The number of 4X (eXplore, eXploit, eXpand, and eXterminate) games has significantly increased over the last couple of years. Amplitude Studios already had great success on the market with its original Endless Space, and we got to play the full version of the sequel which spent almost a year in the early access phase on Steam. The fact that the developers signed a contract with Sega was promising a lot, and we can now confirm that Endless Space 2 delivers the thrill of the space strategy in which your primary task is to conquer the galaxy.
It’s Simply Beautiful
The beauty of Endless Space 2 lies in two things – presentation and atmosphere. The gorgeous graphics contribute to both. Guys from Amplitude definitely know their way around game’s presentation and how to make everything look attractive and flashy. When it comes to turn-based strategy games, this is substantial because often everything you are doing is browsing through various menus. However, add beautiful and unique animations, and you’ve got yourself a visual treat.
It doesn’t end here because unique artwork follows you through quests and other events. The cutscenes that follow battles and colonization are amazing, and the 3D spectator system that enables you to view every combat is incredible. The sound effects also fit great and add to the feeling that you are in space in a galaxy far, far away.
Choose From Eight Different Races
There is a total of eight factions in Endless Space 2, and each one has several distinct characteristics. First of all, the way you play will vary, as well as the themes and the objectives you get. Some of the factions include pacifistic space treants, squads made up of clones, race of militaristic humans, and even robot refugees from another universe. The background story of each faction was carefully created, so they all have ties with previous games from Amplitude, including Endless Legend.
As I mentioned, you will have to adjust your tactics depending on the race you choose. The landscape can also play a role in determining the way you progress because you will need to make the most use of the available resources on the current map. Regardless of that, your goal will be the same – you need to manage your assets, expand your empire and become the dominant force in your galaxy.
The concept of colonization is interesting – you need to build a colony ship and send it to the new world to place an outpost. Once you do that, your civilians will start coming from the nearby worlds, and you can pronounce it to be your colony only if enough of your people makes it to the new territory. The problem is that they can be intercepted, and even destroyed. However, this concept changes if you choose the robotic race, which builds people instead of transferring them. And if you want to play with the nomadic race, you can instantly colonize a new world. However, if your large ark ship gets destroyed on its way to the new territory, it will take ages to build a new one, so you need to be careful.
The tactics are also important during the battles, and there will be times when a particular approach will be better than a versatile one. The point of this is that not all lies in numbers, which is a significant advantage for a game in this genre. The composition is equally important, and you will need to think how to adapt it to your next enemy. Regardless of winning or losing, the combat viewer will allow you to feel the excitement and enjoy the battles.
You Will Need Some Time to Get Used to the Game
Although the core gameplay mechanics are made up of your basic 4X mechanism, the factions and maps bring a lot of variety in Endless Space 2. It might take you a while to get used to the user interface. Although the developers tried to make it simple through the use of symbols and shortcuts, you will need a couple of conquests under your belt to learn how to make the most out of them. Fortunately, there are pop-up tutorials that will help you, but keep in mind that ES 2 has a learning curve.
The game also has a significant political aspect. Parties are fighting for power within your faction, which you can use to your advantage to pass some laws that help you with your goal. The trick is that the ruling party should approve the rules. If the secondary side rises, it might be a game-changer and put you in a terrible situation later in the game.
You can also nurture diplomatic relations with other factions, but you should know that, in most cases, AI races won’t be friendly. If you want to form alliances with the other races, you need to work a lot on your diplomatic approach. On the other hand, the communication of AI faction towards you comes down to trade suggestions or “get away from my territory” warnings.
You also have special characters that you can assign to fleets or planets. They are called heroes, and they can be used as colony boosters. Although they should play a significant role, you’ll see that their impact is not that deep.
Endless Space 2 spent more than six months in the early access on Steam. During that time, the game had a lot of patches and bug fixes, and the full version seems to be more than playable. Despite that, it could use a bit more polish, but the developers are releasing new updates every couple of days, so it will only get better with time.
Overall, Endless Space 2 is a great 4X strategy game with carefully designed and various factions guaranteed to provide lots of fun. It might not be the deepest title on the market when it comes to strategy, but it overcomes that with beautiful graphics and the atmosphere in the game. If you’re looking for a perfect way to kill some time during your afternoon off, you can’t go wrong by downloading Endless Space 2 from Steam to your PC.