Endless Space is a ruthless game. It’s a race against time as you colonize planets, harvest materials, and build a fleet to protect your empire. The game has a very steep learning curve. Luckily, the developer implemented a tutorial system that is very thorough. It holds your hand through the complicated menu systems until you have a better understanding of the game.
It teaches you the basics until you feel comfortable enough to play the game on your own. Endless Space is a very complicated game, but the tutorial system makes it feel less overwhelming.
Endless Space is true to its name. Since the game doesn’t have a real single-player campaign or story mode, you can basically play forever. The single-player (offline) mode is similar to playing a game of skirmish. It’s like playing a multiplayer match with bots in an offline environment. While playing an endless version of skirmish is entertaining, it does make you long for a bona fide story mode or offline campaign feature.
The online multiplayer feature more than makes up for the lack of a single-player campaign. Since the game is available through Steam, you are always guaranteed to find players to challenge.
There is so much content available in Endless Space that it’s impossible to cover everything in a single review. You could play the game multiple times and never reach the same outcome twice. This is due in part to the unique research system (or talent tree) that has well over two-hundred skills that can be learned.
The research system is broken down into four different categories: Exploration and Expansion, Applied Science, Diplomacy and Trade, and Galactic Warfare. Each category has its own disadvantages and perks. Some skills are better at colonizing planets, while others are capable of manufacturing powerful weapons and space ships. It all depends on how you want to play the game.
Colonizing planets can serve more than one purpose in Endless Space. Not only are they used for a place to colonize, but they also serve as FIDS ( Food – Industry – Dust – Science). If you don’t colonize, you will die. Colonizing is your lifeline.
Each Star System has about six different planets, but not every planet is habitable. In order to colonize a planet, you must first have a hive ship to begin the process. Once you colonize a planet, the hive ship will no longer be useful and it will disappear. These ships play a major role in Endless Space. You must manufacture these ships constantly to keep colonizing. It can take upwards of twenty turns to complete one hive ship. This is where exploring the universe comes into play. You must scour one solar system after another looking for sustainable planets to colonize.
Endless Space is demanding on the player and expects a number of tasks to be completed at once, but you’re always having fun doing them. How many games available today allow you to wipe out entire civilizations in the name of colonization?
There are many different ways to play Endless Space. You can be the peaceful trader, the lonely explorer or the juggernaut from Hell — it’s all up to you. And don’t think you have to conquer the stars alone either. Endless Space has a Hero System for that. You can hire mercenaries (or Heroes) that can help command your fleets or even govern star systems that you have already colonized.
Every Hero has their own unique set of skills/ trades, but not every hero will be good at war. Some heroes are best suited for governing star systems, but they can always be reassigned to something else later. Heroes can be found within the Academy menu. From the Academy menu, Heroes can be hired, fired or reassigned. Heroes have their own upkeep that must be paid; this fee is automatically deducted from your overall treasury. Heroes offer bonuses that can help your campaign. These very powerful characters can greatly improve the efficiency of your star systems and fleets.
There are two different options to choose from before entering battle — auto or manual. Auto will command your fleets and make the decisions for you. Manual gives you control over your fleet, but it doesn’t allow you to physically control your ships. There are three steps you must follow while fighting in manual mode: range, medium and melee.
Every battle starts at range distance and then progresses to medium and then eventually melee. Special abilities cards must be selected for each of the stages. Some abilities will cost you upkeep, while other special abilities will cost absolutely nothing to use. As the battle unfolds, gorgeous 3D renders of massive ships are shown waging war in the inky blackness of deep space. It’s quite impressive. This is what strategy space games should be like.
The combat system is well-balanced; you always feel in control of your fleet no matter what happens. If both sides survive, the battle will be considered a draw and the process is repeated again. This will continue until either you or the enemy is defeated. Sometimes it can take five or more turns to kill an enemy, so combat can be brutal and intense. Both sides cannot heal unless they have a special ability like Nanobots. The short combat rounds work really well; it gives the illusion that combat is happening over the course of days, months, or even years. Battles don’t feel rushed during this process.
When you finally feel comfortable playing Endless Space, you can play online via Steam. There is a thriving online community for this game, so there is plenty of competition waiting for new players.
The graphics in Endless Space are out of this world (no pun intended). The ship models are beautiful and contain an incredible amount of detail. Even exploring the galaxy is visually appealing to the eyes. There are so many different planets to explore and races to encounter. There are few strategy games available today (especially based on space exploration and colonization) that have the amount of graphical detail that Endless Space has.
Developer Amplitude Studios has an opportunity to expand Endless Space with DLC. Even though the game offers countless scenarios and worlds to explore, there is plenty of room to add additional creatures, star systems, and races. The possibilities are endless (no pun intended).
Endless Space is one of the best strategy games available today. If you’re a fan of strategy games (especially ones that focus on space exploration), then Endless Space is the game for you.
James ‘Daripp3r’ Pittaro
Platform: PC (Available on Steam)
OS: Windows XP SP3 / Vista / 7
Processor: Core 2 Duo Processor or Equivalent
Memory: 2 GB RAM
Graphics: 256 MB DX9 Compliant
Hard Drive: 2 GB HD space
Sound: DirectX 9 Compatible Audio
Developer: Amplitude Studios
ESRB: T (Teen)
|The graphics in Endless Space are absolutely gorgeous.|
|Not only is the music full of emotion, but it’s soulful. It captures that, ‘You’re alone in the black, murky depths of space’ feeling.|
|My only gripe is the lack of a single-player campaign, but otherwise, Endless Space is perfect.|
|Endless Space is an amazing trip through the solar system. The gameplay offers endless opportunities and outcomes.|