‘Phoenix Point’ game review: Spiritual successor to XCOM is bogged down with technical issues

Tribune News Service

This entry into the grid-based strategy role-playing genre add news ideas but is marred by bugs

Tribune News Service |

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Phoenix Point is a strategy role-playing game from the minds behind the original XCOM series, which has set the gold standard for grid-based battle systems that others have tried to emulate (See Mutant Year Zero and Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle). The game isn’t perfect but adds enough new concepts to the formula that fans of the genre should definitely pick it up.

In Phoenix Point, a group of mutated creatures have emerged from the oceans, threatening the survival of humanity. The game also features human groups, which absolutely hate each other. New Jericho wants to cleanse the world with fire, wiping out the monsters that have taken over. On the other hand, The Disciples of Anu worship the mutations and want to evolve, leaving standard humanity in the past. Players control a secret organisation called Phoenix which is trying to save humanity from all these threats.

New mechanics to the XCOM formula include the ability to aim freely at the different body parts of your enemies. Attempting a headshot could kill a baddie instantly, but the percentage of making that shot is lower, so players have to make decisions based on risk and reward. There are also destructible environments that allow you to change up the terrain if needed.

When it comes to strategy, players must think ahead and decide what move their opponents are going to make next. The insane variety of enemy types and mutations make each turn a constant train of suspense.

Everything you see in the world is important in Phoenix Point. Whether your units have the high ground, the type of weapons they carry, the amount of cover they have; each plays a massive part in how successful attacks will be.

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Of course, all this greatness does come with some caveats. Hitboxes can be extremely wonky at times, with soldiers often shooting into metal railings or even boxes when they clearly should be shooting past them.

However, the developer has promised to fix these technical problems with future patches and updates.

All in all, Phoenix Point is a triumphant entry in the SRPG genre, and a worthy spiritual successor to the XCOM name.