Review: Endless Legend: Inferno10 Aug 2018 0
Review: Endless Legend: Inferno
Released 02 Aug 2018
As soon as the main menu music started I immediately smiled to myself. It felt good to return to Auriga and revisit the familiar hex-grid and FISDJ resource system. Not every game is lucky enough to see continued development and content expansion almost four years into its release. In a surprise twist from AMPLITUDE Studios, fans of Endless Legend were gifted a whole new reason to return to this fantastic fantasy 4X strategy title, the Inferno DLC.
Inferno manages to impact multiple facets of the game in one tight package: a new playable race, volcanic terrain and terraforming, Dust Eclipses and land weather patterns, new techs, city improvements, and more. I would certainly consider it a core expansion of the game that new players and veterans alike will appreciate.
The Kapaku, the new playable race from Inferno, are quickly becoming one of my favorites to play. Their traits revolve around living off volcanic terrain, as that is the only area where they can produce food for city growth. Additionally, they receive increased health regeneration and bonus stats while within that terrain. Using their 'Volcanoforming' devices, the Kapaku can convert a 7-hex circle of terrain (including allied and enemy territory) to its volcanic equivalent over the course of five turns at the cost of strategic resources. Except, notably for some reason rivers remain rivers, and are not converted into lava flows.You’ll have to find natural volcanoes for those.
There are a lot of interesting ways to use this terraforming to your advantage, like forging a strong alliance with a Broken Lords player (the dust vampires who don’t use food from hexes). They will love you forever if you do this to their territory. Likewise, you could permanently turn your enemies’ city or key tiles into a wasteland of no food. The mechanic turns out to be a nice resource sink that balances out the insanely high production value those tiles give. Seriously, just look at this starting area, this is bonkers hex value.
My personal favorite aspect of the Kapaku is the Golem Camp research, which enables you to construct a 7-hex circle of city boroughs that is completely detached from the region’s city itself. The strategic aspect of this one research is enormous as it allows you to be much more flexible with your cities initial settlement position. There’s no punishment for focusing on tiles that will give you a strong growth curve to start, as you can always immediately expand on top of oddly placed strategic or luxury resources on the other side of the principality.
Of course, bearing in mind you should probably terraform it to a lovely barren pile of ash first. Throw in other bonuses like Stone Sentinels having no military upkeep cost, exact knowledge of when Dust Eclipses are going to occur and gaining industry stockpiles for smashing your opponent’s walls, and you’ve got a really unique race that borderlines being overpowered. Not to mention their faction music score is kickass.
The Kapaku aside, Dust Eclipses are a very welcome addition to Endless Legend for one simple reason: the mechanic encourages you to maintain a presence on the map both at home and abroad throughout the entire game. 4X games often seem to suffer from a drop-off after the initial expansion phase, when you’ve explored all there is to explore, and your empire starts to stagnate going into the mid-game. Dust Eclipses occur at random intervals throughout the summer season, and they make all previously explored ruins and temples revisit-able during the eclipse. This is a fantastic way to encourage players to constantly have heroes and armies out and about everywhere on the map, and not just on their borders. It creates a sense of urgency to not miss out on bonus resources, quests, and artifacts.
I haven’t even gone into detail about the new land Dust Storm weather mechanics that encourage guerilla fighting, or the Dust Confluxes that give temporary (but very powerful) buffs to armies that pass through them during eclipses. Not to mention that each faction has a unique trait or ability that triggers during eclipses, adding another strategic layer to army composition and timing for war.
Inferno is a solid addition to an already strategic masterpiece of a game. It builds upon the shoulders of its predecessors, without directly overshadowing their importance. Summer seasons now feel just as varied and unique as the Winter re-design brought upon by the Shifters DLC. The Kapaku, despite being foreign invaders in the lore of Auriga, feel right at home in their unique design space niche just like all the other factions. AMPLITUDE Studios should be very proud of this latest DLC, and fans of Endless Legend would do well to pick it up. I’d certainly like to see it become a hot commodity on Steam.