Endless Legend wasn’t near the top of my “Oh, I Have to See This” list when I went to PAXEast 2014. In fact, I had never even been introduced to Amplitude’s Endless Universe. Yet, the game, which was shown to me in a press demo, took me by surprise. I’m a huge fan of Civilizations, and it’s clear that the game is coming from that same place. Yet, Endless Legend is loaded with additional garnishes and mechanics. Now in Early Access on Steam, I’ve had a chance to play Endless Legend for a solid amount of time, and I thought I’d give my initial opinions on this surprise find from PAX.
The first thing that hit me about Endless Legend was its place in the larger Endless Universe. I’m a sucker for world building. So, when a giant, multi-game, multi-time period universe jumps up and slaps me in the face without any previous exposure, my eye-brow raises, and my ears perk up. I was actually show Dungeon of the Endless first, which was also being shown off at PAX, and was impressed that a game with such a vastly different feel and vastly different artistic direction could easily be integrated into the same world as Endless Space, a Sci-FI Civilization Building game, and Amplitude’s new offering: Endless Legends, the first games Fantasy cousin.
Set many years after Dungeon of the Endless, the descendants of the prisoners who crashed on Auriga eventually emerge on the planet’s surface and begin to populate it, having long forgotten how their ancestors first arrived. The new inhabitants of Auriga soon discover that the seasons are extremely long and harsh, and realize that Auriga is a dying world. The player leads one of Auriga’s eight competing factions as they build an empire over the next millennium and strive to save their people before Auriga becomes uninhabitable.
There’s a clear depth to the design of the different faction and minor factions, and the different resources and terrain in the game are rich with little tidbits that give just enough information to get you interested for more. When the resource tiles in a Civ building game are drawing you in, you know that’s a good sign.
The four faction available at this point are all quite cool, but i was instantly drawn to The Vaulters, whose history spans all three games. Upon starting a game, you’re immediately struck by the beauty of the world. Things are bright, colorful and rich. There’s an incredible level of detail, and things seem to spread out a little bit more than in Civ V, which makes the entire experience feel a bit more organic.
One of my only complaints about the Alpha Release of Endless Legend is the lack of a tutorial. Is it ridiculous I feel this way? Yep, but still, in a complex game with so many different facets, at least providing something to players, even in a raw form is a misstep I think. Other things are missing from the Alpha Release of Endless Legend, most prominently the fully implemented diplomacy system (which sounds amazing, allowing you to absorb smaller cultures and tribes and draft them into your empire.). Alpha is Alpha, and I understand that a tutorial is integral to the functioning of a game, but dropping new people into the deep end without some sort of flotation device is a little rough.
That said, the real reason I feel that way is because of how many things are going on in the game. First, you’ve got heroes, able to lead your armies, level up, and find relics to bolster their strength. One of the thing I like best about this is that you have options: you are in fact able to take a hero, make them a governor of your city and solely devout them to governance.
Endless Legend shows amazing potential. It hasn’t all been revealed, but I cannot wait to discover it. A rich world full of interesting new lore, great mechanics drawn from of my favorite games, and stunning visuals all great a game that I cannot wait to sink many hours into.