Hi all. Mother-in-law visiting so I haven’t been updating as much as I should. Awesome to see those EVO updates though. I know jack about these particular games but as you say, even to a layperson it’s nailbiting stuff. Keep those links coming.

Bowley: Free Mass Effect Extended Cut soundtrack available over at Bioware forums, in case you missed it.

UMD / Pete: Played an entire afternoon of Endless Space last Sunday. Crazy throwback to the days of yore. Started out with the Pilgrims and got my feet under me pretty well after about an hour of play, though I had already quit for the night after 5 hrs or so when I realized that you could “hurry” your space projects by spending “gold” (dust) a la Civilizaion. DOH.

Thoughts:

  • Comparisons to MOO are apt enough. You’re 4-Xing all over the place, colonizing worlds, building spaceships and all that. Looks purdy for sure and I like the ambient atmospheric music quite a bit.
  • Ships are extremely pretty, though it was probably 2 hours in or more before I had my first space battle. I like that each of the different races have visually distinct ship designs, but I felt disappointed that creating custom ship designs has no outward visual impact on what the little models are. Would have been nice if my 2 destroyer class boats (one long range, one close range) could have looked different somehow on the little star battle map.
  • The 2 minute battle timer with the 3 phases is a fantastic concept. I love both the “card play” angle and the fact that every encounter has a long range / medium range / melee range phase. Bunkering a ship down with shields that just “reflect everyting until you get into shotgun range” is totally an option.
  • The tech tree. WTF wheeeeeee
  • That said, I do find the game kind of personality-less and sterile on the whole after you become acclimzatized. This is not altogether a bad thing: “Sterile Space” is a trope and it certainly has a distinct flavor which for the most part I always enjoy. Clean interfaces, crisp lines. I just miss things like dialogues with the giant warlike rhinoceros people blustering at the galactic conference and little pew pew visualizations of troops invading planetary surfaces. Booting up a “diplomacy” panel and just having a selection of text prompts that have no reaction whatsoever to anything I choose is kind of a let down.
  • I think what I’m saying is that I miss the trademark humor and the loads of personality inherent in MOO. They should have injected at least some character or dialogue into the meet-and-greet angle of first contact. As it is, the whole game tends to feel like a very cerebral and absctract (though very well executed) exercise in glalactic logistics. I get that they’re a small studio – just didn’t realize how important the whole talking heads / frowning barbarians angle was to me in Civ before they took it away.
  • On the whole, Endless Space is a super good first start. I’d love to see them blow this concept out with more bells and whistles.
  • Oh, and someone should really explain to you “how to win” when you start playing the game. Seriously. Those ‘tutorials’ are terrible.
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