My Feedback: first blind game start

Hello Community!

My Background:
I am a big fan of turn based strategic games with tactical combat and I am experienced with it. I never played any Backer Build and never watched any gameplay videos or spoilers for phoenix point. All I knew before playing was the art and info from the snapshot website. I just bought it on release and started playing. I first played the tutorial, then I startet a new campaign on veteran difficulty. Excuse me for my english but it is not my mother tongue. Some following words, like enemy and ability names are maybe from german language as I play the game with german localization and I do not know exactly the english names for all the stuff.

Be warned there are maybe some SPOILERS!

I like the overall concept of the game. It has great potential, but in its current state it is unplayable for me. It is nice to discover new things, see how all the stuff works, but in the end it is not enjoyable. There is so much missing, so many little things that all sum up together, which destroys the gameplay. I believe devs need at least 1 more year on developing and polishing without DLCs to make this game great. I can not believe that it was released like this, it is not a finished game, I would consider it an Early Access game. If there was not the limit for 2 hours play I would have returned it because its honestly a bad joke. I do not care about game stores and launchers. I do not care about a nice 3D base and astonishing graphics for this kind of game. But the important things like content, basic gameplay mechanics, UI, etc. should be finished now.

Don’t get me wrong. I still like phoenix point and I will keep playing it, but I am disappointed and my expectations were not even high. Please see this as constructive feedback.

My top critic points:

  1. The tactical UI is a mess. Examples: Enemy discovers my squad and six pop ups kick in “enemy sighted”…, Watch a grenade, exploding on 2 or more units…it is chaos, you can not read it anyway, better to just disable all popups and give no info, in its current form, you can search your info then anyway with manual targeting and info screen. It is low resolution. I mean I play only on Full HD, 1920x1080, but all the pop up text is full of fat pixels. It is low quality. It is to colorful. Almost every color is used for different things. Just make it easy: red for negative things and green for positive things from the view of the player. (example only). Time is to short. I cant read all the information before it disappears. What happened to the nice UIs seeing in the art books and advertisements? The overall information I get especially in targeting mode is also not good. You should also see a possible damage number for each body part not only for total health. Many more things I can not write everything down.

  2. No fog of war. Really? REALLY??? I do not care about how vision is implemented in the game, either full 360° or only 180°, but there should be at least some visible mechanic. I start a mission and enter the map and I can see the whole map from the beginning. I go somewhere with one of my soldiers and suddenly out of nowhere magically an enemy appears. All your ingame stats for vision like “perception” or “stealth” are meaningless in its current form. How do I know how far 15 perception is if there is no indicator ingame?. Should I count tiles after every move of my soldiers? It is also immersion breaking.

  3. Overall lack of quality: For example if a soldier panics, there is no visual animation or even a sound that the soldier is screaming. The soldier just runs away and goes in standby. The camera is not even panning on your soldiers, while they start to panic. (1 example of many others).


Game breaking:

  1. In tactical battle, if Sirens mind control all of your team, then the game endlessly stuck in Pandoran-Activity turn. You can not quit the game anymore, because the escape key does not work and you have to force quit the game.

None game breaking (But all together still so many, that its not worth it to play that game currently, in my opinion.):

  1. Ability “Standby” does not work on vehicels (scarab), if a soldier is in it.

  2. 1 Ability “Dash” does not work if soldier is on high ground and want to drop down (from a tower for example). Tiles are not avaiable to click.
    .2 On normal ground, some tiles that would allow a normal movement without dash, are not avaiable with dash. Their is just no yellow point to click on it. (Experienced this only 1 time in a phoenix point haven defend mission).
    .3 If you end soldier move with dash in range of an item crate, it will not open and gives no will points. I think this is because dash does not update the game state correctly. I have to move again 1 tile so the game recognizes it.
    .4 The same applies to other abilities like “master marksman”. If I end a move with a soldier with “dash” within the requirement, master marksman does not kick in. I have to switch soldiers or move my soldier so it will update again correctly.

  3. Status effect “dazed or confused” is not shown in the info screen or somewhere else in the tactical UI, so I have to rely entirely on the VFx animation above a targets head.

  4. Everytime I want to play phoenix point and start it in my epic games library, it tells me that my saves are not synchron anymore, although i save and end my game always correctly. I have to choose if I want a local save or the save game from the cloud.

