Amazon has whacked our affiliate account. Hosting Donations/Commitments $2063 of $1920 (Sept 13/18). In Hand $1466 (Lump sum payments minus paypal graft). Paypal Donation Link Here

Phantom Doctrine - Cold War XCom 2

If it's a video game it goes here.

Moderators: LawBeefaroni, Arcanis, $iljanus

User avatar
Buatha
Posts: 1987
Joined: Sat Nov 06, 2004 1:16 am
Location: Missouri City, TX

Phantom Doctrine - Cold War XCom 2

Post by Buatha » Mon Jan 15, 2018 4:57 pm

I returned from PAX 2018 South and saw a huge booth for this game.

Phantom Doctrine

I had thought someone bought the X-Com 2 engine and made a game.
"Some people say never...I just say no"

User avatar
tgb
Posts: 30678
Joined: Sun Oct 17, 2004 10:33 pm
Location: Tucson, AZ

Re: Phantom Doctrine - Cold War XCom 2

Post by tgb » Mon Jan 15, 2018 7:14 pm

I heard about it somewhere and it really looks sweet. I have it on my wishlist.
I spent 90% of the money I made on women, booze, and drugs. The other 10% I just pissed away.

User avatar
coopasonic
Posts: 15515
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2005 11:43 pm
Location: Dallas-ish
coopasonic’s avatar
Offline

Re: Phantom Doctrine - Cold War XCom 2

Post by coopasonic » Tue Jan 16, 2018 10:48 am

The trailer on steam is kind of useless and detracts from my opinion of the game while having nothing to do with the actual game.

Here's some gameplay, which, luckily, is nothing like the trailer:


It's nothing like XCOM, these guys have 3 action points!

All jokes aside, I'm definitely interested.

Here's some more recent footage showing more support skills:
-Coop

User avatar
Buatha
Posts: 1987
Joined: Sat Nov 06, 2004 1:16 am
Location: Missouri City, TX

Re: Phantom Doctrine - Cold War XCom 2

Post by Buatha » Tue Jan 16, 2018 1:39 pm

Yeah, sorry about that. I was working and didn't look too closely at the trailer assuming there was some gameplay in there.

I had to ask about the movement system since I saw a dude move 3 places, THEN do an action. So, some skills don't require the little blue triangle to be available. :)
"Some people say never...I just say no"

User avatar
coopasonic
Posts: 15515
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2005 11:43 pm
Location: Dallas-ish
coopasonic’s avatar
Offline

Re: Phantom Doctrine - Cold War XCom 2

Post by coopasonic » Tue Jan 16, 2018 3:04 pm

No worries, you've opened my eyes to another game that is now high on my radar... I need something while I wait for XCOM3. :D
-Coop

User avatar
jztemple2
Posts: 4107
Joined: Fri Feb 13, 2009 7:52 am
Location: Florida, USA

Re: Phantom Doctrine - Cold War XCom 2

Post by jztemple2 » Tue Jan 16, 2018 5:17 pm

Thanks for the update, I'm "wishing" for it as well.
"A plan is a list of things that go wrong. I like to keep my lists short. Just be ready." - Rico Rodriguez

User avatar
Buatha
Posts: 1987
Joined: Sat Nov 06, 2004 1:16 am
Location: Missouri City, TX

Re: Phantom Doctrine - Cold War XCom 2

Post by Buatha » Wed Jan 17, 2018 4:26 pm

Their "booth" was pretty badass. It was a totally enclosed chain-link fence square with DO NOT ENTER signs and red lights. They handed out a "newspaper" about world events, that I assume, are reporting about in-game stories. Unfortunately, the line was super-long and I just ended up watching the monitors. The woman was super-helpful, but I had a hard time not referencing XCom 2 since it looked totally just like it. I didn't see any of that live-action stuff like shown on the Steam page.

The Cage

The chain link was on the backside.
"Some people say never...I just say no"

User avatar
jztemple2
Posts: 4107
Joined: Fri Feb 13, 2009 7:52 am
Location: Florida, USA

Re: Phantom Doctrine - Cold War XCom 2

Post by jztemple2 » Tue Jul 10, 2018 6:32 pm

This has been announced for an August 14th release date.
"A plan is a list of things that go wrong. I like to keep my lists short. Just be ready." - Rico Rodriguez

User avatar
coopasonic
Posts: 15515
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2005 11:43 pm
Location: Dallas-ish
coopasonic’s avatar
Offline

