Phoenix Point is a bit of a misnomer

The name “Phoenix Point” creates expectations of the game. A world devastated by a deadly virus, overrun by lovecraftian, mutated monsters, the name suggests an initiative that aims to see humanity rise like the phoenix from the ashes. And it suggests that the game will be about this attempt.
You are put in charge of the Phoenix Project and start discovering it’s history.
But you don’t actually get to be the Phoenix Project. You read well written exposition about it, but the actual gameplay isn’t about it:
You recruit soldiers from the three major factions, who have split the world between them. Neutral havens are extremely rare. In the backer builds this was different and it created a different feel. In the launch game you are thrust into a world of three huge nations. So you get your personnel from them.
You also get your tech from them. You have a research lab, but all you independently research is journal entries with Phoenix Point exposition. To get tech and affect your gameplay you either reverse engineer faction equipment or are granted knowledge by them.
And then they start hostilities and instead of aliens humans fight each other. And they are committed. They wipe out each other’s havens at a crazy pace.

In the end the three factions dominate everything about the game: story, gameplay, aesthetic. And all that ties in with the game’s name are a few cut scenes.

They could have called it The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. It would have been more fitting: Synedrion, New Jericho and Disciples of Anu. Though I am probably being a bit unfair to New Jericho here.

I tried to warm to the research system where you don’t get to research but the npcs do.
I tried to overlook how the map was swamped with havens of the three factions, greatly limiting exploration.
But now that I am staring at a geosphere where those three factions are killing each other, and what I thought the game would be about - defending humanity from an “alien” threat - is sidelined so the factions can do their thing, I am feeling that maybe I should just let them play their game. After all, the Phoenix Project and I, the player, are just along for the ride and not important to the game.


Excellent observation.

I wonder if there’s room down the track for (a mod even) where PP can bring scattered survivors of faction warfare together and establish independent havens on the ruins of faction havens. That would fulfill the phoenix mission, although it’d back off the pressure to save the factions from themselves so it’s doubtful.


i can’t believe that the game lore is more compelling then the game itself

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Yeah, this is a fair point. Phoenix Point, the player, just feels like another faction, no more important than the others, perhaps less so since we need their tech so badly.

The idea of Phoenix Point did originally make me feel like it’s humans against the alien invaders, humanity’s last stand…but then it’s actually more like, ‘Humans fight each other while arguing about how to deal with the aliens until someone, somehow, deals with EVERYONE, humans and aliens alike’.

It also ends up leaving you thinking that if all the factions joined forces the aliens could be dealt with comfortably but the fact they don’t means that the humans are more of a problem than the aliens. This in turn diminishes the menacing aura of the Pandorans as the ultimate, alien-intelligence terror and makes it feel like the real danger is human nature :s

I mean, how terrifying and important can the alien threat be if humans concentrate on killing each other first? It makes it seem most humans on the planet see the Pandorans as a nuisance.


I’d have to agree - I was looking at all the New Jericho havens and thought to myself ‘with all that military power and forces - why don’t you lot fight the Pandorans, you don’t need me’.

It does feel that you (Phoenix) are really not needed.


Another aspect to this feeling that Phoenix Point doesn’t matter much, is that the Phoenix bases don’t feel very personal or engaging. In XCOM you had Central Officer Bradford keeping you posted on all of the activity of the organization. Phoenix Point could use a bit of “Livening Up.”

Don’t get me wrong, I love the story. The excavations and archaeological research felt immersive, as if you were really uncovering forgotten history and lore. But, as OP pointed out, the Phoenix Project in the moment takes a back seat to the 3 factions.


This is a great point. It seems like it is still possible for Julian and his team to course correct this…


Hopefully the DLC will address this and the factions are only tuned up so much because content is missing.


Indeed so, all the game’s woes except for bugs lie in with Geoscape part unfortunately. It’s so very underwhelming. I have been playing for a week now and I haven’t actually researched anything of value, I’d still be stuck with newbie gear if I didn’t ally with all of the faction so they would share their stuff with me. And most of what I got are sidegrades as well while aliens began with crabs and ended up with land battleships. I’m pretty disillusioned, I had my worries about the strategic layer but it ended up worse than I expected.

