100 thoughts on “James Recommends – Civilization: Beyond Earth & Endless Legend – Build a Civ in Space or Fantasy

  1. How does Endless Legend compare to Fallen Enchantress: Legendary Heroes? I would like to play a game like Master of Magic and I am not sure which one I should get. I still play MoM from time to time, it is so good…

  2. I get that you might not have been able to give it a lot of time, James. However, the devs of Beyond Earth were actually quite cunning in the way that they presented the resources:

    It's nearly guaranteed that you will have a majority of one of the extra-terrestrial resources. This will in turn influence your affinity. Tailor-making your civ for an affinity is quite hard, so it's much, much, much easier for new players to go straight down one affinity. Meaning through the use of special buildings the extra-terrestrial strategics are actually quite intuitively taught to the player as the game guides you down an affinity. Endless Legend conversely doesn't guide your personal learning that way making you learn each element until you've learned them all. Unlike a pure Supremacist faction who would naturally focus on Firaxite and might pick up floatstone if he needs trading fodder

    Also, Civ BE's tech tree isn't as… exponential as you think in regard to balance. Because it is so much easier for beginner to middling players to follow the affinity rather than the actual tech tree and it gives the web a much more predictable nature (but not too predictable) by checking it against another system in the game. 

    Conversely. Endless legend doesn't have anything to check or guide your tech progression other than your options and science output, which tends to give the feeling of flailing around until you have that all-too-crucial breakthrough.

    I don't think Endless Legend is precisely complex, Beyond Earth is quite complex but it isn't obtuse about it. Endless Legend is just about as complex as Beyond Earth (probably a little more in the factions and a little less in the science and military departments with the numerous military/hero menus). I personally found I had to put in a lot more work with Endless Legend to get the same amount of content out of it as Beyond Earth. 

    However, it can just come down to whether you like fantasy or science fiction. 

  3. Don't know about endless but after 1 finished and 2 unfinished runs of BE, i am ready to call it boring and simple. I prefer "linear" tech tree too, the tech tree BE has is basically the same, only each step opens up a more options, and they are less meaningful, they could be still displayed in a linear fashion, and would be frankly preferable in a tree than a circle. It's an okay game but it's hard to recommend even for variety because it's not that unique.

  4. You guys should really play Plague Inc.: Evolved. The game is fun, a "plague" (level or round) generally lasts for about 10 minutes, and the "news" feature is fucking hilarious. It takes the piss out of games, current events, and just about anything it can find. One of my favorite broadcasts is "Disrespectful funeral-goer 'forgot to press F'"
    You start the game by choosing a plague and genes to go with it. Then, you choose a starting location, and begin your plague. One IRL second is equivalent to one in-game day, and most plagues happen for about 1-2 years. The gist is that you collect DNA, or points to unlock plague spreading "transmissions", "Symptoms" that affect infected individuals such as cannibalism, turning them into zombies, making them worship a mind-controlling worm, or just making them sneeze if you need to infect more people and are boring, and plague-specific "abilities". There are 3 specific "stats" that affect your plague, as well. There's Infectivity, which increases the speed you infect people. Severity, which increases the chance of doctors spotting your plague (You start off unnoticed when you infect the patient zero), how quickly countries will work to cure your plague, and how many countries will take drastic measures like bombing their own cities to kill the infected, declaring martial law, or enabling "safe-cannibalism" which never ceases to amuse. Finally, there's lethality, which dictates how deadly your plague is.  Your general strategy will be to infect as many places as possible (aka "flooding" a country), only to use your extra DNA to unleash lethal symptoms that wipe humans off the map in a month.

    It provides progression in the forms of "genes" or boosts you can unlock by completing a plague. They provide general boosts to your next plagues, such as increasing the time it takes for scientists to cure your plague and cause you to lose. The game is extremely realistic, where your plague can spread through boats, laying dormant in the air or water, and on planes. Random events will happen that can involve natural disasters killing a few thousand people,  a country's economy increasing or decreasing, the "poor" nations getting a boost etc. Every country has certain climates, such as being arid, or rich, or hot. Certain upgrades work more or less efficiently in these climates. yay for text walls.

    TL;DR: A heavily repeatable strategy game where you control a disease that infects people and kills them.
    It's about 15 dollars on steam, can be run on anything from a $20,000 computer to a machine still running Windows 95, and has quite a few Easter eggs and inside jokes.