Re: Phantom Doctrine - Cold War XCom 2

Post by coopasonic » Tue Jul 10, 2018 8:22 pm

Is this game relevant to you?
This game doesn't look like other things you've played in the past. As such we don't have much information on whether or not you might be interested in it

Popular user-defined tags for this product:
Strategy Turn-Based Tactics RPG Violent
XCOM® 2 is already in your Steam library
396.3 hrs on record

Popular user-defined tags for this product:
Strategy Turn-Based Tactical Aliens Sci-fi +
Ummm... OK Steam.
-Coop

User avatar
Paingod
Posts: 10071
Joined: Wed Aug 25, 2010 8:58 am

Re: Phantom Doctrine - Cold War XCom 2

Post by Paingod » Wed Jul 11, 2018 9:27 am

How had I missed this?

It looks like someone got espionage all over my XCOM2. I think I've got over 400 hours in the recent XCOM games ... so, I'm in.
More than ever, now is the time to stand by the causes you believe in; donate and support to keep America great.
Reproductive Rights, Environmental Defense, Civil Liberties, LGBTQ Awareness, Immigration Rights
Currently playing: Mordor: Shadow of War, Curious Expedition

User avatar
jztemple2
Posts: 4107
Joined: Fri Feb 13, 2009 7:52 am
Location: Florida, USA

Re: Phantom Doctrine - Cold War XCom 2

Post by jztemple2 » Wed Aug 01, 2018 6:06 pm

New gameplay video posted to the Steam Store news feed, Phantom Doctrine - Gameplay Explainer Video.
Greetings, Agents!
Since many of you have been asking various questions about the gameplay, difficulty, unique features, or mechanics incorporated into Phantom Doctrine, we have decided to share our declassified recruit training video with you.

In these three short minutes, you will definitely witness how important it is to step up your spy game, and make all the necessary preparations before facing the Conspiracy. And if this doesn't work, well, let's say that everyone's expendable.

Since I don't have much else going on mid-month I'll probably pick the game up on release and post impressions here.
"A plan is a list of things that go wrong. I like to keep my lists short. Just be ready." - Rico Rodriguez

User avatar
jztemple2
Posts: 4107
Joined: Fri Feb 13, 2009 7:52 am
Location: Florida, USA

Re: Phantom Doctrine - Cold War XCom 2

Post by jztemple2 » Wed Aug 01, 2018 6:40 pm

Also another article, Cold War Strategy Game Phantom Doctrine Will Last 30-40 Hours, “Next-Generation Turn-Based Combat” Detailed.
A host of new gameplay details about the upcoming Cold War-set turn-based strategy game Phantom Doctrine have been revealed during an E3 livestream today.

One piece of information sure to appeal to solo players is the revelation that the campaign is expected to last between 30 and 40 hours, but the game will offer plenty of replay value. After completion, players will be able to revisit missions, which employ some procedural elements to ensure no two playthroughs are the same.

Two separate stories will be available, with one following a CIA spy and the other a KGB agent. However, the title is not intended to tell a typical tale of East vs West and Communism vs Capitalism. Instead, each side will stumble upon a bigger, undefined threat.

Alongside these overarching details, the developers from CreativeForge Games provided new information about the gameplay. Although ostensibly similar to the likes of XCOM, Phantom Doctrine will not feature a class system for the units. Instead, the game provides basic skills and backgrounds that players build upon to make each agent unique.

Additionally, the team moved to assuage fan fears about the damage caused by losing a high-ranked unit within the permadeath system. Every soldier will have access to the same skills and abilities, but rookies will be more limited than veterans.

As for the core gameplay systems, Phantom Doctrine employs something the team calls “next-generation turn-based combat,” which incorporates some real-time elements. During the panel, the developers spoke about the “breach” mechanic, which allows all of a player’s agents to enter a room simultaneously to take down multiple foes without raising an alarm. Other aspects of the evolved turn-based system include smart environmental traversal, such as the ability to leap obstacles dynamically.

One of the other core systems is the Investigation Board, upon which is laid clues that the user must piece together to unlock secret files and ultimately solve the case at the heart of the game. Additional clues can be picked up as loot during missions, and unlocking files provides extra locations, characters, and missions.

