Julian Gollop led the development the very first game of the series X-Com in 1994. His new project Phoenix Point had to continue the tradition and bring the genre to a new level. The reality was harsh, and the result was mixed.
Briefly describe the formula for success X-COM, then it is this: the Earth is almost invaded by aliens, we are conducting a semi-guerrilla war, we make fateful decisions at the global level and conduct tactical battles in turn-based mode. And this formula was so liked by the public, so sweetly deprived of peace that it has not been forgotten to this day. To ideas X-COM a variety of developers have repeatedly returned – with varying success. The best modern projects of this category are deservedly considered team games Firaxis games. Nice trilogy UFO it turned out at the Poles Mythosgames in the mid 2000s. Noteworthy hardcore Xenonauts (2014). Connoisseurs expected Phoenix Point will be the best in its niche. No, I didn’t.
Game u Gollopa It turned out quite good. And here an interesting fact is seen: Phoenix Point more like those who are not familiar with other projects in the style of “Partisans against Aliens.” It will be difficult for such gamers to get comfortable – there are a lot of different mechanics and a hundred of small nuances. They will quickly be imbued with a unique atmosphere: civilization is about to disappear, and we are building a new pharmacy and club on the basis! Phoenix Point addictive, this does not take away. But veteran gamers will stumble upon familiar elements too often. And many of the mechanics in the new game are not implemented as well as we would like. Actually Phoenix Point woven from borrowings, and you will remember almost all the well-known tactical games – not only X-Com and followers. There are ideas here, but there are too few.
And the main original feature is the setting and plot bias. No aliens were invited this time. The threat came from the open spaces of the ocean: a strange fog began to crawl from the water, flora and fauna began to change, and not for the better for humans. And once millions of people lost their will and simply went into the sea surf. They returned as evil mutants. The rest of humanity expectedly decided that unity is stupidity, because it is better to divide into fractions. Well, the Pandoran mutants continued to expand their empire. Here the player is released onto the stage, and we have to restore the mysterious organization from the middle of the last century, the same Phoenix Point. A few secrets and a couple of puzzles added to the universe of its unique charm.
And here is the first drawback of the project: lack of budget. The whole story is told by pictures with a minimum of animation. But what a cool effect a CGI movie would produce in which crowds of people wander straight into the sea! The game has its own atmosphere, but it could be denser. There was not enough money for much more.
One of the important mechanics was built on relations with the mentioned fractions. Phoenix Point. For example, if you reach a certain level of respect among adherents of religion, they will open their bases for us and share technologies. For this you will have, as in some RPGs, to complete missions that worsen the attitude of other factions towards you. Here in UFO: Aftermath everything was simpler and more realistic: a handful of survivors cling to each other, and no diplomacy for you …
The best that is in Phoenix Point – tactical fights. They are completely step by step, no you real-time in minutes of calm. Here, many elements of other genre games work properly. We occupy different types of shelters and destroy those of the enemy. The interception of the move was in any turn-based hit, you can recall at least the western XCOM: Enemy Unknown, even easternSilent Storm Operation“. Attention cone exactly the same as in Phoenix Pointinduced in Achtung! Cthulhu tactics. An invisible adversary can be heard, and he will be indicated by a conventional icon. Among the parameters of the fighters, again, they are all familiar: they knocked down a monster – here’s an increase in willpower and so on. The shooting was excellent: we aim at any part of the enemy’s body, taking into account all the obstacles in the way of the bullet. Well, it seems that our soldier jumped to a good position, but it turned out that only the tail of the adversary sticks out from behind the tree …
Fussing with a detachment of different soldiers carries away a lot of fun, as in all good turn-based games. The thought doesn’t leave: where is the wave of revolutionary introductions, maestro Gollop?
But the mutants were pleased. They are unlikely to surprise with intelligence, but they are not similar to doodles. It’s interesting to fight them. Villains from the depths will look for different paths, they will not be too lazy to run to your rear through the ruined house, and having received a bullet in your knee, the monster can hobble to the side, deciding that the war is over for him. For the appearance of pandoran – a separate respect to the artists of the studio Gollopa. Monsters are really scary, ugly, inventively modeled, with fiction and a twinkle. Graphics engine power Unity enough for us to make out all these tentacles, gills, pseudopods and claws. In addition, the monsters are not badly animated and very convincingly scare everyone with grunts and growls.
Phoenix Point gameplay in dynamics can be estimated in the recording of our stream
At the strategic stage, a carriage with a cart of all sorts of worries will fall upon us. Research, production, exploration and seizure of territories – all this has been seen, and nothing new GolloP here also did not say. The abundance of classes will surely tire of someone: manually sculpting each first-aid kit on the machine, so that later you can personally put it in a soldier’s pocket before the fight – not a pleasure for everyone. But it is necessary for a good game in the spirit X-Com , they are loved for the combination of micro and macro control. And experienced players will simply quietly rotate, rotating the earth globe with a scattering of points of interest.
Nevertheless, the number of design mistakes is alarming, especially from the master. The camera almost does not give a zoom, flaccidly twitching. In this case, each shooter can turn on the first-person view, and shoot, as if in a shooter. Two-hour training is partly explained by a part of a mechanic, then it breaks off, and we learn the same number of nuances by the method of scientific poking. In the shootings, we see possible damage, but we don’t see the chance of a hit, and this is absolutely worthless. And some things in Phoenix Point could just do better. It is not very exciting to develop the skills of soldiers if these skills come down to an increase in percentage to some characteristics. Yes, you can teach a sniper to shoot pieces of enemy armor, but there are few such active skills. It’s really hard to explain why the game needs such long downloads …