LEVEL (Czech Republic)Nov 12, 2014A fresh mix of Heroes of Might & Magic, Civilization and the 4X strategy genre that boasts an enticing atmosphere but lacks polish. [Issue#246]
Awards & Rankings
Generally favorable reviews- based on 523 Ratings
Sep 18, 2014Endless Legend is a fresh take on the "4X" genre with original (yet familiar) factions, beautiful graphics and great game play. HighlyEndless Legend is a fresh take on the "4X" genre with original (yet familiar) factions, beautiful graphics and great game play. Highly recommended to turn-based strategy fans who are looking to lose 100s of hours in a fantasy setting.… Full Review »
Sep 18, 2014Endless Legend (EL) is a very ambitious simultaneously turn based new 4X (eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, eXterminate) strategy game in a fantasyEndless Legend (EL) is a very ambitious simultaneously turn based new 4X (eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, eXterminate) strategy game in a fantasy setting by Amplitude studios (Endless Legend, Dungeon of the Endless). The general setting is unusual, as you're stranded on the planet Auriga that has been a favoured laboratory of a powerful precursor race, the Endless, until they erased themselves from existence in a large civil war.
Now, you take control of one out of 8 standard factions or any custom faction you create in an editor, using the basic gameplay of one of the 8 with some modifiers. Your goal is to survive as Auriga is slowly drifting towards an everlasting winter that will snuff out all life left on its surface. There are several victory conditions you can fulfill, ranging from "bucket"-type conditions like gathering enough currency or being the highest in score at a configurable turn limit to fulfilling a quest and building an expensive wonder, exterminating all concurrents or researching yourself to victory. Not all of these victory conditions are equally fun to reach as "filling a bucket" can be quite tedious, but the different factions are also specialised at reaching different victory conditions.
And this is where EL is ambitious in the sense that its 8 factions are very asymmetrically designed:
- The Wild Walkers are the not so usual Elves of the game, using woods to boost their industrial proficiency. They get to be the production powerhouse of the game.
- The Vaulters are the survivors of the Dungeon of the Endless game, stranded on the planet. Hightech-dwarfs of a sort with heavy armor and the best science output.
- The Rowing Clans are supposed to be the traders of the planet. They cannot declare war, are better than the NSA at finding out who's selling or buying what to a common marketplace you can get access to by research, and can actually even trade-ban people, bleeding them dry, economically.
- The Drakken are the peacekeepers, a draconid race interested in achieving diplomatic victory by using their influence to force whole empires into peace or alliance with them.
- The Ardent Mages can use spells on the map and in combat. Given enough currency, a weak army of them can still beat a superior foe with enough magic support fire.
- The Necrophage do not do anything but feed, war and reproduce. Peace is not an option, as is not conquering. The Zergs of the planet, indeed.
- The Broken Lords are living armors thinking of themselves as paladins and leeching life like vampires. Lorewise, one of my favourites, their gameplay is centered on currency to buy population with.
- The Cultists of the Eternal End have only one city and expand by converting minor faction villages across the planet to generate troops for them and to harvest resources for them.
In general, this asymmetry is what makes the game nice, but it is also its vulnerability. As each faction plays differently, the AI also has to account for that. During the Early Access phase, the AI made huge jumps and has become a threat to the unwary at higher difficulty levels, now, but still fails in the endgame. It doesn't recognize that, given it is close to winning, the human player in the game will go to lengths to eradicate them. On the other hand, in the beginning, different AI personalities shine through. Around the Ardent Mages, there's always a lot of scorched earth destroyed minor faction villages, while Wild Walkers spread and pacify, instead. I'm quite confident that this will improve, further, but I rate what's present, now.
Therefore I downright recommend to play this game in multiplayer. The simultaneous turns allow for fast games, compared to other titles. You can set turn timers and therefore force people to be fast, or give each and everyone as much time as they want, but a long game would last 4 hours, at most, on fast speed settings.
Even there, though, the asymmetry of the game design has its dangers. You can equip your units with better and better equipment through the ages, having to use strategic resources on the map to get the very best, but there's a clear preference for some attributes being far better than others. Some units you gain by assimilating minor factions (you can then build their units and get some bonus per controlled village of that faction) are better than standard units and certainly better than most other units on the planet. I'm thinking of e.g. Kazanjii demons or Haunts of the Ended here, both having a chain hit special ability.
One thing I have to add about the techtree: It is not linear, there's no clear progression. In each "era", you have to choose at least x technologies, then you progress to the next era. Each time you research something, the cost for the next research increases, no matter the era its out of.
Overall, the game has a lot of depth for someone who favours empire management over combat. There's still lots of balancing and AI-tuning to do, but the game is fun and I recommend it.… Full Review »
Sep 18, 2014I have played turn based strategy games for the last 25 year and I have been a play tester for several of the old great games (for exampleI have played turn based strategy games for the last 25 year and I have been a play tester for several of the old great games (for example Civ4). I will be very upfront in why I rate Endless Legend (EL) so high (9/10) is because of the new ideas and its potential, not because it is flawless.
What I like about Endless Legend is that they have made innovations in the genre. The combat system is a good example of this, it allows semi real time combat at your own pace during your turn. This creates a tactical battles while allowing the turn based part of the game not to suffer and the pace of the game is still good. The world of Auriga and the world generator is also top notch. The map itself looks like a board game map and the region system creates interesting mechanisms for example with quests. The artwork is beautiful and reminds me of old role-playing book artwork of monsters.
The balance of the game is not yet perfect, but very much playable. The AI hopefully can become even better and finally the multiplayer out of syncs needs to be fixed. I also wish for much more features, for example team game and setting positions in multiplayer and better victory conditions and solving the age old question of how to make the game fun even for players loosing the victory race. In a sense the victory condition thus could use some work.
Finally the developer has a history of continuing developing the game and releasing free content so in time this game can become even greater. I have not influenced my score based on this merit but I think it should be mentioned.
I think any fan of the turn based strategy genre should avail of the opportunity to play Endless Legend as it brings a lot of fresh ideas to the table and could keep your spark and interest for turn based games alive.… Full Review »