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Average User Score: 6.7Apr 30, 2013This is a game where you design ships and they blow eachother up basically what it says on the tin. It provides lots of tools to giveThis is a game where you design ships and they blow eachother up basically what it says on the tin. It provides lots of tools to give feedback on this process after-combat damage breakdown by ship and weapon and other things like that but the process just doesn't feel that satisfying. The fights are glacially slow even on the highest speed, to the extent where I've wanted to basically Alt-Tab and do something else and come back in 20 minutes when the game has decided if I've won or not. Fleet maneuvers aren't fast paced enough to really be all that pretty, so after you've seen one fight you've more or less seen them all. In addition, while the battlefields have high-level strategic constraints such as 'shields don't work here' they don't really have any tactical depth which, since you can't actually control your ships and still have the run 'count', I suppose makes some sense.
10x faster ship battles would bump my rating by 1 immediately. Building the game both around the player controlling the ships rather than just designing them and watching them blow each-other to bits would bump it another 1. At that point I think it'd be a perfectly serviceable game not a grand strategy game sprawling across the galaxy and requiring 10 hours to play, but something I'd play when I just have 30 minutes to spare and a desire to refocus or relax a bit something that has a charm in its own right.… Expand
Average User Score: 7.3Apr 30, 2013Endless Space is what Master of Orion 3 should have been. That said, its main problem may be that it can best be described in relation toEndless Space is what Master of Orion 3 should have been. That said, its main problem may be that it can best be described in relation to other games, and not so much on its own. It has a sprawling tech tree, planetary systems to develop, space battles, alien empires, powerful commanders: basically the whole mess that we have learned to associate with the 4X genre and love it for. But I have a hard time pinpointing what it does that goes beyond this point. It feels like its searching for its own niche with the interesting idea of the sentient currency that is Dust, but this fluff isn't matched to game mechanics that explore it; if I called it Credits, the game wouldn't really be all that different. I really want to see Endless Space create its own mark on the genre, something unique to it. The good news is that the developers have been expanding it constantly since release, with four free expansions out so far (though so far these are more 'additional content' and less 'gameplay changing'). So hopefully this uniqueness is something it will achieve in the near future.… Expand
Average User Score: 7.3Apr 30, 2013Fallen Enchantress is a game that strikes at a niche that has been for the most part unfilled since Master of Magic. Simply comparing it toFallen Enchantress is a game that strikes at a niche that has been for the most part unfilled since Master of Magic. Simply comparing it to Master of Magic is perhaps doing it a disservice, as there are elements that it gets right that MoM never did. The computer opponents and the wild elements such as the wandering monsters are a nice balance of inactive to proactive depending on the settings you pick, and the quests drastically improve on the old 'wander around with a hero exploring places' dynamic that was part of Master of Magic's charm, making it feel like there's more purpose to the exploration than just gathering xp or resources.
There are a lot of knobs to turn in setting up this game, allowing you to find a sweet spot or try weird constraints. For instance, when I first played I felt like the magic system was underwhelming it was too easy to get a hero for each branch of magic, and thereby basically obtain pretty much all spells on all empires. I wanted something where spell selection was idiosyncratic to the empire, and I found I could achieve this simply by turning off the ability to recruit new heroes.
My only real complaint is that the game's aesthetic is a too drab for my tastes. Conceivably this is chosen to distinguish the game from other high-fantasy offerings such as Warlock and to give it a unique post-apocalpytic character. I find instead that it makes it harder to relate what one sees on the map with what things are units are kind of underresolved silhouettes, terrain is various shades of grey-purple, grey-green, and grey-grey, etc. I tend to play zoomed out so I can see the cloth map and chess-piece like representations of units, because otherwise I can't tell what's what.… Expand
Average User Score: 6.8Apr 29, 2013StarDrive strikes me as a game with a lot of potential that at the same time doesn't quite get there. The artwork is superb and I love theStarDrive strikes me as a game with a lot of potential that at the same time doesn't quite get there. The artwork is superb and I love the fact that each race is given both a unique character as well as specific dialogue options to that race. The quirk of being able to use the diplomacy interface to actually just chat with the ambassador is nice and makes it feel a little like Star Control 2 and the like that its more than just business, but also exploration of the variety of a universe. The addition of the occasional dialogue event on discovery of a new planet adds to this as well, as does the Remnant subplot.
The ship designer is this game's most complex feature. When working with big hulls you have an incredible amount of customization that can be done. Furthermore, the AI learns from your designs, which is a very nice touch. Since damage happens per-module and is spatially accurate, there are subtleties of the system in placement of everything up to the ship's wiring. This is StarDrive's true contribution to the genre a feature that I don't think I've seen in any other such game.
My complaints with the game are more to do with the actual mechanics of play. Managing the economy and planets feels punishingly micro in a realtime game where you already have many things vying for limited attention. The fact that fleets have a tendency to not arrive at the same time also contributes to this problem, as well as the lack of ship pathing that is aware of system gravity wells (so ships sometimes just get slowed down on the way to a fight because they didn't take a slight detour). I don't really think the realtime adds anything to the game, but it costs it a lot.
The other problem is that the content that is there is like a preview of some bigger game that has yet to manifest itself. The dialogue option to find out about the various races is a neat touch, but there's really only one such option per race. The planetary discovery event is neat, but there's only the one (and its not completely implemented). The tech tree is very short and is kind of front-loaded (it takes a long time to the get the first few techs, then suddenly you're getting new techs every few minutes).… Expand
Average User Score: 7.3Apr 29, 2013Eador makes for a nice quick strategy game experience in its shard mechanic, while its campaign structure allows progress to be gradually madeEador makes for a nice quick strategy game experience in its shard mechanic, while its campaign structure allows progress to be gradually made as one moves from shard to shard. One can play a quick 1 hour session conquering a Tiny shard or can go for a much larger conquest when more time is available, but either way this advances the player's overall agenda due to the campaign mode. This brings me to something that Eador has that is missing from most other games of its genre there is a plot to be discovered amidst the strategic conquest. At first this is just dialogues with your advisor or your opponents in between shard conquests, but there are indications that it goes deeper as you conquer shards you occasionally find things that you can ask your advisor about, leading to a feeling of searching for and discovering secrets that makes for a much deeper game and creates a feel of continuity between the separate conquests. I have a feeling it goes beyond this, as new mechanics keep opening up even after 10+ conquests, and I'm looking forward to that.
The downsides: though I've enjoyed probably 20-30 hours of play so far, it feels like the gameplay is going to get repetitive before I uncover the game's secrets. Since each shard starts you from scratch, you tend to learn a sequence of buildings and actions that pretty much work. Certain options seem much stronger than others, to the point where once you figure them out you don't have a strong incentive to explore the other options deeply. Because you can level your heroes more or less arbitrarily, but your buildings are limited until you unlock higher tiers you may very well decide that Warriors are the way to go before you ever get the buildings that let Wizards achieve their potential.
On a technical level: game turns can get slow when the AI has two or more heroes going around doing stuff. There are a number of bugs right now that can be very disruptive, though the per-turn auto-save helps ameliorate some of the pain of a crash. Generally I've found that its possible to work around all of the bugs in play except for a crash pinned to a random event that requires you to go back a few turns to re-seed the random number generator. Hopefully this will be fixed soon since there have already been a number of patches in the week since release.… Expand