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4X games

Age Of Wonders III Review | Wonders Never Cease

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Reviews
Tags:
4X games, Editor's Choice, Games reviews, Grand strategy games, PC, PC games, Strategy games, Triumph Studios

Age Of Wonders III Review | Wonders Never Cease

Platforms: PC

Developer: Triumph Studios

Publisher: Triumph Studios

I've been searching for a new 4X addiction for some considerable time now, and Age Of Wonders III is almost certainly it. Years in the making and completed with a hefty bung from Markus "Notch" Persson, this fantastical turn-based sequel offers streamlined grand strategy, incredibly tense tactical battles and compelling RPG elements to boot. Somewhere between Civilization V, X-COM, Heroes Of Might & Magic, Warlock and Spellforce, it allows you to create your own hero from various unique classes and races, then lead their faction to victory through exploration, expansion and ruthless extermination.

But more importantly than that, Age Of Wonders III just creates a wonderful and unpredictable world to live in every time you play. This is a land where steampunk flame tanks and terrifying dragons do battle against rainbow unicorns and pixies. You'll find a "longsword of dire penguin slaying" before being assaulted by flocks of ravenous depraved aquatic birds from beyond the pale. Every hex you uncover, every cavern, temple, woodland glade and dark corner of the expansive maps holds opportunities for treasure, adventure or advancement - or new threats to desperately repel.

Wonders never cease. Which is why the review took so long.

Age Of Wonders III Review | Wonders Never Cease

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Horizon is only £5.75 on GamersGate, save £17

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Deals
Tags:
4X games, L30 Interactive, PC, PC games

Horizon is only £5.75 on GamersGate, save £17

Horizon | GamersGate | £5.75 (RRP: £22.99)
Horizon Review

Horizon was on course to become a space 4X contender, but its addictive gameplay and fantastic diplomacy system are let down by awful combat and tedious busywork. You can read our 5/10 review for the gory details.

However, this recently-released title is now only £5.75 on GamersGate, which will save you a whopping £17.  I reckon that's probably appropriate, at least if you've played GalCiv and MOO2 to death recently and hate Endless Space's divisive fleet combat.

Horizon Review | Catastrophic Combat Cripples A 4X Contender

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Reviews
Tags:
4X games, Iceberg Interactive, L30 Interactive, PC, PC games

Horizon Review | Catastrophic Combat Cripples A 4X Contender

Platform: PC

Developer: L30 Interactive

Publisher: Iceberg Interactive

The space 4X genre is in a very strange place right now. There's demand and supply thanks to crowd-funding and early access, yet we still don't have a truly great modern game that gives GalCiv, Master Of Orion 2 and Birth Of The Federation a run for their money. Even the magnificent Endless Space alienated many players with its controversial card combat, while we've seen so many promising titles release unfinished, unpolished or plain unplayable.

But all hope is not lost. Cue Horizon, an unapologetically old-school affair that dreams of the genre's glory years. Players lead their chosen race to dominate sprawling galaxies, expanding their reach with new colonies, exploring the wild frontier and tech trees, exploiting virgin territory and exterminating all comers when diplomacy fails. Offering unique races and turn-based fleet combat, Horizon has been on our radar for some considerable time.

Horizon Review | Catastrophic Combat Cripples A 4X Contender

Having previewed the Early Access build a few weeks ago, I was worried that Horizon might need a lot of work to bring it up to snuff, but a massive v.1.0. patch put paid to many of my concerns. Minutes turned to hours as I led the fledgling human race to take its first steps towards becoming a major galactic superpower.

Sadly, continued play reveals that L30 Interactive have built an otherwise enjoyable game on shaky foundations.

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Horizon Early Access Preview | Master Of Orion Too?

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Features
Tags:
4X games, Early Access, L30 Interactive, PC, PC games

Horizon Early Access Preview | Master Of Orion Too?

Platform: PC

Developer: L30 Interactive

Publisher: Iceberg Interactive

When it comes to creating a new Sci-Fi 4X game, you could do a lot worse than taking inspiration from Master Of Orion 2.

Horizon dreams of the golden age of eXploration, eXpansion, eXploitation and eXtermination, those MOO and Alpha Centauri days, wherein we'd leap into enormous galaxies and lead our civilizations to dominance through canny diplomacy, cutting edge research and colonisation. Not to mention wielding enormous fleets in tactical turn-based combat. Rather than trying to reinvent the genre, L30 Interactive are trying to bring it back in all its deeply involved, complex, occasionally overwhelming and rewarding glory. Promising eleven races, sprawling tech trees, massive randomly-generated galaxies and highly customisable fleets, they're certainly not scrimping on content.