  5. I've never played any Civ game and am reasonably interested, but then there's the brick wall thing. Are there any 4x games that are more approachable but still have all the traits that make the genre interesting?

  6. Hey, extra credit, can you maybe, if you can, pick up a Pokemon mystery dungeon game? (Please, time, sky or darkness) I would believe that you'd like them, and trust me, are no ordinary Pokemon game :). (Nds4ios is a good iPhone emulator, and you can get the ROMS from coolrom.com)

  7. sure civ:BE is FINE, but Civ 5 is much better. You have 3 ways to win in civ Be, science, domination and whatever affinity you chose at the beginning and have to reassure the game that yes, I realy am going for  the supremacy, you can just auto choose for me now. Anyway, in civ 5 you have so many choices as to the civilization you choose. 43 "empires" vs 8 factions and the factions all play the same. In Civ 5 I could win though focus my empire on military, trade, religion, wonder building, culture and tourism, expansion and empire, or science. You cant focus on any one thing like before, at least not as well, everything ties into everything else, so you are always balanced. Im not even saying Civ 5 is good, I get board flicking through turns waiting for  my wonder to finish. Oh another thing the wonders are boring in BE. They dont feel  wonderful. final point, To much time is being spent on graphics and making it spacy than focusing on why people played civ. I guess Ill have to wait, but I am feeling like I should just forget I spent that money and move on with my life, I wont buy any expansion packs I am not reviving this horse. btw no horses in BE 0/5.

  8. I really wish you spent more (some?) time on what makes you recommend the games.  Most of the time, I have to ask myself if I just heard a recommendation at all.  Don't get me wrong, I love constructive criticism, but I also want to know what the appeal is because I may or may not be interested in that part.  Because you demonstrate a critical eye, I can trust your positive appraisals more than a glowing fan review (see also "everything is awesome").  Something to keep in mind anyway.  Thanks!

  9. @Extra Credits Wait. Stop. Backup. In the very last video I watched about Dark Souls, you [ExtraCredits] explained that having mechanics that were exploitable were a way for players to choose their own difficulty level. Yet, in both Civilization: Beyond Earth and Endless Legend you call their radial tech trees — which permits this same functionality — a design flaw because it makes it difficult to design the game around. 

    Can you comment or clarify? I get the distinction between 'design' and 'difficult to balance around' so maybe just explain the relative pros and cons of both approaches. 

  10. If anyone is interested in endless legend but worried about difficulty, i recommend watching a few lets play vids on youtube. After only a few videos i felt completely confident jumping in, even with very little experience in this game genre.

  11. Just wanted to mention that the techs in Endless Legends may be placed like a radial tree, but since there are no prerequisits and you can research in what ever order you like it's really not a tree at all.

  12. Maybe a tech web could require a player to get a certain number of "central" techs before they move out to the more advanced branches…?

  13. BE is a serviceable enough but game with a really poor narrative focus. Its ok, but suffers from being the "spiritual successor" to a giant like SMAC (which did a wonderful job of letting you customize your faction and giving an idea of what this weird future was like). Its greatest weakness is SMAC's greatest strength.  There's also other balance concerns, but that'll probably be addressed with patches. 

    Keeping in mind I only played some pre-releases from back in August or so, I found Endless Legends is an incredibly ambitious game with a gorgeous UI and unique world. Its got some cooler story elements and has a lot more neat ideas for the 4X genres. Unfortunately it was completely broken from a design standpoint. The AI was less than useless when I played (and I've heard similar opinions on recent builds). Balance was laughable in terms of faction strength and starting position. 

  14. I just can't take any recommendation for a Firaxis game seriously anymore. I'm a fan of the Civilization series, but honestly, the firm behind it has become a money-grubbing operation, more so than many other games. Beyond Earth is by no means worth a full price. Heck. Even the DLCs for the mother game don't offer enough of an update to grant the 30 euro price tag. All they ever do is add a few civs and a couple of larger mechanics that aren't even real game-changers. Meanwhile, a game-breaking diplomacy bug was not fixed for 4 years! And honestly, I'm sure that they hold features back from the main game just so that they can sell them at a hefty price in a DLC. Take espionage, for example. It has been a core feature in every Civ game since the first one. Not that Civ V's implementation is really all that interesting.

    tl;dr: Firaxis sells incomplete games, only to be complemented with overpriced DLC later.

