Games Gazette Logo

 

PHOENIX POINT is created by Julian Gollop (X-COM) Developed and Published by Snapshot Games available for the PC. Players of the X-COM series will recognise Julian's style in this turn-based game, though it has enough differences to not be a clone of past successes.

 

Well this is a game to enjoy while you are in Lockdown keeping safe from the Coronavirus. Phoenix Point is a game about an alien threat in the form of a Pandoravirus that is weaving its way Globally towards complete devastation of humankind. These creatures are a combination of different alien-life-forms rising from the depths of the oceans, the ice-caps and places unknown. Something has drawn them together and unified them into a formidable force.

This virus began with the melting of the ice-cap in 2022 and your intervention begins some 25 years later when the creatures are at the very point of having no world to conquer. Buckle up, you're in for a hellish ride.

 

Unlike today's Pandemic the crisis in Phoenix Point is in the shape of animated hybrid huanoids and suchlike, rather than an invisible airborne disease spread by tiny globules of wettish breath.

You command a small unit of Troopers in a world that is as beautiful as it is dangerous. On this world you will discover old PHOENIX COMMAND Posts which are in bad repair. If you can put them into good repair then they will usually be somewhat beneficial to you. What you don't find are lots of people and those you do find are in self contained groups (just think every other episode of The Walking Dead) that are at violent odds with each other.

 

Your task is to save and restore the world, fat chance, and to do this you need to get the three main militia groups to bind together against the invading alien enemy, fat chance2! You will almost certainly have to join up with one of the groups, maybe being able to jump from one to another, as each have their own special technology that you can learn. I admit here that I haven't had much success with Phoenix Point. I sort of know what to do, or at least I think I believe I know what I am supposed to do, but I'm not too good at doing it.

 

The three main factions are: New Jericho (this name sounds familiar to me from somewhere, book or TV or both), the Disciples of Anu and Synedrion. All three are totally different from each other except in that they are all aware of possible extinction of mankind if the aliens aren't defeated.

This is a much more strategical game than it is an all-action adventure, especially as you grow and expand your influence across the globe and you have several concurrent operations ongoing in many different places. This is where you need to be able to think and act on numerous levels simultaneously.

 

The tactical actions are quite similar to each other, with the exceptions that you usually have some new technology to try out. These are generally in the form of things found but then have had to drop something to pick the new found up, making decisions as to what to lose and what to keep can be the difference between life and death.

 

Phoenix Point should have you on edge throughout play. In so many adventure and action games of this genre you have a fairly good idea when and where you are likely to encounter opposition. In Phoenix Point there are obvious places where to expect an ambush, though no matter how careful and cautious you are, how fastidious you search and explore, no enemy are found. Another similar location will, of course, have you surrounded by creatures, but you never know which will be which, so you cannot be blasé about your approach

 

Characters can be upgraded by spending Action points gained. The use of these points is somewhat flexible, not only when you can use them but also where they can be applied for best effect. The main statistics are Willpower, Speed and Strength. The Personel screen advises of how the unit's individuals are doing for Stamina, Health, weaponry etc. Equipment of all types have numerous stats locatable via drop menus.

 

Personally I have always admired the effort put into designing, creating, producing and publishing games like PHOENIX POINT, and I always enjoy playing them to a point. The point in them being where either my arthritic fingers are found wanting when speed of action is required, or, more often, when my brain cell is called upon to solve a puxxle which it (brain cell) considers to be complex and/or complicated. I was like this at school (a myriad years back). I would be all up for learning something new but then my brain cell would kick in and whisper into my ear "you're never going to need this in the real-life world" and for all intense and purpose my memory bank would switch itself over to remembering football results or other such boyish topics.

 

If I cannot manage to do something in a game, and with this lockdown I cannot call on the aid of my grandson or any of my astute family (other than my wife who only plays Words With Friends and Candy Crush) I eventually sulk away defeated. I always come back and hope that something strikes me as being what I need to do, but ... well that's enough about me, let's get back to PHOENIX POINT.

 

If you enjoyed any of the XCOMM games and were reasonable adept at them, then you will find this to be as good, if not better at times, than they are. Being honest I did look up about the game just now, hoping to be able to add a little about the endgame, which I have yet to reach, but there are many reviews and as many conflicting reports on the endgame and the build up to it. I can only suggest that if, as I say, you like XCOMM and you trust Julian as a good quality games designer, then you need to make the decision yourself.

PHOENIX POINT has been around for a few months now so should be readily available and possibly at a reduced cost, though there is more than enough gameplay in it to make paying around £30.00 for it a fair value price.

 

© Chris Baylis 2011-2015