Phoenix Point: Behemoth Edition, the review of Julian Gollop’s turn-based strategy

Phoenix Point: Behemoth Edition, the review of Julian Gollop’s turn-based strategy
Phoenix Point: Behemoth Edition, the review of Julian Gollop’s turn-based strategy

Phoenix Point marked in 2019 the return of Julian Gollop, creator of the original XCOM, with a strategic one that started from that same formula and developed it in a coherent way, inserting some interesting innovations and an undoubted depth, but at the same time remaining perched on positions of excessive rigidity, far from the openings and accessibility of Firaxis products.

Two years after its debut on PC, the game has finally landed also on the previous generation consoles, PS4 e Xbox One, with an interface adapted as much as possible to the controllers and the inclusion of four DLCs (Fastering Skies, Legacy of the Ancients, Blood and Titanium and the very recent Corrupted Horizons) that increase the body of the experience even more. We talk about it in the recensione di Phoenix Point: Behemoth Edition.

History

Phoenix Point: Behemoth Edition, one of our soldiers aims at a big enemy

In the not too distant future, global warming and the melting of the polar ice caps lead to the emergence of the terrible Pandoravirus, hidden for eons in the underground of the planet. In a short time, the virus contaminates the waters and transforms most people into violent mutants who respond to a mysterious collective consciousness, whose sole purpose seems to be total destruction.

To respond to the emergency, the Phoenix Point was created, a military protocol that gathers the best soldiers and the most advanced technologies in order to face the advance of the so-called Pandorians. In the meantime, however, the world changes and among the survivors there are three great factions with which we will have to relate: the fanatics Disciples of Anu, the utopians Synedrion and the militarists of New Jericho.

Structure

Phoenix Point: Behemoth Edition, il Geoscape

After completing a relatively short and superficial tutorial, which leaves in our hands the task of understanding the many mechanics that characterize the Phoenix Point experience and its often intricate interface, we are faced with the Geoscape: a device that monitors the Pandoravirus activity and detects any points of interest on the map overall.

On board a styled aircraft XCOM we will have to reach these places to reveal their nature, then decide whether to land and deploy our soldiers to face a possible mission. The tasks can revolve around the simple elimination of the mutants present in the scenario (generated by a procedural system), when reaching a certain area, defending or collecting resources.

Phoenix Point: Behemoth Edition, a map and unit movement system

At the same time, it is possible to assign to the various departments of the headquarters manufacturing or research functions that are carried out while we explore the environments and that mark the main progression of a campaign that boasts a time about 35 hours where i DLC.

As mentioned, the Behemoth Edition includes the four major downloadable content of Phoenix Point, which can be activated or not from the main screen and integrate into the progression by adding further content to the package in terms of missions and enemies, although some innovations introduced were not very successful ( see the mediocre flying fights).

Gameplay

Phoenix Point: Behemoth Edition, the manual aiming system that allows you to hit specific points of the enemy

The first few hours of the game are undoubtedly the most complicated and highlight Phoenix Point’s uncompromising approach, made even more complicated by a ‘interface which frankly has not been translated to the best on the controller and which often leaves you lost due to cumbersome and lengthy aspects that are assimilated only after a fair amount of trial and error.

The system is naturally that of a turn-based strategy, but with some interesting variations on the theme: on the one hand the possibility of aim manually during an attack, so as to hit specific parts of the Pandorians’ body or perhaps eliminate a parasite that has taken control of one of our companions; on the other hand, a management of the will that weakens if the situation turns to the worst, making our units less performing when they are in difficulty rather than providing them with an extra incentive to recover.

This type of approach requires, starting from the intermediate difficulty level, careful, punctual and patient planning in relation to each phase of the mission, given that the enemies inflict considerable damage (although they are moved by aartificial intelligence often confused) and the death of soldiers is in most cases permanent, which can leave us immediately with an empty roster and heavily undermine our chances to move forward.

The console version further weighs down the system due to a very unintuitive control system, which makes complicated mechanics as trivial as the use of a medical kit or inventory management, and suffers on several occasions of crashes that force you to return to the previous rescue, in the hope that it does not go back to a few hours earlier. THE uploads they are also too long, we are talking about two or three minutes on PS4 and twenty or thirty seconds on PS5.

Graphics and sound

Phoenix Point: Behemoth Edition, a soldier about to open fire on the enemy

Phoenix Point is a project born from the bottom, financed through crowdfunding, and this aspect inevitably affects the technical sector of the game, which had not impressed already at its debut on PC. Two years later those technical naiveties appear even more evident and, although it is certainly not a problem to see static cutscenes, composed of artworks narrated in English with subtitles in Italian, the graphics in-game leaves something to be desired.

Procedural maps, as often happens, tend to resemble each other and field solutions that are far from the quality of a proper level design. As for the sound, certainly surprise the music, which seems to come from a survival horror rather than a strategic one: the themes of Phoenix Point are certainly similar to this interpretation, but the aesthetics of the game certainly does not help to enhance this approach.

Comment

Tested version PlayStation 4

Price
39,99

Phoenix Point: Behemoth Edition is a turn-based strategy of great depth, which in this version can count on the addition of four DLCs that further increase the contents and therefore the duration of the experience. The problem is that the shortcomings of the original edition, including a basic intransigence that can often trigger frustrating situations and a technical sector devoid of treble, are added on consoles the cumbersome and slowness of an interface that makes everything very heavy. it’s complicated.

PRO

  • Undoubtedly full-bodied and deep
  • Extended duration thanks to the four DLCs
  • A great challenge for turn-based strategy fans

AGAINST

  • On console it appears too slow and cumbersome
  • Artificial intelligence and technical sector that can be improved
  • Slow uploads, a few crashes too many

PREV Sebastian Kurz will leave politics
NEXT Gam, opens the exhibition “Divisionism. 2 collections “