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Now that Phoenix Point [Official Site] from Snapshot Games has a Linux version out, I've managed to put some time into it and as a long time XCOM fan I'm very impressed. Obviously a full review can't be done right now, since it's nowhere near finished so that will be reserved for the final release. However, I do have a few thoughts to share on the general experience.

Note: Personal purchase.

For those who've played XCOM or any similar strategy game, you will feel instantly at home. While it does have its own unique features, it still shares so much of what makes XCOM good. Honestly, it's strikingly similar to XCOM in a lot of ways, like a weird twin-brother it never knew. It's not surprising of course, since Snapshot Games includes Julian Gollop who's known for creating UFO: Enemy Unknown which Firaxis Games later reinvented with XCOM: Enemy Unknown.

The cover system is much the same, the movement feels similar and so on. It does have a few key differences though, like being able to zoom in while targeting an enemy which gives you the ability to pick a specific body part to fire some rounds into.

The actual combat is a little on the different side too. Your bullets aren't just for show (unlike other games), as each of them will follow their own path and inflict damage on anything it hits. As I found out when I had a soldier positioned between another of mine and an enemy, I totally missed and hit my own guy—woops. The picture above show that half my bullets will hit inside the orange circle, while the rest could be anywhere within the red circle, so you can see a bunch of my bullets would likely hit the wall. There's also a difference between actual damage, possible damage and the ability to disable body parts and carried equipment. I've had a soldier have their weapon destroyed and their arms disabled, while enemies were chasing them down.

That alone makes it feel quite fresh, but it's certainly not the only difference. While moving your mouse around, you will also see either white or red lines pointing towards a box of items or enemies you will be able to target—very useful.


You can just about make out the red line pointing to the enemy here.

It's all about the small changes. The developers already clearly know what worked before, so it's not exactly a huge evolutionary leap in terms of mechanics and the interface, but more about how they can tweak it in various ways to make all of it feel better.

The action point system is also quite different, you can generally do whatever you want as long as you have the points available on each character, which is defined by the bar at the bottom of the screen. There are still some limits, like movement within a blue or yellow zone where staying inside the blue zone would allow you to use your selected item at least once. It's an interesting system, certainly makes it have a different feel.

There's also the Will Points system, which allows you to perform special actions like Jet Jump. You can choose to rest a character for a turn to recover some, with other ways to earn them per-character like opening a resource crate.

Honestly, it's difficult too. I haven't been able to win, not even once. Thanks either running out of ammo or to the Crab Queen who can literally smash through buildings to get at you.

While there isn't a lot of content right now, what's there is quite easy to play through many times. They have a single main mission along with random maps, which I've already put numerous hours into and it's a delight. While it's early days yet, their new release schedule of a build every two months (the next build likely late in July, should be a nice birthday present for me) should bring us some interesting content each time.

In terms of performance, it's not great. Currently, you only get a choice between Potato quality and Fantastic, with no room in between. Fantastic quality gives me between 20-30FPS, while Potato does give me a near-constant 60FPS.

I'm not going to say it's going to dethrone XCOM 2 for me (which is fantastic), but it could with enough polish as it feels pretty good already. I will need to see a lot more of the game before I can make a decent judgement on it. However, I can say one thing for certain, I do love the instant access to the combat modes that it offers right now, so I do hope they keep them in at release.

I'm very pleased Snapshot Games not only said they would support Linux but actually put out a build as they said they would during development.

If you wish to pick up a copy and get access to the development builds, you can do so here

10 Likes, Who?
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18 comments
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TheSHEEEP 24 May 2018 at 5:01 am UTC
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14Thanks for trying it out and writing about it. I'm pretty interested in getting it when it's done.

TemplarGRContrary to mainstream opinion i don't believe the Firaxis Xcoms were any good. I did get them obviously for lack of too many options but i vastly prefered the earlier Xcoms, with Apocalypse being my absolute favourite and a damn masterpiece of a game.
I looked up Apocalypse on GOG due to your strong words, and I just can't play a game with graphics like that anymore.
You are ripping yourself of the ability to play the most promising game in the series.
It has serious problems and flaws (development time was at least a year too short), but as was said, it showed like no other what could have been.
You should question your priorities. Do you want to look at pretty things or experience great gameplay?

If it is just the first, isn't that what movies are for?
Or modern games that often omit gameplay for the sake of being extra pretty?

Besides, ignoring the old-games-UI-issues, the graphics themselves are mostly well drawn 2D.
Those look just as fine now as they did all those years ago.
In contrast to 3D, which does not age well at all - which admittedly includes some parts of the "drawn" large images in Apocalypse.


