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.