just plinking their recon flights with your default weapons. There’s a lot more than that to come!

In the meantime, you just kind of have to watch the Behemoth have his way with the settlements. :(

In my current game, after I drove him back into the Indian Ocean, he rampaged all over North America before I even got over there. “Have fun, dude! Knock yourself out, since it’s not like I’m going to be able to do anything about it!” He eventually slinked back into the sea, but I’m not sure if it’s because he ate his fill or because the North American settlements actually fought him off.

Same here. On Veteran, I’m pretty sure we can roll with setbacks, but don’t quote me on that. I just had a very painful party wipe after my first substantive mind control encounter, and I lost my three main dudes. I wouldn’t dream of restarting!

Yeah, Phoenix Point only has the four distinct biomes and then all the alien stuff. You do get used to it pretty quickly. There’s a sense of “oh this building” or “ah, these map tiles”.

But I feel like the architecture and layouts of the biomes are different enough that they offer distinct gameplay. The cramped favellas with their rickety walls play differently from the sleek high-tech Synedrion homes with all their glass and windows and winding stairs, as opposed to the wacky Anu temples with big open interiors, or the hulking Jericho fort towns with their cramped rooms and halls. It might not have as much splash as the XCOM settings, but I do feel it plays pretty tightly into all of Phoenix Points’ systems for mobility, line of sight, destructibility, and ballistics.

Honestly, I’m not sure I can go back to XCOM at this point. I haven’t tried, and I’ve been meaning to jump into the Long War mod again, but I think Phoenix Point might have spoiled me. :(

-Tom

I should replay this. I gave up last time on the mission where you have to capture someone or something. Was tedious.

Not with one of the vehicle types. Synhedrion’s maybe? Someone has a vehicle that just stuns everything like crazy. I had a lot of fun with it until it got wrecked.

I remember getting this vehicle and struggling to work out how to use it, then it subsequently getting wrecked! :)

The Synedrion Aspida!

She is quite the beast until you figure out what she does…at which point she’s an even greater beast! The vehicles – ground and air! – in this game are so cool for how distinct they are.

The Aspida is exactly what I was talking about in the thread about Old World’s undo feature, and how I’ve added my own undo to games like Phoenix Point. The Kaos DLC makes sure you get to play with all the different vehicles and having never used Synedrion’s ground vehicle, well, we’ve all been there, right?

“How does this thing shoot? What’s that? It doesn’t even shoot? Then what good is it???”

Five moves later you’re loading up your Manticore with a half dozen captured specimens, the Aspida’s cargo hull full of salvage, and nary a scratch on any of your soldiers. :)

-Tom

Ooh! Does Kaos Engines buff the already existing vehicles?

It’s like you were watching me play it.

It adds a bunch of new equipment you can swap onto already existing vehicles. However, as far as I could tell, none of the upgrades address the ridiculously small amount of ammo the vehicles get loaded with.

You will no longer recognize them!

(Okay, maybe it’s not that dramatic. But considering that the four faction vehicles were pretty bare bones before, there was plenty of room for the stuff added in the Kaos Engine DLC.)

The trick to Kaos Engine’s goodies is preserving balance. Vehicles were already pretty powerful. As I’ve said before, I think the biggest problem with vehicles in Phoenix Point is that everyone assumed they work like they did in XCOM when that was never the case! So when Snapshot added a new progression system to vehicles – basically a set of missions to let you test each vehicle in a live fire situation – they’re kind of re-introducing vehicles for the first time.

And one of the things you have to learn is that you’re never going to be able to just sit in a vehicle and drive around, blowing stuff up and playing the mission as if you were a tank commander. One of the ways this is enforced, one of the ways vehicles are balanced alongside your soldiers, is by making the very powerful vehicle attacks limited. So when vehicles get even more powerful, flexible, and readily available with Kaos Engine, it’s usually by adding additional tricks, gimmicks, and abilities rather than just turning them into more powerful artillery with more ammo.

That said, if the upgrade path you want is for vehicles to hit harder or even more often, Kaos Engine will give you options.

-Tom