Having sunk some considerable hours into the beta build (available on Steam Early Access for £18.98), I can report that Horizon is broadly on the right track. But can it deliver when the project hits v.1.0 next month?

Horizon Early Access Preview | Master Of Orion Too?

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Endless Space & Disharmony Expansion | £9.86 | GamersGate | PC

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Deals
Tags:
4X games, Amplitude Studios, Endless Space, Endless Space: Gold, Iceberg Interactive, PC games

Endless Space & Disharmony Expansion | £9.86 | GamersGate | PC

Endless Space Gold | GamersGate | £9.86 (save £7.99)
Endless Space Review | Price Comparison

If you're having trouble deciding on a 4X deal today, buy this over StarDrive. Costs less, has more content, is much better.

Endless Legend Announced By Endless Space Devs

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
News
Tags:
4X games, Amplitude Studios, Gamescom 2013, Iceberg Interactive, PC games, Strategy games

Endless Legend Announced By Endless Space Devs

Fantasy 4X Gets First Details & Screens

Amplitude Studios have officially announced Endless Legend, a "fantasy 4X" game that will release alongside the previously-teased as Dungeon Of The Endless. Expect the same eXploration, eXpansion, eXploitation, and eXtermination we're used to from the genre, but set in a world of heroes, quests and legendary creatures.

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StarDrive Review | Space Bears Off The Starboard Bow!

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Reviews
Tags:
4X games, Iceberg Interactive, Indie Games, PC games, RTS, Strategy games, Zero Sum Games
Discuss:
StarDrive | PC

StarDrive Review | Space Bears Off The Starboard Bow!

Platform: PC

Developer: Zero Sum Games

Publisher: Iceberg Interactive

Let's start with the great news. After a brave Kickstarter drive back in 2011, Dan DiCicco and his tiny studio Zero Sum Games have finally released StarDrive to an expectant PC audience hungry for eXploration, eXpansion, eXploitation and inevitable eXtermination. Not to mention Samurai Space Bears. 4X strategy games have received little love this generation, and DiCicco promised a title with genuine personality rather than glorified spreadsheets.

Now for the good news. Instead of copying existing 4X games, StarDrive aims to shake up the genre with extensive real-time space combat and ground battles that makes the action resemble a deep spacebound RTS. Though it shares similarities with classics like GalCiv and newcomers such as Endless Space and even AI War, Zero Sum's crowd-funded effort has an identity all of its own.

The bad news, unfortunately, is that StarDrive should have stayed in beta a while longer. Some of its more radical ideas end up falling prey to a slew of niggling issues, while missing gameplay elements will likely annoy customers who buy at launch.

StarDrive Review | Space Bears Off The Starboard Bow!

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Galactic Civilizations: Ultimate Collection Bundle | £5.78 | GamersGate | PC

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Deals
Tags:
4X games, PC games, Stardock Entertainment, Strategy games
Galactic Civilizations: Ultimate Collection Bundle | £5.78 | GamersGate | PC

Listen up, 4X fans. If you haven't got GalCiv I and II already, which are utterly exquisite examples of the genre, this deal gets you both games and all their expansions for less than one game costs elsewhere.

Not a fan of the genre? If you like the idea of creating your own intergalactic empire, designing massive fleets and conquering infinity with military might, science and diplomacy, this is probably worth checking out.

StarDrive Out On Steam Today: Space Bears Ahoy!

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
News
Tags:
4X games, Iceberg Interactive, PC games, StarDrive, Strategy games, Zero Sum Games

StarDrive Out On Steam Today: Space Bears Ahoy!

StarDrive, the Kickstarted 4X space strategy game from Zero Sum Games, is leaving beta later today. It'll launch on Steam for £24.99 (a pre-order discount expires in a matter of hours), offering "deep ship design, colonization, diplomacy, research" and all the rampant space bears you can handle. More details below.

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Endless Space: Emperor Special Edition | £13.48 | GamersGate | PC

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Deals
Tags:
4X games, Amplitude Studios, Endless Space, Iceberg Interactive, PC games
Endless Space: Emperor Special Edition | £13.48 | GamersGate | PC

GamersGate's Spring Sale is now underway, and offers a huge saving for Endless Space's Emperor Edition. Though some of the extras are rather redundant now that the game has shipped (like your forum name in the credits), this 4X extravaganza is definitely worth picking up, even if you hold off for a cheaper deal on the standard version.

You can knock off a little extra with the "elder-geek.com" voucher code.

