Phoenix Point is the very successor to the original X-Com series designed by X-Com creator Julian Gallop. In terms of core design, turn-based strategy games are no better than Phoenix Point. To my dismay, its systemic success has been created by abundant bugs and poor AI.
It is heavily influenced by recent turn-based games. Anyone who plays the game since Fixxis’ XCOM or XCOM 2 will know the interface’s design language.
Otherwise, Phoenix Point moves out of its way. It is a world of terror of strange imaginary monsters, heroic-sci-fi soldiers and the bodies they share. It has some amazing visual design and a well-established, consistent aesthetic that makes for a spooky and atmospheric ride. It’s never clear where the world’s building is taking you, and it leads to some amazingly strange places.
Visual & Sound
On the other hand, sound design and music are poor. They actively complete everything graphics. The sounds of some soldiers and demons sounded as if they were recorded inside a tin box. The largest, meanest alien animal sounds like a twelve-year-old child, mimicking a tortured Rex. The music behind it alternates between getting everyone out of annoyance and forgetting.
The campaign at Phoenix Point does fascinating things, main stresses that you cannot solve easily. Starting from a single remote base with an aircraft and a handful of soldiers, you uncover the ruined world landscape and take on its problems. Exploring is important, as you need to quickly find and reactivate the old Phoenix Project’s bases to expand your abilities – plus go on missions and find a cache of vital supplies.
As you pull out, you encounter factions of people divided into havan, strengthening settlements of a few thousand. You quickly realize that more than 99% of the Earth’s human population is gone. The Egyptians are now rising to claim the remainder from the sea.
This is probably fine because tension is absolutely electric at the tactical level. You are always strapped with resources to decide whether to send an investigation team or resort to threats for rescue. This is a series of ever more vicious options, where expanding your capabilities over the long term means that the havan will collapse in the short term. While attacking you are fielding dozens of soldiers in multiple teams, but you have expanded the scope of your operation to cover the world, and it is never enough.
In terms of aquatic horrors, Phoenix Point’s animal population is quite good – though limited. In exchange for various enemies, Pandavavir makes a wide whisper of new weapons. As the campaign continues, enemies become tougher and acquire new abilities. The Orthros Crabman begins almost unarmed but spreads thick shells, grenade launchers, and venom.
Triton fishermen are four-armed: two for carrying human weapons, two for jellyfish temples, or blood-soaked claws. These upgrades and developments are considered procedural, depending on how you fight the enemy, but if it was not clear. There are also anti-human groups of three factions and some proletarian attackers.