It’s a shame that the technical side isn’t quite up to scratch and the manner which certain details are laid out aren’t always the easiest to work out. Call it an insistence on reinforcing the strategy side of things or not, the game can fall victim to its own limitations. But for those with an adoration for lore and for that looming sense of desperation more so, while not entirely original in tone or presentation, Phoenix Point does just enough for those restrictions to fall by the wayside.
You've earned the right to mess with the XCOM formula when you're the person chiefly responsible for it. Julian Gollop was the co-lead designer on the original XCOM: UFO Defense in 1994, and Phoenix Point, from Gollop's new studio Snapshot Games, is a...
Phoenix Point has a lot of interesting ideas to contribute to the revitalized turn-based tactics genre but many of them are in need refining and balancing. Things like managing faction relationships and disabling individual enemy body parts are great,...
At the same time, it’s woefully underdeveloped in certain areas like mission variety and base-building, and a late-game difficulty spike is so severe and unfair-feeling that it crushed the spirit of this XCOM veteran – twice. Combine that with a general lack of polish and it leaves Phoenix Point in a state that still feels very experimental and unrefined – but it’s an interesting experiment, to be sure.
Die hard fans of XCOM will likely fall in love with Phoenix Point, a hard-as-nails challenge that offers procedurally-generated replayability and a suite of tactics to help you thrive on and off the battlefield.
May not meet the legacy of its celebrated forebear X-Com, but then few games ever will. Elegant, atmospheric, and energetic, Gollop’s latest remains remarkably hard to put down.
Like XCOM, then, Phoenix Point is a gripping tactical strategy game. Like XCOM, it’s frequently lovely to look at, wonderfully tense, and there’s a lot of depth and customisation to be found in its almost endlessly replayable combat scenarios. I like most of its unique ideas – the more freeform overworld and faction setup – but that overwhelming sense of deja vu is inescapable in much of its design.
Strategically delicious, Phoenix Point’s biggest problem is lackluster technical execution.
A very capable game that excels at the strategy layer, but the tactical sphere is a bit sterile and leaves you feeling cold.
Phoenix Point successfully introduces a slew of new features and mechanics that sufficiently evolve the XCOM-inspired genre of strategy games, though is brought down by some buggy, wonky, and unbalanced implementation of some mechanics.
Not as well-styled as the playfully and visually almost identical XCOM 2, but offers more tactical depth, for example, with hit zones.
Phoenix point is a little rough around the edges, but if you manage to look past its bugs you'll be treated to one of the most nuanced and entertaining turn-based strategy games to arrive in quite some time.ProsGreat storyWonderfully intricate...
Playing Phoenix Point has been a powerful propulsion back through my past, pinballing me through 25 years of alien-fighting nostalgia. And if I still find myself returning to it again, keen to blow the floor out from under another tentacled terror the moment I finish this review, then you know it's got much more right than wrong.
Where you dread the thud of a parasitic worm dropping from a roof to the ground at your feet. Where the cold utilitarianism trained by XCOM slowly melts, and ideology begins to influence your diplomacy. It’s warmer, stranger, than its genremates. But it’s harder work to enjoy. Like its most outlandish guns and powerful armours, it takes a few hours’ research to get there.