I find it hard to get hyped for the new DLC

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.

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Certainly, the game is not for everyone, no game is.

Some of the points you raise I kind of agree on myself. The game needs more details to immerse the player in the world of the game; more environmental sounds, more varied voice acting, more terrain and map variety, visual story telling elements in the world (corpses, and remains and other flavor elements), actual night and darkness, environmental effects…. These are production value elements, and unfortunately, PP does not have the budget of X-Com. Nevertheless, any improvement here would raise the appeal of the game no doubt.

Some points I think are more subtle and to debate:

  • The story… well it is certainly much better than the barebones story of X-Com. X-Com has a setting, very well built, and yes have cinematics that convey some progression: character story, and a kind of a plot. What X-Com does not have is cohesive world building. It feels like a mix of elements more or less put together. Sure, men in black zombies, snakemen, alien spiders … all working together because they are bad, and some heroes and villains with an RPG card game motivation and cool lines I guess. In this regard, I think PP has actual world building and is much better.
  • Characters… True, X-Com has some characters that do stuff and have a personal backstory, that are pretty much Heroes and Villains. PP has some characters; they are more a part of the world, and not so much stars of the story. That is pretty much ok, and I actually like it better. However, the problem in PP is that you do not get invested as the player as much with your own soldiers as with X-Com, and that really hurts the experience. This is due to minor details such as being unable to associate the soldiers from the battlefield (with helmets) to the soldier icons (without helmet); to having less customization options; to a myriad of and other more subtle stuff where X-Com is able to reinforce constantly the presence of the individual soldiers in the game, and PP is not.
  • Music… I think it is a matter of taste, here I like the approach to music PP has. However, this is a matter of opinion, and more music pieces are always welcome.

What PP, offers in return:

Better gameplay, better world building, and more realistic and complex gameplay tactics.

Many of the problems you talk about are precisely the problems a DLC can address, creating more variety and adding more options and immersive and storytelling elements. Personally the real problems of PP I think are more complex to solve, and are related with balance, progression and difficulty. Which are elements the game is slowly improving on, or at least ironing out to get a more consistent experience.

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Fully agree on this. This sounded really promising: Haven Defence Improvements | Voters | Phoenix Point

but it is already marked “complete”, and all we got out of it were haven defenders and mist blobs. Which I’m sure we all appreciate, but there was so much more that would have make these battle more immersive. Could be fires, corpses, body parts, already wounded pandas + defenders, depleted ammo, and bomb damage to name a few. I get that bomb damage is complicated since it could make more parts of the map inaccessible, but those others sound easy to do.

I’m the opposite for FS. Just look at the size of that thing, it’s huuuuuuuuuuuuuge!! The interceptor mini-game from XCOM:OG and XCOM1 I really didn’t like. The aerial combat damage being reflected in the recovery mission was super cool. The only thing that really worries me is that the poster says “new mission type”, which isn’t plural. Yet I’m expecting both a mission type for battling the Behemoth, and another for UFO recovery, but perhaps they are one? Battling the Behemoth is perhaps only suitable in the geoscape.

Honestly i feel like Xcom enemy unknown and xcom 2 have a story just as good as phoenix point the difference is that xcom keepsyou engaged and occupied in between the story missions. Phoenix point sadly is lacking in that departement. If you think all the aliens are working together just because they are evil in Xcom then i think you missed a lot of the story somehow.

I agree for the most part with the characters point. I also feel you don’t get attached to your soldier because they don’t feel like a person more like a cog in a machine. Like when they die theres no big “impact” they just plop over dead without any real sound.

Phoenix point does offer better gameplay in certain areas but is severly lacking in others. (Example Mutogs are still far from worth the investement you have to put to get one.)
Honestly I don’t feel like phoenix point offer that much more tactis, most of the time the same team works constantly regardless of the situation.

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The defenders arent even particularly good, they stay inactive unless you take over or an enemy walks up to them. They don’t go seeking enemies out.

Last they said behemoths are taken down by landing on their backs and pumping them full of poison.
I don’t know about the original xcom but in enemy unknown i you use a damaging weapon the ufo is visibly damaged more than if you used an emp.

Sorry it was kind of a Joke, but honestly I think you missed the point.

The alien motivation in XCOM is something like: a telepathic ethereal alien entity wants to invade Earth and recruited some amalgamation of improbable and unrelated alien species and robots to create a totally unlikely army. At the same time they also have been visiting Earth for a long time, infiltrating our society and creating the urban legends about aliens, by disguising some of them as humans with genetic manipulation, while also recruiting some human factions “insert X-Files plot here”.

