Endless Space 2

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zolobolo
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Endless Space 2

Postby zolobolo » Thu Apr 13, 2017 9:58 pm

So, now that Update 3 is out for ES2, I though I give it a go as honestly, I thought this is one game that might give SiS a run for its money seeing how damn fine Endless Legend has turned out to be. Alas this does not seem to be the case

The game is of course still in its alpha/beta/public testing phase whatever that means nowadays, but seeing that there is only one update left I can wager a guess that the below will not be fixed:
1. Tactical Combat is not existing
2. GUI is muddy, and cluttered with useless elements (sugarcoated GUI with few KPIs, but lots of non-too good looking but obscuring fillers pushed to multiple layers for some reason)
3. Planetary Invasion has a decent concept but awful execution. Really, really low budget, I am talking about UFO (original) air-combat level tactical depth and sprites to match
4. Diplomacy copy pasted from the genre and a less interesting take on that
5. Planetary improvement boring and offering little options (even in EL, you could place districts offering interesting tactical options and graphical feedback, but here one planet is like the other)
6. No star bases. Nada. One of them popped up in a quest description but searched for it in the game in vain. Was just a flavour text and a teaser image of what could/should have been in the game at least on the strategic level
7. No meaningful difference between mayor races
8. Pop management is uninspired from a presentation point-of-view, and does not seem to go anywhere from the perspective of game-mechanic. Might have been cut, and no one would notice (this is also partially true for the political system)
9. The ship-models, even though in some occasion of inspired design, are not too interesting to look at, as the camera and the circumstances on which these could be admired are very limited. Bombers are fighters are still to be implemented, but as usual, are left for the final update so assuming after-thought-implementation with weak art, little-to-no effect on game mechanic.

All-in-all, I keep reminded on how many things are NOT in this game compared to SiS or even EL

For the above reason, still find SiS to be the ruling king in the Space 4X genre
Last edited by zolobolo on Fri Apr 14, 2017 8:11 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Arioch
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Re: Endless Space 2

Postby Arioch » Fri Apr 14, 2017 3:04 am

I fired it up, looked at the very complicated UI, quit, and haven't tried it again yet.

I find the Endless series to be lackluster because they're essentially multiplayer games, which means the diplomacy element is more or less nonexistent. But there are some interesting ideas and mechanics.

DDPD
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Re: Endless Space 2

Postby DDPD » Fri Apr 14, 2017 4:29 am

No meaningful differences between major factions? Are you...serious?

I don't even know what to say regarding that feedback. If ES2 does ANYTHING, it's that it allows for rather significant gameplay differences between play throughs. The rest of your feedback could easily be ignored if you actually feel that way.

It's also really easy to understand for anyone who has any 4X experience, so I don't get your point, either, Arioch.
Last edited by DDPD on Sun Apr 16, 2017 2:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Arioch
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Re: Endless Space 2

Postby Arioch » Fri Apr 14, 2017 5:02 am

It wasn't too hard to understand; I just couldn't be bothered to figure it out.

zolobolo
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Re: Endless Space 2

Postby zolobolo » Fri Apr 14, 2017 8:02 am

DDPD wrote:No meaningful differences between major factions? Are you...serious?

I don't even know what to say regarding that feedback. If ES2 does ANYTHING, it's that it allows for rather significant gameplay differences between play throughs. The rest of your feedback could easily be ignored if you actually feel that way.

Yes I am
Allowing for rather significant gameplay differences between play throughs is not the same as having meaningful differences in the way the factions play out (or even feel). A 4X game has to do that by its nature, and while ES2 has all sorts of problems on this department as well (unlimited food, dust, and your home worlds gobbling up the whole galaxy with its influence in the end faster then your mighty fleet can conquer them), we can strike that down as a beta/alpha problem that will be balanced out.

What I mean is: When I have played StarCraft, the first game I have played with asymmetrical factions, it made all other games in that genre obsolete. Yes, they differentiated in visuals, but more importantly, they played differently (Zerg Rush, Terran bunker and artillery defence lines, massive Protoss fleets), and that was only regarding tactical combat

Today, I consider EL to be the golden standard for 4X of the non-space opera style. Playing as Vaulters is a huge difference compared to Shifters or the Ardent Mages (not to mention the new sea faction or Cultists).