Last edited by TheSHEEEP at 24 May 2018 at 5:15 am UTC. Edited 2 times.
Sparhawk 24 May 2018 at 6:03 am UTC
TheSHEEEP
14Thanks for trying it out and writing about it. I'm pretty interested in getting it when it's done.

TemplarGRContrary to mainstream opinion i don't believe the Firaxis Xcoms were any good. I did get them obviously for lack of too many options but i vastly prefered the earlier Xcoms, with Apocalypse being my absolute favourite and a damn masterpiece of a game.
I looked up Apocalypse on GOG due to your strong words, and I just can't play a game with graphics like that anymore.
You are ripping yourself of the ability to play the most promising game in the series.
It has serious problems and flaws (development time was at least a year too short), but as was said, it showed like no other what could have been.
You should question your priorities. Do you want to look at pretty things or experience great gameplay?

If it is just the first, isn't that what movies are for?
Or modern games that often omit gameplay for the sake of being extra pretty?

Besides, ignoring the old-games-UI-issues, the graphics themselves are mostly well drawn 2D.
Those look just as fine now as they did all those years ago.
In contrast to 3D, which does not age well at all - which admittedly includes some parts of the "drawn" large images in Apocalypse.
Try watching a movie from the 70's
Just had a quick look at Apocalypse...and yeah, just not doable these days.
Also the UI will probably be something to get used to again, as we get spoiled these days with great UI
TheSHEEEP 24 May 2018 at 6:40 am UTC
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SparhawkAlso the UI will probably be something to get used to again, as we get spoiled these days with great UI
UI of ye olde titles is a problem, no doubt.
I'm currently playing Wizardry 7 and man did it cost me some effort to not give up 1 hour in.

However, I invested that effort and am now rewarded with a great game - which sometimes annoys me with UI bollocks.
Bottom line being that a great game is worth the effort.
Beamboom 24 May 2018 at 6:58 am UTC
Ok so this is kind of a stupid question I guess, but can you make/recruit female soldiers in this game? I want to make "Charlie's Angels" type teams in these kind of games. Xcom is excellent in these regards :-)
liamdawe 24 May 2018 at 8:37 am UTC
BeamboomOk so this is kind of a stupid question I guess, but can you make/recruit female soldiers in this game? I want to make "Charlie's Angels" type teams in these kind of games. Xcom is excellent in these regards :-)
Not currently, there's zero customization right now.
TheSHEEEP 24 May 2018 at 8:40 am UTC
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BeamboomOk so this is kind of a stupid question I guess, but can you make/recruit female soldiers in this game? I want to make "Charlie's Angels" type teams in these kind of games. Xcom is excellent in these regards :-)
I have no doubt there will be female soldiers in the game.
If there are only males currently the reason is no doubt that it isn't a high priority right now in the development cycle.

Seriously, though, imagine the shitstorm that would happen if there were no female soldiers.
No way any dev would allow that to happen.


Last edited by TheSHEEEP at 24 May 2018 at 8:40 am UTC
Beamboom 24 May 2018 at 8:47 am UTC
TheSHEEEPI have no doubt there will be female soldiers in the game.
If there are only males currently the reason is no doubt that it isn't a high priority right now in the development cycle.

Seriously, though, imagine the shitstorm that would happen if there were no female soldiers.
No way any dev would allow that to happen.

I hope you're right but I don't take it as granted as you. There's plenty games out there, both within the strategic and action genres, without female soldiers.
Especially in RPGs I find that particularly annoying, or games where there are no logical reason why there shouldn't be.
Kings_Rook 1 June 2018 at 1:08 am UTC
Beamboom
TheSHEEEPI have no doubt there will be female soldiers in the game.
If there are only males currently the reason is no doubt that it isn't a high priority right now in the development cycle.

Seriously, though, imagine the shitstorm that would happen if there were no female soldiers.
No way any dev would allow that to happen.

I hope you're right but I don't take it as granted as you. There's plenty games out there, both within the strategic and action genres, without female soldiers.
Especially in RPGs I find that particularly annoying, or games where there are no logical reason why there shouldn't be.

Hey, regular on the Phoenix Point Discord here. Female soldiers are in the game. In fact one of the 2 assault classes in the backer build, Irina Petyaeva, is a woman.

She was supposed to be the Technician class, but due to technical issues she wasn't ready to be included in the backer build. She "has some unique mechanics which require more complex programming and animations to work correctly" according to the Community Manager. This is partially in reference to the two mechanical arms attached to her back. Incidentally, she is also the class that allows the healing of disabled limbs.

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