Bought Phoenix Point and played shortly after release.
The game starts out with a very X-COM throwback feel with a deeper combat engine. “Hey great!” That feeling peters out pretty quickly as the game is clearly unfinished and has some truly baffling design choices.
Weird design choices (in no particular order):
7 level cap on all soldier classes (you hit this fairly quickly) at which point you dont get much better beacause of
Essentially no upgrade path for gear. This is CRAZY in these types of games. You start wth an assault rifle for example… “When does the tech tree let me research the MK II version and MK III etc?” The answer is NEVER.
“When can you add weapons mods to your gear then?” also NEVER. You CAN get a slightly tweaked version of the assault rifle from one of the other 3 factions but they are basically all roughly the same power level with tiny give/take from one set of stats for the other. These other faction versions also have no MK II or mods or anything.
Only 12 total base building types possible, you start with 10 of them (the other 2 are basically niche buildings). None of the building are upgrade-able or flexible. Only ONE of these buildings generates any of the game’s resources (food) despite the fact that the bases for other factions can produce any of the resources. So exactly one trade tactic possible : build food buildings, and trade food for other resources. No lore reason for this. Just no choices.
Base management is almost non existent and tedious at the same time. It certainly is no X-Com Apocalypse. Moving people and vehicles from base to base is manual and boring.
You can’t recruit from your own faction. You also can’t choose which recruit you want, you have to take the one recruit available at whatever base you are recruiting from.
The recruits are all the same. Basically the same stat caps and starts, almost zero to differentiate one soldier from another within a class.
Limited customization. This one is especially crazy given how readily available these sorts of character assets are, Hell they even limit you to 16 color choices for armor. Why?
Class skills have little diversity. You will always choose the same basic skill sets which makes all soldiers of the same class play pretty much identically.
The 3 things above this all combine to make you care very little about your recruits. I am normally hugely invested in my customized squads but I don’t even bother to rename these clones.
Balancing and weapon tiering either non existent or senseless. The very first melee weapon you get from one of the factions (your faction literally has NONE, not even a knife ffs) is the best melee weapon in the game. The ones they research after that weapon are all quantitatively worse in every regard. Why? Who knows.
Map design is repetitive but generally OK unless you want to use vehicle for combat in which case large numbers of the maps are impassable. Yay!. The “lair” maps are a ludicrous exception to the rest and are terribly badly designed with endless spawns of high-level baddies etc. Without a very particular build (need heavy armor to fly or do not bother) and knowing that you have to ignore EVERY threat on the board while sprinting towards one of the 3 “holes” on the map to find out which one of them has the destroyable McGuffin (scout, load, repeat) you just die without even knowing what you did wrong.
The first hour or 2 of the game is quite enjoyable (so beware reviews that are based on less than 3+ hours of gameplay), but a time goes on you keep waiting for the game to spread out it’s wings and show you all the cool stuff the protagonists get to use to counter the threat. Doesn’t happen, there isn’t really much mid/end game tech or improvement at all.
The skeleton of a great game is there, but it looks like it needed a solid 6 more months to put in assets and features that are glaringly missing. I find this rushed release especially baffling given the Epic exclusive money they took. Seems like it would have been easy to spend a bit of that to buy up at least the art assets needed to add SOME flavor to the very bland milieu.
I would wait and check the Snapshot games forum in 6 months or wait until the Steam release before looking at a buying decision if you haven’t bought already.