Searching for humanity’s place in a hostile universe.
On the surface, Legends of Pegasus comfortably suits its ‘4X strategy’ label. You’ve got traditional point-and-shoot space combat, three competing races (humans, X’or and one yet to be revealed) and the ability to design ships on a component by component basis – everything you need to eXpand, eXplore, eXploit and eXterminate. However, layered on top of those reliable gameplay staples is something this sub-genre is unfamiliar with, a story-driven campaign.
During our hands-on with a preview build we had access to a selection of early missions, and we were pleasantly surprised to witness the beginnings of what could potentially be a really good plot with interesting supporting characters, dialogue and a story communicated mostly in-engine.
In the opening mission players are placed in control of a human fleet who are stranded and alone, after they’ve mysteriously plunged into a wormhole. They emerge out the other side and are immediately beset upon by an unknown alien threat, not knowing where they are and perhaps more importantly, when they are. For a 4X game to place the human race as the underdog isn’t new, but in LoP we’re not just the weakest, we’re circling the drain. Thankfully we’ve got some good ships on our side though, with a selection of cruisers and frigates available from the off.
The RTS side of things functioned as you’d expect with a fully zoomable camera – to the point where your full 3D model ships look like tiny icons on screen – and a compartmentalised damage system per unit, so you can see which systems are knocked out for any of your forces. It’s a very accessible system, but one which still allows a lot of depth in flanking manoeuvres and understanding which units are most affective against others.
Where the real high-concept strategy comes in though is via the campaign map, which is where you can teraform planets, mine for resources and build new facilities. The interface was a bit Babylon 5 rather than Star Trek, but all the economy data is easy to understand and the toggles associated with production, tax and security were easy to grasp and alter.
There’s also culture and morality gauges, but we weren’t entirely sure how they changed proceedings. After that we had a fiddle around with the ship maker which allows you to drag and drop individual components, mostly associated with defence and attack, but you can also bolt-on extra cargo holds and the like. In addition to the campaign mode there’s also standalone skirmish missions for you to play around with the game’s grand fleets and some sort of multiplayer functionality, but unfortunately that was greyed out in this build.
Interestingly, Neocore Studios has also promised to include a comprehensive modding tool set with the final release, so that players can create their own missions and alter unit specifications.
Aside from the nifty ‘last survivors of the human race’ setting, there isn’t too much to defy convention here. That said, the RTS engine is beautiful when set in motion, with nebulae backdrops to support the explosive ship-on-ship combat, and all the components seem to be here for an enjoyable 4X experience.
For a niche which has recently had its fair share of disappointments, – most notably Sword of the Stars II – that has to be a good thing. Expect more info on Legends of Pegasus soon.
Tags: Legends of Pegasus
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