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Amoeba'd: More on Endless Space

Amoeba'd: More on Endless Space

Platform: PC Games
Category: Strategy

So Endless Space has reached its beta phase, shuffled a few mechanics, balanced it a bit so that the United Empire (think a mix of 40Ks Empire and the Spice Guild from Dune) are no longer able to economically troll anyone else *quite* as much, and introduced a couple more traditional 4X mechanics, like not being able to expand too quickly without angering your people. But, while the mechanics are interesting, and the UI has been made a lot better... I mean, seriously, look at those shots. Look at them!... Yes, they are nicer looking.

But they're not the focus of this preview. It's safe to say, the game is improving mechanically as it moves toward release date, and it's looking a lot prettier (although the camera for space combat is a little bit chaotic at the moment). No, the main focus of this is the three new races that have been introduced.

First up is the Amoeba. They're basically sentient blobs that have been around forever, are generally slow, generally chill, and not very good at building system improvements, because they're so chilled out. On the one hand, this means expansion and economics are slow, but on the other, they know the whole galactic map. You heard me right: they see... the whole... map. At the beginning of the game. It's quite amusing to see exactly how few planets you can colonise, but, while the slowness of expansion is sort of crippling, and may need to be toned back a bit, they know exactly where they need to go. They're also fairly good at diplomacy because of how chill they are, so they're mainly tailored toward expansion or diplomacy victories.

The Pilgrims, on the other hand, really don't like expanding. They're wasteful with their ship design because they make 'em in traditional ways, but, on the other hand, they're nice folks, and can just pick up their colonies and move them anywhere they want. I don't see this having much use in the late game, but it's certainly an interesting mechanic. Their heroes also start at level 3, which can be decidedly important, and have a lot of bonuses that basically say "Our worlds are ours, you're not taking them". Considering they're basically space Rebels to the UE's Empire, that fits.

Finally, there are the Sowers. The fluff for these is pretty cool: A long time ago, the Endless (hence "Endless Space"), those Ur-Spacegoers who fractured and made the universe the place it is, made a small race of intelligent terraforming robots. These robots carried on doing their thing with one planet until long after the Endless went off, and then said "Right, we're finished with this one, let's do this for *all* the worlds! Any indigents against it are obviously filthy heretics".

That's right, they're religious terraformers, and get lots of bonuses for improving systems. They can settle anywhere, and quickly end up happy as a robot having a lubricant bath, because it's their blessed duty to fix all the worlds, all the time. Of course, until they get the proper tech for settling anywhere, they have -25% to their various finance counters for that world, but since they get the Improved versions of terraforming on their research tree, they're the epitome of (relatively) quick colonisers.

Also of interest to those who haven't effectively pre-ordered the game by buying the beta (It takes a while to find any nits to pick, so don't think of this as a beta except in the strictest sense), the multiplayer is finally in. It's still a little wonky, and I've gotten kicked out of a few games for no reason I could determine, but it's essentially what you'd expect from MPing a 4x game... a little slow, you're probably going to want to play small maps, or save the game and play once a week, and turn the default "know the whole map" off, but it's still fairly fun to play.

We still haven't got customisable races yet, but the races we have will definitely scratch the itch until it turns up. In the meantime, Endless Space is still good, still worth the price, and will be coming out in its finalised version next month!


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