Greetings fellow nerds, for once I’m not reviewing or playing a survival game, (although there is a nice upcoming feature of me playing Rust coming soon =P, so stay tuned in for that). This week, I’ve been quite unlucky with chances to actually get access to a working computer, so I’m actually reviewing a game I’ve had lying around for quite some time. Endless Legend is 4X strategy game where you command a civilization in exploration, diplomacy and combat in a unique sci fi/fantasy world called Auriga.
Upon installing this game some months ago, I had myself a huge pile of titles to play through, and this game was something I had been following the development of, but just never getting the time in order to actually sit down and play a full campaign on. Everytime, the same thing would happen, I’d sit down at my desk and load the game up, look at the options, choose my civilization and adjust the settings. Then possibly one of the most tedious loading screens to ever sit through appears, and after some time, the world loads in, in a Game of Thrones intro style. Everything looks pretty good, even if the actual in game graphics look a little outdated, but once I’d passed a few turns, I’d finally get to grips with what the heck I was supposed to be doing, and by this time, I’d have something more pressing to do. This game takes a long time to play, similar to Sid Meier’s Civilization games.
I actually found myself with a rare moment this week, where I actually had a quiet space in order to enjoy some serious gaming time and this particular game had been on my “to do list” for as long as I can remember, and so once again, I dove into the world of Auriga, where I decided to play as the Roving Clans, who are a humanoid civilization, where they receive bonuses to trade and dust, the in game currency. I actually chose this clan because I liked the look of the avatar in all fairness, since I figured that each civilization would play out similarly to each other, but I was completely and utterly wrong, since the clan I had chosen actually had a trait where they could not declare war on any other civilization, so I had to expand quickly and be very strategic about locating my cities, which was helped by the ability to move my cities on the back of a giant beetle like transport unit.
Managing cities is far simpler than most 4X style games, where you control workers on the overworld screen to build improvements, in this game, you manage your population in the production menu to produce more of certain resources, either food, production, science, dust or influence. Once your city starts to grow, you can expand your city by using borough streets, which add to your city the resources of an extra 3 hexagonal spaces.
I found that exploring Auriga is far more important than exploring the world in Civilization, because it isn’t just a case of looking for new areas to set up cities or find opponents, but actually pacifying areas which are already inhabited by creatures such as Minotaur’s and Hydras was a task that required some thought; should I try and complete quests to earn their trust? Raze them to the ground and rebuild them under my control? Or bribe them with dust? All of these options were available to me, with each choice giving me opportunities to make my faction grow into prosperity or stagnate for several turns.
I found the battle system strange at first, being a seasoned RTS player and 4X gamer, so I’m generally used to differing battle systems, but generally they follow a certain formula. Deployment, movement, fight, resolution. In Endless Legend however, you only get two phases, Battle and resolution. Deployment happens at the beginning, but then you are limited to how much you can actually control your units in combat. You can either target an enemy, and set a unit to aggressive, defensive or hold position, or you can move to a space, with one of the stances set. When targeting an enemy, your units will move to the closet space in order to attack, regardless of geographic advantage, enemies locations, or ally movements, which I find to be a reasonable notion in smaller skirmishes where the battle is in my favor, but for those long drawn out 16 vs 16 fights, or siege battles, utilizing the location movement is far more efficient than the targeting system.
I found early battles a breeze and continued to accrue experience for all of my early game units, adding better quality units as I researched them, but still found late game battles almost impossible, having to avoid confrontations wherever possible. It actually turns out that I was missing out on one of the games key features, which I had overlooked. It was possible to customize base units that you can recruit and fit them out with weapons, armor and accessories to give the unit a boost in combat, or on the map screen. You also can purchase heroes from the academy to govern cities or lead armies across Auriga. Heroes can be fully customized from weapons, armor, accessories and their level ups can be chosen from a skill tree. Once using these options, and using almost my entire kingdoms resources, since upgrading units can be a costly procedure, I found my units to be far more of a match against the late game enemies.
I love how you can actually create your very own empire, create new units, using existing units as a base, and then changing its name, equipment and traits, which alter the statistics and usability of units and structures.
Honestly, there is a lot to talk about when it comes to Endless Legend, so much in fact that the game has its own wiki (http://endless-legend.wikia.com/), so that new players can do some research of their own before diving headfirst into a mission that will no doubt result in failure. Endless Legend is a brilliant strategy game that rivals the more popular 4X games that are around and can give strategy enthusiasts a breath of fresh air with the game almost covering every aspect of strategy game wish lists when it comes to content and features.
The only issue I have with this particular brand of game is the lack of people I have to play them with, but then most of you probably have better friends than I do, so download it and give it a try.
Amplitude Studios are an independent gathering of experienced video game lovers (and developers) with a single goal in mind: CREATE THE BEST STRATEGY GAMES!
Based in Paris, their studio boasts an international team that has worked all over the world. Their credits include franchises such as Battlefield, Rayman, XIII, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon, R.U.S.E., Call of Juarez and Might & Magic.