Following the advice in the comments to my initial review, I want to tell about Phoenix Point DLCs. I’m not calling this a review, because there isn’t much to review here. However, having some impressions of the content that Snapshot Games released since Phoenix Point’s initial launch on Epic Games Store, can give you some perspective.
This isn’t even a DLC. It’s just Extras – music, art, wallpapers. However, it’s still nice that Snapshot Games released these things. Manual can help you with a few moments that in-game tutorials gloss over. And from the art section, reviewers like me can get “featured images” for articles. 😉
This DLC contains a chain of three missions. The first one becomes available after Arthron research, second upon completing the first, and so on. All three missions are just kill-em-all, not to mention they have fixed maps. Not much in entertainment value.
However, upon completing each mission you have a reward – one of those titular “living weapons”.
First comes organic armor, which has characteristics better than any other armor. And while it doesn’t have any special ability (like Heavy’s jump jets) it’s still good for most of the soldier types, especially since there is no research to get some advanced armor. You won’t get any better protection that also doesn’t restrict movement.
The second is an acid-spewing organic assault rifle. It’s especially good in the early game. And even later it has its uses. The best part is that it doesn’t require ammo.
Beating the last mission grants you an organic machine gun that fires poison shards. It also doesn’t require armor and is especially good against large Pandorans.
Blood and Titanium
This DLC introduces two new factions – Forsaken and The Pure. Though maybe “factions” is a too generous term. Basically, they both are just another threat – their groups attack Havens from time to time in addition to Pandorans. And with Forsaken you can’t even talk.
The Pure, on the other hand, does have a few special events and missions. In fact, when you first receive the message from The Pure, you can help them and get Bionics Research earlier as a result. However, later Pure turn on everyone anyway, so there is no possible alliance or another ending.
The only thing you can do with Pure is to destroy them. There are a few “special” missions that pop up but in truth, they are just kill-em-all again. And even the last mission “The Bionic Fortress” where you finish off this faction takes place in abandoned New Jericho’s haven. And while I know that reusing assets is a viable way to cut corners for an indie game, devs could at least make Subject 24, faction’s leader a memorable boss. But he doesn’t even appear on the battlefield! What a waste.
Bionics Research (that you can also get peacefully from New Jericho, but a bit later) isn’t as great as it looks. Bionics allows you to replace the head, torso, or legs of your operative with cybernetic implants. They grant some perks, like mind control immunity, superior armor, or even the ability to ram through walls. But also have drawbacks – lower speed and vulnerability to acid. But worst of all, if they are damaged, you’ll have to repair them as bionic parts don’t regenerate.
The Legacy of the Ancients
This is the largest DLC so far. It takes off after the “By Sin Rise by Virtue fall” mission. At this point, you can start a research of an ancient civilization that just like humanity faced the threat of the Pandoravirus. This so-called “Antediluvian civilization” had prevailed over Pandorans but at a great cost. You’ll research their “Virophage” weapon in the late game anyway, but with this DLC you have an earlier mission to save archaeologist Helena Lewandowski from the conservative clutches of New Jericho.
After freeing Helena and completing her research project you’ll learn about the ancient civilization that fought Pandorans more. But even more importantly, you’ll now be able to locate the ruins of their production facilities.
To do that you must build Archaeology Lab at one of your bases (better several labs, as they diminish costs of excavations and increase materials output). Then you can construct special “archaeological probes” that scan the world for the ruins. The area of scan around the size of Europe, even smaller, so you’ll have to manufacture dozens of probes to cover the world. And yes, you’ll have to do that if you want to find all of the sites or at least all types.
You see, while locations of the ruins are random, there are always 12 of them. Three Orichalcum Mines, where you get a special metal called, well, Orichalcum. Three Living Crystal Quarry that produces Living Crystals. And thee Protean Mutane Fields that produce Mutane gas (yeah, Phoenix scientists aren’t good at puns). And all the materials won’t mine themselves – you’ll have an aircraft with at least one person on board to hang around the spot. But even before that, you’ll have to send a craft to excavate ruins, pay some resources to supply the archaeology team, wait 3 days, send a craft again, this time with a well-equipped squad, as you’ll have to subdue ruins’ guardians.
Beating guardians is probably the most challenging type of the missions. Guardians are automatons, immune to most of the tricks like poison or telepathy, heavy armored, and with almost impenetrable shields. Oh, and don’t forget a powerful beam installed in the ‘head’. It’s basically a dice roll – with enough distance beam shots often miss but if they connect, you’ll get at least 140 damage, most likely disabling the agent’s head or another part. That is for standard ‘Hoplite’, but each site has one large ‘Cyclops’ golem that packs even more punch.
Anyways, after defeating the guardians you’ll get access to the mining site and even can install there your own guardian after mining enough materials. Yes, Antediluvian sites can come under attack just like your bases. So a large Cyclops assisting your troops is a welcome thing.
Still, if you think that this is enough to produce new weapons, you’re mistaken. In addition to mining sites, you also need to locate a ‘processing facility’ for each of three resources. Luckily the procedure doesn’t really differ from discovering the other 9 sites. At least you don’t need a craft hanging around… But you need blueprints! And to get those you have to go on a few ‘fetch’ missions. Which are a bit more fun than usual as you don’t need to kill everyone but only to find a ‘special spot’ where the blueprint is located, get the blueprint, and evacuate.
And only after completing each mission, you’ll get research for a specific weapon. Finish it and production will become available for ancient club, ancient crossbow, ancient shotgun, ancient sniper rifle, and ancient grenade launcher (well, they are called differently but that’s what they are). The best part about all these weapons is that they don’t need ammo. But they also have the highest damage (though not much higher than other advanced weapons).
Personally, I think that advantages don’t really worth all the hustle. But the thing is, at the end of the game there isn’t much to do, except wait for the last research projects to finish and defend Havens. A few challenges, like defeating Antediluvian Ruin guardians, is certainly a good diversion. And if at the end you’ll get a bit better guns – why not go on this small adventure?
And speaking of ‘adventure’. If you enable LotA DLC, Pandorans will get access to Antediluvian resources too. However, instead of making weapons (so don’t hope to get the ‘Scorpion’ rifle without research), they’ll just incorporate Orichalcum, Living Crystals, or Mutane into their bodies, making their armor even tougher and weapons more devastating.
All three DLCs can be turned off. But honestly, I don’t see why you would do that. They provide additional content and diversify your missions a bit. Especially LotA towards the end of the game. Rewards for completing LW and LotA objectives are a good addition to your arsenal, even if you can be fine without them.
Still, the criticism for the main game applies to additional content as well. After XCOM2 PP’s kill-em-all and activate-a-switch missions look very unimaginative. And new weapons aren’t a gamechanger you could expect them to be after all the work you did to get them. However, there is still hope for ‘Festering Skies’. If that DLC will top ‘Legacy of the Ancients’ the way ‘Legacy’ topped ‘Blood and Titanium’ it should be a really interesting experience.