Tobold's Blog
Sunday, February 09, 2020
First impression Phoenix Point

I have played every single game in the XCom series. According to Steam I played the last two games, XCom: Enemy Unknown for 161 hours, and XCom 2 for 209 hours. So I know these type of games quite well, and usually play them well enough. In Phoenix Point I play at the lowest difficulty level, Rookie, and after a bit over one game month I find the game very challenging. That is to say that I have to savescum a lot just to survive. And I am not alone, a lot of people complain about how difficult Phoenix Point is, while the fans reply that you can counter the overpowered aliens by a few overpowered broken builds for your soldiers. I don't think that is good game design.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for a game having hard and impossible difficulty levels. Sometimes I like a challenge, and some people will only play games that are very challenging. However if a game has a selection of difficulty levels at the start, the lowest difficulty level should be appropriate for players who are either new to the genre, or just want to play casually. Phoenix Point clearly fails in that respect.

There are a few things that Phoenix Point does better than XCom. For example the Geoscape is a lot more lively, with more stuff to do. For XCom 2 I actually used a mod that added more stuff to do to the Geoscape, because otherwise sometimes you just had to wait for something to happen. Flying around and exploring in Phoenix Point is fun. The reticle targeting system is less frustrating than the percentage display in XCom, when you miss those 90% shots. The class system in which at level 4 you can add a second class to your soldier is fun too, because it allows for some very nice combos. I have a lot of Assault-Snipers, because the Dash and Return Fire abilities of the Assault class are very good, but many aliens are nearly impossible to hit or damage with assault rifles. On the downside the system isn't very balanced, and apparently allows for some completely overpowered combos at level 7. Or, as Reddit advised: "Build 3 training centers in your home base, don't do any missions until all your soldiers are level 7, then use this build and stomp the aliens". Again, I don't think that is good game design.

Most of the rest of the game of Phoenix Point isn't quite as good as the XCom games. Research often results in just a few resources, or a sidegrade, it takes forever for research to result in you actually getting better equipment. In XCom the research was definitely more fun. The soldier recruiting system is tedious and somewhat random. There aren't all that many different types of aliens. And while the vehicles are a good insurance against ambush missions, they aren't as useful as the three soldiers they block the place of in other missions. Also, on the technical side, Phoenix Point has a lot more bugs than the games of the XCom series had after release.

Now, a lot of these flaws could still be addressed in future patches or DLCs. Although, seeing already 3 DLCs announced when you start a game makes me feel as if some of the flaws or lack of content is deliberate, to make more money. And while I would recommend XCom 2 to anybody who hasn't played this sort of game yet, Phoenix Point is obviously a good option for people who like me have already played a lot of the XCom games, and are looking for something new. Nevertheless, I am happy that I didn't pay for this game, I got it as part of Xbox Game Pass for PC subscription.

I had a similar experience with Pheonix Point. It felt like Xcom for people who thought Xcom was too easy, which isnt bad but wasnt for me.

Especially when so much of the game is RNG based. I love difficult games that allow me to learn and overcome them. I dislike difficult games that even when I do things correctly a dice roll can screw me over.

Speaking of dice rolls have you ever gone back and tried Pathfinder Kingmaker? Its supposedly gotten a lot of improvements over the past year. I just recently picked it back up and I'm having fun with it. Not sure if they have completely smoothed over their difficulty spikes but so far it's been smooth.
Post a Comment

<< Home
Newer›  ‹Older

  Powered by Blogger   Free Page Rank Tool