So I haven’t played Phoenix point in a very long time ever since the ancients DLC came out. As much as i want to get hyped for the festering skies DLC i just cannot. At its core phoenix point sadly has some pretty big flaws that Iast checked havent been addressed. I could complain about the balancing and such but honestly thats not the biggest thing, i can look past that as that can be addressed over time although its still an important part. (I get demolished again and again in xcom 2 legendary but i keep coming back to it.)
What I’m talking about is this games lack of a"soul", now it might sound stupid but honestly whenever i play this game i feel nothing. No excitement as i fight the threat, no adrenaline as my soldiers arrive on the scene, only boredom.
The game does not pull me into the mood, i konw this game isnt meant to be a carbon copy of the recent Xcom games but honestly you could use it as an inspiration.
When the characters move they feel fluid, alive and dynamic even the enemies. When i give an order the soldiers sound in the situation, some are scared, some are confident some overly so which makes it so much easier to get drawn into the situation. I feel like my soldiers are genuinely alive and their lives are in my hands, I want them to live beyond the practical side. Even enemies can convey their feelings despite being unable to talk english, they do it through a mix of body language and noises. The phoenix point characters sound almost bored and their movements look and feel clunky especially the humans.
Then there is the terrains themselves. When a camp gets attack in xcom everything is wrecked, on fire, there are screams in the distance and gunfire. It draws me into the situation, I feel present in this one sided massacre that i intend to stop. It fits the description of the situation. Phoenix point on the other hand is the complete opposite. When I go defend a town in phoenix point everything is nice and pristine, apart from the “we are being overrun” and the few screams when i open the mission options there is nothing to draw me into the situation.
Nothing is wrecked, nothing is on fire, i do not hear the noises of fights happening off in the distance. Despite it supposedly being an assault with the intent to wipe everyone out, there is pretty much no chaos, business as usual. Bases are even worse, the images show turrets on the outside yet I do not hear them firing off out in the distance killing as many pandorians before they can get through. It feels like the Pandorians just found the front door and calmly opened it. I do not feel like im fighting to defend a base more like so undefended average home where anyone can walk in.
Lastly the music. In Xcom the music of the quiet times between fights and the fights themselves have me pumped with adrenaline all the time and breathing a sigh of relief once the fight concludes. Both themes are distinct and have several variations i never get tired of hearing it. Some music only plays in specific situations like the avenger defense but convey the urgency of the situation.
Phoenix point’s music is a complete let down, the music changes between your turn and the aliens. The music you hear while you have no enemies engaged will be the same boring music you hear as the one you hear during your turn when combat is joined. The music abruptly changes once its the enemies turn before turning back to yours, I never know what i am supposed to feel. Biggest offender is the ancient sites. When its your turn the music is bland and unoticeable but when its the enemies turn it suddenly becomes bombastic before shutting down and turning back to the boring one when the enemy concludes the enemy turn. Even worse when there are only one or 2 enemies left.
The story does not draw me in, the few times the characters actually speak before fading completely makes me wonder who are these people, where are they, what are they doing apart from appearing during the brief cutscenes. In xcom your support staff is constantly quipping in during the globe view or providing commentary on how the situation or mission went. I feel like im the only thinking and living being in phoenix point (no non combat staff in bases or advisors) while in xcom i am attached to the well being of each, laughing when they make a funny comment, feel even more down when a mission goes bad etc.
I don’t know if this has been addressed but to me as long as things are like this phoenix point will remain a game i can never truly get into as it fall into a boring slough through the game rather than the fight for survival and the counter attack of humanity.