5 Ways Endless Legend is More Exciting Than Civilization V

Robert Wiesehan 23-10-2014

If you’re a fan of 4X style strategy games 4 All-Time Classic 4X Games To Lose Yourself In If you are looking for a little more than just pointing and shooting or mindlessly blowing through hordes of enemies, strategy games, and specifically those of the 4X variety, are perfect for you. Read More , you’ve probably spent countless hours researching, negotiating, and conquering in Civilization V. MakeUseOf has shown you creative ways to extend the game’s life 5 Ways To Keep Civilization 5 Interesting While You Wait For Beyond Earth Armed with these ideas, you'll find hundreds of extra hours of fun in Civilization 5. Read More , the various ways to get into multiplayer How to Play Civilization V Multiplayer Mode Are you bored with Civilization V? Play it all over again with other people via Civilization V multiplayer mode. Read More , and exciting mods to change your game 6 Game-Changing Mods to Reinvigorate Civilization V For Free! You need something fresh and exciting to breathe new life into the game? These mods have you covered. Read More .


But as the sun sets on Civilization V, the upcoming Civilization: Beyond Earth isn’t the only great destination to exercise your imperial ambitions. A small French developer, Amplitude Studios, recently released Endless Legend, a stellar science fantasy successor to their hard sci-fi strategy game Endless Space. Endless Legend’s core mechanics will be familiar to any 4X strategy fan, but here are five ways it blows the Civilization juggernaut right out of the water.

Gorgeous Presentation

From the moment you load up your first game of Endless Legend, and the ridges and hills rise up from the map before you, you’ll fall in love with its lush science-fantasy world. Civilization V has hills and mountains, but they tend to manifest as obvious indicators of where the map hexes are centered, even when they’re supposed to be continuous and organic. In Endless Legend, hills roll up and down the map, ridges overlook deep valleys, and waterfalls tumble down cliff sides. A healthy dose of tilt-shift further enhances the experience, making the world look like a tiny, detailed model when you zoom in close.

The game’s soundtrack is a great accompaniment to your adventure too. Its combination of thumping drums, haunting choirs, mournful strings, and sparkling chimes transports you into the game’s timeless, mystical world. Don’t take my word for it; listen to the whole thing at Game Audio Factory!

Lively World & Story

Endless Legend’s ever present cycle of devastating harsh winters is a constant threat that helps it stand out from Civ and its sea of clones. Auriga, the game’s world, is plagued by sudden cold snaps, and though they start as simple penalties to city resources and army movement, they get more and more apocalyptic as the game goes on. You’ll know when winter is close, but you’ll never know the exact turn of its arrival, and it forces interesting gameplay decisions. Your main army might be ready to march on an enemy, but can you risk having them stuck abroad if a deep freeze hits and a foe is just out of sight? Winter forces you to think ahead, and gives the game a great cycle of fast and slow paced phases.

Each faction also tells a story in its main quest. You’ll get short term goals along with snippets of story as you play, and each goal you complete grants you rewards like resource caches, exclusive technologies, and artifacts for your heroes. Side quests with similar rewards pop up regularly too, encouraging you to explore ruins and make contact with minor factions. The system organically interacts with the game state to produce unexpected complications. You may need to search an abandoned ruin in a neighboring region, but if one of your neighbors settles there and closes their borders to you, do you go to war to reach that shrine, or do you try to patch up prior tensions so you can go in unhindered?


Varied Factions & Maps

There may only be eight factions in Endless Legend, but one look at their qualities proves that the differences between them are extremely dramatic. Try playing as the Vaulters, a technological people that recently emerged from an underground bunker, and you’ll win battles with their power to teleport armies between any cities they control. Then play the Roving Clans, a nomadic faction that cannot declare wars, but skims a tax off of every trade between other factions and can uproot their cities on the backs of giant beetles. Or take the Drakken for a spin, a dragon race that, with enough political influence, can force states of peace, or even alliance. If you can’t find a playstyle you like among the canonical factions, you can always build your own from the game’s huge pool of traits.

The game’s strong identity is further bolstered by its distinct, randomly generated regions you’ll see each time you play. When you settle a city in Endless Legend, you’re not just carving out a tiny pocket on the map; you’re staking claim to an entire named province of resources and indigenous minor factions. It’s a difference that gets rid of the patchy, unclaimed hexes that dot Civilization V’s late game maps, and since regions are primarily composed of one particular landform, each one ends up having a strong sense of place to it.