  5. Ability “Rally the troops” does not give action points, to other units which already used all their action points and are in standby mode.

  6. If I use “Quick Aim” on my soldier the movement-UI (blue and yellow tile lines) will not update correctly. It still shows the movement range in blue and yellow as if I have no action point reduction.

  7. Paralyzing an enemy during overwatch seems to do nothing. In my case: I had a mind fragger during my turn paralyzed for (I dont remember the numbers exactly) 2/4 paralyze points. During pandoran turn, the mind fragger jumped onto my soldiers head. I overwatch shot that midfragger during his “jump on head move”, even before it reached my soldiers head and that mind fragger got paralyzed for 12 / 4 during my overwatch shot. (So I reached the limit for paralyze effect). But nothing happened. My soldier was still mind controlled and the UI only showed the paralyze stats on the mindfragger sitting on top of my soldiers head. By the way I used the synedrion pistol which can paralyze.

  8. 1 Cover: Some objects like trees do not provide cover at all. Technically the game is right and it is no cover because there is also no cover indicator but it should be counted as cover and I consider this as a bug. I know the tree will still act as cover because it is in front of soldier but there are 2 major problems with it. First the soldier will not go in a more defensive position (animation state), resulting that all soldiers most of the time stay in the open. Second If I want to shoot an enemy I am blocked now with Line of Sight because the tree is in front of me and my soldier can not step out.
    .2 Low Cover on higher elevations block the shots most of the time, espacially in manual targeting mode. It is not consistent.
    .3 Shoot Line indicators are not accurate.
    .4 It seems like there are major targeting, cover, sight line issues based on the equipped weapon. There are “hip fire”-weapons (Heavy MG) and “over the shoulder”-weapons (Assault rifle). Soldiers with “hip fire” weapons can not or not always step out of cover to shoot.
    .5 If my unit is in corner cover (double cover, 1x low cover and 1x high cover),it goes in low stance (idle animation for half cover) and it is not able to step out anymore, resulting at aiming against the wall. My soldier should be able to step out, target and shoot either on the left or the right side.

  9. Research options for reverse engineering from new gear, is only avaiable if you unequipp your newly recruited soldier (armor) and back out of the screen. Then I can equipp my soldier again.

  10. Translations: I play in german and there are some things translated incorrect and some typos. But the worse thing is that some screens are cutting of the text, if the words are longer than in english.

General improvements and feedback:

Strategic layer:

  1. Instead of giving us the next phoenix point base as a main goal 1 by 1 (Find PP-Base in XXX), let us know from the beginning where they are located. I mean give us only 1 goal instead of 1 by 1. It could be like this: "Find all Phoenix Point bases. (North America, Central America, South America,…). The reason I say this is, because I can then choose in which area I want to expand and plan ahead accordingly. As a complete newbe to THIS game(I played other turn based tactic games, with strategy layer) and never watched any gameplay or spoilers, I followed the instructions and soon I was on the other side of the world, whereas my other targets were on the other side. It is complete missleading. Eather remove it completely or better change it to a more practical goal. I also dont know if I can only unlock the bases 1 by 1 like stated in the goals or by coincidence unlock a new base in an other area earlier, where I would need it more.

  2. Priority of goals. Split the goals in categories, for example: main goals, optional goals, faction (diplomacy) goals, phoenix point goals, long term, short term… whatever. This is really important, because I really thought I had to find all the PP-bases first, to progress in the game, whereas by the time you find all your bases, you probably lost that campaign in neglect of other goals.

  3. First I thought this was a bug, but later I realized I can only progress with a faction if I do their faction mission. So I was stuck at 24% relationship with two factions, because their Mission was on the other side of the world. It is impossible to reach their mission location in time, with all the other things going on. So I am forced to cooperate only with 1 faction and i can not even choose which faction this is. I hope this is not an intended game design decision. But it goes on… all the progress I do through the diplomacy text games and other diplomacy rewards are lost, but the negative ones are added. The bad thing is I did not realized it. There is nowhere an indicator or something that says you have to do this mission to progress. (At least in the diplomacy screen their should be some sort of info, that the progress is now blocked). Progress should go on although the mission is not completed. You can still lock the bonus rewards like showing all havens but progress should go on or at least showing it in the UI.

  4. There should be somewhere a “Recruit” User Interface, where I can see which soldiers I can recruit, where they are and how many they cost. In the beginning its okay but later I dont want to search every damn point on the world to see where I can get for example a technician soldier. This is very annoying. Same for trading resources.