The developers also revealed that the had originally planned to name the project MKUltra after the CIA experiments of the 1950s, though settled on Phantom Doctrine following confusion about the relevance of the title from other countries, saying Australians thought the experiments were about “giving people acid.”
"A plan is a list of things that go wrong. I like to keep my lists short. Just be ready." - Rico Rodriguez

User avatar
Sepiche
Posts: 7833
Joined: Mon Feb 21, 2005 12:00 pm
Location: Olathe, KS
Sepiche’s avatar
Offline

Re: Phantom Doctrine - Cold War XCom 2

Post by Sepiche » Mon Aug 13, 2018 10:27 am

Looks like this is out tomorrow morning on Steam, and I'm looking forward to it. A few Youtubers got early copies of the game and what I've seen of it from that has me pretty excited about it.

User avatar
Paingod
Posts: 10071
Joined: Wed Aug 25, 2010 8:58 am

Re: Phantom Doctrine - Cold War XCom 2

Post by Paingod » Mon Aug 13, 2018 11:42 am

Still high on my list of "Want" - but not without a few good, solid reviews. I have a lot on my plate and it'd take this being extraordinary to buy it before the Christmas sale.
More than ever, now is the time to stand by the causes you believe in; donate and support to keep America great.
Reproductive Rights, Environmental Defense, Civil Liberties, LGBTQ Awareness, Immigration Rights
Currently playing: Mordor: Shadow of War, Curious Expedition

User avatar
coopasonic
Posts: 15515
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2005 11:43 pm
Location: Dallas-ish
coopasonic’s avatar
Offline

Re: Phantom Doctrine - Cold War XCom 2

Post by coopasonic » Mon Aug 13, 2018 12:10 pm

Paingod wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 11:42 am
Still high on my list of "Want" - but not without a few good, solid reviews. I have a lot on my plate and it'd take this being extraordinary to buy it before the Christmas sale.
The tactical combat looks good to me. I need to see what the strategic layer is right. I guess I need to hunt down those youtubers. If ChristopherOdd has it, I'll check it out... though I am getting tired of his glacial play pace on games.

oh, lookie there:
-Coop

User avatar
Paingod
Posts: 10071
Joined: Wed Aug 25, 2010 8:58 am

Re: Phantom Doctrine - Cold War XCom 2

Post by Paingod » Mon Aug 13, 2018 12:23 pm

Interesting. I kind of got a strong XCOM/Silent Storm vibe there. Will they include Panzerkleins (or the modern equivalent)? :D
More than ever, now is the time to stand by the causes you believe in; donate and support to keep America great.
Reproductive Rights, Environmental Defense, Civil Liberties, LGBTQ Awareness, Immigration Rights
Currently playing: Mordor: Shadow of War, Curious Expedition

User avatar
Sepiche
Posts: 7833
Joined: Mon Feb 21, 2005 12:00 pm
Location: Olathe, KS
Sepiche’s avatar
Offline

Re: Phantom Doctrine - Cold War XCom 2

Post by Sepiche » Mon Aug 13, 2018 3:03 pm

Watching the new Odd video now. Really looks impressive, and I like a lot of the little details like, if you try to run a mission in Russia, you better take along someone that speaks Russian, or you're screwed before you even start.

That said, what worries me is there are a LOT of moving parts evident in those videos with lots of places for bugs to hide. Hopefully they've had the time to polish it.

User avatar
jztemple2
Posts: 4107
Joined: Fri Feb 13, 2009 7:52 am
Location: Florida, USA

Re: Phantom Doctrine - Cold War XCom 2

Post by jztemple2 » Mon Aug 13, 2018 6:16 pm

I'm more and more convinced I'll pick this up on release, unless someone posts an "uh-oh" comment.
"A plan is a list of things that go wrong. I like to keep my lists short. Just be ready." - Rico Rodriguez

User avatar
jztemple2
Posts: 4107
Joined: Fri Feb 13, 2009 7:52 am
Location: Florida, USA

Re: Phantom Doctrine - Cold War XCom 2

Post by jztemple2 » Mon Aug 13, 2018 6:36 pm

Heh, quick question, I see on Odd's video that I can go through a link and get the game on GOG for 15% off. However, I'm a bit concerned on how long it would take to get patches through GOG as opposed to Steam. Does GOG get patches as quickly as on Steam? Thanks!
"A plan is a list of things that go wrong. I like to keep my lists short. Just be ready." - Rico Rodriguez

User avatar
Sepiche
Posts: 7833
Joined: Mon Feb 21, 2005 12:00 pm
Location: Olathe, KS
Sepiche’s avatar
Offline

Re: Phantom Doctrine - Cold War XCom 2

Post by Sepiche » Mon Aug 13, 2018 6:47 pm

jztemple2 wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 6:36 pm
Heh, quick question, I see on Odd's video that I can go through a link and get the game on GOG for 15% off. However, I'm a bit concerned on how long it would take to get patches through GOG as opposed to Steam. Does GOG get patches as quickly as on Steam? Thanks!
Varies by developer. I'd say a majority of the time dev teams are on top of it and update both at close to the same time, but I've seen cases in the past of Gog getting patches much later.