They could have just tacked this Battlescape onto old game’s Geoscape and I’d be happy. Call it Y or Z-Com or whatever. Have proper research tree. Dump the overbearing factions. This is like UFO Aftershock but going all the way with 3-faction thingy. It’s a shame that we got a fantastic tactical game with a very poor strategic game. I’m not holding my breath but maybe a total conversion mod could be the solution.


I like that it’s not. I hate being the world savior, it’s such a worn-out, boring trope. Being just another group trying to survive is much more exciting.


I wouldn’t mind a game where I just try to survive (as long as it doesn’t involve crafting and manually gathering resources).
But that isn’t the premise of the Phoenix Project.
Though that reminds me, I haven’t completed Pine.

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PP doesn’t even have civis. Research and manufacture somehow happens by itself, building build themselves. Idea of PP exploring and rediscovering the world is a compelling one, but there is little tied to it gameplaywise.


Not sure where to post this, but your post resonates with my thoughts and elaborates beautifully that the game is just boring, boring and boring. Absolutely no substance and disengaging. . I was backer for the game and the release as not progressed from backer build 5.

Have I missed something/s?


The whole thing plays like a Friday night board game that lasts for hours on end.

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I get what you’re saying but in the end PP are the saviours anyway :slight_smile: PP aren’t just trying to survive, their entire existence going back decades is based on defending humanity and being the world saviours you ‘hate’.

It’s just that, thematically, it seems like they shouldn’t/needn’t be, what with the three other groups already being much larger and more established.

Also, having factions attack each other lessens the feel of the Pandorans being such a menace, imho. It feels more like the Pandorans are only a threat because of self-destructive human infighting. It takes the focus away from the aliens.

Besides, I don’t feel that ‘trying to survive’ and ‘being saviours of the world’ are mutually exclusive from a story point of view, if you know what I mean :slight_smile:

Anyway, luckily for me, it doesn’t matter. The story in games is only important to me in certain genres. In others it’s just a nice bonus when done well.

I simply read what the OP had to say and thought to myself, ‘Oh yeah, you’re right, that’s an interesting point. I hadn’t thought of it that way’.


Monopoly, how bad is a game in 2019 has the same entertainment as “do not pass go”. From the forum it seems that perhaps this will be an amazing game. Just is nowhere near it at least at the moment.

The main point I agree with is the tech. The factions fighting each other and generally being destructive sort of goes along with the whole basis of virus anyway. Humans destroy nature, nature rears it’s ugly head and destroys us. We infected the planet. It only makes sense that we turn on each other and act like dipshits.

The tech however, is just plain unbelievable. How is it that we don’t have our own scientists researching new technology for our fight against the virus? Why is all of our research tied directly to uncovering lore?

Surely Phoenix Point can come up with their own weapon upgrades and such. Why don’t we have elite training centers where we can train our own soldiers? I love the idea that we can get tech and soldiers from other factions, but it shouldn’t be our only option.


That’s another good point.

It’s harder to care about bases being lost/attacked when it feels like you’re just losing some food and a place to heal.

Imagine the impact it would have if you were actually defending a dozen scientists and engineers? And the losses actually translated into slowing research and production, not to mention maybe having an effect on morale. Maybe you’d also feel guilty having let the civvies down? :wink:

EDIT: You could even have civvies abandoning PP and going to other factions if they feel you can’t protect them. It’d make establising a base much more of a commitment. As it is, I unlocked 4 pretty quickly but I only used 2. The other two just produce a little bit of food. In my imagination, they are just ‘ghost bases’, silently making food on autopilot, with maybe an empty medical facility on standby if I need to drop in. I don’t feel any particular pride or responsibility towards them.


Many great thoughts in this thread. I would add that the foundation is in place for the game to incorporate these type of ideas. Let’s hope that they read our feedback and consider it. Plenty of time and they have pipelines to add/change to the foundation.


They are just ghost bases. If I understand correctly, all facilities in pp bases are AI controlled automated things. The reason we can only analyze data and reverse engineer is that what the soldiers really do is put things under a big scanner, similar to a tricorder in star trek.

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