Hot Take: Endless Space 2

I wasn’t expecting the ‘endless’ in Endless Space 2 to be so literal.

At the time of this writing, I’ve only put 10 hours into the game. It’s not an incredible amount for a ‘4x’ title, but contained within those ten hours are a series of fresh games, none of which have made it past turn 100. Somewhere around turn 50, in any of them, I hit a roadblock. It’s not a typical roadblock for this genre, which would generally be something along the lines of being overwhelmed by the AI. Instead, it’s a technical one (or rather a series of them).

The game, apparently inevitably, just stops working. Something — some background goings on — just keeps going, forever. I do all my things, hit the button to progress to the next turn, and then it just… doesn’t. Forever. Unseen AI empires are stuck in a loop or something, and they just keep on going on forever and ever, bringing the game to a screeching halt. Using the auto-save feature, which keeps a predetermined number of previous turns saved, you can load back a few turns and play past where the problem arose, but it inevitably happens again. And again.

Or maybe you encounter an entirely different, but similarly game-halting problem, where by attempting to start a battle, you are unable to start the battle, or retreat from the battle, or skip the battle, or end the turn.

Most of the time, battles work fine. You can choose to watch the battle or let it play out automatically, and if you watch the battle you enter into a cut-scene kind of screen that shows the battle playing out, with adjustable speed and a few different camera options. You can’t actually influence anything, but it’s very cool to watch. Visually, it seems like Endless Space 2 nails everything it wants to do. Battles look cool. The game is stunning. The quick cut-scenes you’re treated to when finding a new solar system are beautiful. The weird planetary invasion scenes, displayed in a VR-like simulation, are really, really neat. The music and sound effects are nice.

I just wish I could play it. Maybe I’m missing something? Maybe there’s some thing I’m just not seeing that solves all these issues. But if it exists, it’s not telegraphed at all in the game, and I haven’t managed to accidentally stumble onto it in every attempt at playing.

Originally this was meant to be a review. But we don’t do scores here, and I don’t feel comfortable writing a review of a game I can’t successfully play. So, instead, here’s an idea of what I experienced in attempting to play this, along with my sincere hopes that some patch comes out soon that fixes these issues. Should such a patch be released, and I can actually play a full match, I would enjoy coming back for an actual, full length look at the game, because if it worked it would be impressive.

This article is based on a code supplied by Reverb Inc. Endless Space 2 is developed by Amplitude Studios.

Author: Erron Kelly

Reach backwards through the entire recorded history of our species, take every account of every game ever played by humankind, and average it out into one wholly unremarkable individual, and you will discover this man. He has written online for Game on Mac, Armless Octopus, and SideQuesting.

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