User avatar
GreenGoo
Posts: 39906
Joined: Thu Oct 14, 2004 10:46 pm
Location: Ottawa, ON

Re: Phantom Doctrine - Cold War XCom 2

Post by GreenGoo » Mon Aug 13, 2018 8:13 pm

Any major patch like critical bug fixes or large free content is going to be released on both platforms nearly simultaneously. Smaller updates can sometimes get out of sync between the two, but do you really care if the typos in your fetch quests are fixed today or next week?

But as said, it depends on the developer, the market share of the smaller platform and the cost of maintaining patches for multiple release platforms.

Is it normally a problem? No. Can it be? Yes, sometimes.

User avatar
jztemple2
Posts: 4107
Joined: Fri Feb 13, 2009 7:52 am
Location: Florida, USA

Re: Phantom Doctrine - Cold War XCom 2

Post by jztemple2 » Mon Aug 13, 2018 10:35 pm

Thanks for the replies. Since no one is doing a pre-load, I guess I'll wait till release time and see what Steam is offering. And really, the GOG discount is only $6 USD, so it's not a huge discount.

I did skip around and watched bits and pieces of the ChristopherOdd video but I didn't want to watch too much and spoil the surprises. I did see enough to convince me that there are some new concepts there that look fun, so I will be picking it up when it releases. Expect some impressions later in the afternoon or in the evening.
"A plan is a list of things that go wrong. I like to keep my lists short. Just be ready." - Rico Rodriguez

User avatar
jztemple2
Posts: 4107
Joined: Fri Feb 13, 2009 7:52 am
Location: Florida, USA

Re: Phantom Doctrine - Cold War XCom 2

Post by jztemple2 » Mon Aug 13, 2018 11:00 pm

Oh, and also I was over on the Steam forum for the game and someone asked whether there is a review embargo and when will be lifted and one of the devs replied:
Yes, there is one. It ends 2 hours before the Steam launch, so the reviews should start pouring in before you make your decision whether to join us in our efforts to take down the Conspiracy, or not. :)
The dev also posted, when someone asked why only two hours before:
The reason, however, is trivial. Without a big marketing budget at our disposal, we hope that all the reviews will start pouring in at the same time during the immediate pre-release window, creating some much needed buzz, instead of being spread over a day or two, if the embargo was to be lifted earlier.

That's one of the reasons why we wanted to reach as many content creators as possible before the release and provide them with builds to showcase the game for you. We do believe in Phantom Doctrine and we hope that you see that we've been very transparent about the game.

PS: I believe that in the case of Assassin's Creed the embargo was lifted post-release. We're not doing that stuff.
"A plan is a list of things that go wrong. I like to keep my lists short. Just be ready." - Rico Rodriguez

User avatar
Max Peck
Posts: 7410
Joined: Fri Aug 05, 2005 8:09 pm
Location: Down the Rabbit-Hole

Re: Phantom Doctrine - Cold War XCom 2

Post by Max Peck » Mon Aug 13, 2018 11:29 pm

jztemple2 wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 10:35 pm
Since no one is doing a pre-load, I guess I'll wait till release time and see what Steam is offering. And really, the GOG discount is only $6 USD, so it's not a huge discount.
Per the devs:
The game will cost $39,99 but it will have a 10% launch week discount. Anyone who buys the game between tomorrow and August 28th will be automatically upgraded to the Deluxe Edition and receive the game's OST and Artbook for Free. Additionally anyone who owns Hard West on Steam will also automatically get a extra 5% discount, so they get the game for 15% off between tomorrow and August 28th.
Time and tide melt the snowman.

