Endless Space 2 Review - Ad Infinitum

Endless Space 2 Review - Ad Infinitum

Reviewing a strategy game with a scope as broad as Endless Space 2 is a sisyphean task, as each game mechanic you fully understand seems to lead to another that you've only just discovered.

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ES 1 had an interesting thought with its combat mechanics. A full-on RTS battle gets tedious when you have to fight it as often as you do in a typical 4X game (see Sword of the Stars), but neither is it satisfying to just get a pop-up saying whether you won or lost a battle without seeing all those goodies you researched in action. ES1 made it a 1 minute movie of the two fleets shooting each other at three different ranges, The player could select a card that gave certain bonuses before every phase, and certain cards countered enemy cards. It was a bit too simplistic and mechanical, but it struck a decent balance between keeping the player involved and not wasting too much time.

I was hoping for a perfected system in the sequel, with just a bit more depth and involvement. So I was disappointed that they appear to have tweaked the system to have less depth and involvement, instead of more. Now you only make one choice at the very start, and then watch (in the beta footage I saw) a significantly longer movie of the ships fighting it out. A real shame. I might get this on sale, but I could've bought it immediately, maybe even preordered, if the combat system hadn't been a step down.

ES 1 was a refreshing take on the 4X genre but it suffered from a veneer of casualness which prevented it from taking its place amongst the more heavy players.
That veneer came mostly from its graphics and combat..and the (for some) dreaded starlanes.
For me personally its max galaxy was also too small.
Such a shame really since it did many things right.
I'm glad they stuck with it and tried to improve on the original.
I will have to look into this one further now that it's finally out.

About the new stars in the exploration part, do you mean that no stars are visible except your starting ones and you find new lanes (and then planets) when visiting known planets?
Like in the original?..If I remember correctly..
Or more like in Imperium Galactica II where you have to manually scout and find new planets (outside of the lanes)?

I hope this sequel fares better than SoTS II did.

What max size galaxy is there in this one?
I'm hoping it's closer to Lost Empire Immortals or Distant Worlds than ES 1 or Stardrive I/II.
Stellaris or Space Empires IV would be acceptable as well.

 

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