But Why Tho? A Geek Community
The original Phoenix Point was released in 2019 by Bulgarian developer Snapshot Games. The development was led by Julian Gollop, the original creator of the X-COM series in the 1990s. Phoenix Point is a spiritual successor to the X-COM series, with the new Phoenix Point: Behemoth Edition bundling the game with all four of its expansions. While there is definitely much of X-COM’s’ DNA present in Phoenix Point: Behemoth Edition, there is also quite a bit it does differently.
The first of these changes is quickly evident in the game’s’ setup. X-COM features players trying to fend off an alien invasion. In contrast, Phoenix Point sees players stepping in after a virus has ransacked Earth and driven humanity to the edge of extinction. The virus, dubbed the Pandoravirus, works by mutating any humans or animals that come in contact with it and decimated the world until only four factions remained: the Phoenix Project, Disciples of Anu, New Jericho, and Synedrion.
Obviously, the player controls the titular Phoenix Project, a secretive organization created to operate outside of national influence for the betterment of humanity. The Pheonix Project was nearly destroyed by the Pandoravirus like everywhere else, but it was able to just barely hold on, leaving the player to help it rise back to influence and power.
The other factions in Phoenix Point each have their own history, personalities, unique units, and philosophical stance on the Pandoravirus. The Disciples of Anu are a cult that worships an alien god who views the Pandoravirus as humanity’s’ divine punishment as well as a chance for salvation through embracing it. New Jericho is their counterpart as a militaristic faction run by a pre-apocalypse billionaire who wants to crush the mutant threat with extreme force and prejudice. Finally, Synedrion is the most technologically advanced faction in Phoenix Point and is a democratic utopia that gives every person a vote in its decisions and projects.
The player then must manage their relationship with these factions as they undertake missions and make decisions. The player gets numerous benefits or hindrances depending on their relationship level with the factions. The missions in Phoenix Point are largely what any player familiar with X-COM expects. Players assemble a squad of up to six characters out of several different classes to tackle a number of different objectives while contending with mutants in turn-based tactical action.
Missions in Phoenix Point tend to be a bit straightforward, but there is a lot of variety in them, which helps a lot. However, players looking for the difficulty that many go to the X-COM series for will have to play the game on the highest difficulty setting, as the game tends to be a bit easier than what it is spiritually succeeding. The missions are also marred slightly by pretty commonly recurring technical issues. These include the camera freezing and not showing players what mutants are doing on their turns, the cursor getting stuck in menus and not letting players back out them without selecting an option, and some visual hiccups that aren’t a big deal but can be distracting.
The games’ classes, especially with the four DLC included in Phoenix Point: Behemoth Edition, offer plenty of variety for players to pick from, especially once players unlock augmentations and the ability to mix classes. This offers players many options for how to approach missions, but some of the upgrades for classes are a bit underwhelming, and they could do with upgrades that more widely impact how the character is played.
Of course, games like Phoenix Point are also defined by the enemies that players spend hours fighting. Enemies are an area that Phoenix Point: Behemoth Edition both excels at and has some problems with. A particular strong point is in the variation and sheer quantity of enemy types that players come across. Not only does every faction in the game feature their own enemies and sub-factions like The Pure, but the mutants humanity is fighting against actually mutate and change depending on the player’s playstyle and actions throughout the game.
Where Phoenix Point: Behemoth Edition suffers, however, is in how little character many of the enemies have. There are standouts, especially in some of the unique enemies added in the various DLC. Still, the majority of the enemies that players face off against tend to bleed together because of how similar their designs are. This is a shame as the various mechanics of the different enemies are very interesting and have big implications on how players approach missions and encounters, so if the design of the enemies had more character, they would be very memorable.
As for the four DLCs included in Phoenix Point: Behemoth Edition, they integrate very well with the base game to the point where it can be challenging to know where the base game ends, and the DLCs begin. All the DLC packs add quite a bit to the game and help it feel more fleshed out and realized, but the sheer number of options one has can be overwhelming for new players who aren’t’ sure what is worth focusing on and what isn’t’. Regardless, the DLCs help make Phoenix Point: Behemoth Edition feel like a sprawling experience on an epic scale. Even if some of the content feels a bit middling, there is more than enough of a higher quality to justify the price.
Phoenix Point: Behemoth Edition is available now on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.
All the DLC packs add quite a bit to the game and help it feel more fleshed out and realized, but the sheer number of options one has can be overwhelming for new players who aren’t sure what is worth focusing on and what isn’t. Regardless, the DLCs help make Phoenix Point: Behemoth Edition feel like a sprawling experience on an epic scale. Even if some of the content feels a bit middling, there is more than enough of a higher quality to justify the price.
Arron is a life long gamer and critic. He has a bachelor’s in Media Arts and Game Design, and will play just about anything that is not racing or sports because he is bad at them.
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But Why Tho? A Geek Community