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Endless Space Game Review

Quick Review

 

Endless Space
Date Published: 08/14/2012
While Endless Space has its flaws, it is still an entertaining game to play. Good graphics where it's needed. When compared to the old Master of Orion game, Endless Space obviously looks better but lacks some features.
7.3 / 10 stars

 

For our first game review we’ll be reviewing a recent game called Endless Space. Haven’t heard of it? Not surprising, as it is being released by a relatively new Indie company called Amplitude Studios. is what is called a 4x game. 4x stands for explore, expand, exploit, exterminate.

Endless Space Game Review

 

Brief History of 4x Games

 

One of the first, and arguably one of the best, 4x space strategy computers games was Master of Orion. Released by in 1993 by Microprose, Master of Orion. Master of Orion was easy to play, hard to master but extremely fun, as well as a great replay ability. After the release, the gaming industry saw a surge of 4x games for many years. Some were good, some were bad, but most tried to attain the level that Master of Orion had achieved. For almost the last 10 years there have been a few 4x games here and there amidst a sea of first person shooter games. And here we are today.

 

Endless Space Summary

 

Well enough about history. Endless Space seems to try and give rebirth to a game type which has its hay day. All the essentials and basics are there. You start your quest for glory on a single planet in a single solar system. Your goal in this game is entirely up to you, ultimately your goal is to win. But how you win is another story. Conquer the galaxy by force? Negotiate your way to victory? Or win by attaining a galactic achievement, the choice is yours to make. In any case, your first order of business is to explore and expand your empire. And while you’re searching the galaxy for suitable planets to colonize, you’ll want to begin researching new technology.

 

Endless Space System View

 

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Technology will be your key to victory. Through your research efforts you’ll discover new weapons to wage war with, how to colonize different planet types and how to maximize your resources. As with a lot of 4x games you have 4 main resources. These being money, research, industry and food. All are important in their own way. Food is what you need to populate the planets. Industry is what you’ll need to build everything. Money is needed to afford all of the buildings you’re making and research to learn new technology to build new building, bigger ships and better weapons.

 

Endless Space offers you several different races to play or you can create your own race to play. Each race has its own advantages and disadvantages. This gives the game a pretty good replay factor. I’ve personally played the game from start to finish over a dozen times already. If you’ve ever played a 4x game before then Endless Space will have a very familiar feeling. It’s an easy game to pickup and begin playing effectively pretty quickly. Most of the game systems are relative intuitive and for awhile things run fairly smoothly.

 

Endless Space Graphics

 

These days people expect a certain level of graphics when it comes to their games. Historically 4x games aren’t really praised for their graphics. Endless Space is no different. I’m not saying Endless Space is an ugly game, not by any means. The whole point of a 4x game is the game play itself. Most of your time playing is spent looking at a giant map of space littered with dots representing solar systems. So there’s not much you can improve on that aspect of the game. The rest of the areas of the game is where developers try to polish up. After playing the game several times over you’ll tend to ignore the graphics all together, but initial you’ll find the graphics pretty descent. All of the planets in their different sizes and different plant types look appealing. And all of the ships look pretty well designed.

 

Endless Space Galaxy ViewEndless Space Ship DesignEndless Space Tech Tree

 

Combat System

 

The combat system in Endless Space is broken up in to two different types. When you go to combat you have the choice of Automatic or Manual. For the most part the automatic system will be sufficient to use. This is especially true when your fleet is considerably more powerful than the opposing force. Automatic is also a lot faster than the manual method. The manual method does have its benefits though. The first of which is you get to watch your battle take place.

 

Endless Space Battle

 

The other benefit with the manual method is your ability to win battles when you’re at a disadvantage. It seems, at least to me, that the AI doesn’t always make good use of repair systems if you have them implemented in your ship design. The manual combat system is broken up into 3 phases, basically long range, medium range and short range. Depending on your research and if you have a hero in your fleet, there are numerous options to choose from for each phase. This combat system almost feels similar to say Magic the Gathering. Select the right card against your opponent and you can easily turn the tide of battle.

 

Game Flaws

 

There’s not too many games, if any, that are released without bugs. For the most part Endless Space runs smooth enough. The initial release of Endless Space would bog down tremendously after around turn 250, of course that number depended on the size of the galaxy you’re playing. And eventually the game would crash. Most likely some part of the game code couldn’t handle the sheer number of fleets that the AI decides to create.  After the most recent update to Endless Space they seem to rectify that problem, at least for a normal size galaxy. Haven’t tried a huge galaxy since updating the game. However, as with most 4x games, after a few hundred turns the game can becomes slow at times. With Endless Space this seems almost entirely due to the number of ships in the game. The AI tends to create ships by the hundreds, I’ve seen the AI send 30 plus fleets at a time, each fleet containing anywhere from 6 to 12 ships. And that was only a fraction of the ships the AI had, you do the math.

 

Another flaw in the game, doesn’t really effect the game play but it is a fundamental flaw. When building ships, you have the option to install support modules onto your ship. One group of those support modules deals with invasion. And it makes sense that you need the tools to invade a planet. In theory, that’s how it’s supposed to be. However, in reality that’s not how it works in Endless Space. In all the games I’ve played, I have yet to install any invasion modules and can invade planets just fine. And maybe it was their intent to allow you to invade planets at will and the invasion modules only speed your efforts.

 

The last is more of an inconvenience than anything. There is a technology that you can research that once built in a system will convert all of your food in to industry resources. Which, by all accounts is great when you’re building fleets. However, there is also a tech that can add more colonists to your planets when built. If you’ve built that converting tech building and then built the one that adds more people slots then you’ll never fill those spots. Why? because all of your extra food is now gone, so there’s no food available to create more people. You have to first scrap the converting building and rebuild it have you’ve made more people. Kind of a pain.

 

Our Conclusion

 

While Endless Space has its flaws, it is still an entertaining game to play. Good graphics where it’s needed. When compared to the old Master of Orion game, Endless Space obviously looks better but lacks some features. For example, there’s no form of espionage in the game and no story line to speak of. The AI in Endless Space is adequate but can be predictable at times. Overall, if you like 4x space games then Endless Space is definitely worth it. Hopefully in time, the developers will add additional features to the game. While we didn’t cover the sound effects of the game, let’s just say I normally play the game muted as the music gets annoying after a while.

 

Graphics: 7

Gameplay: 10

Sound: 5

Overall: 7.3

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