Turn-based strategic games lovers, bring it on: if you love fantasy, this the game for you. We are talking about Endless Legend, the new game from Amplitude Studios released on the past September 18 and developed by the same team who made Endless Space.
Let’s proceed immediately and talk about the various aspects of this strategic 4X turn-based game.
TRAMA: Benvenuti su Auriga–>
If you know Endless Space, we are in the same universe, though on a peculiar planet and quite early in the universe life cycle. Auriga – this is the name of the planet – is slowly dying; it’s up to the player trying to manage the situation, through the chosen faction. It is possible to choose among eight different factions, each one with its own backstory and specialty: these are the Wild Walkers, the Broken Lords, the Vaulters, the Necrophages, the Ardent Mages, the Roving Clans, the Drakkens and the Cultists of the Eternal End.
Despite not being present an actual story except this brief introduction, it will be constructed as the game goes on, especially through the quest system (of which we’re talking about in a minute), associating a description to each mission, a description that will tell a little part of the story.
How is the situation going to evolve in Auriga? It’s up to us.
GAMEPLAY: E’ tempo di strategia–>
Like any strategic 4X game (that is, for the newbies, eXplore, eXpand, eXploit e eXterminate), Endless Legend is everything but simple and immediate, reason for which we’re not going too much into the littlest details about gameplay, otherwise this review would be quite too long. This might be a deficit in some cases, but not this one: the game is quite complicated as the game rules are, but everything is well explained by a tutorial at the beginning which is quite detailed, still lacking the explanation of some features that the player has to discover by themselves with his first games.
The first thing to be done at the beginning of a game of Endless Legend is to decide its settings. Endless Legend allows a nice customization about that: it is possible to decide dimensions, shape, type, topology and more about the map. The next choice is about the faction you want to control: as already said, there are eight available, ma there is also the possibility of creating a new one with determined features starting from the basic ones (we’ll see again, later on, this level of customization). Every faction has its own features which are listed when choosing, details that make the game experience totally different when choosing one or another: just to say one, Broken Lords do not need food, but use Dust for most of their needings, while Drakkens are particularly good on diplomacy.
Once the settings are decided, the game can start.
The Endless Legend game environment develops on a scheme that reminds that of some board games: an hexagonal grid, to which the ground tiles are adapted and placed on different height levels. The game develops with turns, during which the player will have to manage his own cities, move – in their limits – the units, fight, build constructions, explore… even more than some other games of the same genre, Endless Legend brings very strategic choices: the various cities are more or less indipendent and development must be managed very well; be for defense or for production and gathering of resources, some simple choices might reveal crucial in the story of our faction. Not only that, we’ll have to deal with other elements, like hostile minor factions, that can be pacified and assimilated to gain bonuses; the season cycle, for which, for instance, winter may beat our units and cities and ruin our plans; the income from the terrain, since not all the tiles are the same, and building a city on tile or on another might be counterproductive or a miracle; and much more.
The key to victory of a game is managing perfectly the resources, the workers, the scientific researches to obtain new technologies, the construction queues, but also the relations with other factions, the trade offers, the peace or intidimating messages, the declarations of war, the empire plans, a lot of elements that must be considered all together, thus making Endless Legend surely not the right game for someone who is not in the mood of thinking a lot while playing. Victory will not necessarily be achieved by destroying the enemies, since there are other conditions that can bring to the end of the game, like diplomacy, expansion, science or Dust victories. Beside all this there’s the quest system, including various missions which give surely not indifferent rewards, so that completing a focus can be the best way, for instance, to pacify a minor faction.
GAMEPLAY: Il sistema di combattimento–>
A part that deserves a little longer review is the battle system. When one of our armies meet an enemy army it’s possible to start a battle, or we can be the ones being attacked: at this point we can choose wether to manually manage the battle or just set a strategy and let the AI play for us.
In the case we take the first choice, our army’s units, as the enemy ones, will be placed in the zone around the battleground, while graphic details will be partially put aside for a better view and management. From now, all has to be done within six turns, with a first positioning of units before battle, and it it’s going to be based on each unit’s stats.
With battles, and not only with those, our units can gain experience points and level up. This is not the only way to power up our units though: it is possible to modify their equipment, choosing among the various parts according to our strategy. It’s not all here: similarly to factions, we can also create new models for units basing on already existing ones.
GRAFICA/AUDIO: Un mondo fantastico in tutto e per tutto–>
The fact of Endless Legend being a strategic hexagonal-grid-based game shouldn’t discourage on graphics side: despite this, in a way, “schematic” setting, the visual details are impressive. Very fluid animations, quite detailed textures and very well made models will make live, colored and magic our games, creating a fantastic fantasy atmosphere, in the true sense of the words, that remedies very well to the squared tiles. If then somebody preferred, even just for a moment, having a clear and simple view of the map, it will just need to lower the screen zoom: details will be taken off, reducing everything to the basic grid with the interest points.
With this we have the soundtracks, which will accompany the development of our faction with the most typical melodies of this setting genre, getting perfectly together with the game genre.
Here, some screenshots taken during our tests:
Endless Legend may not be the top about innovation, but certainly it knows how it’s done. More reflective players, who love very long but very thoughtful games, will find their cup of tea, while instead I feel like advice against this game for those who prefer more dynamic games, still talking about strategic. Replayability is one of the main features of Endless Legend, making longevity practically infinite, also considering the always-present online game mode.
In the end, we decided Gaming Platinum Award.
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Endless Legend è il nuovo strategico 4X a turni sviluppato da Amplitude STUDIOS, dagli stessi creatori di Endless Space, del cui universo narrativo fa parte. In un mondo fantastico e magico, dovremo portare la nostra fazione allo splendore, affrontando allo stesso tempo la lenta morte di Auriga.
- Complicated, but tutorial is enough to start playing the correct way
- Games are quite easy to manage with thanks to the game system
- Detailed graphics, but still not heavy or annoying during game experience
- Online games
- Tutorial lacks a few parts that should be instead explained from the beginning.
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