Richard Cobbett used words such as "immediately engaging" and "is" to describe Age of Wonders III in his review, so the news that it will shortly receive an expansion is almost definitely a Good Thing. Golden Reams is its name, and "bucket loads of new content" is its game, including the hobbity return of the Halfling race. Triumph announced the expansion with a ginormous video describing the new stuff, but if you'd rather hear about it in text form, I have you covered there too.
Just when will humanity embrace its unknown future? Or re-embrace, I guess—what with Civilization: Beyond Earth being the spiritual successor to Alpha Centauri, and all. Firaxis' forward-looking Civ will take players to the stars this October 27th. To celebrate the new count-down, 2K have released footage from an E3 demo of the game.
Galactic Civilizations 3 needs a few good engineers. Set to be the next entry in the venerable 4X strategy game series, GC3's ongoing alpha now has a ship-building system. The buy-in for the alpha is still an eye-watering £76 / $100 through Steam Early Access, but developer Stardock Entertainment looks to be sticking to its ethos, with players taking part in the creation of the game.
There's a good chance you've seen a game trailer before. Inevitably it will have featured: a) some explosions, b) mild peril, and c) a soundtrack that honks like a steamboat fighting Aphex Twin. None of which is really possible when demoing a 4X strategy. Galactic Civilizations 3 is further handicapped by being set in space, meaning it can't even flash a bit of tantalising terrain at the viewer. Nevertheless, the follow up to the excellent GalCiv 2 is unveiling its first footage, and, if you're of the right frame of mind, it's still pretty sexy.
Previously, "Endless Legend" was a term I used to describe the interminably long lore dumps associated with fantasy RPGs. Now it's also an upcoming 4X strategy game, created by Endless Space developer Amplitude Studios. Fittingly, they've created their own series of lore trailers, each introducing the game's roster of factions. Far from endless, though, they're relatively short. This first video, introducing The Vaulters, is just over a minute of phrases like "unknown relics," "hidden past," and "coming soon to Steam Early Access."
The danger for 4X strategies is that, inevitably, they'll be compared to Civilization. Although, to be fair, many games are openly inviting that comparison. Galactic Civilizations, which yesterday released its own set of screenshots, contains the word "Civilization" in its title, for instance. Then there's the fantasy 4X, Warlock 2: The Exiled, which has successfully differentiated itself by name, if not entirely by look. Judge for yourself, by browsing the game's first selection of screenshots.
Last week, I put out a universal distress call, pleading for some PC news with which to battle the approaching armada of console minutia. This morning, I get in to find that somebody has left a howdytron on our galactic garbleblab. Translating the message, I find... an advertisement for squirdleprong enlargement pills. Stupid space spam. Oh well, that was a waste of time. In which case, we'll have to make do with these first Galactic Civilizations 3 screenshots.
It's an odd quirk that many of the games that went on to be major sources of inspiration have had relatively short names. That means we've had Doom Clones, and Roguelikes, and DotA-likes, and other, snappy touchstones. Pandora: First Contact is perhaps best described as a Sid Meier's Alpha Centauralike, which is longer, but effectively conveys the game's aim to be seen as a "spiritual successor" of sci-fi 4X strategy Alpha Centauri.
Here's a more sedate representation of space than that offered by some of today's other interstellar stories. Endless Space may not be as infinite as its title suggests, but thanks to Amplitude's commitment to free add-ons, it is constantly expanding. The fifth of these add-ons, called The Search for Auriga, is now available for owners of the game's Disharmony DLC.
Amplitude Studios have been generous in their post-release support for sci-fi 4X strategy Endless Space. Four free add-on packs followed the game's launch, adding new factions, heroes and technologies, and boasting excellent sci-fi names like Lights of Polaris and Rise of the Automatons. Now they're set to continue that generosity with a free major update to the game's Disharmony expansion. As before, it will bring expanded content and a strong name: The Search for Auriga.