There are worlds out there where the sky is burning, where the sea's asleep and the rivers dream, people made of smoke and cities made of song. Somewhere there's danger, somewhere there's injustice and somewhere else the tea is getting cold. Come on, Ace, we've got work to do.
-- The Doctor

User avatar
jztemple2
Posts: 4107
Joined: Fri Feb 13, 2009 7:52 am
Location: Florida, USA

Re: Phantom Doctrine - Cold War XCom 2

Post by jztemple2 » Tue Aug 14, 2018 12:58 pm

The review from PCGamesN wasn't too complimentary, although the reviewer seemed obsessed with complaining about how much the game resembled XCOM and how that was a bad thing. I don't think that resembling a successful formula is bad.
"A plan is a list of things that go wrong. I like to keep my lists short. Just be ready." - Rico Rodriguez

User avatar
coopasonic
Posts: 15515
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2005 11:43 pm
Location: Dallas-ish
coopasonic’s avatar
Offline

Re: Phantom Doctrine - Cold War XCom 2

Post by coopasonic » Tue Aug 14, 2018 1:12 pm

http://www.metacritic.com/game/pc/phant ... ic-reviews (79)

https://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2018/0 ... ne-review/

https://www.gamespot.com/reviews/phanto ... 0-6416958/ (9/10)


Trusted Reviews
for people expecting a turn-based tactics game along the lines of titans like XCOM 2 and Jagged Alliance 2, this isn’t it

Pros
A love of the spy genre has created thoughtful mechanics
The silenced pistol sound is really satisfying
The investigation board makes you feel like actual Batman

Cons
Agonising combat
Boring
Feels a bit like a job
-Coop

User avatar
jztemple2
Posts: 4107
Joined: Fri Feb 13, 2009 7:52 am
Location: Florida, USA

Re: Phantom Doctrine - Cold War XCom 2

Post by jztemple2 » Tue Aug 14, 2018 1:33 pm

On the Steam discussion page there's a reviews thread.
"A plan is a list of things that go wrong. I like to keep my lists short. Just be ready." - Rico Rodriguez

User avatar
coopasonic
Posts: 15515
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2005 11:43 pm
Location: Dallas-ish
coopasonic’s avatar
Offline

Re: Phantom Doctrine - Cold War XCom 2

Post by coopasonic » Tue Aug 14, 2018 1:35 pm

I've read one very good and one mediocre review and it's enough to tell me it's not something I need to get right away. I'll leave it on my wishlist and watch impressions.
-Coop

User avatar
jztemple2
Posts: 4107
Joined: Fri Feb 13, 2009 7:52 am
Location: Florida, USA

Re: Phantom Doctrine - Cold War XCom 2

Post by jztemple2 » Tue Aug 14, 2018 1:36 pm

I went ahead and ordered this on Steam. Oddly the initial download dialog said it was 32 GB, but the Steam download window says 10.8 GB. So about 40 minutes to wait... :pop:
"A plan is a list of things that go wrong. I like to keep my lists short. Just be ready." - Rico Rodriguez

User avatar
Max Peck
Posts: 7410
Joined: Fri Aug 05, 2005 8:09 pm
Location: Down the Rabbit-Hole

Re: Phantom Doctrine - Cold War XCom 2

Post by Max Peck » Tue Aug 14, 2018 6:08 pm

jztemple2 wrote:
Tue Aug 14, 2018 1:36 pm
I went ahead and ordered this on Steam. Oddly the initial download dialog said it was 32 GB, but the Steam download window says 10.8 GB. So about 40 minutes to wait... :pop:
Steam supports data compression for downloads, so the download for most games is usually somewhat smaller than the install footprint. In this case, I'd guess that the 32GB space requirement is just an aggressive server-side configuration. As you said, prior to the download Steam said that it would require 32GB of drive space, but I just checked and it's actually only using 25GB on my drive.
Time and tide melt the snowman.

There are worlds out there where the sky is burning, where the sea's asleep and the rivers dream, people made of smoke and cities made of song. Somewhere there's danger, somewhere there's injustice and somewhere else the tea is getting cold. Come on, Ace, we've got work to do.
-- The Doctor

User avatar
MonkeyFinger
Posts: 2956
Joined: Thu Dec 30, 2004 10:23 pm
Location: South of Denver, CO

Re: Phantom Doctrine - Cold War XCom 2

Post by MonkeyFinger » Tue Aug 14, 2018 9:40 pm

Saw you picked this up on Steam and came here for some initial impressions, JZ. Hop to it! :D
-mf

User avatar
jztemple2
Posts: 4107
Joined: Fri Feb 13, 2009 7:52 am
Location: Florida, USA

Re: Phantom Doctrine - Cold War XCom 2

Post by jztemple2 » Tue Aug 14, 2018 10:36 pm

MonkeyFinger wrote:
Tue Aug 14, 2018 9:40 pm
Saw you picked this up on Steam and came here for some initial impressions, JZ. Hop to it! :D
Boy, the things I do for you people :D

OK, three hours of play listed. I've done the tutorial tactical mission, then the tactical prologue mission, then did a while at the strategic level, then played a tactical mission. The prologue mission was scripted in that I had no options on agents used or loadout or starting point, etc, while the last mission I played had all those options.

