Average User Score: 8.0Jul 22, 2013In what seems to be a running theme for Stardock, this game is frustratingly opaque. I love a good 4X game. I've spent hours playing Civs 3In what seems to be a running theme for Stardock, this game is frustratingly opaque. I love a good 4X game. I've spent hours playing Civs 3 & 4 (plus assorted mods), and have gotten a bit of enjoyment out of Endless Space (after hacking through a number of ill-explained systems).
Perhaps Galactic Civ II is indeed like Endless Space, and you have to spend hours either learning about the game online or having a friend explain it to you to get anywhere. Sadly I just don't have the patience for that sort of nonsense anymore. Want to know what the buildings a future tech will unlock do? No mousing-over for you, you have to instead right-click on the tech and read about it in a confusing menu. The game frequently fails to recognize when you click to select a tech, and uses a bizarre, confusing color scheme to show what you've researched or have selected. Does Stardock have a chronic condition which prevents them from telling me where my production is coming from, using a simple mouse-over? I ran into this issue in Fallen Enchantress and it's present here as well. Another recurrent issue is the game not saying how many turns a certain go-to order will take a unit to execute. I'm not even sure how you automatically resolve go-to orders without first ending your turn. Every other game just carries them out once you've given orders to every unit awaiting a manual move, but not here.
Other issues abound. There are like eight different sliders for tech, money, happiness and production. I'm not even sure what bonuses my approval rating was giving me, since of course there was no mouse-over explaining the statistics behind my production and income figures. Perhaps it was buried under some sub-menu. Starting racial unique traits are very poorly explained, all something like "easily forms coalitions against enemies" is telling me is that I have to go onto some forum to find out what sort of modifier is actually in effect. Some starting civs have outrageously good starting attributes, but are apparently genocidal brutes and don't have a diplomacy modifier listed. Does this mean they can't conduct effective diplomacy at all, or just don't get a bonus? Are the "Extreme Isolationists" actually forced to play as isolationists?
I guess I could figure all this out after six hours of internet research or whatever, but at this point I'm just sick of 4X games tossing me in a sea of incomprehensible data and expecting me to to visit their official forums or whatever to learn how to play the game. Curse you Stardock for releasing expansions to this game for years without giving it even basic user-friendly menus. If I wanted to play around with confusing spreadsheets I'd open up Excel while blindfolded.… Expand
Average User Score: 7.4Jun 29, 2013Purchased the game on Steam sale recently after hearing a lot of hype. Endless Space looks pretty- the graphics a good for an indie title,Purchased the game on Steam sale recently after hearing a lot of hype. Endless Space looks pretty- the graphics a good for an indie title, and the menus have a pleasingly clear aesthetic. Unfortunately this title fails in some fairly basic areas of the 4X genre.
First of all, the game does a poor job of explaining game mechanics to you, optional tutorial notwithstanding. It is difficult to tell how much food you need to a planet to add a new population point, or when your borders will expand (and by how much), or even how missile weapons actually work (the game's description is misleading). There is no in-game 'Pedia, but rather a link to the fan-made Wikia, which is out-of-date on some topics and useless on others.
Second, the combat system is awful. As many people have commented here, a lot of it comes down to guessing the correct cards to counter the AI and loading your fleets with energy weapons and heroes. There is some strategy in the form of ship load-outs, but even that basically boils down to "lots of lasers & some defensive modules". Invading planets is a hideously boring affair, where you camp above AI worlds for potentially dozens of turns (and at least four), fending off the disposable fleets the computer pulls from its ass. Far too much is automated, leaving the player with little to actually control. Apparently the new expansion pack (from a different studio) resolves some of these issues, but I am not particularly inclined to invest 10 more bucks to make the combat system enjoyable.