Aliens also seem to be a mix earth mythological references ranging from the 70s idea of that an alien is, snake people, angel like figures, weird robots, Warhammer 40000 rejects, spider thingies, and pretty much whatever looks cool.

Oh and lets not forget: aliens seem to have a taste about everything, from political propaganda or space virus that makes zombies, to genetically cloning nazi plans, telepathic non corporal existence, cyber augmentations, robotics, alien like biological warfare with spider monsters, thing like shape shifting aliens, and disguises.

However, and let’s not forget what is all about, the aliens masters are a council of evil telepathic ghosts, assisted by a group of space bounty hunters, which have a taste for dystopian literature and have a complicated control / genocide / cloning doomsday plan, while having at their disposal shapeshifting, mind controlling abilities. With the ultimate goal of improving their own species according to a chosen one enlighten prophecy like thing… and totally ignoring the fact that there is no need at all to invade a planet and stablish a totalitarian government to collect DNA samples.

XCom does not have a story, or even world building, or mythos. It is just a blended mix of all the Sci-Fi and RPG clichés on book, thrown there because they are cool, and because if using enough different stuff there no one would pay attention to the fact that it does not make sense at all.

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Maybe that was the case in the original xcom but in the 2 recent xcom games there is a proper story and the ethereals are not doing this for shits and giggles and the aliens they “recruited” are far from willing and most are just clones or selectively bread for their war machine. They also have a reason to “settle down” on earth.

Personally I thought FiraXCOM2 was a bit soulless, compared to FiraXCOM1. Mostly because artstyle seems more confused, and SF setting of XCOM2 required worldbuilding unlike XCOM1, which relies more on established connections to real world. At least one can play now XCOM2 with superior FiraXCOM1 OST without modding.

I don’t think one can expect production value of Firaxis game from Phoenix Point, but I don’t think that makes your complaint invalid.

There are games with smaller teams that feel good to play. PP just doesn’t. Ambition is probably to blame. It is ambitious game. In many ways more ambitious then FiraXCOMs, while on smaller budget. Perhaps, PP would be overall better, if they aimed for a tighter design - perhaps focus just on tactical missions and scrap strategic layer. If it succesful expand in the sequel.

That said, it was a crowdfunded game (at least partially) and to crowdfund you need to promise.

EDIT. That said, I can’t remember last time I played a game without a dynamic sountrack. Add that, and more meaty sound effects, and I think PP would already feel better to play.

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You can still go back to Xcom, no one is forcing you to play this game. I suspect you would buy all the DLC like I did and still have wishes. Dreaming is allowed. Just have fun with the game. Criticism is all well and good but please don’t overdo it. PP is a small company and not FXcom.

Atmosphere makes a huge difference.
The reason I can’t get into the game is because I can’t get past the console interface. The UI and the controls effectively scream at me to go play something else. I love the manual aim and the general tactical combat, but it all pushes me away pretty hard. It was the one thing that drove me away from XCom and XCom 2… but their atmosphere kept bringing me back.

My 5 cents, have written this before: to me Firaxis XCOM is good but there is only a very narrow way in which you can move (pretending to give you choices that are non). PP hast this “open world” feeling like OG - and I Love that.

I’ve started playing recently and have very good time with PP. Would recommend to everyone. Don’t know about any promises. I guess it’s first impression issue more than a game itself. Yes there are some exploits still but its for the player to do them or not. So if you want, this game has plenty of replayability. I have above 60 hours already and still have massive fun. And new DLC will give more.

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Is that reply really to me? I thought I expressed myself pretty clearly. I don’t think PP problem lies lack or scope, or low production value. My issues with it lies in fundamentals. Into the Breach or Invisible Inc. are small scale game which are tightly designed and feel great to play. PP aims high and underdelivers.

And yes, no one is forcing me to play PP, and I don’t. I still want to finish at least one playthough, but I am constantly postponing it waiting for more content so I get “full experience”. Tried it couple weeks ago, got bored and uninstalled. Nor do I play FiraXCOMs - I think I got all that I will get out of it.

I am a content backer - I never really expected PP to be very good. It ain’t my first corwdfunding game, at PP was far too ambitious to not worry me. Hopefully there will be a sequel, and hopefully it will be better. I think it is the best XCOM-like, aside from FiraXCOMs, but I won’t pretend that PP isn’t a mess with some good ideas in it.

EDIT: Perhaps, I do read as very negative, but I don’t come here to dump on PP, but because I find it interesting to discuss why it doesn’t work. I like quite a few things in PP but I don’t think it delivers what it aims for. I don’t like quite a few things in FiraXCOM, but I think it does deliver what it aims for.