  15. Thank God, I thought I was the only one that feels that way.  The problem with endless legend is its high learning curve.  However if this was 10 years ago people had less games this would be great, however I have about 50 games backlog I just don't have the time.  

  16. Hmm… any thoughts on Age of Wonders 3, James? Or anyone? Personally, I love the game but for 4x games like Civ, I just couldn't get into them for some reason.

  17. Endless Legends' tech isn't a tree, you don't have to take any path in the circles. You can pick whatever tech you want in that Age.

  18. Stupid to say – love your outfit. 

    Thanks for the recommendation, I was curious about the Endless Legend or a really long time. 

  19. If you liked these games, another game I would recommend is one called "Endless Space". It has the same kind of basic design except for that instead of fighting over land you are colonizing entire star systems at a time and battling for control over the galaxy. The tutorial isn't the best, and it's unit/ system management commands kind of have their own thing going on, but once you pick it up I find that it has been a lot of fun, and poses some new challenges to me as a player.

  20. I was wondering if anybody can point me in the direction of a good game to play to get into 4x games. I've tried playing Civ IV, but it just couldn't hold my interest for long enough to get me past the difficulty curve. I also tried Gal Civ II which was better, but still not something that kept me interested for more than a single playthrough. I've always wanted to get into 4x games, but they always just lose my attention after a few hours. So, anyone got any ideas on a good 4x game I could try?

  21. I for one cannot recommend Civ BE in in its current state. It is galling that they would sell that as a full price game when it feels like a stripped down full conversion for Civ 5. Perhaps with some expansions, an overhaul of the victory system in particular is necessary, and some greater diplomatic functions and some way of making everything less bland: each faction and play through feels too similar and many of the victories (see: Transcendence victory) are too passive and uninteresting.  

  22. Loving the outfit James 🙂
    I do hope they pull Beyond Earth together. As a Civ experience it works… but it feels… lifeless. I don't know how else to describe it. Its probably the memory of Alpha Centauri, a game who's lore and morality to this day sends shivers down my spine…

    The faction I was alone gave me a sense of direction and purpose in the game, and so I invariably played production heavy options. I find, while you can build production heavy from the outset with the (in my mind) interestingly customizable colony ship, Its hard to feel the same sense of purpose… or at least so far.

    Sadly, as is the case with alot of games lately… I find Beyond Earth a fine game after Civ V… but not so favorably compared to the feel, the atmosphere, the richness of Alpha Centauri. Many I'm sure will chide me that gameplay is key… but… I just feel AC had an asthetic to its brave new world that BE doesn't… and that doesn't tend to be the sort of thing added in expansions.

    Still, there is room to expand the gameplay, and that is where BE's blank slate design shines. I to am excited to see what they do with expansions.

    end rant

  23. Path of Exile does this radial tech/talent tree too, they somewhat solve the issue by 'nuding' you into the right direction by having you start off-center depending off your character archetype of choosing, i.e. the barbarian will be closer to the strenght/melee based skills at the beginning. Although nothing stops you from going off-script, it is almost always a waste of points.

  24. I love these videos, and I really respect James' work in regards to Games for Good and his contributions on EC. Thumbs up for effective use of 'Grok' in a sentence. Love that word.

  25. Hey James, what do you think of Warlock: Master of the Arcane and its sequel? Also, thoughts on the grand daddy of the 4x, Master of Magic?

  26. I think you are wrong on how Endless Legend's tech system works.
    "All techs can be researched regardless of order. There are no paths! So once an Era is unlocked you have complete freedom. For every 9 techs completed you will unlock the next era."

  27. I have an extremely important question (while the ad is going): 

    Is this just a reskinned Civ 5, or did they actually make significant changes, like Civ 5 did to Civ 4?

  28. 4:29 He said grok!  Heinlein still exists!  In seriousness though, I haven't had a chance to check out Endless Legend yet, though I purchased it during the Black Friday Steam Sales.  Endless Space was a little disappointing, the world felt empty to me, but I am looking forward to trying Endless Legend at some point.  For other awesome 4x games, may I recommend Distant Worlds:  Universe?  It has tons of detail and a massive scale.

