Phoenix Point: Behemoth Edition review for PS4, Xbox One, PC

Platform: PS4
Also on: PC, Xbox One
Publisher: Snapshot Games
Developer: Snapshot Games
Medium: Digital/Disc
Players: 1
Online: No

Pretty much everything there is to say about Phoenix Point: Behemoth Edition begins and ends with this: it?s a very well-made XCOM clone.

To some extent, this is wholly understandable. It was developed by Snapshot Games, a studio founded by Julian Gollop…who created XCOM back in 1997. Whatever complaints could be made about a smaller studio wholly ripping off a well-known game don?t apply here. If the guy who created XCOM wants to make a new game that?s basically exactly the same as XCOM, he?s earned that right.

But that doesn?t necessarily mean the game is worth getting. In fact, I?m not sure why you?d want to get Phoenix Point when XCOM 2 is already available on the same platforms. I?m not usually one to complain or care about which game came first, but in this case, Phoenix Point copies XCOM 2 so closely that it?s hard to tell what the real difference is between the two.

To be fair, it?s worth acknowledging Phoenix Point tweaks the formula a little here and there. Its worlds are procedurally generated, which applies to not only the maps, but also your enemies — as the game explains, you?re fighting against a virus that has caused people to mutate, and no two mutations are totally alike. Phoenix Point also gives you a little more freedom in combat, allowing you to free aim at enemies, which means you get to target specific body parts rather than spraying shots in their general direction. The game also has a complex diplomacy system, which gives you the option of building alliances or simply building up your military might.

While these changes are all well and good, in practice they don?t feel all that different from what you can do in XCOM. It?s still a turn-based tactical combat game, which means that the actual gameplay is completely identical — you shoot, you shield yourself, you outflank your enemies. Being given the option of aiming for an arm versus aiming for the head doesn?t feel different in the slightest.

In fact, that?s the complaint that could be applied to everything in Phoenix Point: it doesn?t feel different in the slightest. All the talk of new systems and alliances and whatnot can?t cover up the fact that it?s simply reinventing XCOM. And, again, if the creator of XCOM wants to remake XCOM again, he can, but it still doesn?t mean that you have any reason to go out and get Phoenix Point.

Snapshot Games provided us with a Phoenix Point: Behemoth Edition PS4 code for review purposes.

Grade: B-