Endless Space 2 got an enormous launch-day patch

Endless Space 2 is out now, but so is a massive day-zero patch, which we've yet to fully absorb.

4X strategy game Endless Space 2 is out now, and we had planned to have a full review for you today, but there's been a slight delay. A supergiant day zero patch has upended our plans, potentially fixing issues, and so we've decided to give our reviewer, Chris Thursten, a little more time to investigate what's changed.

We know you may want an idea of what we're thinking now, though, so here's the short version, in Chris' words:

Three and a half campaigns in, there's much to like about Endless Space 2. Amplitude are still ahead of the curve when it comes to art, music, writing and presentation in general—the game does a lot to sell the fantasy of being a galaxy-spanning space empire, and each of its factions are meaningfully different and well-realised. The combat stands out too: I've enjoyed investing time into figuring out optimal strategies and redesigning my fleets on the fly.

My first impressions of the game weren't quite so positive, however. The UI is beautiful but can be confusing, and it seems inevitable that your first campaign will involve a lot of frustrating trial and error as you learn the ropes—mine certainly did.

However, my more serious concern was the number of bugs and rough edges I came across, from missing art to over-zealous popups to, in the most serious case, UI issues that stopped a campaign in its tracks. However, this morning Amplitude updated the review build with a 2.1GB update that seems to have resolved some of these issues. Given that we don't want to finalize our review based on a build that no one will ever play, so we're going to spend a bit more time with Endless Space 2 to assess how many issues have been solved in this latest update.

Here are the patch notes for the release version, also published below. As you can see, it's no dwarf star, but a galaxy of bullet points. We'll have a complete review for you on Friday. Until then, I'll temporarily give Endless Space 2 three out of four Xes. Should've had more eXterminate.

GENERAL

  • Added Unfallen Games2Gether Faction
  • Modding implemented
  • New Scanview system management implemented
  • Added planet scanview
  • Auto ship design / upgrade implemented
  • Cloud saves are now available
  • Game can now have 12 competitors!
  • Academy/metaplot quests have been added
  • Beginner Tutorial implemented
  • Custom Factions implemented
  • Added colonization videos
  • Auto-ship design implemented
  • Added technology Helper to suggest technologies to the player

CONTENT

  • Added faction-specific technologies
  • Added 2 new minor factions, Remnant and Pulsos
  • Added Events quest Political
  • Added new random events
  • Added new market events
  • Added 23 new space battle tactics
  • Added “exotic” effects on strategic weapons and defenses
  • Added planet destruction module
  • Added a specific star type for the academy
  • Added founder heroes and the 5th Sophon hero
  • Added new content to curiosities (Modules / Space battle tactics / Star system improvements...)
  • Added final rewards of all Main Quests (Chapter 4)
  • Added population swap in United Empire Main Quest

TECHNICAL

  • Saves are now in a binary format
  • Several optimizations have been made for different parts of the game (GUI, Computation...)
  • Refined some behaviors in the galaxy generator

AI

  • Pirates now wait fleets that are coming to their systems before moving to another system (depending on their mission)
  • Added: Planet destruction mission
  • Added: AI is now able to activate laws (knowing that it costs Influence points)
  • Added: AI is now able to cancel laws to retrieve the empire points
  • Added: AI is now able to trade technologies by diplomacy
  • Added: AI now research military modules technologies
  • Added: AI now play elections
  • Added: AI is now able to attack enemies it finds on its mission path
  • Added: AI is now able to propose alliances, map and vision sharing (if it has the tech)
  • Added: AI now feedbacks more game events and takes into account more player actions (leeching, time bubbles, blockades, attacking civilians, Unfallen actions etc.)
  • Changed: Globally improved the military attack, defense and invasion
  • Changed: Improved the way AI uses support modules
  • Changed: Increased AI desire for trade (in particularly for mercantile AIs)
  • Changed: Improved map and vision sharing evaluation and open borders
  • Changed: Improved main enemy selection
  • Improved invasion behaviour
  • Improved behaviour and technology choice for colonization
  • Improved node strategic score heuristic
  • Fixed: Issue where AI fleets were staying in hangar forever in some specific cases
  • Fixed: AI colonization behavior
  • Fixed: AI now doesn't cancel missions without any reasons.
  • Fixed: Ark generation and leecher use are now working correctly
  • Fixed: Issues for hull and affinities
  • Fixed: AI now researches new military modules

IMPROVEMENTS

  • Put back the Surveyed support at the end of the Election process
  • Stat buttons on the Advanced Battle Setup Screen are "togglable"
  • Added a timer for the auto battle start
  • Screen/button tooltips display information about their keyboard shortcuts
  • Automated ships are no longer sent to besieged outposts
  • Refund value is now displayed in "Deed failed" notification when relevant
  • Neutral propaganda is no longer queued when colonizing a system
  • Motherships now start the game with 1 action point
  • Fleets that cannot fight cannot be used as reinforcements in space battle
  • The game should automatically choose the compatibility mode
  • Key binding has been improved (detect if the key is used, …)
  • Added localized subtitles for all the introductions
  • Updated the look of outgame screens
  • Probes are now allowed on Hero ships
  • Improved module icons: larger on the ships, improved progression details, redone support module, removed kinetic trail, changed category module orientation
  • Ship modules category icons are now colored based on their strategic resource in the tech tree
  • Added module computation formulas in the ship design stat tooltips
  • Mezari or Sheredyn populations are now effective at the end of the United Empire Chapter 3
  • AI behavior has been improved, notably with regards to its aggressiveness
  • Polished end turn timers & added "out of time" animations
  • Improved notification flow: click on a button which open a menu no longer displays the next notification
  • Improved Ground Battle: there is now a maximum manpower that can be deployed per turn. The limit can be increased with technologies and temporary modified by ground battle tactics.