  29. C:BE needs to have better leaders as well, The usual Civ series' leaders have always had an aura of greatness attached to them. the new leaders don't really show the core of what we seek in sci fi games, there needs to be a galaxian dictator, an elder, a rebel leader, a starship commander, a planetary conqueror and many more they need to add more fiction in science fiction.

  30. I like Civ 5, but quite frankly I am not in the least bit interested in a sci-fi version. Civ for me is about historical characters presented in a non-historical context. BE is not the least bit interesting to me for that reason.

  31. Oh wow, I have no idea what a biomass pool thing does, it's not like I could read the tool tip info or anything. Not like that's a thing in Civ.

  32. Civ:BE would have been a Great game… if they didn't launch it with broken quests..maybe making the ruler characters a bit more colorful and interactive would've helped.

    Also, Civ games are EXHAUSTING to play-through, making any kind of end-game payoff seem petty and pointless.

  33. 2:10
    Also, the Civ tech interface is ugly, overly minimalist and still manages to feel claustrophobic somehow.
    Endless Legend's looks a bit better. It's colorful, illustrated, compact, and filled with little tidbits of lore.

  34. I don't understand why the complexity of a game could possibly be a negative. So many games get released that hold your hand or dumb down mechanics for casual fans. If anything it should be a positive because it adds a layer of depth.

  35. How does Endless Legend compare to Endless Space? Played that to death and loved it. Though I don't think it had the issues James mentioned.

  36. It is encouraging to see James speak more and more boldly, loudly, and quickly.
    It now comes off as him considering his words, more than second guessing what he is about to say.

  37. @Extra Credits I had an idea on how to balance a radial tech tree. Imagine the circle balanced atop a point, so it's basically balanced in the centre. When you put skill points in a certain area the circle gets more unstable, so you'd have to distribute more evenly. That being said you could still make a straight line from the centre skill to the edge but would also have to also do the same in the opposite direction. If you place skills that have very little worth together in opposite directions this would balance it nicely.
    I even imagine having a side linear skill tree that could be used to improve the circle/base. For example you could improve the thickness of the point that the circle is balanced a top so you could be more free with following a tree for a cost of skill points.
    I can even see how to put this into both of these games.
    Fantasy- The circle is a table and skill points are rare stones that must be placed on certain areas of the board to unlock skills. Upgrading the linear tree would mean the support that the table is on would be thicker.
    Sci-Fi – The centre is a Dense star/white dwarf and you gain different skill stars, but too many stars on one side orbiting will draw in the dense star. Linear upgrades could increase the mass of the central star, making the circle smaller.
    If you read this tell me what you think, just an idea

  38. 3:25 I totally agree with that and its definitely one of my main problems with CivBE. Like, how am I supposed to know  on first glance that some terrain types hurt your units on the tile? I assumed it was a luxury resource and moved my units over there…

  39. Played both. BE plays like a badly designed civ5 mod.

    EL is much more interesting. Remember all the fuss about the orbital layer? It turned out to be a disappointingly trivial and non-game-critical buff system. What Firaxis touted as their killer new feature is silently implemented as a faction-specific feature of Ardent Mages in LE, the ability to build AOE pillars that increase resources, heal, deal damage or increase speed. 

    Different factions in LE have different things going for them. Want to pack up your cities on an oversized beetle and plop it down next to the enemy capital? Go with the Roving Clans, who also can't declare war. 

    No contest, really. BE is crap, EL is the 4x of the year.

  40. I love Civilization and my friends love Civilization. But I cant honestly with good conscience recommend Beyond Earth, there are some neat ideas. But other than the tech web, it is inferior to Civ V in every way. Just pick up a copy of Civ V complete, you will have a much better time.

  41. It's really funny that he said endless legend was difficult to pick up. I picked up Endless Legend almost immediately as it made perfect intuitive sense, and was one of the main points I used to sell it to friends. I would tell them "I played Sins of Solar Empire for hours and I still don't understand it. I think it took me about 40 minutes to fully grasp Endless Legend." They also had the same experience with it being very easy to understand and figure out. That's just me and my friends though, we could be the weird ones.