Finally and most egregiously, there just isn't a whole lot to do in the game. Even on a large map you'll expand to a half-dozen or so systems and then find your only options are to sit around teching for eternity or build up enormous fleets to take on an AI which hates to make peace, gradually wiping out one faction after another. If battles were more enjoyable to fight you might want to go after other empires for the sake of combat, but it's a mostly joyless affair. There's nothing much to explore once you've colonized your core systems and met your neighbors. Really, it ought to be called "Empty Space".… Expand
Average User Score: 7.3Oct 28, 2012I really want to like this game. Fall From Heaven II, the Civilization IV game mod where FE developer Kael first made a name for himself,I really want to like this game. Fall From Heaven II, the Civilization IV game mod where FE developer Kael first made a name for himself, remains one of my favorite video games. Everything which should make this a great game is present- an epic story, customizeable units, diverse fantasy words, dozens of enemy types, lairs, exploration, quests- and all in a 4X game. Unfortunately, FE manages to be less than the sum of its parts; * Although every hero, enemy creature, unit and civilization has paragraphs of background, the writing is often simply execrable. It's almost impossible to parse any meaning from under the piles of randomly-generated fantasy names and poorly-constructed sentences. Immersion is important for fantasy games, even when the "plot" is developed through the player's own actions, but in FE it quickly becomes impossible to dodge the reality that you're just grinding down some AI, and the game becomes much less interesting for it. * Game balance is badly off. You can easily munchkin yourself into an impossible lead using the character creation system (combining the "recruit any hero" civ ability with the "recruit heroes for free" leader trait makes the game a farce). Even if you just stick with one of the paltry eight default leaders, it quickly becomes apparent that it makes much more sense to spend 40 gold shaving several turns off a unit's completion via cash-rushing than using the same sum to purchase a +1 defense helmet for a single unit. Missile units have unlimited range in tactical combat mode, where AI armies are principally composed of slow-moving melee grunts. * The AI itself seems barely capable of playing the game, even on the higher difficulty levels. The AI is extremely passive and rarely ever attacks in force. Curiously the AI is also laughably overconfident, and will often refuse to make peace even when relieved of all but one of their cities. * The 4X side of the game is extremely limited. There are very few tiles where you can settle new cities, with little rhyme or reason for why one location is suitable for colonization while the verdant green field nearby is not. Settling a city will remove all other potential city sites within a wide radius for reasons which are never made clear. Cities themselves are essentially identical, with the main difference being how many enchantments each can support. * While the cities themselves are dramatically oversimplified, with no tile management and little impetus to specialize, cities are also unnecessarily complex and difficult to manage. City growth is predicated on two separate food mechanics, and there are multiple, differently-named types of production, which are then combined into a generic "production" total. Cities have far too many buildings they can add, many of which are necessary if you want to complete mid and late-game units within reasonable timeframes without having to purchase. * FE's functions are poorly-documented and its menus are often confusing. How many units does "40 Metal" get me? I have no idea. It's probably mentioned, but I couldn't tell you where. When I'm trading " 5 Magic tech" for "4 Warrior tech" in diplomacy, what does that really represent? Can I lose technological progress that way? Does the number refer to research points, and if so are they only for techs the other person lacks which you have? It isn't immediately apparent what the repercussions are for trading away most of the items available in diplomacy. * FE is years behind other titles in the 4X genre in some very basic areas. Cities with nothing in their build queues promptly go idle, with only a small icon in the corner of the screen to alert you that nothing is happening. Roads are produced automatically without player input; if you want to build your own to speed units to the front lines, you're out of luck. Even loading saves necessitates first exiting to the main menu. It should also be noted that the unit and leader graphics are almost shockingly dated, even by 4X standards. I personally didn't mind much, but it is disappointing for a 40 dollar game. * There are a few technical issues and other bugs which I had hoped would have been resolved during this title's very long development cycle. CTD occur every few hours. Certain quest rewards fail to appear. Memory leak occurs steadily while playing for extended periods, even on a powerful computer. On occasion the save loading screen disappears. Despite the far too many words I have devoted above to attacking the game, FE isn't *bad* by any means. It's fun to play for a while, and the opening 60 turns or so are fantastic, when the game world is full of places to explore, loot to grab & things to fight. Play much longer however and the game becomes a slog of traveling through open wastelands to gradually pummel unthinking AI to death with a few superhuman armies.… Expand