Feel free to either watch the review below or read it, the old-fashioned way. I like to cater to all tastes.
This is another indie game, officially released in September 2014 after a few months of early access, which many may have missed. Endless Legend is a turn-based strategy game, similar in structure to Civilisation but with a fantasy flavour to it. It’s based in an entirely fictional world called Auriga with eight races/factions to choose from. The basics of the game will be familiar to any Civilisation player, but beyond the basics, Endless Legend goes much deeper.
Like in Civ, you choose a culture to develop, starting with just a single settler. From this one settler you need to found cities, raise an army and expand your kingdom. Rival civilisations inhabit the world with you and as well as growing your own, you will need to engage with those cultures through battle/ diplomacy / trade. Technological development is also a big thing in this game with scientific research proving as important in growing your culture and keeping up with the neighbours, as simple expansion and military power.
The rules of expansion are slightly different in Endless Legend than Civilisation. Civilisation allowed relative freedom with the founding of cities, whereas in Endless Legend the land is split up into regions, each of which can only hold one city. This makes the initial placement of your cities more strategically important, as if you don’t search the whole region you may find later that there was a spot available richer in resources than your original site which you would then not be able to inhabit. There are exceptions to this rule as one of the factions is able to move their cities at will but pay for that advantage in other areas. However, even they can only establish one city per region.
The battle system is a little more in depth than in Civilisation, where it is a simple matter of declaring an attack and watching health bars go down. When a battle begins, you’ll be able to place your armies and dictate their tactics. You can also choose to fight manually or let the computer handle it. If you choose to do it yourself then you’ll be able to move your units on a battle board of tiles. Melee units will need to be on the adjacent tile to the enemy to attack, whereas ranged can shoot across tiles, allowing the tactic of staying out of range to avoid damage. Different factions will specialise in different styles of attack which is worth bearing in mind when you make your faction choice.
Starting a game has a similar process to Civilisation. You can choose the size of the world, the number of rival factions, the style of the land mass and topography of the land, flat, hilly, mountainous etc. You can also choose the difficulty level. The higher the difficulty level the more aggressive the rival civilisations will be and more likely it will be that they will declare war on you. If you’re new to these sorts of games then I would suggest starting on an easier setting as there is a lot to learn in this game even for veteran Civilisation players.
There is a tutorial level for this game, however, unless you’re completely new to these sorts of games then I would advise you to skip it and just start a game on the easiest setting. The tutorial is long and, I think, more intense and seemingly complex than it needs to be and by the end, I felt like I’d just attended a day long physics lecture. As long as you understand the basics of building cities and moving units then I think the rest is easy enough to pick up during play. I think the tutorial is the only element of this game that I have a gripe with. It would have been better broken down into a few shorter tutorials say, Game Basics, Combat Basics, Empire Management and Unit/ Hero Development because in my opinion, only the first two would be necessary to start playing and nothing kills a game faster than an hour long tutorial which just throws the information in your face without really giving you much opportunity to put it into practice.
The factions is one area where Endless Legends separates itself from Civilisation and other similar games that have come before, as your choice of faction can dictate the way you play the game. For example, there is one faction that can move their cities at will, however as a downside, they can’t declare war on rival nations. At the other end of the spectrum there is an aggressive faction who can’t propose peace or alliances. This means you have to be very careful when choosing your factions as to what sort or play style you want to favour because if you want to be everyone’s friends and nurture relations with other nations then Necrophages won’t be the way to go. If none of the factions suit your style of play then you can create your own faction by mixing and matching the abilities and limitations of the other factions.
Each faction, as well has having their own style of play, also have their own storyline and main quest chain. Completing your faction’s main chain of quests is one way of winning the game, if you don’t feel much like annihilating every other rival culture on the board. There are also eight more ways of winning the game, from the obvious elimination victory to a trade option where the other rivals will bow before the might of your trade wagons, or some such, can’t say I’ve tried that one yet.
The world, which like Civilisation is created at random at the start of each game, is really quite beautiful, dotted with abandoned ruins to explore for bonus items as well as forests, snowy plains and waterfalls all with a fantasy flavour. The graphics are exceptional, being some of the best I’ve seen in a game of its type. Endless Legend also includes seasons which can decrease or increase the rate of unit movement and affect the ability to gather resources in your cities which I think is a great touch and adds yet another level of strategy to the game.
If you enjoy turn based strategy games and you haven’t given this one a try then I strongly suggest you do. It really is at the top of its genre and offers a very diverse and adaptable style of play, and as each faction forces you to play the game in a different way, you could potentially play it again and again and still find the gameplay fresh and challenging. This game has been expertly designed and produced with great graphics and attention to detail. There’s nothing to dislike except for the tutorial and you can just skip that and start playing.
Diverse and adaptable style of play, you can win in nine different ways from technology or quest completion to just declaring war and wiping out your rivals.
Has a great graphical style and a polished interface.
Factions system adds depth to the game and can force you to play the game in a style you wouldn’t normally consider, which means you can play the game multiple times and still feel challenged.
A lot of potential game time when you consider the seven factions you can complete the game with, each with their own main quest chain and storyline, plus the ability to custom make your own once you’ve mastered all the default races.
Multiplayer means that if you get bored of playing against the AI or if you would rather pit your skills against your friends then you can do so.
The tutorial is long with a lot of elements that might have been better explained either in separate tutorial sections or while actually playing the game.