  42. Nice review, I own both these games, they really are an amazing experience playing them side by side. I've played Warlock: Masters of the Arcane (1-2), Sins of a Solar Empire (RTS/4x), Civ (1-5/be) European Universallis (historical 4x), I love grand strategy. But I have to say, people who keep saying SMAC is a BETTER game than CivBE are wearing rose colored glasses. That game, didn't have radial tech and on top of that, literally has "bee line" sort of techs.  Winning strats were very narrow in higher levels of play. If you remember SMAC and as an "open game" you're mistaken, it wasn't. The only place where SMAC was good was tone and narrative. That's it and that isn't always needed.

    Civ4 had a far better tone and narrative than Civ5, in my opinion. The mechanics were "meh" but the game played more into immersion than Civ5 does. (With the bonuses for sharing a religion, being able to get vassals, bonuses for relationships). In Civ 5, interaction was very generic. (Is angry because you're trying to win the game the same way they are) and lacked a lot of depth. The game was built to be more like an electronic "battle royale" of Civ. It's quite simply becomes the WWE of strategy games. Civ has all but dropped the pretense of being a Roman Emperor trying to build an empire to stand the test of time, but instead you're player one, your Civ is Rome.In Civ4 at least there was more to it.

    In my view, one of the biggest negatives for Civ5 is that it's dropped any sort of immersion or narrative… it's just players and points… no relationships.. nothing.. it's a zero sum game… there's no history to consider. Which is what annoys me the most about the tone of Civ5… you're not living history… you're just… using it as an excuse to play a fancy game of Risk…

  43. That tech tree of Civ:BE is almost completely stolen from older Amplitude game: "Endless Space" (google it, great game)
    And tech tree in Endless Legend is so different to what we see in other 4X games, they are not limiting you to any progression, just to "number" of techs you need to unlock net tier.

  44. I hated Civ:BE It was boring and lackluster and made me feel like it was a downgrade from Civ 5. I played BE for about 2 hours and just said "Screw this" deleted it off my computer entirely and started playing Civ 5. BE is confusing and weird and the satellite system is more annoying/forgetable/gimmicky than useful my satellites would just fly out of the sky and then I'd forget to rebuild them because their effects just weren't that noticable. Troops were bland and just not interesting… what else can I say? No variation=no interesting tactics. Artillery, ranged, and close combat. The tech tree was weird and confusing for example I was going for harmony, but some of the harmony techs are all the way across the tech tree from the rest and blocked off by techs that gain points in other affinities/anger lifeforms around you both of which I did not want to do and then the last thing EVERY GAME PLAYS OUT THE SAME WAY. Because everyone "civ" is randomized every game there is no way of planning a strategy to fight them or anything so it just ends up as "KILL THEM ALLLLLL" Because you don't know how technologically advanced/boosted they are at the start so  you just slaughter them with whatever troops are from your affinity even though some are better than others… anyway I just didn't like it….

  45. at 4:30 you say "they become that much more difficult for the player to… grock". I obviously can't hear you properly even after replaying those 5 seconds repeatedly. Can you either speak clearly or use another word?

  46. Just to state here in EL if you hover over any tile it will clearly show what resources it grants with a break down of the different factors that give it its final score (yes including what you would get from any techs or anomalies)

  47. New player to 4x grand strategy games here. Hi.
    One of the reasons that I was turned off by Civ was because it's too close yet too far from real life. I like that Endless Legend is another universe, and I like that it's so drastically different and unrealistic. It makes it more immersive, and the fact that has so many differences from reality comparatively is more attractive to me than the sorta-realistic stuff in Civ V.

  48. "Civ: BE is a good game with a few basic problems"
    THANK YOU. Can't talk about it without people yelling their hatred for it over you.

  49. James, I had just try out Endless Legend. you should stick with your initial view because it is definitely not a fun game.
    I was surprised how the game can make a fantasy setting so dead and boring. :(((((

  50. 0:55 That tech tree looks like Civ 5, but it has a lot of techs that aren't from civ 5. Are you using mods in that image?

  51. Interesting, exactly my pick of strategy games i am playing currently. I think both games are pretty much the current pinacle of the evolution of strategy games. Its worth pondering a bit over the heritage and games Master of Orion, Master of Magic. Evolution came not easily to strategy games.