  5. The red exclamation mark indicator for stamina in the soldiers screen UI. Only show it If a soldier would really suffer a penalty in a tactical mission and not every time they loose 1 point of stamina.

  6. In the gear screen, armor parts like helmets should NOT be sorted by class filters, if I can equipp them on other classes as well and they have no bad penalty like fumble.

  7. There should be some kind of boni, in PP-Bases if I build same objects adjacent to each other. For example two food productions, give me +1 food extra. This could also be less building costs if I build a laboratory adjacent to another for example.

  8. During tactical combat I can use a medikit on a soldier to heal, but in strategic Interface I can not use medikit to heal a soldier. This is a broken mechanic. Either let us use medikits in geoscape too, or implement some other system of wounded soldiers.

  9. I am not sure on this one, but the rewards of haven defense is always the same no matter how long I wait. If I start a haven defense with full enemy force the reward should be higher than a lower enemy force.

  10. 1 We are forced to pick a secondary class/path on soldiers who reach level 4. It would be much better if we can additionally decide to stay with only 1 class (starting class), but get access to special abilities that only this class can learn if it stays with 1 proficiency. You could name it e.g. “Heavy expert” or whatever. This would allow a much more interesting leveling system. Currently my only option is to multiclass.
    .2 I dont like that there are perks which come with negative stats. For example: +30 damage and -10 accuracy. It just feels punishing and not rewarding to pick such a perk. It would be better to just give +15 damage with no penalty. But maybe this is just my personal preference.
    .3 Many perks just add a +XX stat, remove or give APs etc., instead of cool things soldiers can do in tactical missions. I am okay with it but I hoped for more.
    .4 Pistol proficiency should be a seperate (own) proficiency and not linked with sniper rifles.

  11. 1 Soldiers can not be transferred, but items can! Make a storage on ships and bases.
    .2 Soldiers will teleport to next phoenix base if manticore is full, but I have to fly there?
    .3 Give vehicles also some sort of backpack inventory, which can be used in tactical missions, to carry gear.
    .4 Before a salvage mission starts, on the geoscape, I can freely teleport my items, but in the pre-mission screen, where I would select my soldiers for deploy on that mission, i can not access the gear carried from my other soldiers in other bases anymore? I can always go back to my “personal” screen in the geoscape teleport my items and start the mission again.

  12. New recruits should come with an equipped weapon not only with armor. (I know this is only in higher difficulty). But really I think thats a bad balance decision. Balance please with stats, but not with things like this.

  13. If I discover a new PP-Base, I should also gain some new phoenix point items.

Tactical Layer:

  1. Because of none existent fog of war and sight ranges, my whole squad looses will points if a civilian dies on the other side of the map. Give me at least some will points back when I manage to evacuate a civilian.

  2. In haven-defend-missions I only find gear of the opposite faction instead of the faction itself. It seems its complete randomized. Please make it so, that if I am on for example new jericho territory, I have a much higher chance to only find NJ-gear (or 80% of it should be from NJ then).

  3. The gradient of the targeting system for throwing a grenade, using a grenade launcher or similar weapons should be adjustible with “Strg”, like the overwatch cone can be adjusted. In many scenarios grenades just wont work because a roof or something else is in the way.

  4. Vehicles should have the ability to turn around (rotate) on the tile where they are actually standing without moving and using action points. This is to adjust the entry position for soldiers to get in.

  5. If an enemy is already alerted and i loose sight to him during enemy turn, then the camera should NOT pann with that enemy, so I can not see the location of that enemy anymore. (The camera should stay or travel back to one of my soldiers or to another enemy, which I can see.)

  6. If I end a tactical mission with a mind controlled enemy, that enemy should be counted as captured.

  7. After a tactical mission is finished there should have passed some time in the geoscape. However I dont know how it could be implemented, particularly with more than 1 manticore.

Quality of Life-Improvements, Feedback:

Tactical Layer:

  1. Explosive Barrels should have some sort of indicator or UI.

  2. If a soldier is out of action points, let us still use the targeting mode to only scan enemies. You can block the shooting anyway, but let us just use the targeting.

  3. Let us see in the info screen, the disabled abilities on the body parts.

  4. Let us see how many action points the enemy has. Important for abilities like “War Cry”. We see willpoints, health and other things but action points are completly missing.