The Power of Heroes

In Endless Legend, you won’t just command faceless armies of troops. Heroes are powerful units that you’ll need to exploit if you hope to win against higher difficulty settings. And they’re not just there to fight your foes! While a battle hardened hero can give your troops the edge they need to win, you can also recruit heroes better suited to city governance. These cunning politicians can boost resource outputs or quickly stifle rebellion, making them valuable for magnifying the benefits of your best cities, or shoring up the deficiencies of a weak one.

Defeated heroes are only knocked out of the action for a while, so you can feel safe making them a longer term investment than Civ V’s great people. As they gain experience, they’ll progress up skill trees based on their faction and role, letting you groom them for whichever activities best suit your plans. You can also equip them with weapons, armor, and accessories, just like you can equip your troops. With their higher stats and the proper equipment multipliers, a properly managed hero is a force to be reckoned with, on and off the battlefield.


No One Is Safe

Have you ever been frustrated by a strategy game in which, several hours into your match, you realize that there’s just no hope for you to catch back up to your opponents? Play Endless Legend and you’ll quickly notice that the game’s status quo is refreshingly fragile. A poorly defended city can be captured by an army in the space of a single turn, and the right military tech can turn a flagging army into a powerhouse with a quick retrofit. It’s a change that’s great for strong and weak players, as the strong ones can’t just walk a victory across the finish line, and the weak ones never feel totally out of the action.

Combat results are rarely decided before a fight begins too. While you can choose to automate fights if you just want the game to compare army compositions and spit out a result, you can also fight in manual mode. Choosing to do so zooms down on the action and lets you micromanage a six exchange fight in a single turn, taking advantage of all the terrain around you. Did your opponent only bring slow melee units to fight? Stall the battle for your reinforcements by zipping your fast units through woods and around ridges, forcing a stalemate. Do you have a hero with a powerful defense sapping ability? Build your army so its initiative is just a touch lower than the hero, so they can bombard a unit right after it’s penalized. Each unit only has a few action choices, so the fights don’t bog down in tedium.

Don’t Miss This Legend

Endless Legend doesn’t have the benefit of a huge publisher and the bright spotlight of popularity to get your attention, but it’s a polished, exciting strategy game with that critical one-more-turn compulsion to play on. Amplitude has promised continued support with regular patches, and a smattering of DLC; both free and paid. So what are you waiting for? Consider this legend wholeheartedly recommended.

Have you picked up Endless Legend? Tell our community what you think of it in the comments!


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  1. SquareZack
    August 16, 2016 at 10:57 pm

    Hahaha, all these comments and nobody really knows what they're talking about. Let dogs bite steak, and all of a sudden they're the cooks that make it. From one writer to another, great article.

  2. Bored
    July 5, 2016 at 11:59 am

    What an idiotic article. I bet author was paid by publishers to write it. Most of the points don't make sense.
    Besides, in Civ you have always something to do. Endless Legends is a snoozer where all to do is click next turn.

    • Robin
      July 24, 2016 at 5:35 pm

      Naaw, is that a crocodile tear on your chin, Civ fanboi.

  3. Aeronomer
    March 12, 2016 at 8:06 pm

    To all the Civ5 turds... I wasted my money on Civ5 and never fired it up after December 2010. Even pirated to full game when all the money-grubbing expansions came out. And my reaction was still "meh". After years of playing Civ 4 daily, the lack of modding support in multiplayer killed any interest I might have had in this dumbed-down version of one of my favorite games.

    Endless Legend though... Me and all my Civ 4 buddies are still playing it daily and have been for a long while. The price was right and the devs give a shit. They don't just slap some famous guy's name on it and wait for the low-IQ fanboys to send them their cash. I'm done with Firaxis. Amplitude has stolen the crown as far as I'm concerned. Can't wait for Endless Space 2 this year.

    • Jonatas Alexandre do Monte
      June 24, 2016 at 9:14 pm

      Then why are you "complaining"? It was for the best that CIV V is the way it is then. CIV IV Fans have their game that they like (endless Legends as stated by you) and we that love CIV V have CIV V, everybody is happy as long as I can see.
      I really don't like endless Legend, just the game itself is not attracting for me and I'm glad that I have an option, something that seems to annoy you somehow.

