I want to start off by saying that endless legend is my first, “Real” 4x strategy game. I have tons of time in games Like Civilization 5, and Total War games, but nothing as in-depth as a full blown 4x title. Until now!
Endless Legend takes place in the realm of Endless, I guess. From what I hear the game is set in the same universe as there other Amplitude titles. As you begin the game you will jump into the role as one of eight different factions. Each with a very unique style. Anything from the Wild Walkers who worship the earth and the land, but have very few powerful fighters, too groups like the Drakken who fight for equality and diplomacy above all else. Though there is not much upfront lore about each faction (minus a brief opening cut scene before each single player game) Each Faction feels incredibly unique. Making multiple play throughs, and multi-player a blast.
Graphically, Endless legend is phenomenal. Featuring a map that looks like it was taken straight from a table top board game, and more colors that I thought were possible. Which really helped me to immerse myself in the world. A world in which you will be spending lots of time.
Like other 4x games, Endless legend is one you’re in for the long haul. An average single player game can take 8-10 hours. Plenty more when in multiplayer, playing against smarter more politically minded people. Bringing up a few interesting issues.
20 hours in, I’ve found the AI to be almost unresponsive. In my first game (after the short tutorial) I played for about 5 hours. Having almost no contact, with any other races (of which there were 6). Except a few minor races which are very aggressive unless pacified. In a second game; that is now lingering into the 10 hour mark, I’ve had the pleasure of being nose to nose with 3 factions, only to relies that they don’t give a damn, what I do, think, or say. One enemy did declare war on me, but only because he is a “war type faction”. His minions carelessly threw themselves at my walls only to die time and time again. It felt like he was doing this only because the game said he had to, in order to fulfill his role, not because it was the best strategic decision. (I was playing on hard difficulty)
Other than some Dumb AI, the gameplay is solid. City management is as deep as ever featuring an approval system, resource management, and growth. Resources types are plentiful, and the tech tree is very easy to understand. It must be noted that you won’t be teaching down a linear path anymore. Endless Legend, allows players to tech as they please entering a new era every 9 researched techs.
Combat in Endless legend is a bit wonky, but fun none the less. Armies, fight each other on the same hexes in which they are positioned on the world map. Clearing away minor debris like trees and towns, for an instanced battle. Bonuses are given for terrain, and certain units gain bonuses based on faction traits. Once things kick off, you can issue unit orders, then press go to see you're warriors go to work. Most of the time units are smart and fight to win even if you have given them orders detrimetal to there sucess. Other times though units can move into compromising positions, without so much as a notification this is possbile. Also, I have found that Factions like the Wild Walkers, who are range based, have a rough start. Entire armies can get wiped out in a single battle because of their low defense and inability to run from most melee enemies effectively. Thankfully upgrading your units nullifies this issue.
Customizing units in Endless Legend, has been a blast. Changing everything from a units name down to every last piece of gear. I love outfitting my soldiers with new weapons, amour, and accessories, all of which have to be balanced around you're production and resource amounts. Add to much high tech gear, and your units will take too many turns to build. Add two few upgrades and your units could be combat ineffective. The balancing act is one that allows for a lot of experimentation, as well as challenge.
It has to also be said that features like trade routes, some odd buildings, like watchtowers, and unit abilities, are confusing to understand, at least for the first 10-15 hours. The game is terrible at telling you why you need these buildings / abilities, or how to access relevant information, on the subject. Luckily a bit of mucking around, and experimentation allows you to get the hang of things. Tool tips galore!
All in all, Endless Legend is, an amazing game. It offers up some of the best fantasy strategy out there, and does it in a way that is not only familiar to strategy fans, but unique in its factions, worlds, and lore. If you can get passed, a few AI issues, and a rough combat system, you will find a deep, engaging strategy experience, at an incredible price. Endless Legend is actually Golden!