So I've been playing a lot of Phoenix Point recently, and I’ve also played a lot of X-com 2. If I look at X-com 2 on my Steam library I have 167.3 hours in it. If I go to Epic Games I played Phoenix Point for 72 hours. I know other people have a lot more time invested in these games. But if I don’t touch the game for a while I tend to start a new game, so I never actually end up beating these games. For X-com 2, I came really close to finishing it. I got to the final fight, but due to game-breaking bugs and how hard it was for me, I couldn’t beat the game. The bug was that one of my allies wouldn’t move or do actions and had to be left behind. I’m still working my way dedicated to Phoenix Point right now, and I will review it once the next DLC on May 25th comes out. This will probably make my current playthrough ruined but that doesn’t matter. Today I want to make the argument that Phoenix Point is the better game, even though most game journalists and fans seem to defend X-com 2 as the better game way too much.
When the game first came out I SPECIFICALLY remember the reviewers and journalists kinda shit all over the game for pretty bad reasons. I’ll give some here.
The game’s too easy.
Music is bad
The gameplay is bad/they had issues with the game.
I’ll give the music is ok but the other two are really unfair. And I do feel like people are comparing it to X-com 2 and instead of actually seeing if the game is good, is loyal to X-com 2. And the game has improved a lot with patches and some really good DLC. But I still think Phoenix Point was a better game even at the base game than X-com 2. Here’s why.
I feel like the base game of X-com 2 without mods is kinda lacking. The turn-based combat is good, but the one thing that makes that combat good, the classes/characters. is very boring and limiting. For the most part, there are only two different play styles a class can have.
Which is better than having only one class, but it has to tunnel you into only having that playstyle. Not to mention that the scout’s skill tree is the worst in the game and is not worth having on your team. To fix this, you need a LOT of mods. Which to be fair, X-com 2 has Skyrim number of mods to use and play around with making the game a lot of fun. But if we ignore all the good mods (even the mods don’t make everything perfect.) the base game of X-com 2 is very lacking. Now compared to Phoenix Point, not only do all the classes feel and play well. They also let you multiclass into any other class you have in the game. You might be wondering what’s the difference between what I just said. The difference is that all the classes are strong in their own right, their skills are interesting, and instead of limiting how you play the soldiers class, it opens it up.
So in this example, we have the heavy class and one of the unlockable classes you can get in the game if you side with one of the factions. I do this with any of them and the game goes from having someone who can run fast and kill lots of things, to them also having stealth abilities. not to mention your troops can also spawn with random unique perks. It might be hard to convey if you never have played both games but I feel that Phoenix Point does RPG mechanics right.
Phoenix Point also solves the problem with 99% chance to hit and the 1 percent not hitting. They made everyone’s bullet in the game have two directions to go in. everything in the outer circle where you aim is 100% chance to go. the inner circle is not. So you will always have a chance to hit something. also, it has a fallout-style limb system.
I feel like X-com 2’s story goes from cheesy to make no sense. In the game, the aliens have won. And they are doing shady shit because we don’t know yet. Then
It turns out that the aliens are actually from another universe and they need are body because they are dying and then need to transplant their magic space powers into vessels that will suit their magic space powers.
End of spoilers.
If you actually read the spoilers it goes from very cheesy “aliens bad we must win as the resistance.” To a weird story that rivals Metal Gear, Final Fantasy, and Kingdom Hearts. And I almost beat the game not knowing this. Literally needed it explained in a YouTube video.
How does Phoenix Point’s story compare? Well, it feels more serious and in Reality, the characters feel real (unlike the stone wall character John Bradford), and the story is more original. In the game, the Pandoravirus was realized when the polar ice caps melted, which mutated the world and its life. There is some subtle political message there but it’s not shoved in your face, so it feels good and easy to swallow. The world has ended but there are three factions (plus you) who must save what remains before it’s too late. To do so you need to pick a faction. And the factions are very interesting, my favorite being Synedrion. Imagine every weird and experimental government type that we thought up of but it actually works and that’s them. I don’t believe it specifically states they are socialists which makes it even more interesting. It just seems like a direct democracy with no leaders and classical liberalism values. but maybe I’m looking too into it still.
Anyway for the most part that’s really it. I do feel like X-com 2 can be overly difficult for no reason which is why people thought phoenix point was too easy. ( for comparison even easy in x-com 2 is more like normal mode in most games, normal mode is still really difficult). I will be reviewing Phoenix Point once one more DLC comes out for it.