So why do I think ES2 goes wrong here? I build the same things, construct the same fleets, with the same weapons, and same loadout and meet the very same when fighting against the enemy AI. So the ships art is somewhat different, but unless you are looking at the tactical battles closely you don't see that. The game does not allow you to use the unique models yourself (it even restricts your camera when editing these models), so they boil down into statistics - of which they are too similar. What is the difference between a pirate, Empire and Sophon Cruiser? When I first read the lore for the Empire, thought, ok, so the political parties are going to be replaced with noble houses right? Nope, you still have the same political system for an autocracy even though the lore states otherwise - so what is the sense in this mechanic if it does not reflect the differences in the races of what the game should be all about?

So the game embraces multi-nation empires by having various pops inhabit your planers - this is a great idea if you do not consider that Stellaris and SiS have already done it before, but how does it work? You do not even see these pops unless you specifically query them from the planet image, there is no moral to them (or at least none that is explained), and they all make little difference to the overall performance of your empire.

I guess there will be unique tech and quests eventually, but without playing tactical combat yourself, what does these really matter if you spend 99% of the time on galaxy and system view? They do not have an impact there, not even flavour (compare this with EL where you could use that new unit or sword).

As for the other points, I do not consider them to be of subjective nature (related to feelings not to facts).
There is no tactical combat - lots of games offer this in the same genre noticeably all MoO2 clones which has already set the golden standard way back so I am told
There are no star bases - almost all other games offer this in the same genre
I can cut out most of the GUI elements without reducing the amount of information the player gets
Count how many different layers the strategic map has to display a single type of KPI and then, combine this with other information relating to political view, happiness or population = cluttered

EL is great, as it both offers the best parts of it genre, and new things that work well (CIV has nothing on this game)
ES2 (at least in its shortly-prior release stance) is a list of things that are functionally missing, with little in a way of replacing them, and what is there is not executed well enough. It will have a solid place for most gamers who enjoy the genre I am sure of that, if they get the story quests right, but there are other games out there that do lots of things better.

GrosseAdmiralFox
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Re: Endless Space 2

Postby GrosseAdmiralFox » Mon Jul 03, 2017 4:10 pm

Ok, Endless Space 2 right now is incredibly interesting right now as the game has gone to release-state. Each faction is thoroughly unique despite using similar tech webs. Yes, the UI is something different but as someone who has played many unique strategy games like Reach for the Stars, Starships Unlimited V3, Outlive, and Tzar: Burden of the Crown (just to name a few), it's not insurmountable.

In this case, each race you can play as in the game has a playstyle that makes certain victory conditions far easier to acquire (how easy depends on the faction in question). For example the Lumeris is great for the economic victory condition while expanding quickly across the galaxy (they only need dust to start colonize planets), while the Sophons are excellent for the research victory condition. The United Empire is interesting because it can go for the economic, influence, or military victories, but you actually have to work for them.

In the end, it's a fun game that understands that it'll never be something akin to Master of Orion.

zolobolo
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Re: Endless Space 2

Postby zolobolo » Tue Jul 04, 2017 6:43 pm

GrosseAdmiralFox wrote:In this case, each race you can play as in the game has a playstyle that makes certain victory conditions far easier to acquire (how easy depends on the faction in question). For example the Lumeris is great for the economic victory condition while expanding quickly across the galaxy (they only need dust to start colonize planets), while the Sophons are excellent for the research victory condition. The United Empire is interesting because it can go for the economic, influence, or military victories, but you actually have to work for them.

In the end, it's a fun game that understands that it'll never be something akin to Master of Orion.


Yes, those are nice changes, and though I find them leading to the same result in the end, I am sure some can use them for role playing

What I find interesting is your argument regarding win-conditions, as this is something almost no 4X game does well (again the shining exception is EL and XCOM 2 though a lot of people would argue the later is not even a 4X).

I have found in all of these games, that win condition is simply a procedure for the player to exit a game that does not provide any challenge anymore and get closure. When a player gets to the point when he/she can achieve any of the conditions, they can chose to eliminate everyone wind with wealth or science or anything else. And this practically means that we conquer the whole map (or if possible alliance victory) as those are the fastest)

Curiously, even Stellaris didn't manage to resolve this issue despite having addressed it directly with the inclusion of fallen empires and semi-random endgame crisis.

