- Gorgeous Aesthetic
- Simple UI
- Sound Gameplay Mechanics
- Annoying AI Enemies
- Unforgiving Climate System
Endless Legend has been added to the small library of games that I have had trouble walking away from to write about. This Amplitude title is a fantasy turn based strategy game. When it comes to turn based strategy, I tend to compare titles to the Civilization series, but that may have changed here.
The opening moments of gameplay actually blew me away. Rather than plopping you onto a map, and illuminating the new spaces you uncover, the world in Endless Legend flourishes and comes to life like a fantasy novel. You will watch as towering mountains, lush meadows, and unforgiving deserts sprout from the map as you explore, enticing you to fill in all the edges of the map. Each playable race is as varied as the world you inhabit. The overall art style used in the loading screens, character art, and throughout gameplay are unmatched within this genre. The game’s very simple UI also lets the real art shine. Endless Legend is one of the prettiest games I have ever played.
Endless Legend‘s gameplay is as fluid as it is beautiful. Rather than simply focusing on expansion and warfare, as I do in Civ, EL challenges you to complete interesting and varied quests, following a different storyline unique to each race. One thing I must state, is that if you do not like pandering to city states in Civilization, some aspects of gameplay in this game may not be for you. Each region you conquer across the world, will have at least two encampments of different beast races. These minor encampments can be assimilated into your army, adding variety and strength to your troops.
Players can either subdue these encampments by completing quests for them (there goes the pandering), bribing them, or by crushing them with force. Aside from dealing with these minor encampments, you will also be fighting for control of the worlds resources and land against other races such as the Ardent Mages, a group of spellcasters who draw power from pain and torture, Necrophages, a race of monstrous mutated hive beasts, The Cultists, a mysterious brood of immortal creatures seeking to impose their will on the world, and a host of others.
As previously stated, Civilization is usually the standard to which I hold most turn based strategy games. Endless Legend however, features a plethora of features that the last installment of Civ does not. There are small features, such as being able to change your cities focus and specialization (food,production,gold, etc) on the fly, a climate system that actually affects gameplay, and the ability to queue your research and construction across your empire. The diplomacy system is also vastly different from what I have seen in other titles within this genre. Other world leaders will not have some preset personality that never fluctuates, instead other leaders react in real-time to what is happening in-game.
Trade agreements are also handled differently and are struck in real time, meaning you will not have to wait a turn to hear their counter offer or acceptance/refusal of a proposal. Interaction with other leaders have a host of new options and it added a refreshing twist to the game. If isolationism is you thing, you can not only close your borders, which is usual turn based strategy fare, but you can also blackout the space around your empire, keeping enemies from getting a lay of the land. Small tweaks like this made me feel like I was playing turn based strategy for the first time again.
I really did not know what to expect heading into Endless Legend, but I must say that it is definitely worth playing. A lot. Different quest-lines and powers for each playable race, varied landscapes, and tons of settings to tweak and change, delivery huge replay value. My only pet peeves thus far, have been the climate system and the roaming bands of enemies, the “barbarians” for other Civ players. The frequency with which they attack can get in the way of some of your other plans, which in turn force you to bulk up your army and crush any surrounding encampments.
The aforementioned climate system is interesting, yet unforgiving. Every few turns, winter comes and brings hardship with it. During winter, your troops cannot move as quickly, and your resources will all drop. While this is interesting, it can get annoying due to the fact that seasons change quicker as the game progresses. Nevertheless, Endless Legend will keep you entertained for hours and hours to come. Will you rule with brute force? Will you deceive and take advantage of other leaders? Will you unite the world with diplomacy and knowledge? Play Endless Legend and find out.