The Space Game the World Needs – Endless Space 2 Early Access Preview
Endless Space 2 is the follow-up to 2012’s wildly popular, Endless Space. This interstellar 4X strategy game puts you in the seat of guiding a budding civilization throughout the cold depths of space. The game throws you into the throne of power, with little to your name, and one task to accomplish; explore.
Endless Space 2 proves once again to be an incredibly complex 4X title, even in Early Access stages and provides depth matched only by a handful of other titles. It’s a wildly fun, massively deep, and honestly fulfilling experience that will provide plenty of gameplay for years to come.
Usually, we would put “Story” here. Instead, I opted for depth since each one of the eight total factions (four in Early Access) have their own storyline. However, this does prove my point. Endless Space 2 is insanely deep.
Not only do each of the factions have their own storyline, they also have their own ships, heroes, tech trees, homeworlds, and playstyle. Within each of these subcategories, of the categories that are already there, are even more options. If this sounds like a long winded explanation, it is. It is because Endless Space 2 has so much stuff in it already, even in these primitive stages. It is light years ahead of the majority of Early Access titles in development, and there is plenty of depth to the experience despite the full release not being completed yet.
However, all of this depth can be overwhelming, especially for novice players. There is promise of a tutorial for beginners in the future, but this feature hasn’t been implemented at this point. If you’re new to 4X games, you may want to wait until this feature is put into place so you don’t get buried under everything the game has to offer.
Endless Space 2 takes the Unity-built original title to a whole new level. The game is absolutely gorgeous, and the interface fluid, putting you in control of the cosmos and allowing you to feel like a futuristic badass.
Every piece of the design lends into the overall atmosphere of the game. Instead of having a few key design elements spread across every screen, Endless Space 2 instead has made each screen unique, but part of a cohesive whole. The ship design view to the amplified realty view are wildly unique, but somehow feel like part of the same experience.
The best way I can describe the look of Endless Space 2 is complexly clean. Everything is right where you need it to be,but not a single element intrudes of the experience. The game is gorgeous close up and far away, provoking the wonder and fear of massive space.
I was genuinely surprised how much the soundtrack of Endless Space 2 enhanced the experience. In many titles, the soundtrack is subtle enhancement, reinforcing what is already happening on screen. However, when you’re building an empire from a distance, the music needs to provide more heavy handed ques to when the action is happening. Endless Space 2 far surpasses this requirement, building a soundtrack the elegantly moves between curiosity, adventure, and danger without a hitch.
The subtle, moving pads perfectly move with the vastness of the galaxy surrounding you, while discovery of new star systems brings forth fast, driving beats to excel the action. For a game that is so massive, the music ties to whole experience together, allowing you to feel the same feeling as a ground explorer while looking from the cosmos.
The core of any 4X game is undoubtedly the gameplay. Endless Space 2 provides some of the most in-depth gameplay I have ever experienced, even in Early Access, and proves that it will be a landmark title for strategy games when it is fully released.
To go through everything that is at your disposal in Endless Space 2, would require a whole new website. Thankfully, the wiki page for the game is live and can explain every intricacy it has to offer.
Instead, I will go over some of my favorite elements. Featured is typical 4X gameplay, being eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, and eXterminate. Each of these four elements is the base for every screen in the game, everything from elections to resources to combat being fleshed out to give you the most control over your empire.
My favorite was the combat screen, where you could equip different combat mechanics for your fleet and see on a diagram how the battle formations would play out. Additionally, you could actually watch each battle play out, bringing the action that much closer to home.
For the Aficionado
Endless Space 2 will be a landmark title for 4X games. Even in the primitive stages of Early Access, Endless Space 2 feels like a full experience multiplied by two. The depth of the game is unmatched, the UI is gorgeous, and soundtrack is riveting, and the gameplay blends modern and classic mechanics beautifully to create a deep and fulfilling experience.
While newcomers are likely to be overwhelmed at this point in time, Endless Space 2 has something for everyone, and once the beginner tutorial is implemented, I don’t see any reason not to buy in. For $29.99, it’s an absolute steal. I would buy into Endless Space 2, even at full price.