  5. Camera zoom feels bad. If I scroll with mousewheel I only switch the floors and when I press T&G I can zoom. Let me automatically zoom in if I am on the bottom floor and automatically zoom out if I am on top elevation level with mousewheel.

  6. Let us open the info screen of a targeted unit with a key, maybe with “F1” like in Fireaxis XCOMs and let it switch info and unit with “tab”. Currently I have to search and click on every unit.

  7. “Circle-abilities” like “War Cry” should have a radius-indicator, which starts to show, if I hover over or click the ability in the UI. (similar to civilian radius indicator). It helps to estimate how many tiles I have to move to come in range for it.

  8. If an alien evolves, getting better stats or a new weapon, highlight it somehow in the info screen.

Strategic Layer:

  1. In the pre-mission screen there should be an additional salvage indicator for items and gear. I never know if I have to pick up all items by myself or if they will be salvaged automatically. For example on salvage missions, there are indicators for light level, threat level etc., there should also be a salvage indicator.

  2. On the geoscape there is something like an event protocol, where I can see what the other factions are researching and building. Its complete annoying to scroll down and search for everything what the factions are currently doing or have finished. There should be in the diplomacy screen at least one textbox where I can see what the faction is currently researching and what research the faction already finished. This would be much easier than scrolling and searching all things together in that event protocol. Also I miss a button, in the event protocol to jump to a faction location if they have a new soldier. I have to manually search all places in the geoscape.

  3. 1 Weapon stat info screen (Hovering with the mousepointer over a weapon in the gear section). I miss some important stats like the “Total damage” (If all your bullets hit with 1 shot). Its important to compare different weapons. Currently I have to calculate it by myself. Example: NJ-Assault-Gun 40x4 = 160, PP-Assault-Gun 30x6 = 180; Total shred,etc.;
    .2 “Effective Range” weapon stat is inexpressiv. I see a number but it does not help. Is this tiles or is it accuracy? A better variant would be to call it “Close (12), Mid (23), Far (37), etc. Low, mid, high, etc.” for example. Then I would have at least a better sense for it.

  4. The velocity/speed stat of an aircraft alone is useless. Much better would be an ETA- indicator, which shows me the estimated time till arive if i click to move to a location.

  5. In the item/gear screen I miss sokme more filters: Weapons alone, Munition/Mags alone; And it should be somehow sortable.

  6. If I want to compare a weapon, I have to click it hold my mouse button, drag it over the other weapon and while I read through the stats I have to keep holding my mouse button? Really?

  7. Let us somehow know if alien envolved. There could be a message in geoscape for example: (We get reports from soldiers facing different new mutations… or with higher armor…)

Other Improvements, Wishes:

  1. A basic hunker down ability would have been nice, to make your soldier smaller targets, or let them go in a stance where they hide sensitive body parts or weapons.

  2. No bleed out and revive mechanic. No carrying soldiers. I wish it would be here.

  3. Few enemies… Where are all the enemies from the artwork and advertisements?

  4. Multi battles. Haven defense without soldiers from that heaven?

Things that are in my mind, but i dont want to go in detail now:

Stealth mechanic, infiltrator? How does it work?
Alien Lairs… no balance.
Where is the PP research? Do they even have own gear or is everything you can get from other factions? How can I upgrade my weapons and armor?

Enemy progress bar is at 20% currently and I stopped playing now. I will start a new campaign on easier difficulty later after some patches.

Thanks for reading. Have a nice day!


Great post! Just wanted to mention that you don’t have to multi-class. You can spend skill points in Strength, Will, Speed instead.

Well said, Phantomio. Sadly, the more I read about Phoenix Point since its release, the more I am convinced that it is a mess and should not have been released when it was. Unless I’ve missed it, I’ve yet so see/hear from Julian Gollop either in defense of what he has given us, or to admit it is in a sorry state.
Poor “Unstable Voltage” seems to be the only rep from the company who is interacting with the community.
As an early backer of Phoenix Point, I had no expectations with regards to a release date. And after the couple of delays which were needed per PP to “make sure everything works as intended and catch any bugs”, I was fine with that. I expected with this release to see and read of a first rate, polished game right out of the gate. Instead, I’ve apparently been handed a sloppy coded, poorly tested “work in progress”.
I’m quite disgusted.

Regards, Odd