    This is because for a long time the industry tried to incoperate traditional turn by turn strategy into a RTS envelope of a Dune 2. The result, after many, many failed attempts in strategy games (aside of traditional RTS games) have been Sins of a Solar Empire and Sword of the Stars (first one). Today, after Endless Space (predecessor to Endless Legend), X-Com and GalCiv the industry recognizes that turn based games as a contrast to RTS games still have an audience and the two are NOT the same genere and turn based strategy is making a comback.

    I got a glimpse of the new Master of Orion reboot and its pretty much what you expect from a MoO2, except the simplified combat mechanics of a Endless Space have been hybridized on it. Combat is still a big problem in space-strategy, because on one hand you want the nice ship to ship combat, on the other hand it has to be simple and quick. But i am glad to report that diplomatic behaviour is intact, wich is very important because of all the games mentioned here i easily lable it as the best AI interaction system. Its basically as you know it from MoO2, but you do not fix what is not broken. Astownishing how well behaved those erratic evil races can be if you complete a big warship quickly. It makes sense, as it should.

    I am not too sure about this simplified combat, i like commanding my fleet, i think Sins of a Solar Empire or Sword of the Stars (even if the controls have some issues in that one, it makes up with lots of technology and space menaces), where you got more direct control over you ships do this better than choosing a set of command cards and then watch the fleets automatically duke it out on a mechanic wich is best describes as rock-paper-scissors-esque. Sid Meier's Starships on the other hand is too unflexible and feels generally too unwildy, despite this being basically the system the old classics used (still a simple combat engine makes no full game in my opinion, especially if it isn't that great – in comparision to X-Com, for example).

    The best controls for fleet based combat, in my opinion, though not a strategy game by any stretch was in Nexus: the Jupiter Incident. A neat UI where you could select anything by icon overlaying the 3D engine. Click on an icon, camera focus goes to that ship and you see it engaging the enemy garanting you full access to all its systems, should have something special in mind. That is how it should be done. Yeah, big fleets require a realtime environment and one where controls are efficient and easy to use, not dragging you down from anything tactical which happens. Homeworld would be another good example. The reason for this is that the games are slowed down too much by micromanaging each ship. I know, there are people who love to do that, but it really gets old quickly in a four player game and today this can be solved better. Endless Space/Master of Orion Reboot feel too simplified for my taste but the combat is certainly sped up.

    As far as the fantasy strategy line is concerned, i still remember the buggy mess Master of Magic was at its release, or a Master of Orion (no, we don't talk about MoO3, personally as much as i am concerned it doesn't even exist, same goes for a SotS2 btw wich was leagues better than a MoO3 but still very inferior to its predecessor). Its a classic for sure, but not one without issues. It has however lots of detail to its world and especially the races, much more so than any of the Master of Orion counterparts. The same goes for an Alpha Centauri. Yes, those game are classics, but micromanagement, especially at later stages is quickly becoming a mess. You don't agree? Play it again!

    It ran along steadily als a subgenere which never tried to break its turnbased mold as much as spaceship-based games are concerned and you can see the evolution along the lines of such excellent titles like Heroes of Might and Magic, Disciples and the Age of Wonders and therfore made a much smoother transition into the 3D environment. Personally i do not like the focus on Heroes too much in such games, which put me squarely on the Age of Wonders 2: Shadow magic (this is a micromanagement intense game and yes i like it but not with hundreds of ships) side not the least because its able to precedurally generate maps which a HoMM never did and therefore, like a Panzer or Fantasy General, quickly became repeditive and boring.

    Now both of the featured games, a Endless Legend and a Civilization: Beyond Earth feature generated maps, wich is, hands down, a requirement (MoO also did this, its a vital requirement for replayability). Being a ground-based game C:BE avioids space combat (we don't talk about Starships), avoiding this pitfall.

    Both are presenting the player with a pretty steep learning curve for a new player because there i so much contend to master (especially a fully expanded Endless Legend) and i see this turns off some players. However, once you invest the time to get comfortable with these mechanics it makes for a much better game. I think its a decent tradeoff.

    I like C:BE's simple, classical CIV combat mechanic better than the quasi-streamlined (here also the Endless Space influence) represetative HOMM tactical combat of a Endless Legend, the inclusion of surrounding terrain is however done masterfully. Its a bit too much simplifed for my taste.

