From the team that brought us thousands of hours of goodness in the form of Endless Space (more on this later) and Dungeon of the Endless, AMPLITUDE Studios has officially released their new 4X game to the masses out of Early Access, and it's got a ton of greatness to offer: Endless Legend
. Endless Legend will look a whole lot more familiar in format to strategy fans than Endless Space's interface, as it has a much more traditional layout - HEX GRIDS.
It is, admittedly, a little busy, but it's absolutely gorgeous looking, especially in motion. The world features a number of factions (8 right now, but if it follows the trend of Endless Space, that will grow in future updates) each of which has a wide spectrum of abilities/features to differentiate them. Given the interface and layout and genre, tons of comparisons to Civ V (and soon Beyond Earth) will inevitably be drawn, but the more I play, the more I can see the direct lineage from Endless Space in pretty much every aspect of the game.
There are four primary currencies in the game, collectively called FIDS: F
ust, and S
cience - each of these is relatively self-explanatory other than Dust, which is the Endless form of currency (just think of it as gold). Food increases your population, Industry increases your build, Dust allows you to buy things directly, and Science increases your research rate. As you get more population, you can devote them directly to production of one of these resources, or to a slightly more abstract resource called "Command." More on this later.
The world map is divided into "provinces," of which there can be only one city at a time - they can exploit any resource within a province, but where the city is actually located determines how much FIDS you get. As your cities grow, you can expand them (which decreases happiness), and actually level up the squares (which increases happiness) to get a much more robust looking city and different benefits.
In addition to your major cities which you and competing factions can control, there are minor factions which can have a number of villages within a province. Think of these as a cross between City-States and Barbarians in Civ V. You can buy them off, you can attack them and raze their town, or you can complete a quest which they ask of you in order to befriend and "pacify" them, which will give you access to their unit type for recruitment. This is one of a couple ways that you'll be assigned quests as you expand, giving you periodic goals along your way to conquest which gives you an edge.
Speaking of conquest, combat in this game is top-notch. Your armies can hold multiple units (up to 4 at the start, and 1 hero, but I expect that'll expand later in the game) which move around as a single unit, but when you go into combat, you'll go through a series of screens - first, comparing your armies, then the armies effectively split up into their individual units, fill out the land surrounding them, and it goes into a turn-based tactical combat mode where you have six rounds to attack the opposing army.
Terrain actually matters (you can't ascend or descend those cliffs), ranged attacks are effective (some units can fire up to 3 or 4 tiles), and units have varying stats depending on what you equip them with. That's right, you craft and equip your own units based off of what technologies are available to you. Want to give your heavies some ranged weapons? Totally doable, provided you've got the resources.
I'll probably edit in some further description of factions/information on the tech tree/etc as I get further into the game and learn more, but rather than fill up the Steam thread with conversation about this, I felt it deserved its own place for discussion. It's slow, and may take a little to get used to/understand if you're not familiar with Endless Space, but well worth playing and owning. The game is only $35, so go and pick it up
. Just take a look at some of the gorgeous screenshots that players have been taking
Go and play!