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Phoenix Point

Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Genre: RPG/Strategy
Developer: Snapshot Games
Release Date: Q1 2020


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XOne/PC Preview - 'Phoenix Point'

by Redmond Carolipio on June 19, 2019 @ 2:30 a.m. PDT

Phoenix Point is a turn-based tactics and world-based strategy sci-fi game by the original X-COM game designer.

Strategy games are some of the industry's most overlooked creatures. There's an art to making good, impactful titles in that genre, and in 1994, few did it better than Julian Gollop and his team at Mythos Games when they put together and released X-COM: UFO Defense. It was the first in an X-COM dynasty that ruled the rest of the 1990s and was later re-imagined in the much-acclaimed XCOM: Enemy Unknown in 2012.

Gollop is back, this time with Snapshot Games and showing off his newest project, Phoenix Point. We saw the game in action at Xbox's E3 2019 showcase, and it looks like it'll have some momentum leading up to its release later in the year.

Like XCOM before it, Phoenix Point's story focuses on the theme of humanity defending itself against some kind of alien threat. However, the aliens in Phoenix Point are the possible result of something called the Pandoravirus, which according to Snapshot, was discovered in 2022. By 2047, it has wiped out most of humanity and left survivors to hole up in bases around the world. Phoenix Point is one of those bases, and it's also ground zero for the effort to fight back against the alien threat.

In the time we had to see the game, a few key things were pointed out to us amid the network of the refreshingly intuitive turn-based system mechanics and crisp visuals. One was the emphasis of a new and very real ballistic system, which means you have to factor in the prospect of bullet spray and stray rounds — not all of your fire will go in a straight line. This can affect how you position your units, especially when you have the ability to target enemy body parts through a free-aim targeting system.

Another wrinkle we were told about is how these new enemies mutate over time based on how you play. If you're used to pure tactics and finesse, they might mutate so you're easier to track or detect. If full force is your game, then expect to tougher, more armored mutants to come your way. If you think about using that to your advantage somehow, Snapshot also told us that the mutations can also be randomized, so you won't know what you might run into.

Phoenix Point probably flew under the radar for many at the E3 2019 showcase, but it stood out to anyone who found it amongst the sea of other titles. It'll get a chance to stand out even more when it's released this September.

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