Early Access Authorized: Endless Legend is on track to be the 4X Fantasy game we deserve
I have a bit of a confession to make. My original hour of Endless Legend took place well over a week ago. The problem, though, is that I’ve spent that week trying to figure out how to say more than “Endless Legend is Endless Space in a fantasy setting.”
While that’s not 100% true (there are several other additions and enhancements I’ve noticed), the core gameplay hasn’t changed much. The turn based strategy game still revolves around four resources: food to help your population grow, industry that determines how quickly you’ll build things, dust (the game’s economy), and science to determine how quickly you’ll research new skills. While the game’s board looks completely different visually, the concept remains the same: players start out in their own slice of the world and will have to venture into the great unknown to expand their empire.
Of course, you’re also trading in space exploration for a fantasy world.
On the surface, this is the only difference between Endless Space and Endless Legend. As you dig deeper, though, you’ll find out there’s much more that awaits us. First and foremost, there are quests that will help guide the player along, fixing one of the biggest issues that plagued Endless Space: having absolutely no idea what to do. While far from gospel, quests do a nice job of nudging players in the right direction. You’re told “hey, check out these ruins” or “you should totally attack that camp of neutral NPCs” to help one get accustomed to both your surroundings and how you should be playing the game.
The most beneficial change hands down is the game’s research tree. No longer a gigantic imposing nightmare, upgrades are separated into different tiers and are shown in a more simplified manner. Instead of constantly zooming out and in to see where you should be going, you’ll be focused on one tier before expanding into the next. This centralized approach helps prevent information overload and helps to make the game more accessible.
It’s that last bit that’s the most important. As much as I enjoyed Endless Space, it wasn’t exactly the most welcoming or accessible game on the market. There was a lot of digging through dirt and muck to get to the treasure. Endless Legend’s first impression gives hope that this won’t be the case in the sequel. It leaves a good taste in my mouth that doesn’t alienate.
Then again, I came in with familiarity in the franchise, so take that for what you will.