BALANCE

  • Population collection bonuses for Riftborns: movement points are only halved when going through wormholes (temporary - will change for release)
  • Brainwashed factions can no longer start a new assimilation quest
  • Use of Crew Modules on hero ships is now forbidden
  • Added a turn action on Time Bubbles, so they need to be in the first position to be completed
  • Reduced AI Prestige bonus in higher difficulties
  • Minor Factions with Cordial relation or better now don't block trade routes
  • Reduced hero experience from improvement built, increased from battle and nodes / curiosities discovered
  • Reduced crew given by crew modules
  • Added different Demand management on Marketplace prices
  • Balancing of Market events
  • Fixed issues of Singularity: FIDSI and depletion effects
  • Added political impact to Leech (Religious) and Planet Destruction (Military) entity actions
  • Removed description panels from Faction Trait tooltip
  • Infinite improvements are now compatible with Food to Industry
  • Fixed issue on exclusive technologies which were not exclusives
  • Increased free movement speed
  • Increased food consumption
  • Increased influence zone progression rate
  • Removed duplicate of exploration stage 1
  • Added negotiable truce (not managed by AI, missing negotiable terms)
  • Increased hull health and upkeeps (slightly increased medium ship cost and greatly the large ship cost)
  • Balanced support module effects
  • Balanced weapon module: reduced missile power, increased flack effect, increased beam power)
  • Balanced space battle tactics and changed unlock distribution
  • Improved ground battle tactics: balanced effect, removed round number modifiers (replaced with manpower deployment limit modifiers), added ownership malus for the surrender tactic
  • Balanced random events appearance rhythm
  • Balanced Trading Companies: improvement costs are now linked, and can either increase luxury or dust production. They take longer to level up, and Trading Companies unlocks are slower.

FIXES

  • Fix for non-repeating minor factions
  • Fix for abundance of strats and luxes
  • Fixed an issue where ships in flotilla without direct opponent could not shoot
  • Fixed space battle trajectories orientations
  • Fix error sometimes occurring when opening the advanced play screen directly after the start of the battle, causing the enemy play cards and ships to be broken. We now simulate the enemy play if needed so we can show the information correctly.
  • Fix for number of nodes was still affected by density
  • Fix for isolated nodes spawning too far away
  • Fixed slider settings flicking between 2 (or more) values if they are quickly changed by the host in multiplayer.
  • Fixed error in economy screen system tab related to Riftborn population construction
  • Fixed the issue where the cost of the "Praise" action (Minor faction interaction) was not influenced by the "We are equals" law
  • Fix Venetians T2/3 Turrets Orientation
  • Fixed an issue on United Empire Ground Battle assets
  • Fixed an issue on Tikanans Ground Battle assets
  • fixed an issue on Riftborn home planet where the strategic luxury were spawned on all the planets of the home system or no strategic deposit were spawned instead of having them only on the home planet
  • Fix vote redistribution feedback in Election last panel
  • Fix duplicate special nodes names
  • Fixed full screen portrait rendering with custom resolution.
  • removed Bailiff Quest which provokes unpredictable eliminations
  • Fixed the bug forbidding the Ecologist Forced Law to apply properly
  • Fixed Riftborn outpost progress not being fed back in orbital view
  • Fixed outpost FIDSI not being displayed in orbital view
  • Fixed a bug on the Horatio gene population display in the population screen
  • Fix incorrect unlocking of play tactics slots when passing a turn
  • Fix several Multiplayer desyncs
  • Fix Wonder cancellation process and Refund in notification
  • Lots of issues fixed, along with an improvement to the overall stability of the game
  • Balancing / global tweak of the game

SOUND DESIGN

  • Reworked United Empire Warp
  • Fixed Horatio faction missing audio elements

KNOWN ISSUES

  • Final Reward of the Rifborn has no effect yet
  • Known issue: the AI is a bit reluctant to fight against Arks in early/mid game
  • FPS drops drastically during the planet destruction cutscene for a few seconds
  • Game session can remain stuck during the End Turn sequence while in a Pending state
  • The user does not receive the reward after “The cult of the strongman” United Empire faction quest is completed
  • Unfallen users cannot use the spaceport
  • Several factions traits on custom factions are not functional yet
  • AI factions do not build carriers/large sized ships during gameplay
  • ENFER ship cannot be dragged into the hangar
  • Title staggers during gameplay in the later turns of a session
  • The cutscene for gas planet destruction is missing
  • Several bits of texts are still in English in some languages
  • Saves will be broken if you are saving your game during the quest "Preserve the Academy"
  • Narrator and faction voice over during the beginner tutorial is missing
  • Tutorials about battle results and blockade are not triggered
  • Vodyani Quest Chapter 1 new objective is to exterminate pirates which are not necessarily on their own constellation: the translation keeps the old objective hint.
  • Vodyani Quest Chapter 1 Part 2 Second choice will not work with custom faction
  • Never show the planet scanview keys when in ground battle
  • Planet scan view is incomplete
  • [MAC] The minor and major factions influence area can be seen through the fog of war