Cover is Actually Brilliant in PP

I know: hot take!

I have really come to love how cover works in PP. Yes, there are things about sidestepping and corners that are kind of messed up (it’s PP after all), but combined with the ballistic modeling, you really do get cover that acts like actual, physical cover. Then there’s all the stuff that provides concealment in a real, physical way, separately from cover. It’s really unlike any game I’ve played before in this respect. It’s incredibly granular and varied.

Using cover in PP is all about good scouting and learning to position stuff between yourself and the enemy intelligently. For example, big trees are awesome, but not if you use them like trees in X-COM. Now, I’ll just position a trooper so that the tree blocks LOS effectively, which might be two or three tiles back and at an angle. I’ll often combine multiple pieces of adjacent, free-standing cover by angling myself behind them so that they block a wide cone, but I can move just a little and get great sightlines. It’s very satisfying.

In this recent mission, I did something new: I spent time analyzing things in free aim mode before I started moving, and boy does it make a big difference. Those big, alien structures in infested havens have very irregular shapes that can only be understood in free aim mode, and it really helped me see where there were possible sightlines through it (and where to lob grenades through).

I’ve realized that I’m still unlearning habits from other turn-based tactical games that just do not work properly in this more lifelike environment. Getting my a$$ handed to me today in the Synedrion Infested Haven really clued me in to some things that I was still doing wrong. For example, I finally figured out that covering the inside of the building from the wide doorway corners was getting me killed because then I lost the protection of the closed doorway for everyone else (there’s really not a lot of places to hide on that map). Standing back from the door a bit so that it stayed closed, and then covering the building corners let me move into a better position without taking too much damage, and forced the pandas to come to me. It was still tough, but manageable.

I know we all like to complain about PP a lot, but there really is some revolutionary stuff in this game that I predict will be widely copied (and improved upon).


I absolutely love the ballistics in PP. It enables so many tactical options and also allows to plan the mission much better, as you don’t have to panic when most cover available on the map is “half-cover”. Best of all, there are absolutely NO stupid “That’s XCOM for you, baby” point-blank misses.

1 Like

I think the very frustrating thing about Phoenix Point is that it doing some things really well. It easier to write off a game, if it doesn’t have that much potential.

I am not sure about about ballistic system getting copied as such… it is tricky fit for top down view, as one needs to learn to read the terrain from a viewpoint which doesn’t naturally provide needed information. I think something like Valkyrie Chronicles is a better fit, and it also had a sort system like that, not well developed though. And who knows how tricky it is to implement, not to mention - balance.

1 Like

I think that side of the game, the bread-and-butter tactical gameplay is really excellent and addictive.

It’s a shame the game was marketed as an XCOM-like and that the UI misleads you into thinking it’s like XCOM, because it really is nothing like XCOM.

Cover would’ve been brilliant if it behaved in a predictable way. Currently, you can never tell whether your shot will penetrate cover or not, whether cover is destructible or not and if it is, how much more damage it needs to take before crumbling. It’s one my two biggest frustrations with the game, the other being the explosives’ fuzzy target radius.

For me it could be excellent and addictive, but game punches me in a face every time I try to enjoy it. Overwatch problems, side-step problems, high ground problems, concurrent animations problems. You just can’t use tactics, you need to use “phoenix point tactics” and andjust your decisions to stupid things game engine does. :man_shrugging:

1 Like