Though this is something that ES2 can resolve just like EL did by introducing a win condition related to a quest -chain which can be done till mid-game and does not require a superior empire, due to its above nature it does not really enable an empire to win the game due to its unique properties if said empire is overpowered (could it not win a military victory if it already won an economic one?).

BTW: I would love to see statistics for 4X games on the percentage of victory conditions achieved, though this goes for all kinds of statistics :)

GrosseAdmiralFox
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Re: Endless Space 2

Postby GrosseAdmiralFox » Wed Jul 05, 2017 1:40 am

zolobolo wrote:
GrosseAdmiralFox wrote:In this case, each race you can play as in the game has a playstyle that makes certain victory conditions far easier to acquire (how easy depends on the faction in question). For example the Lumeris is great for the economic victory condition while expanding quickly across the galaxy (they only need dust to start colonize planets), while the Sophons are excellent for the research victory condition. The United Empire is interesting because it can go for the economic, influence, or military victories, but you actually have to work for them.

In the end, it's a fun game that understands that it'll never be something akin to Master of Orion.


Yes, those are nice changes, and though I find them leading to the same result in the end, I am sure some can use them for role playing

What I find interesting is your argument regarding win-conditions, as this is something almost no 4X game does well (again the shining exception is EL and XCOM 2 though a lot of people would argue the later is not even a 4X).

I have found in all of these games, that win condition is simply a procedure for the player to exit a game that does not provide any challenge anymore and get closure. When a player gets to the point when he/she can achieve any of the conditions, they can chose to eliminate everyone wind with wealth or science or anything else. And this practically means that we conquer the whole map (or if possible alliance victory) as those are the fastest)

Curiously, even Stellaris didn't manage to resolve this issue despite having addressed it directly with the inclusion of fallen empires and semi-random endgame crisis.

Though this is something that ES2 can resolve just like EL did by introducing a win condition related to a quest -chain which can be done till mid-game and does not require a superior empire, due to its above nature it does not really enable an empire to win the game due to its unique properties if said empire is overpowered (could it not win a military victory if it already won an economic one?).

BTW: I would love to see statistics for 4X games on the percentage of victory conditions achieved, though this goes for all kinds of statistics :)

I bought ES2 when it was greenlit and holy shit... calling it a massive improvement over ES1 is an UNDERSTATEMENT... and from what I can tell, its due to the fact that Endless Space is going "fuck being like Master of Orion, let's be our own fucking thing and fucking do it". That and better view of expectations (as the first game is always the biggest step) with some toying around with the mechanics in their spinoff game Endless Legend.

All in all? Endless Space 2 should be a textbook example on how to make a sequel.

zolobolo
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Re: Endless Space 2

Postby zolobolo » Tue Jul 11, 2017 2:50 pm

GrosseAdmiralFox wrote:I bought ES2 when it was greenlit and holy shit... calling it a massive improvement over ES1 is an UNDERSTATEMENT... and from what I can tell, its due to the fact that Endless Space is going "fuck being like Master of Orion, let's be our own fucking thing and fucking do it". That and better view of expectations (as the first game is always the biggest step) with some toying around with the mechanics in their spinoff game Endless Legend.

All in all? Endless Space 2 should be a textbook example on how to make a sequel.


Did not play ES 1 so cant compare the two, but I have been playing Endless Legend (which seems kinda an advanced version of ES1) and it fares not so well compared to that game:
1. Tactical Combat with detailed models showing weapon customization, unit experience, terrain effect and special abilities (it can also run on auto-command and the player can intervene when needed)
2. Detailed map with minimal data noise: everything on the map has a purpose showing something useful and adheres to a common style
3. Research "tree" is well navigable with sensible classification of techs. You can mostly see everything in one screen especially in early tiers: the icons are larger and more identifiable regarding what they do
4. City building is more engaging with districts and visual feedback on expansion
5. One should not consider expansions that is fine, but have to put it out there: EL also has tactical naval combat in the meantime :)

Since EL was probably and upgrade from ES1 it makes sense that it is much better, but ES2 seem one step forward (political system) and several steps backwards (irrelevant political system, missing small craft, no tactical combat, less visually appealing and elegant GUI organized in way too many layers) coming from EL

Had I not played EL before ES2 for over 200 hours I would probably have a better time with it, but every time I want to play it for the faction story-line, I think: rather wait until it is more done and play SiS instead


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