Endless Legend (PC) Review

By Athanasios 24.10.2014 2

Review for Endless Legend on PC

Amplitude Studios brings forth another 4X gem, but this time, instead of the far reaches of a distant galaxy, we get Auriga, a beautiful and unique fantasy land, which, even without its masterfully crafted exterior, offers a surprisingly good gaming experience with Endless Legend that will surely stand the test of time for a variety of reasons. It dares being something more than just another formulaic and casual experience, and succeeds by bringing forth a TBS where one can try out a lot of different strategies to win – and have lots of fun while doing so.

Most turn-based strategies tend to deviate from tradition and constantly experiment with new concepts, maybe in order to compete with the action-packed fun that something like StarCraft can offer. This struggle for innovation sometimes leads to wonders like Endless Legend, which introduces a lot of fresh new ideas, even though it doesn't reinvent the wheel. Its immense depth is evident in the time it can take someone to complete the tutorial, a thing that might possibly discourage those expecting something more casual. Fortunately all data is provided in the right way, time and place, making the learning process a lot easier.

At its core this is a typical 4X title, meaning that the player has an empire to expand, resources to exploit, a hostile world to explore and rivals to exterminate. The area where all these take place is a map divided in hexagonal tiles, where units can move, structures can be built and resources can be gathered from. The road to victory begins at the navel of each empire, the very first founded city. It is there where the first steps will be made, before getting enough strength and confidence to venture into unexplored territory to create more cities and become even more powerful.

Screenshot for Endless Legend on PC

As mentioned before, the tutorial shows that this isn't a walk in the park, but although very helpful, it just isn't enough and serves only as a taste of things to come. That is nothing to worry about, though, since part of the fun here is getting to learn everything by doing it. One can spend hours playing and still not exactly feel skilled enough, but that's a good thing because instead of a hand-holding experience, where one can come close to guru-status way too soon, Endless Legend forces gamers to try and learn from their mistakes and actually try to think for a change!

This is truly a thinking-man's game, something evident in the way it handles its economy. It never forces anyone to follow a specific strategy and instead lets people experiment and decide what's best for them. Resources, for example, can be gathered, stored, traded and used in many ways, and affect progress even more. Focusing in one type of resource leads to a stronger army, while focusing in another one can help one expand, research technologies or create trade routes, amongst others. Furthermore, a lot of factors affect progress, like overall happiness, diplomacy, weather, army strength and many more, creating an environment that will put gamers' strategic thinking to the test.

Screenshot for Endless Legend on PC

Of course, no matter how good with construction, expansion, economy or diplomacy one is, in the end it all goes down to the clash of steel on the battlefield. Nothing special can be said about that other than it is a well-designed but basic TBS battle system, with the terrain affecting offence and defence in various ways, and with a nice assortment of units and different skills that each have. Hero units spice things up a bit since they gain levels, learn useful skills, can buy equipment and can boost a city's production. They leave something to be desired, but they are far from a bad aspect of the game.

The general purpose here is of course defeating all opposition. A secondary purpose comes in the form of faction-only quests. Each of the eight factions has its own unique backstory, so it's only fitting that all have their own path to follow. Through a series of simple tasks, like the exploration of an area or the construction of a building, a bit of the plot will unfold, describing the faction's ascent to victory. The only problem? It's boring, and that's a real shame because each faction looks extremely promising due to their great intros, and the fact that they are quite original and not just generic races, like humans, elves or orcs.

Screenshot for Endless Legend on PC

Despite the overall complexity, the UI is very helpful, with everything organised in the best way possible, and with all the information needed one or two mouse clicks away. Furthermore, the controls are very simple and easy to get the hang of. Is Endless Legend without its fair share of problems, though? Even with all the things it has to offer, the gameplay can get boring at times, mainly because while there are tons of options to choose from when setting up a match, in the end it's still the same stuff all over but in a different setting. An actual campaign mode instead of this simplified skirmish/campaign mix could make things far more interesting.

Bear in mind that almost everything can take a respectable amount of time. A single playthrough at the easiest setting, in the smallest map possible, with only one rival empire and with the number of turns set to minimum, can easily wipe out an entire evening before completion. Now imagine playing a multiplayer game, with hardest settings turned on and with seven human opponents - just say goodbye to the weekend! That's typical of the genre, but this is no casual Heroes of Might and Magic-like fun, but a time-eater like the original Sid Meier's Civilization. Does a true strategy fan need a life, though, when something is so damn entertaining?

Screenshot for Endless Legend on PC

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Complex but certainly not mind-boggling, and challenging yet never irritating or unbalanced, Endless Legend manages to seamlessly blend stunning visuals, an original fantasy universe and the joy of a 4X title's gameplay that will deprive people of their precious sleep with that good ol' "Just one more turn" feeling. Those expecting to start it today and master it tomorrow will be disappointed, though, since it will require a bit of time to be learned - something that certainly isn't exactly most gamers' cup of tea. The rest, however, are in for a tasty treat.

Developer

Amplitude

Publisher

Iceberg

Genre

Strategy

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

Comments


Ooh this is out? Finally, I might have to dip into m wallet...

Christos (guest) 28.08.2018#2

Leave it to Ofisil th rate a game based on visuals and style, but not substance. If that game had worse graphics he would have given it a 6, but since it has a nice presentation it gets a 8...

As a strategy game, this game utterly fails at the most important component: AI. Its AI is practically non existent. It is so passive you need to be actively attempting to lose the game to experience defeat.

Also there is no complexity here, at least no complexity actually worth the fuss. The game is very micromanagement-heavy but under the surface there is no depth. In the end you just micromanage your cities's spreadsheet, build irrelevant buildings and units, just expanding and assaulting a passive AI. That is considered "deep strategy" these days, as long as it has cool cartoony graphics.

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