The 4X turn-based strategy game has been a staple of PC gaming practically since it’s existence years ago. The genre has changed throughout the years but at it’s core has remained engrossing and addictive in its nature. Amplitude Studios may be the new player on the block, but with its staff having experience in the gaming industry they have set out to create one of the best 4X games available with Endless Space. After spending time with the game I’m not quite sure they achieved that, but they definitely produced a title that veterans of the genre will appreciate.
Endless Space sets the player at the control of one of eight distinct races in an unknown galaxy each with its own unique traits and boosts. Gameplay plays out in typical 4X fashion with players making decisions which make their civilization explore, expand, exploit, and exterminate. The game forces player to manage their FIDS (food, industry, dust, and science) to expand their civilization. Each resource plays a critical role in expansion as well as with your approval rating amongst your controlled planets. As you encounter the other races in the galaxy you are also forced to manage diplomacy and set up relationships with them. Holding up the terms of agreements or ultimately crushing them is up to the player and often depends on what the players strategy is to win a match.
Not all interactions involve peaceful diplomacy because what game would be a 4X game without combat. Endless Space features interstellar fleet battles that take place in real-time. Players make decisions on the fly during three combat phases. Depending on how you have equipped your ships and what commands you give each, the “rock-paper-scissor-like” combat will either play out in your favor or crush your hopes of galactic domination. The combat scenes are fully rendered and it is pretty exciting to watch them play out, unless of course it’s your ship that is crashing to the planet below.
With multiplayer also available Endless Space definitely delivers on it 4X promise and gives players a unique setting for the genre. Outside of the setting however I don’t think Endless Space really delivers anything new to the 4X genre. There are definitely better games in the genre that I think feel more immersive and where the gameplay is more engaging.
There is a certain spark that Endless Space is just missing. It almost feels empty when compared to games like Civ V. It also does not do a great job at introducing new players to the genre and I think this will definitely chase new players off. Veterans will feel right at home and will probably enjoy it due to it’s unique setting and visuals. If 4X games are your thing and you’re craving for something new then Endless Space may be for you but if you’re new to the genre then there’s definitely better games to start with to begin your exploration into the 4X universe.