  4. me
    May 14, 2015 at 5:50 am

    Just got endless legend and here I am, to be honest I dont understand how a game TODAY can be so bad : you can just create 1 thing per turn per city, really ? cuty is just a giant oven; initiative, must be a joke, my army just watch how enemy kill my units just because the other one has more initiative; vaulters and mezari same race dif name why, WHY ? just to add 1 more "faction"; no naval battle SAD; you are a major faction but becomes a dog of minor ones parleying to assimilate; some factions are OP and others just "why use it?"; and last one just because I am bored, lot of luck needed at start, better zones = you win, unless of course you suck
    "comment constructively" well, fix all that :D

    • Anonymous
      June 27, 2015 at 9:40 pm

      So your first thing is that you can only man 1 thing at a time, and i just got one question for that, have you played any TBS civbuilder game before? This is litterally the standard of all citys in similar games like the genre (civ 5 for one). You do not seem to understand how initiative works and how its balanced, if you have for example more initiative, then other things will be lacking like health, damage or attack, its a balacing system that ensures balanced combat (unless you got 200 of every reasource and can make fully upgraded guys super fast).

      Minor factions got fixed in a DLC, not cool, but its not a good argument to use really, and neither of the major factions are better than anyone else.

      Broken lords are just money bags and scary in combat with good army.
      Forest elves are production galore.

      Roving clans are the assholes that lock you out of the market every single game.

      Necrophages WILL kill you, but only you and almost no one else if everyone is at the same skill level.

      Vaulters are science turtlers and are damn good at it

      Ardent mages are so scary to face in combat because they oneshot so many things so quicky

      And drakken are the bane of the ones that are getting used to the game

      Neither of these races are OP, they have different strenghts and weeknesses. And ofc if you gett a better starting postion you are in a better spot, have you ever played any of these games you would know this, but you might be used to Total War.

  5. Brad
    April 27, 2015 at 4:56 pm

    If you enjoyed Civilisation 5, then consider Endless Legend as similar (don't hate me for saying that if you've played it), but slightly more mentally challenging and the diversity between races is much greater than the diversity between countries in Civ. Also, in Endless Legend there are minor factions which allow you to meet even more unique races all of whom are COMPLETELY different, which is refreshing compared to Civ 5's City States, which are different based on name and colour. Overall, it's a game which i greatly prefer and recommend to people who have both played this kind of game before, and complete beginners. And if you could get the emperor pack to support developers like i did, please do so they can improve this game and others :)

  6. Victor Ryan
    April 22, 2015 at 5:07 am

    It's amazing how a game can be a very slight permutation on an already very permuted model, and it is immediately deemed an innovation that blows the competition "out of the water." This game is only distinguishable from others in its genre with a magnifying glass. It's not a bad game, and it's pretty, but it brings nothing new to an already very played out scene. In addition, it has just as many weaknesses as its predecessors, making it a worthy addition to the genre - good but imperfect - hardly a mold-breaker.

  7. Anonymous
    April 5, 2015 at 3:32 pm

    After 25 years of playing CIV, CIV:BE ruined it for me. In fact, although I tried and liked both Endless Space and Endless Legend, after CIV:BE I stayed away from 4 X altogether for a while. But Endless Legend brought me back to my prefered genre. If you want to play 4X, there isn't anything better at the moment.

  8. Kirk Apolo
    October 25, 2014 at 8:48 pm

    i never thought i would hate a civ game, but this one is terrible. - no unit stacking, can't build up armies - AI is retarded, like denouncing you for having too many units in their territory after you just saved them from getting conquered - capturing a hostile city-state that declared war on you will make the Gratis Games AI denounce you as a "war monger" and become unfriendly hopefully the developers will go back to the old formula that made all the other civ games great, till then i'll stick with IV

    • Robert
      November 1, 2014 at 3:36 am

      I'll agree that the Civ 5 AI needs more work than Firaxis has chosen to give it, and Endless Legend's AI is similarly kind of dim, and supported by resource imbalances in the higher difficulties.

      I think both game developers have favored making AI that doesn't behave like it's playing a game. Imagine if all AI factions declared war on any player clearly on the final stretch toward a victory condition. It would be harder for sure, but it would sacrifice believability, so they make the AI behave like life goes on after victory or defeat.

      I for one don't miss the massive unit stacks of Civ 4, but I usually don't favor a military approach in these sorts of games to begin with, so take that for what it's worth.

  9. WiseIdiot
    October 23, 2014 at 7:30 pm

    This sounds fascinating, and the visuals themselves look very unique. I'm going to look up a let's play before I make my final decision, but I'm definitely considering getting this. Thanks for the info!

    • Robert
      November 1, 2014 at 3:19 am

      Hope you enjoy it as much as I have!