    C:BE really shines with the world development (especially with the Rising Tide expansion which fixed a lot of issues the game had at its release), EL really shines with its factions (Cultists/Necrophages especially) and its very unique setting (its not a Tolkien esque fantasy world and has a good deal of scifi feel to it, wich is hard to get right in a fantasy game – Numenera comes to mind, its a new kind of fantasy and very consitant in itself to the point even tying in the Cultists into the Endless Space universe). C:BE has differet biomes (especially with Rising Tide), EL has seasons and its not only eye candy. The first winter did catch me pretty unaware. Both games offer a good deal of complexity and a decent (even not as immersive as in the MoO series) AI. Replayability is very high.

    Both games offer at first glance very little unit diveristy. Until, that is in C:BE's case you evolve your units thorugh technology choices or, in case of a EL, design your own units, a mechanic taken right from MoO2 wich basically means your units are more unit classes as in ship classes of a MoO2, which offers in both cases a lot fo flexibility. C:BE offers special unit unlocks through technology on top of that like orbital bioengineerd monsters or capturing wildlife, for example. EL has Necropages which raise units from the dead or as contrast the Cultists who do not produce settlers at all and spread much differently than other factions. Sure a unit diversity like a AOW2: SM right from scratch is nice, but this kind of evolution has something going for it, as well.

    Plus i think flexible tech trees, whilst being a balancing nightmare are better for experimentation, uniqueness in mutiplayer and generally feel less repeditive.

    I see there is a certain trend these days twoard simplicity, but a good, if not excellent strategy game needs a certain depth. Endless Legend, if you use all the expansions may be going a bit overboard with this initially but it is very, very rewarding to delve in the quite different faction mechanics. Yes, that means the game is more complicated. For the better. There is a tendancy for too much simplification these days, the heritage of an age where you categorized games only as FPS, RTS or RPG. This is why some people still prefer an Alpha Centauri or Master of Magic over more current games (and because they are micromanage nerds, me included, the heritage of playing since the DOS era – we like another level of complexity).

    In the end the industry is still struggling with a decent approach to combat mechanics, but we are getting there. Finally. And i hope a lot of titles will follow.

  52. I absolutely adore Endless Legend. The different interactions and vast mechanical variance between all the Major factions really sell it, and add a ton of replay value, even more-so than a 4x has by default. The AI is also really strong and interesting to play against.

    My one major complaint is that my favorite faction the Roving Clans has a very useful and powerful unique ability that allows them to bar other factions from using the marketplace, but this is completely useless in a PvAI or Co-Op game since the AI players never ever use the market place. Super good in a traditional PvP match though.

    Also it must be said, the game has an outstanding soundtrack.

  53. I feel like Beyond Earth was abandoned by Firaxis. It's greatest pitfall is how the game is not very stable and handles multiplayer even worse than Civ 5 did. It still has a nasty habit of rendering save files corrupt and unplayable. It definitely is a fun game, not super balanced and so not suited to competitive play, but still rather fun, when it works at least.
    Endless Legend at least has its technical bugs sorted out.

  54. Endless Legend with all the expansions was actually not that hard to get into.
    Sure, the very first game I played I made a LOT of mistakes, mostly because I didn't know what to pay attention to, but that's just a matter of learning by doing.

  55. Endless legend is one of the best games of the genre, and outside of it, period.
    It's not even that complex. Just fire up a game and play for 50 turns then start a new. I'm not even a civ or 4x buff.
    I think I randomly bought it, and then played it through with every single race.

  56. When it comes to enjoyability in multiplayer Endless Legend is actually the best turn-based strategy game I have played so far. Some purists might be upset that all the players have their "turn" at the same time, but it is a real nice quality of life change. Yeah there might be some balancing problems with certain races and if you enable custom races any balances (understandably) goes out the window, but that is fine, as long as you are not super serious and competitive, but rather play with a few friends.

  57. Alright so guys anyone thinking civ be is just reskined civ V. The DLC RT (Rising Tide) makes it it's own game completely a new diplomacy system, a more aquatic focus, as well as more units, wonders, and buildings. While it still may not be worth the cost to some at leaast to me and a couple others this makes beyond earth a great game (also dont forget the codex mod) (sadly no 2nd dlc yet)

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