REVIEW – ENDLESS LEGEND

Endless Legend gives you the chance to lead your chosen people through war and bitter winters to victory and salvation. A 4x strategy game developed by Amplitude Studios and set on the world of Auriga, you’ll need gather resources, research new technology and raise armies if you want to succeed. So is it any good?

YES

There are eight unique factions to choose from and once you’ve chosen you have just a hero, two units and a settler to begin your empire. Of course with each differing faction there is a different mechanic that changes the way they play. One race can have only a single city, one is focused on diplomacy while another has a focus on trade and is unable to declare war and of course there is the standard warmonger faction. After you’ve laid the foundations for your first city you can then decide what buildings and research you want to start working towards. One thing I really like about this game is that rather than having a campaign mode each faction’s campaign is a series of optional quests that not only provide you with rewards and a back story for your faction but is also a possible win condition if you complete all of them. The game creation phase can be as simple as clicking on new game but there is also a huge amount of options that allow you to change the world Auriga is including environments that make up the world, the amount of rivers and lakes, the strength of the neutral factions and the strength of your enemies.

Some of the faction designs are really nice with little twists to them. The Wildwalkers, the game’s version of an elf faction, are abandoning their shamanistic origins and left the forests to become great builders. The dwarf-like Vaulters are actually survivors of an alien spaceship which crashed deep into the world and was covered by earth. After many years below the surface they are emerging into the light having forgotten their history. The Broken Lords are souls trapped in their armour and cursed with vampirism. They search for a cure but their hearts are torn between honour and giving up their power. That’s not to say I like all the design choices. The Wildwalkers ears are so ridiculously long they must have been trying to see just how far they could push it and the concept of pain mages has never really done it for me which makes the Ardent Mages seem a bit bland.

city

Something I thought was cool is each faction only has three combat units which may not sound like a lot but there are ways to change that. In each region you’ll find the villages of Auriga’s other inhabitants. You can pacify these villages by sword, bribery or completing a quest to show your power. Once pacified these races can be assimilated into your empire and bring a bonus as well as a new unit for you to use. Gaining a unit in this way can fill a gap in your existing line up, for example the Wildwalkers lack cavalry but can assimilate Minotaurs or Wargs to provide cavalry for their armies.

When two armies meet on the map they separate into their units similar to Heroes of Might and Magic but the section of the map they were on is actually turned into the battlefield providing all the terrain. Your Heroes and troops can gain levels and better gear but for the troops it seems like the equipment is important. Unfortunately I found the combat could be frustrating because of a lack of fine control over what your units do and how. This wouldn’t be so bad except the AI is pretty bad and there are certain skills where you will want to keep your troops together but doing so will take away your ability to target the enemy units. In fact thinking about it now I wish they had of just crammed the combat from HoMM in there. While I’m talking about the AI the campaign AI leaves something to be desired as well but I haven’t tried it on the hardest difficulty yet.

battle

Some of the graphics are gorgeous, I love the way the fog of war rolls back to reveal new territory. It looks like ice melting away into mountains and rivers. Scrolling further out turns the map from a detailed hex view into a more artistic map view.  Once you start leveling up your city they start looking pretty impressive too especially if you build in a hex or triangular pattern. The music isn’t bad but a bit too tranquil for me.

I think it’s really cool how Amplitude are tying all their games together into one setting. This game combined with Endless Space and Dungeons of the Endless are all part of the Endless Universe. Overall I really enjoyed this game and I found time passing much quicker than I realized leading to a lot of late nights. I’ve heard that they have opened the game up to the Steam Workshop so hopefully a good modding community will build up around this game. If you can forgive the poor AI I highly recommend this game.

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