First of all, the elephant in the room. This is XCOM-ish. The devs may say that it just kind of looks like it, but really so many of the game mechanics are similar. And let me tell you, this is a good thing. If you didn't like the game mechanics of the Firaxis XCOM and XCOM2, you won't like the Phantom Doctrine (hereafter PD) mechanics, but if you did, you'll like these.

Rather than give a summary, which might be misleading since it's early days for me, I'll just walk you through what I experienced and give you opinions on how the game plays, not how people think it should play.

I'm playing on Medium difficulty, non-Ironman mode. Graphics are maxed out (thank you GTX 1060!). There is an opening series of cutscenes and stills with narration that lays out a bit of the background. I'll warn you, my Gentle Readers, that I don't really care much about story so I'm not going to comment on how good it is, other than it doesn't not make sense.

I'll also pass over the tutorial mission, as it's not really a mission as much as just a few turns to introduce you to the tactical game mechanics. Just like in XCOM2 where you rescue Bradford, except that no good guys die. You should definitely play it as there are a lot of subtleties in the gameplay.

Image
"A plan is a list of things that go wrong. I like to keep my lists short. Just be ready." - Rico Rodriguez

User avatar
jztemple2
Posts: 4107
Joined: Fri Feb 13, 2009 7:52 am
Location: Florida, USA

Re: Phantom Doctrine - Cold War XCom 2

Post by jztemple2 » Tue Aug 14, 2018 11:02 pm

OK, now on to the first real mission, Unsanctioned Raid "White Fish". This is the prologue where you are given your agents, loadouts and target. There are a few hints that pop up while you are in the mission, but really you are going to need to play this mission at least a couple of times just so you understand what the heck you are doing. By the way, I don't consider this a spoiler as there is no decision making prior to this mission, you just get this one to do before you even see the strategic level.

Image

Image

Now here is where I can talk about the odd little things in this game that you need to look out for. Beginning with, your agents. They have perks and abilities (sound familiar?) that you need to be aware of. One guy might have a heartbeat sensor that allows the detection of people nearby but out of sight, like behind a wall. Another might be able to... well, I won't spoil by going through the list. What is important is that you check out the options for each agent, which are different and can be upgraded, enhanced and even swapped out.

Back to the mission. Primarily you have to gather intel and then evac. Your agents are in disguise, so enemy guards don't react. The only people who will react are enemy agents and there are none of them in this mission. Now there is a secondary objective, which oddly can only be seen by selecting the options button. I might have missed something there that displays it on the main screen. Also you want to do some gathering of documents and loot. Documents help in unraveling the big picture mission, loot are weapons or other items you can use, so it is very useful to try to find all of them.

I won't go through the mission, but instead give some impressions of the gameplay. You can knockout anyone you can reach on this mission. There are civilians who apparently don't react no matter what you do, although I never did "go loud" so maybe that is when they react. So as the player you have your agents knock out the enemy guards, grab loot, photographs documents and finally walk in and "find proof" of the primary objective. At this point you can evacuate, or you can go for the secondary objective. This involves going into a room and the game suggests you use the breaching method. This involves two agents busting in and gunning down all the bad guys. I figure that there is a limit as you how many nail before your agents get hit as well, but it didn't happen on this mission.

Now something happens when you breach, or just fire an unsuppressed weapon. You switch to Combat mode, the enemy is now aware of your presence, your disguises are useless and reinforcements are on the way. It is time to evac! And evac works pretty much like XCOM. You call for it, a timer starts that indicates when the evac arrives, then another timer starts which lists the time before you start getting an increase in your Danger rating. More on this later, but you don't want the Danger rating to go up.
"A plan is a list of things that go wrong. I like to keep my lists short. Just be ready." - Rico Rodriguez

User avatar
jztemple2
Posts: 4107
Joined: Fri Feb 13, 2009 7:52 am
Location: Florida, USA

Re: Phantom Doctrine - Cold War XCom 2

Post by jztemple2 » Tue Aug 14, 2018 11:11 pm

OK, before I go onto the strategic game, let me point out what in the Phantom Doctrine tactical game is NOT like XCOM. There is no random chance on combat. Before you execute an action, there is a display of what the results will be of that action. You can review each possible potential action and decide which one is best. This mechanic seems to be very important for the next big difference.