Endless Space Shifts 300,000 Copies, Gets Free Expansion & Steam Sale

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
News
Tags:
4X games, Amplitude Studios, Endless Space, PC games, Strategy games

Endless Space Shifts 300,000 Copies, Gets Free Expansion & Steam Sale

Brilliant 4X strategy game Endless Space has managed to sell over 300,000 copies since its launch last year. To celebrate, Amplitude Studios have released a free update that adds new buildings, technology, heroes, events, fixes and more. Virtual Awakening will install automatically on Steam when you next log in.

If that wasn't enough, Endless Space is 50% off on Steam - starting now [UPDATE: This happened sooner than we predicted, which is no bad thing]. We described Endless Space as "Orion's new master" in our 9/10 review, and we've got more details about Virtual Awakening below.

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Sword Of The Stars II: Enhanced Edition | £3.73 | GamersGate | PC

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Deals
Tags:
4X games, Kerberos Productions, Paradox Interactive, PC games

Sword Of The Stars II: Enhanced Edition | £3.73 | GamersGate | PC

Sword Of The Stars II was totally broken when it first launched, but the Enhanced Edition finally fixes almost everything will including every DLC pack and update thus far.

It's also less than four quid on GamersGate, saving you about a tenner.

Endless Space: Emperor Edition | £10.80 | Green Man Gaming | PC

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Deals
Tags:
4X games, Amplitude Studios, Endless Space, Iceberg Interactive, PC games
Endless Space: Emperor Edition | £10.80 | Green Man Gaming | PC

Endless Space is a truly brilliant 4X game: deep, addictive, infinitely customisable and (shock horror) actually easy to use. You can tailor every aspect of the experience to suit your whims, from the makeup of the galaxy to the traits and weaknesses of your own personal alien race.

GMG's voucher code deal brings the weighty Emperor Edition down to the same price as the standard (Admiral) version usually gets to during sales. Nice.

Endless Space | £11.50 | GamersGate | PC

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Deals
Tags:
4X games, Amplitude Studios, Endless Space, Iceberg Interactive, PC games
Endless Space | £11.50 | GamersGate | PC

Endless Space is a truly brilliant 4X game: deep, addictive, infinitely customisable and (shock horror) actually easy to use. You can tailor every aspect of the experience to suit your whims, from the makeup of the galaxy to the traits and weaknesses of your own personal alien race.

Despite being unwilling to match their £7.82 deal from last November (that was probably a misprice considering how quickly it was changed), GamersGate are touting a £3 saving.

Drox Operative Review | Or...How To Be A Shadow Broker

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Reviews
Tags:
4X games, ARPGs, Drox: Operative, PC games, Soldak Entertainment

Drox Operative Review | Or...How To Be A Shadow Broker

Platforms: PC

Developers: Soldak Entertainment

We're quite fond of genre mashups here at Dealspwn. But when the rules and restrictions of two rather distinct genres come smashing together, the results can be an over-encumbered tangle of features and functions that results in a bloated mess, or else the compromises made in order to provide such a synthesis come at too great a cost - leading to a final product that proves a jack of both trades, and an attractive prospect for fans of neither due to its shallow depth.

Occasionally, though, the two colliding types can form a hybrid that achieves its goal, and manages to combine the best of both into a a double-barrelled experience  that delivers a delicious unity or purpose and entertainment. Much like mint-choc-chip ice cream. Or Ben and Jerry's Half Baked.

Drox Operative Review | Or...How To Be A Shadow Broker

Although not quite as deeply satisfying and refreshing as the aforementioned ice creams, Drox Operative is, nonetheless, a successful spacefaring hybrid of sorts - taking the ARPG stylings of Diablo, and smashing them into the 4X strategic shenanigans exhibited in the likes of Masters of Orion and Ascendancy. It's an odd mutant  child, to be sure, and quite an alienating one at first, but then you look up and realise that actually you've been playing it for nearly eight hours, and the day that turned to night has turned to day again.

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Endless Space | £11.49 / Free Weekend | Steam | PC

Author:
Carl Phillips
Category:
Deals
Tags:
4X games, Amplitude Studios, PC games, Strategy games

Endless Space | £11.49 / Free Weekend | Steam | PC

As we foretold in a post yesterday, Endless Space is the weekend deal on Steam starting today, dropping the price and allowing everyone to give it a try for the duration. Admittedly, the sale price isn’t as good as the recent deal we highlighted from Gamersgate, but it’s the lowest price by a fair margin at the time of writing.

Jon described Endless Space as a “sensational 4X title” in his review, and it’s hard to disagree with the assessment. The fleet combat may be lacking somewhat, but everything else is an absolute gem. We strongly recommend giving it a try while you’re able to for free. Thanks to Irbaumard @ HUKD!