Endless Space 2 review: Mood meets 4X strategy

Endless Space 2

Such is the case with Endless Space 2, the latest and prettiest 4X strategy game from Amplitude. This is the part where I say, “Endless Space 2 has quite a few issues at release” though—and it does. It’s not a flawless game, nor does it feel as fresh as Amplitude’s fantasy spin-off Endless Legend.

I love it anyway.

A chaotic universe

It’s just so damn slick. Almost too slick, with Amplitude apparently concerned more with artistry than creating an intuitive user interface at times. There were many moments in Endless Space 2 where I sat staring at some random menu, trying to figure out how to do the thing I wanted to do and not quite understanding which button would allow me to do it.

Okay, so artistry can sometimes go too far.

Endless Space 2

Endless Space 2

But presentation counts for a lot, especially in these space-faring games where developers are trying to highlight the wonders of exploration and capture that Star Trek feeling of probing (and plundering) the final frontier. Master of Orion II knew it, Stellaris knew it, and Endless Space 2 knows it.

It’s second-to-none in this regard. Like Endless Legend before it, the best part of Endless Space 2 is its writing. That’s surprising for a turn-based strategy game, but Amplitude’s factions and quest system continue to be its best assets. Every faction has a “storyline” of sorts to guide players through the game, and you’ll also randomly trigger other events by, for instance, exploring certain star systems.

Factions are excellent. Groundbreaking? Not necessarily, and most are ported over from the original Endless Space, but they’re all memorable in their own archetypal way. The best remains the Horatio faction, a race of clones named Horatio created to bring beauty to the galaxy—beauty, of course, meaning more Horatios.