In XCOM, pretty much every tactical mission eventually went "loud". Enemies are activated, your team is exposed, stuff like that. In PD, it is not only possible, but it is desirable that you never leave stealth mode. At the difficulty level (Medium) at which I am playing you can dispose of bodies so the guards won't find them. So you can progressively take down each guard and put them somewhere until you can access your objective, then sneak out unseen.

In some ways, the tactical level in PD is similar to Invisible, Inc. Maintaining a stealthy mode makes it possible to get in and get out alive. It's pretty cool and challenging. And it feels very organic to the gameplay, making sense in light of who you are and what your overall mission is.
"A plan is a list of things that go wrong. I like to keep my lists short. Just be ready." - Rico Rodriguez

User avatar
MonkeyFinger
Posts: 2956
Joined: Thu Dec 30, 2004 10:23 pm
Location: South of Denver, CO

Re: Phantom Doctrine - Cold War XCom 2

Post by MonkeyFinger » Tue Aug 14, 2018 11:20 pm

jztemple2 wrote:
Tue Aug 14, 2018 10:36 pm
MonkeyFinger wrote:
Tue Aug 14, 2018 9:40 pm
Saw you picked this up on Steam and came here for some initial impressions, JZ. Hop to it! :D
Boy, the things I do for you people :D
I knew I could count on you! 8-)

Steam reviews are a bit mixed, some folks love it and others think it's crap but last I saw it, it was "Mostly Positive" I do believe. Seen any bugs yet? For example, I see complaints about people getting sighted (and shot) "through walls" but perhaps they're just not understanding mechanics like the heartbeat detector you mentioned. :think:

I backed "Hard West" so would get the extra discount on Steam but pondering a PS4 purchase for playing on my big ass TV. However, the screenshots on the PSN store page have text that is fuzzy as hell while I can see they would be clean on my PC. Probably just an artifact of the screenshot-ing, going to go look for some reviews on both platforms. What to do, what to do...
-mf

User avatar
jztemple2
Posts: 4107
Joined: Fri Feb 13, 2009 7:52 am
Location: Florida, USA

Re: Phantom Doctrine - Cold War XCom 2

Post by jztemple2 » Tue Aug 14, 2018 11:31 pm

And now, the strategic level. You have a hideway with various rooms that give you the capability of doing various activities. Aside from planning and executing missions, you can craft hardware, train your agents, heal them in the infirmary, even print money and create new identities. Also you can upgrade your facilities so, for instance, you can have more agents or store more hardware. It does feel a lot like XCOM and again, that's not a bad thing. Like in XCOM, there's no obvious path to follow in what activities you assign your agents. I had an excellent agent making lockpicks because right now he's the only agent who can do that.

Image

Unfortunately most of the screens you go to in the strategic level (your hideout) will only have a small info box with some brief explanation of what that screen does for you. Sometimes it's sufficient to explain, but sometimes I was left asking questions like "Why?" and "When?" regarding the functions of that screen. I've been able to figure it out to a degree, but I'm still feeling like I'm mission stuff.

And now onto the Investigation Board. There is actually a tutorial for this and the screenshot below is from that:

Image

Basically as you get intel from tactical missions or field agents in cities or other ways, you get items to pin on the board. On the image, see those yellow strips with writing on them? If two items have the same phrase on a yellow strip, you run a string from the push pin holding up one item to the other's push pin. Eventually, as you add items and string them together, you'll suddenly see the white string connecting certain items going red and you'll be rewarded with more intel and eventually mission instructions.

Some of the intel documents will require you to read them, clicking on likely code words. When you click on the proper code words they turn red and are added to the yellow strips on that item. Now here's the bad news, the content of the message is pretty meaningless. You are only interested in clicking and finding the code words. It's basically a minigame like lockpicking in Fallout 4, except that there is no failing, it just takes time. To be fair, after you do a few it will be pretty obvious what code words look like and that will speed it along. But it's a bit disappointing.
"A plan is a list of things that go wrong. I like to keep my lists short. Just be ready." - Rico Rodriguez

User avatar
jztemple2
Posts: 4107
Joined: Fri Feb 13, 2009 7:52 am
Location: Florida, USA

Re: Phantom Doctrine - Cold War XCom 2

Post by jztemple2 » Tue Aug 14, 2018 11:35 pm

MonkeyFinger wrote:
Tue Aug 14, 2018 11:20 pm

Steam reviews are a bit mixed, some folks love it and others think it's crap but last I saw it, it was "Mostly Positive" I do believe. Seen any bugs yet? For example, I see complaints about people getting sighted (and shot) "through walls" but perhaps they're just not understanding mechanics like the heartbeat detector you mentioned. :think:
I haven't seen any bugs so far. I wouldn't be surprised if there are a few line of sight issues, maps like these must be pretty complex for the LOS resolution code. But like XCOM, for the first playthrough you ought to NOT use Ironman and instead use the save button a lot. No shame in that, especially if there are some LOS problems.
"A plan is a list of things that go wrong. I like to keep my lists short. Just be ready." - Rico Rodriguez

