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Phoenix Point, the next game from X-COM creator Julian Gollop, now on Fig


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Tomorrow's Alpha build will have that demo level plus random tactical maps. Only with those pre-made soldiers apparently.

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Played some of the backer build (the demo scenario.)  First attempt was a total wipe (including accidentally sniping one of my assaults in the back of the head.,.,.)

 

Second attempt was both one of the most awesome and most pathetic victories I've ever seen.

 

My whole squad got destroyed except my heavy, and his machine gun got destroyed by the queen.  So I'm running around, trying to find some weapons, and all I find is 3 grenades.  While I'm running around, the queen is bleeding out.  Eventually, she dies to bleed, and there are still enemies around.  I'm exploring more, still looking for a weapon, and stumble across a crabman gunner on the roof.  Grenade blows out the floor under him, he takes massive damage, and I hide around a corner while he bleeds out.  Still enemies left, so I'm scouting around, still trying to find a weapon.  I've got 2 grenades left (and tons of ammo and medkits...)  Eventually I stumble upon one more crabman, who was wounded while I was fighting the queen.  1 more grenade toss, and bam, mission over, victory...with no weapons.

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Very different in a lot of things.

1) you don't have actions, but time units. So you can take baby steps and react as necessary.

2) ammo is limited. You end up scrounging the battle field for bullets.

3) Bullets each have their trajectory calculated, so in an assault rifle burst not all bullets will hit and not all will hit the same spot. And of course you can hit unintended things in the bullet's path (i.e. your squad mates)

4) Each soldier and each enemy have body parts with their own HP and Armour values. So you end up doing some Fallout3/4 vault tec assisted aiming.

5) Inventory management: you pick up loot, you drop loot, you change the weapons you are holding. Assault guy had an arm disabled and can't fire their rifle anymore as it needs two hands? The sniper can drop their pistol for them to pick up and at least shoot that.

6) Willpower is used for everything except basic actions. Kill stuff or rest to replenish willpower. Use it to trigger abilities. But by using it your soldiers' have less Willpower to resist that panic test when things go bad.

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It's also being developed by Julian Gallop, who was the guy behind the original Xcom, so he's got way more street cred than anyone else when it comes to making the next Xcom.

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Thing is, he actually seems to be delivering. It is promising to be a good, deadly tactics game. He isn't pulling a Molyneux :p

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It's really his first attempt at returning to the Xcom style of game since Dreamland Chronicles got shuttered mid-development. I think he's pretty aware of the legacy and expectations that come with that type of project, and so he stuck to smaller tactics based projects for the last decade. They haven't really been my cup of tea, but word is they were all pretty polished endeavors. I'm very excited to see how this turns out.

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  • 1 year later...

Backer Build 5 is so badly optimized, it is scary. Yes, it is just a beta build, but seeing how previous ones were actually playable...

Firing up the game takes me 8 minutes of staring at a black screen. Loading an existing game... no idea. I gave up waiting after 15 minutes.

What is there is fun. But waiting for this build to load may end up the same as waiting for the December release.

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2 hours ago, melkathi said:

Firing up the game takes me 8 minutes of staring at a black screen. Loading an existing game... no idea. I gave up waiting after 15 minutes.

Sounds more like a bug to me if this hasn't happened before. I can't imagining them adding so much stuff that loading times suddenly blow out of proportions like that.

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Yeah, everything was fine with the previous builds. But the new build adds a lot, so who knows what they did that causes this.

 

The cool thing is: they properly added the other factions, so you get to recruit the non-standard-xcom fighters. Also they added research and stuff.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I am rather worried about the tactical layer after this build. One crabman manage to fire a grenade, your soldier's weapon breaks. Have 30 crabmen with grenades at the same time, you either kill them all before they fire a single shot or you lose the mission. So you build your squad very quickly to be able to clear every visible enemy every turn. With an Assault-Berserker and just a bit of planning, you can clear a nest on turn one. But you kinda have to, as otherwise the AI will do the same to you.

I fear there may be something fundamentally wrong in the system how different target areas have their own HP. At least in this implementation.

There currently definitely is something wrong with enemy diversity. Hopefully they will at least diversify the weapons wielded by tritons - let all tritons from the same nest have the same mutations, but do have them carry different guns. 30+ tritons all with shotguns or all with pistols is boring (more so if they all spam mist) and makes the game look poorly made/thought out, when it can't differentiate between mutations and tech.

Overall, the current build gave an initial positive impression that quickly turned to dissatisfaction. And I was surprised to see how much negative sentiment there was in Discord. There doesn't seem to be a single person in there who is happy with the current combat.

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As I don't have access to backer beta, my viewpoint is not very indepth.

I don't worry about diversity and stuff like that - I assume, that kind of content in the beta is as barebone as possible. 

There seem to be a lot of balance problems, with some skills requiring serious attention, if not a redesign. I am not convinced there is underlying issue with core systems just yet - but major balancing needs to take place. A lot of things feel like they are a placeholder right now. Destroying weapons seem to be a sure way of disabling enemies/your soldiers. That needs to change, either by making the "destruction" less permanent, or making it more difficult to destroy a weapon.

From what I understand, they locked content and put everything together fairly recently. Now they have time until December to polish, squish bugs, balance and iterate. I still remain positive.

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The diversity problem stems from the way the game is designed to spawn attacks:

The pandora virus creates nests. Each nest has hatcheries for a specific strain, and therefor all creatures it spawns share mutations. Unless nests are left to grow and combine, each nest creates one enemy type. If you want to face multiple enemy types you therefor have to face combined forces from multiple nests or from a lair or citadel (if that is the highest tier name). So the game design is that early on, and as long as you are able to stay on top of things, enemy forces will always be of one type at a time with one loadout. The issue here is that to the game mutations are just a type of equipment, and therefor in turn conventional weapons are also the same as mutations. So when a nest's strain is determined, the weapons used are also part of the strain instead of being, well weapons.

Hopefully they will change that.

 

The balancing will be hard. But that is to be expected from a system with multiclassing. It is far harder to balance abilities for a class, when these can be combined with the abilities of every other class.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I need to send in my soldier name and callsign. The devs said for name to just use my real name obviously. But callsign is a pain.

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1 hour ago, melkathi said:

I need to send in my soldier name and callsign. The devs said for name to just use my real name obviously. But callsign is a pain.

PicMan, Polaroid, Zoomer, F12 (F-12?), #Shared, Scope,  The Steve.

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2 hours ago, melkathi said:

I need to send in my soldier name and callsign. The devs said for name to just use my real name obviously. But callsign is a pain.

Melky or Teddy Bear, of course. That way we will recognize you. 👍

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Heresy is a weird word. That you have a strange view of XCOM is a given though. Firaxis are the latest studio to work on the franchise, and what they brought to the table was simplified gameplay and better graphics.

 

We'll see if Phoenix Point is truly fun. But it does try things, while taking some things from Firaxcom that made it more accessible.

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3 hours ago, Gorgon said:

I dunno if this is heresy or not, but I'm not really interested in Xcom if it's not Firaxis.  

 

 

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