In the current form - this game reaches a point of frustration during tactical combat.
In my view it stems largely from the dynamic that the Pandorans “evolve” with increased armor, health points and weapon damage while the Phoenix Point doesn’t manage to make much in the way of corresponding improvements.
I don’t see increased/improved armor for PP. So even with attempting to use cover in the environment, when our troops are hit by enemy ordinance we’re severely handicapped if not out right killed.
Effectively we’re bringing knives to a gun fight (a bit of hyperbole to be sure - but you get my meaning). And no amount of cover or tactics makes much difference in that scenario.
In the early 90’s X-COM you could accept being out gunned because you knew that if you hung in there through some attrition, eventually your scientists and engineers would come through with enough varied improvements to begin to slowly even up the odds or even tip the scales in your favor.
This element to me provided a good deal of the “fun” factor - and some level of satisfaction, knowing that you could/would eventually turn the tide and begin to face the enemy on more equal footing.
This element feels under done in Phoenix Point. Now I know that there are many players which have made some builds which appear to mitigate some of this - but that’s being forced to play in a narrow fashion.
More balance appears to be needed.
I’ve said it elsewhere, but I’m convinced the lack of actual progression in the tools you get is the reason why the crazy Rageburst combos are so common- the game keeps escalating the threat you have to deal with, but it doesn’t give you any better tools to do it. Eventually, you basically have to either resign yourself to using the crazy skills or just save-scumming relentlessly.
I’d very much rather see a system where the skills are tuned down to sanity, but you get a gradual improvement in your weapons, armour and equipment to compensate, so there’s actually some hope of keeping your soldiers in shouting distance of the Pandorans’ abilities.
You wouldn’t even have to remove the tech stolen from/given by factions- just have, for instance, New Jericho offer you a bunch of less accurate but high powered or explosive weapons, while Synedrion has a bunch of super accurate poisoning and disabling weapons in addition to having a basic tech progression for Project Phoenix.
I mean, does it make PP less ‘unique’ in the genre? Maybe so, but I’ll take less unique any day if it makes the game more balanced and fun. There’s a reason why basically every game in the genre since X-Com itself uses some kind of tech progression towards better gear- it’s fun, and it works. I still remember how much fun I had for a few missions in Apocalypse when I finally managed to outfit a whole team in the end-game X-Com armour.
I have to agree with the OP and Stinchkopf. Xcom2 is a different animal mainly because it was designed for modders to add to the game and make it be whatever the player wanted to be. I play a modded version of Xcom2. I have 3,000 hours on the clock on Steam and play on Legendary and rarely save, just go with the auto saves.
Now, on PP. I am on my 8th attempt on “easy”. I fire at a crab man from 4 squares away from full cover and do 40 damage. Crabman fires back with a weapon that would require 2 hands on a heavy. It does 180 damage and shreds half the armor. So, like Xcom; cover is meaningless but at least in Xcom you knew ( 2 turns later ) what sort of cover you were in. In PP it shows you what the cover will be when you move to it, but after that turn there is no indication what kind of cover the soldier is in, not that it matters!
I presume it’s a design feature and not a bug that one or more legs can be disabled on a Chiron and they can still move and one leg can be completely shot away and a crab man can still move at a pretty good speed?
As was stated "if someone wants a challenge, by all, means pump it up to a higher difficulty but on “easy” it should be fun. I play at that level so I can see the end of the story, but I suppose if I want that then I’ll have to find it on Utube.
Lastly, and this has nothing to do with the actual game mechanics. It has to do with the slap in the face from Epic Games! Two weeks after the release they offer the game for 25% off? The Snapshot does the same thing for Christmas? Really? I’m glad all I spent was the $40.00 version and certainly will never preorder anything from Snapshot again.