If you're not up to speed with the story behind 4X strategy Endless Space, this launch trailer for the Disharmony expansion doesn't quite hit the tone that developer Amplitude were presumably aiming for. An ancient, powerful, crystalline race rises from the depths of time. Their mission: to destroy... Dust?
You're telling me the oldest race in the universe are dustbusters?
For most games, you wouldn't get away with releasing a series of screenshots depicting menus. But for 4X strategy buffs, a nice menu is appreciated like an FPS fan appreciates a perfectly recreated gun. Or like an RTS fan appreciates some topographical terrain. Or even like a Saints Row fan appreciates a weaponised dildo. As these screenshots show, Endless Space's Disharmony expansion has some particularly nice menus. The space explosions are really just a bonus.
Also a bonus: the expansion's release date has been set for the 28th of June.
Endless Space is already a disharmonious place, with multiple factions locked in turn-based 4X fighting. The game's developers, Amplitude Studios, have been busy stoking the fires of this conflict, having previously released four free add-ons, introducing new units and factions to the game. Now they're set to unleash the biggest galactic overhaul yet, with Disharmony, Endless Space's first paid-for expansion.
The thing about humans is, you try and do something nice for them, and then they throw it back in your face by raising an army and going to war. Even innocent things, like building a bakery so they don't starve, will result in more soldiers prowling the floating island you watch over. Well, at least they can defend themselves from bandits... No, wait, they're charging head-first into a big Greek mythological monstrosity. The other thing about humans is they're kind of dumb.
That's what you'll have to deal with in Skyward Collapse, the turn-based 4X god game from AI War developer Arcen Games. You play as The Creator, who is attempting to help two warring civilizations thrive, without letting either get advanced enough to wipe out their rival. It's an interesting twist on the god 'em up genre, and it's out now through Steam and the developer's website.
Sometimes a sequel wants to say more than the original ever could. Fallen Enchantress: Legendary Heroes, a new standalone expansion to the Stardock strategy game, puts you at the helm of a fantasy empire in a hostile world filled with flaming corpse monsters and wailing undead banshees.
You get the impression that Stardock are trying to bury the memory of much maligned 4X strategy Elemental: War of Magic - possibly while whistling a nonchalant tune, hoping we'll not notice the fresh patch of disturbed earth and the shovel in their hand. First there was Elemental: Fallen Enchantress - the standalone expansion that went a long way to fixing the ill will caused by its predecessor. Now we have the second expandalone, Fallen Enchantress: Legendary Heroes, conveniently dropping that troubled prefix altogether for its May 22nd release.
This is the latest effort by Stardock to properly execute their vision of Elemental: War of Magic , the 4X strategy game we gave 70% back in PCG 219.
It’s a solid turn-based strategy game. You begin with a single hero, found your civilisation and employ strategies both aggressive and diplomatic to further your aspirations for world domination. Through expansion, subjugation and the wielding of grand magics, you move armies across the battlefield to kill wandering creatures, gather lost treasures, carry out quests and capture towns. These are familiar game mechanics, and though highly competent, Enchantress never really feels like it’s pushing the boundaries.
Arcen Games, creators of AI War and A Valley Without Wind, have announced their next game, Skyward Collapse. It's a strategy collision, incorporating elements of turn-based 4X, god games and simulation. Rather than a vengeful deity of elemental destruction, you play a hovering peacekeeper, attempting to persuade the inhabitants of the floating island you watch over to stop smacking each other with sticks.
Endless Space has received its fourth free add-on pack, Virtual Awakening. The update, launched in celebration of selling 300,000 copies of the 4X turn-based strategy, adds a bunch of new features unlocked during last year's free weekend. The more people who participated in that event, the more new items would be unlocked. And given the size of the changelist, it's safe to say the galaxies were swarming with would-be colonisers.
Slick 4X strategy game Endless Space received a free update yesterday adding a mysterious Christmas wonder called The Polaris Factory. Wonders were added in an earlier free update, they're hidden facilities and phenomenon that can grant great boons to an expanding empire. This one is an ancient machine couched in the deep arctic ices of a frozen planet, but what does it do?