Endless Space 2, Early Access First Impressions
First of all, keep in mind that the game is in early access. Regardless, the game still looks great in its final version and no noticeable bugs have affected my gameplay so far. Moreover, developers are always working to improve what can still be improved, and slowly adding the many missing features. Thus, there are only two types of victory conditions available in early access, scoring and military, which somewhat limits the game experience. Regarding the races, there are currently 4 available ones. And big news, they are totally asymmetrical, each has its own style of play.
The principle remains unchanged from the setting of Endless Space: the player is the leader of a nation in the middle of space, which will expand its empire and explore the galaxy, develop itself technologically and militarily, but also manage its domestic policy, with a galactic senate system divided between factions or clans. These are separated according to their affinities (Ecologists, Religious, Militarists, Pacifists, Industrialists), their loyalty to you changing according to your actions. Moreover, the atmosphere of Endless Space is still clearly present, both in the the interface and some of the new options. Evidence that a studio take the best of its previous titles to offer increasingly complete and enjoyable games.
UI navigation is now much more fluid, without the player being drowned in numbers with each click. Tabs display the minimum required information, without polluting the statistics screen, which are obtained through the very friendly "scan" function. This displays the details of planets, their economy, their population, and so on. No need to beat around the bush, the interface is rid of all reproaches that we could have against Endless Space.
Regarding the military matters, some might be disappointed to see that there are no fight where your are in manual control. You are the emperor, not a lowly space admiral. The fighting, generally offers three tactical choices, more or less compatible with the type of vessels or land units that you encounter. It is, admittedly, a bit limited and we can only hope for the addition or more options in the final version of Endless Space 2. But for now, depending on your choice and the forces you are fighting, it is the AI that determines the outcome of the battle, the player here being only a passive spectator.
As it stands, Endless Space 2 promises to be a great title. Graphically beautiful, intuitive and readable without disappointing fans of 4X hardcore games. The developers are really taking advantage of the Early Access to reveal its flaws and improve the game. Each patch balances the game with a number of fixes, gradually correcting anything fans could complain about on release. We can also expect new playable races, perhaps new political factions, a more extensive technology tree and a fleet that moves a bit faster. What really matters is the transformation of gameplay, more intuitive, more fluid, more accessible, strongly inspired by Endless Legend.