A REVIEW BY VALKYREN SAGA
“A Civilizations-like game in Space”
Endless Space is a Strategy 4X turn based game which takes place in Space (as its name implies). It uses a system pretty similar to the one we found in the well known and successful series of “Civilizations” in a pretty pleasant way. The game is highly recommended for multiplayer use!
Due to the many similarities this game has with the “Civs” games and their renown, i will try to compare the traits and the system of Endless Space with the ones you can find in the Civs games.
You are the ruler of a Space Civilization. There are 11 Civilizations to pick and each one has its own traits and advantages. Your goal is to dominate on every other civilization of the Galaxy. There are 8 types of Victory: Expansion Victory, Supremacy Victory, Scientific Victory, Economic Victory, Diplomatic Victory, Wonder Victory, Score Victory, Default Victory. You can decide which type of Victory you wish to achieve before every game.
You conquer the galaxy by colonizing Star Systems. Each Star System holds up to 6 diverse planets. In the beginning you can colonize only specific planet types and move only to close to you Star Systems. Stars are connected by cosmic strings, natural links which allow fast travel. Later and through the new technologies you discover, you gain the ability to expand on every planet type and travel in the far away Star Systems.
In order to achieve your Victory you will need a strong economy before anything else. There are 4 “resources” your civilization produces which are called FIDS. That is Food, Industry, Dust, and Science. Food is necessary for your citizens and you need it for your expansion, Industry is necessary for the creation of buildings and space ships, Dust is the “currency” every Civilization uses and finally Science is necessary for the discovery of new technologies. Apart from the FIDS there are also the Luxury Resources which offers bonuses to your economy and the Strategic Resources which allow you to build improvements for your space ships.
After your economy, you will need to take care of your Scientific progress. Similarly to “Civilizations”, you have a Tech tree with 4 branches: Galactic Warfare, Applied Sciences, Diplomacy and Trading, Exploration and Expansion. Each branch includes different types of technologies. You shall decide the pattern your Empire wish to follow and invest on that path. (Hint: Investing on every branch equally is a sound strategy for new players) With every new technology you discover, you unlock new parts for your space ships, new Strategic and Luxury Resources, new buildings and new ways to make every planet type habitable.
Then there are the Space Ships. There are different types of Space Ships, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. A very unique trait of the game is the ability to choose the parts and modules you want for your Space Ships. You can create spaceship templates based on the current technological advancement, your needs and your plans. Just pick the parts and modules you want, pick a name for the template and watch it being used in the battle.
Another important factor is Diplomacy. As it happens in the Civs games, you can interact with your opponents with a panel of Negotiations. Through that panel you can arrange Trade agreements, exchange technologies or discuss your diplomatic status with them.
Now, unlike the Civs games, Endless Space has “Heroes”. The Academy is where you hire or manage Heroes, powerful characters who can greatly improve the efficiency of your Star Systems and fleets. The Academy is separated into two parts: the management of active Heroes and the recruitment of new Heroes. Through time and battles your Heroes will level up in order to acquire more traits. Each Hero is different from the others and the traits he can acquire are also different.
As mentioned in the beginning, Endless Space is a turn based Strategy game. This means that you have plenty of time to plan and think your actions. Once you have completed all your actions for the turn, you can press the end-turn button in the lower right corner to advance constructions and research as well as move ships and fleets.
All in all i would give it an
due to the fact that the game lacks a tutorial. Even though it is very pleasant once you learn it, you have to spend many hours reading guides and watching videos if you wish to understand the basics and win a game. For instance, i had to read a couple of guides and watch a few videos before i am able to begin the game with chances to beat the Al opponents. It does have a tutorial to be honest but all it does is to explain how the buttons of the game work.
I liked the feeling it you get from it when you advance to the mid game where each Civilization has occupied its territory and is now trying to find friends and foes. It is pretty similar to the feeling you get from playing Civs at the same phase of the game and this is why i would recommend it!
I would like to give it a 10/10 but i cannot because i had to waste so many hours to search by myself about the game mechanics, features and style. As a strategy game lover, i expect from the Devs to show me how their game works. I want my only concern to be the strategy i use, not to worry about whether or not i have forgotten to use a feature of the game or if the Al is taking advantage of a mechanism i am ignoring. I have not met any other drawback in the game so far, i liked it a lot and i see myself playing it for many hours but the tutorial alone is enough to refrain me from giving it a 10/10.
Civilizations Beyond Earth was an attempt to bring the Civs game into Space and it pretty much failed. So, if you are looking for a Civ like game which fills that gap, consider to grab Endless Space. Space is Endless and so is the replay value of this game. I strongly recommend it to every strategy fan enjoys space travels and battles in foreign and unexplored worlds!
Release Date: 5 July 2012
Developer: AMPLITUDE Studios