Phoenix Point Is A Bigger, Messier XCOM – Kotaku

Phoenix Point is a new turn-based tactics game designed by Julian Gollop, the driving force behind the original XCOM, released back in 1994. In 2019, he’s back to build on the experience he helped pioneer all those year ago.Slight problem, though: he’s not coming in to fix anything that’s broke. XCOM 2 did so much right that, rather than throw everything out and start over, Phoenix Point is content at first glance to walk closely in Firaxis’ footsteps, so closely that from the unit design to the over-the-shoulder firing animations you’d be forgiven for thinking this was an XCOM 2 mod.And in many ways Phoenix Point will be instantly familiar to anyone who has ever played any kind of XCOM game. The basic premise is exactly the same: there’s an existential threat looming over the planet, and you have to combat this by managing bases, researching tech, building weapons and engaging in seemingly endless rounds of tactical combat.My first hour with the game, then, was a little disappointing. Was this all we were going to get? More XCOM 2, only now the bad guys look like fish?Of course not. Once you’ve bedded in and got your head around the game’s setting—humanity has barely survived a Lovecraftian attack from the seas, rebuilt from the ashes and is now threatened once more—it becomes clear that Phoenix Point’s world map has a lot going on.In this climate-ravaged future Earth, with most of the population either dead or mutated into hostile sea creatures, there are multiple factions of survivors. There’s you, Phoenix Project, the plucky science nerds cast in the same mould as XCOM back in the day, but you’re a small and fledgling force. Most of the remaining resources and population out there are controlled by three more groups of people, who all have different views on how humanity should react to the crisis it finds itself in, and who largely hate each other as much as they hate the creatures crawling out of the ocean.These factions exist as separate entities, each with their own research trees, manufacturing capability and political motivations. And playing Phoenix Point is as much about juggling your relationship with each of them as it is defeating the seaborne invasion. The three factions can be traded with, raided for supplies, assisted in combat and will even offer custom story missions, so travelling around the world interacting with them adds an element to Phoenix Point’s strategic side that sits somewhere between Civilization’s diplomacy and Skyrim’s faction quests.And I loved it. At least at first. The faction’s relationships with each other are organic, constantly ebbing and flowing depending on world events (and your own actions), and it’s possible to at any time to be sitting anywhere on the diplomacy scale between “all-out war” and “best friends”. Phoenix Point’s default units, weapons and armour are quite generic, and it’s fascinating allying with one of these groups and seeing your tech and arsenal evolve to include their gear as well.One of the three
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