Thursday, September 3, 2015

Endless Space - Initial Thoughts

About the Game (From the Steam Store Page)

This galaxy is ancient, and its first intelligent life was the civilization we call the Endless. Long before our eyes gazed upon the stars they flew between them, though all that remains of this people is what we call Dust. A substance found scattered or in forgotten temples, it once gave powers to admirals and galactic governors. The galaxy will belong to the faction that can take control of the Dust and uncover its secrets…

A Born Leader: Guide one of eight civilizations as you strive for galactic dominion. Will you control the entire galaxy through subtle trade and diplomacy, explore every corner of the universe to find powerful artifacts and resources, overwhelm other civilizations with your advanced technologies, or destroy your enemies with massive armadas?

Endless Discoveries: With hundreds of star systems to explore, different planet types, luxuries and strategic resources to exploit, the mysteries within the Dust to master and a host of strange scientific phenomena to deal with, the player will have no lack of challenges. Hire heroes to become fleet admirals or system governors and discover five hero classes and their unique ability trees and specializations.

Space Opera: Experience Endless Space with state-of-the-art graphics and interface, switch between strategic battle decisions and long-term planning. Optimize each fleet for epic battles around contested stars. Create the perfect combinations from dozens of unique ships per civilization. Customize your ship with modules, armament, engines and special mods. The player has a plethora of choices of how to best destroy or dissuade his enemy.

Take on the Universe: Play against up to seven opponents and build up – or break – alliances at will. Discover an innovative and dynamic simultaneous turn-based gameplay. Permit instant jump-in for your ongoing online games. Define your own custom civilizations and confront the ones created by your friends.

Endless Replayability: Control every new game’s scope, from a quick match-up to an endless war. Generate an infinity of random galaxies where every start begins a new adventure. Modify the size, shape, density, age and a lot more to create your ideal galaxy. Choose from different victory conditions and adapt your strategy on the fly.

Previous Playtime

105 hours

What Was I Thinking When I Bought This

This game predates my first big Summer Sale splurge. It was one I specifically sought out because it was a nice-looking space 4X that would run on my old computer. I don't know what else to say about it that isn't just a reiteration of things I've said in the past - I love sci-fi and I have an irresistible weakness for 4X games.  It was a simpler time for me, when it never occurred to me that I might regret buying a game.

Expectations and Prior Experience

I've already played this game for a hundred hours, so I've got a pretty good idea about what to expect. It's a different 4X experience than something like Civilization. You don't cultivate territory. The smallest administrative unit is the whole planet, and it only improves by building new facilities and increasing your population. There's a nonlinear tech tree, which is neat because in theory it allows your civilization to specialize, but in practice you'll need to take a balanced approach to all four branches just to stay competitive. I like it because there's a lot of potential for technological and infrastructural feedback loops that let you gain a runaway advantage, but then I'm weird and my favorite part of a 4X game is the late stage where you're constantly sorting through information and chasing the elusive goal of perfection.

Hell, I haven't even started playing and I'm already writing a post about it. I expect that will be the pattern for much of this game. I'll find playing it trivially easy, but everything I've ever been inclined to say or think about this game, I've already said or thought. Posts will probably be written more from my deep well of memories than from any new experience I might have in the next twenty hours. Perhaps I'll think of a challenge to make the writing more entertaining.

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