Phoenix Point is the new strategy and tactics game from Snapshot Games and Julian Gollop, the creator of the original X-COM. The game takes its cues from both Gollop’s 1994 version of X-COM and the more recent ones from Firaxis, while adding in a healthy dose of originality. Like those games, Phoenix Point is an unforgiving and tough-as-nails experience that’s equal parts rewarding and devastating; one bad decision can derail your entire campaign.
To that end, we’ve put together a handful of tips to help you navigate the early game. The goal is to provide some direction once you’ve completed the tutorial section, let you know what your first priorities ought to be, and help you survive in combat.
Always Be Researching
Once you complete the tutorial section and Phoenix Point stops holding your hand, you’re left with a handful of objectives. One of them is to research the Haven Recruitment Protocols, which is a hint that research drives many of the mechanics in the game. In the Research tab you’ll find a number of potential topics, each with their own benefits. You can queue up several projects at once, so you don’t have to micromanage too much. Here are some good targets for early research beyond the Haven Recruitment Protocols:
- Atmospheric Analysis – The progress of The Mist is one of the most important things to monitor in Phoenix Point. This research project will show on your Geoscape which regions are the most threatened by the mutagen. It’s pretty much an essential pick up early on.
- Haven Trade Protocols – This project unlocks the ability to trade with other factions at their various havens. Pick this up early in order to bolster your food and materials supply.
- Reverse Engineering: Bulldog AR-50 – Early on, you’ll encounter enemies carrying these assault rifles. They’re a step up in damage from the baseline Ares models, which makes them a great way to upgrade your troops early in the game.
Pass the Time at Your Base
Research takes time, and time is a valuable resource in Phoenix Point. While passing the time for your aircraft to explore nodes on the Geoscape map, there’s a chance you’ll get ambushed by enemy forces. Luckily, you can move time forward from the relative safety of one of your bases. Pilot your aircraft to a base, and click that play button. You can hang out while you complete research projects, construct new buildings, or heal up your damaged squad of soldiers.
Always Use the Manual Aim in Combat
Like X-COM, Phoenix Point employs line of sight in its tactical combat system, meaning the more stuff that’s between you an the enemy, the more likely you are to miss your shot. You can mitigate some of the chance, though, by using the manual aim functionality. Clicking the crosshair button after selecting an enemy to fire on puts you into a first-person view where you can select specific parts of the enemy to shoot at. If you’re unlikely to kill it in one hit, we recommend aiming at legs to slow their movement, or their arms to reduce weapon accuracy. It’s a great way to cripple the enemy squad while you better position yourself for a tactical advantage.
Anticipate With Overwatch
Like Firaxis’ X-COM and many other contemporary tactics games, Phoenix Point features an Overwatch ability. It causes your soldier to automatically fire on an enemy who enters their line of sight. Unlike other versions of the ability, though, the Overwatch function in Phoenix Point requires you to select a specific area to keep an eye on. You’ll have to manually choose where you soldier is looking when activating Overwatch, which means anticipating your enemy’s movements. It’s best to judge where they’ll move in the next turn given the surrounding terrain rather than simply highlight the area in which they’re already standing.
Build a Training Facility First
You’ll begin the Phoenix Point campaign with the most fundamental buildings already present in your first base. You’ll find a Living Quarters, Research Lab, Fabrication Plant, Medical Bay, Satellite Uplink, and Energy Generator. What you’re missing, though, is a Training Facility. This building allows your soldiers to gain experience between missions at a rate of 2 points per hour passed on the Geoscape map. Because you begin the game with a squad full of low-powered rookies, the Training Facility is a great way to beef them up a bit in the early game.
And there you have five basic tips to get you started in Phoenix Point. Did these help you out at all? Let us know in the comments section!