User avatar
jztemple2
Posts: 4107
Joined: Fri Feb 13, 2009 7:52 am
Location: Florida, USA

Re: Phantom Doctrine - Cold War XCom 2

Post by jztemple2 » Tue Aug 14, 2018 11:46 pm

OK, finally the last major part of your hideout, the map room:

Image

It's hard to see, but here is where you'll be moving agents around to gather intel, tail enemy agents and assign and launch missions. Again, there's not a lot of hand holding when you first use this map, so it's important to look at the legend and click on locations on the map and figure out what to do. It's going to be the primary place where you goof up assigning agents to tasks until you understand what is important and even then, it's tough at times to keep track of what needs doing. Still, it's nothing wrong in the sense of a bug, it's just that you are juggling a lot of balls at once.

Finally, I'll briefly (ha!) mention my first real mission where I picked the location, assigned the agents and loadouts and pretty much improvised from there. It was pretty cool. I had only two agents on site with a task to capture or kill an enemy agent. I stealthily crept into this building, disabling the cameras and knocking out the guards. Using the heartbeat sensor I located the enemy agent (how the sensor knew which heartbeat was my target and which were civilians I don't know :roll:) and positioned my primary agent at the bottom of a set of stairs, ready to rush up the next turn to take the enemy agent...

...and damn if the enemy agent on his turn didn't walk down the stairs, bump into my agent and open fire! :doh:. That changed the mode to Combat and started the timer on reinforcements. I gunned down the enemy agent and ran out over the rooftops to escape to my evac zone. I reached the edge of the roof, sent my first agent down the ladder...

...and landed right in the middle of four enemy reinforcement agents. Luckily my other agent had a smoke grenade and tossed it to help cover my in trouble agent, but he still took enough hits to cause him critical damage. As the smoke got denser, the healthy agent grabbed my seriously shot up agent and evacced into a van. Lots of fun! :wink:

I'm currently replaying that mission to understand why I had no idea that the target was going to change floors.
"A plan is a list of things that go wrong. I like to keep my lists short. Just be ready." - Rico Rodriguez

User avatar
MonkeyFinger
Posts: 2956
Joined: Thu Dec 30, 2004 10:23 pm
Location: South of Denver, CO

Re: Phantom Doctrine - Cold War XCom 2

Post by MonkeyFinger » Tue Aug 14, 2018 11:52 pm

jztemple2 wrote:
Tue Aug 14, 2018 11:35 pm
MonkeyFinger wrote:
Tue Aug 14, 2018 11:20 pm

Steam reviews are a bit mixed, some folks love it and others think it's crap but last I saw it, it was "Mostly Positive" I do believe. Seen any bugs yet? For example, I see complaints about people getting sighted (and shot) "through walls" but perhaps they're just not understanding mechanics like the heartbeat detector you mentioned. :think:
I haven't seen any bugs so far. I wouldn't be surprised if there are a few line of sight issues, maps like these must be pretty complex for the LOS resolution code. But like XCOM, for the first playthrough you ought to NOT use Ironman and instead use the save button a lot. No shame in that, especially if there are some LOS problems.
Ironman? Ha! Not to worry my friend. :wink:

Really appreciate the write-up, top notch as usual. <thumbsup>
-mf

User avatar
jztemple2
Posts: 4107
Joined: Fri Feb 13, 2009 7:52 am
Location: Florida, USA

Re: Phantom Doctrine - Cold War XCom 2

Post by jztemple2 » Tue Aug 14, 2018 11:57 pm

MonkeyFinger wrote:
Tue Aug 14, 2018 11:52 pm
Really appreciate the write-up, top notch as usual. <thumbsup>
Happy to do it! And writing it up also helps me understand what I'm doing better.

I also should mention that so far I haven't seen any mission with timers, which is good. I hate timers.

UPDATE: And breaking windows does NOT invalidate your stealth status. It's might be a bit of a cop out, but I think it's OK from the aspect of gameplay.
"A plan is a list of things that go wrong. I like to keep my lists short. Just be ready." - Rico Rodriguez

Post Reply