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But you’re comparing FiraXCOM after how many years of development? I think it’s not fair to do that comparison to be honest. Besides it’s hard to compare some mechanics because they are not simply better or worse. They are subjective preferences. So you will not always achieve something that all would say it’s the best solution.

Like firaXCOm on release was waste of time. And the fact that PP aims high is a good thing. The whole thing only shows that without thriving modding community it’s very hard too build balanced strategy game. FiraXcom was the same thing. JohnnyLump and his team made firaXcom a game that you can play endlessly. And WotC implemented most of what LW addresed from base game. Otherwise it was a RPG game. Like if you play PP first time it’s quite good first 20-30 hours. Is it balanced for like months and years of playtime to come back to it often? Surely no and it’s easy to see because there are plenty shortcuts that are aimed at one time players at the cost of the so-called fans. I think it’s a mistake. The best strategy games are aimed at continuous players not RPG one play type of players. You just can’t make startegy game for one-time players. It ends up as a teleportation game not strategy. And at the end you can’t sell more enemies maps etc to RPG players because they are here for story. So for them DLCs are kind of worthless and the company can’t make money. So project needs to be suspendend. And years later they’ll be scratching their pandoran heads why all went so wrong so quickly. It’s XCOM baby. It only needs one bad move…

I think devs should spend more time analysing why games like Rimworld, without basically any money, became sucessful instead of making whatever they’re doing. Making moves is easy. Making smart moves is something completely different. Unfortunately PP devs seem not get the whole idea how this strategy business works, at least yet. It’s kind of sad that old UFO was better in this regard and they can’t do even at this level 30 years later. Maybe it’s growing pains or pandoran egg. We’ll see what will hatch from this mess.

One thing is sure. We need modding community for PP and this game can get much better than firaXCOM. Or else they’d better start making RPGs. Stop watching steam charts or making new graphics but instead start adressing current problems.You don’t need new graphics for that. Graphics and free aim arenn’t magically going to make a good strategy. Like if I want only graphics I would rather play some FPS. I can shoot limbs there also. Is this that hard to understand?

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It wouldn’t be fair, if we were aiming to judge devs competence - again, no criticism I throw toward either game is aimed at individuals or team as a whole or question their competence. I don’t see why we can’t discuss what works and what doesn’t - and I think we can do it half-objectively. Not in terms me-like, me-don’t-like, but what each game aims to achieve, and if it achieves it. I don’t dream of lecturing Snapshot on how to make games - I don’t even suggest that they made a bad decision along the way. It’s just that, from where I am sitting, what came out at the other end isn’t very appealing - not as a flashy rollercoster, not as a strategy or tactics game.

I disagree. One might appreciate what PP is trying to be, but trying to be, and being something are two different things. I don’t really see a value in doing something not particularly well. I suppose I just gave up that Phoenix Point1 will ever be meaningfully improved upon. The only way forward is another stab at it: in this case sequel. I don’t think Phoenix Point could be improved with modding, even if something like Long War were to be attempted. FiraXCOM was (and is) a game with solid fundations but a desperate need for more depth on top. PP needs new foundations, systems that will feed into each other, not be in conflict.

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I agree with most but I still think PP is solid if you first play it (in current state, not year ago). It starts having problems solely after some even considerable time of gameplay. You need to know game to see these flaws. At the beginning they’re not so obvious and everything looks very solid. I didn’t start playing on release so I don’t have comparison what was there. I’ve started on 1.10. I’ve played all Xcom’s also.

I don’t see why we can’t discuss what works and doesn’t either. Although I admit that not always what works for me, would work for some other person. So some opinions may be subjective.

PP needs new foundations, systems that will feed into each other, not be in conflict.

I think they are here already. Like you can’t go scrap everything and build new from scratch. It’s just not realistic. But it can be improved. Otherwise nobody would make any DLCs and patches. Because why. To make it worse?

Like LW didn’t build new foundations. It made what there was better for specific kind of players. How can’t it be done with PP? It won’t be UFO of old. If someone is expecting it, they will be disappointed. But it could become better PP.

And this doesn’t mean that new stuff isn’t needed. It is. But most problems are in the game not because there is lack of stuff only. It’s because the stuff that is, is not fully utilized or utilized in wrong way making game less varied and more tedious. Or in a way that doesn’t completely matter. And changing that is not costing huge amount of money. What is costing money is new stuff, scraping foundations and building over and over.

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Well for myself I plan to replay PP around Christmas - there will be a lot of new content and I guess quite some reballancing.
Some sorte of “Year two edition” could become a “perfect” version. Why should they not be able to do that?

Of topic: yes, Into the Breach ist suuuch a gem.

A game noone ever came close to again: Jagged Alliance 2 - although the boargame ist pretty good.

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