Is it possible to win a campaign of Phoenix Point on Legend WITHOUT murdering or stealing?
If you go to the ‘Hints and Tips’ section of these forums or to the Steam discussions page for Phoenix Point or to the Reddit sub, the first bit of advice you see given to struggling new players is “be evil”. Steal aircraft, do sabotage, take missions to murder and assassinate, raid raid raid. Acting like a psychopathic backstabbing mercenary gives huge rewards and no meaningful penalties, making the strategic game very easy. The structure of the game rewards the player for being evil and penalises them for placing any value on human life.
But it also makes the game very unchallenging, as well as kind of unpleasant. It’s hard to feel very good about your “win” when it’s done off the back of murder and robbery.
So for this campaign, I’m going to see if it’s possible to win on Legend while acting like a good guy. Just how hard is it to successfully complete a PP campaign when you’re playing the game in the exact opposite direction to the one that the game tries to push you into?
Rule #1: No murder.
You’re not allowed to kill any member of any of the human factions except in self-defence. Basically, if they’re wearing Anu, NJ, or Synedrion colours, you can’t shoot them.
- If they’re mind-controlled and trying to kill you, you can shoot them back.
- You’re allowed to intervene in ‘civil war’ internal conflicts where the enemies are clearly designated as insane or criminal (e.g. the NJ and Synedrion intro missions).
- If war breaks out, haven defences are allowed, since you’re defending civilians.
So how much does this limit your options? Turns out, a lot!
- You can never become aligned with Anu (their 49+ diplomacy mission requires you to murder NJ)
- You can’t do the Polyphonic Tendency branch of Synedrion (their 74+ diplomacy mission also requires you to murder NJ)
- You can’t do the Legacy of the Ancients content at all (requires you to murder just about everyone)
- Blood and Titanium is OK, but you can’t do the second tech mission (requires you to murder Synedrion)
- Various other independent and faction-specific missions are also out.
- Festering Skies is OK, since it’s the only DLC that actually focuses on fighting the Pandorans.
The NJ questline is OK, since the raid on the Synedrion haven can be done bloodlessly, as is the Terraformer branch of the Synedrion questline (the enemies are described as Synedrion but the actual in-game enemies are pirate).
I did think about disallowing killing pirate and ‘civil war’ enemies too, but quickly realised that this would rule out practically every single diplomacy mission in the game. Besides, we’re trying to be “good guys”, not pacifists.
Rule #2: No theft.
No raiding for resources, no stealing aircraft. Even if you could do it without breaking Rule #1, taking someone’s food, resources, or transportation in this kind of post-apocalyptic setting is pretty close to sentencing them to death anyway.
Copying technology is kind of a grey area. Rule #1 means we can never get Aligned with Anu, so the only way to get Anu tech is to steal it. So I’ve decided that Steal Technology missions are allowed, but since you aren’t allowed to kill anyone, you have to either be very sneaky or use paralysis weapons, which in practice probably means it isn’t worth the effort.
By the same token, the “diplomacy” missions that involve sabotaging something are out, since blowing up a Haven’s power plant or food production plant or whatever is also just another way of sentencing them to death. Seriously, what kind of psycho attacks civilian infrastructure when the world’s population is starving?
Rule #3: No total brokenness
No Rapid Clearance, no equipment switching outside of bases, etc. This is nothing to do with being a good guy, it just takes the fun out of the game.
And that’s it! Some posters claim that to succeed on Legendary, you need to be evil and steal/murder your way up the tech tree: others say that no, if you play correctly you don’t need to raid or pirate. Let’s see who’s right!