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Endless Space (PC) Review

/ Jul 6th, 2012 No Comments

Endless Space (PC) Review

Endless Space (PC) Review

Endless Space (PC) Review

Endless Space is a 4X space simulation strategy game for Windows PC for sale on Steam at the launch price of $29.99. You take on the identity of one of eight civilizations on your quest to galactic domination. For those of you familiar with 4X games (Explore, Expand, Exploit, Exterminate) it’s in the same mold as other 4x sim games such as the Civilization franchise and for those familiar with the 4X space genre, Masters of Orion. This time around in a new age of PC gaming, Endless Space takes the genre a nice step forward with impressive graphics, a deep and difficult learning/mastering curve and tons of depth to all facets of the game.

Story

There’s a decent bit of lore here although there is no real campaign mode – you just dive in and start playing in an attempt to rule the galaxy against however many opponents you’ve decided to play against. There are eight distinct civilizations to choose from, each of which has their pros and cons that you have to weigh. All of the eight have their own backstory which is lightly brushed on in the game, but really plays no pivotal role in the overall experience of the title. However, it’s nice that they created these unique civilizations and gave them each a nice identity for gamers to dive into.

Video Review

Graphics

Endless Space Screenshot

Endless Space Screenshot

The graphics of Endless Space are pretty impressive and looked quite nice, even at the ridiculous resolution of 2560×1440. It’s certainly not hardware intensive, but the map views and overall art direction of the planet, ships, user interface and all the components that make up the visuals were well done. Certainly, nobody is expecting this game to match up graphically with an action title, but judging the game on the merits of its own genre lend us to think that this game has really solid graphics and at no time came across as campy or lame – something that a lot of these sci fi games tend to be. The UI, perhaps the most important graphical element of all, was really well done and hopping around from screen to screen was done easily.

Sound

Again, judging Endless Space from within the confines of its genre, it was really good. The soundtrack sounds like something stolen from the recently completed Battlestar Galactica series and plays in the background nicely and never detracts. Everything else in the game is basically sound effects to support clicking and alerts which all sound fine and dandy. Again, nothing that is going to blow you away but you could tell the sound in the game was done with a certain understated class that lent itself to the genre (4X space sim) and the lore behind space exploration and discovery.

Game Play

Endless Space

Endless Space

One of the difficulties we found playing Endless Space was with its learning curve and running through the tutorial. Don’t expect a nice baked-in tutorial level on rails like we see in other games. You just start playing and for a tutorial, Endless Space will throw screens up featuring static screenshots plus some scrolling text identifying what the heck you are looking at. We had to play through a tutorial mode twice just to understand what we needed to click on and what was important to focus on.

Learning curve aside, if you are familiar with other 4X games then you’ll certainly get the general idea of how to play the game and how to win. There’s multiple ways to win, from the science win to the commerce win to, of course, the “I blew up everyone else!” victory which I tend to enjoy the most. Setting up game is extremely easy and there’s plenty of options available to choose from to customize a game. Between picking from the number of players (up to 8) to the type of galaxy you are going to play in, to the difficulty level of your opponents you’ll be able to set up the kind of game you want to at any given time.

Diving into a game is fun but even at the “fast” game mode level, expect to sit through a few hours minimum against just two other opponents to get through a game. There’s so many things to manage turn to turn, it tends to play a lot deeper on particular levels as opposed to other 4X games you’ve played in the past. For example, when you take over a star system in Endless Space, there are typically multiple planets with one by default being able to be colonized right away. By researching technologies in colonization the other planets unlock to be colonized, so one star isn’t exactly mapped over to the concept of a city because you have multiple colonies per star. Speaking to the research component, there are four main areas to research from and there are so many things to research it quickly becomes evident that if you don’t have your gameplan set early and stick with it things can go bad for you in a hurry.

The combat component in Endless Space has both an “Auto” and “Manual” mode. In manual there are three “turns” where you get to pick the tactic used by your squad and if successful, you blow up the other guy. If you fail, you die. Pretty simple. The battle is basically automated so you get to watch some cool ships do the whole “pew pew pew” thing at each other, crossing your fingers the whole time that it’s not one of your ships that explodes. It actually doesn’t get old and even after playing the game for a while you’ll still occasionally opt to watch and participate in a battle because … well … it’s kinda cool to watch.

Overall Impression

Endless Space is a really solid 4X space sim sold at a really reasonable price on Steam. Frankly, if you are fan of the 4X genre you’re going to want to buy the game and for those of you that love the whole space theme it’s a must buy. While it might play a little too slow for our tastes and have a really steep learning curve even on the easy modes, it’s an enjoying time vampire that has a tremendous amount of replayability that fans of this genre will definitely dub a big winner.

Overall Ratings – Endless Space (PC)

Graphics:

8/10

Sound:

8/10

Gameplay:

9/10

Replay Value:

10/10

OVERALL SCORE:

88%

Sean W. Gibson

Sean W. Gibson

Founder, Featured Contributor at Gaming Illustrated
Sean Gibson has been the owner and Executive Editor of Gaming Illustrated for over eleven years. His roles include acting as CEO and President of Gaming Illustrated, LLC and also includes being a reviewer, previewer and interviewer. Sean's opinions on this site do not reflect those of his full-time employer.
Sean W. Gibson
Sean W. Gibson

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