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Legends of Pegasus Review

By on August 17th, 2012 3:58 pm

Legends of Pegasus

Legends of Pegasus was developed by Novacore Studios and published by Kalypso Media. It’s a turn-based space 4X game with real-time battles and it was released digitally in August 10, 2012 through the Steam platform.

Launch failure

After seeing so many interesting screenshots, reading two interesting interviews and watching plenty of videos showing off space battles and great alien races lore, I, like presumably many other space 4X game fans, had high hopes for this title. We even had two interesting interviews here on the site with Novacore’s CEO. A +40h single-player campaign was also promised, something very rarely seen in 4X games. All the marketing campaign lead us to believe that there was a good chance that we were going to play a great and innovative game. Well, unfortunately that was not the case. At least for now, one week after release, it isn’t.

Similar to what happened back in October 2011 with Sword of the Stars 2′s launch failure, where the developers and producers of that game quickly acknowledged that there were serious problems with the release, Kalypso Media has also publicly admitted in their forums that their release was “very rocky and totally not what we wanted it to be. The flood of problems has really surprised us.” ~Kalypso Media Forums (“Kalypsochris” nickname).

Today Kalypso Media announced that they are providing a “free loyalty bonus package for customers affected by technical issues with Legends of Pegasus. We sincerely apologize for the problems and disappointment experienced during the launch of this title and to show our commitment to both the game and our community we will be providing free Steam keys for our titles “Patrician IV” and “Dungeons”.” ~Kalypso Media Forums (“Timo” nickname).

Kalypso Media ended by saying that “we will continue to work on future updates to [Legends of Pegasus] using the incredibly helpful and constructive feedback provided by the great community on these forums.”. ~Kalypso Media Forums (“Timo” nickname).

Things didn’t start well for Legends of Pegasus that’s for sure, and now there’s a host of extremely unhappy gamers to handle after making a serious investment in pre-ordering and buying the game (this is not a cheap game).

There would be a lot to talk about these bad releases subject but the remaining words in this article will only be about Legends of Pegasus itself.

So, how bad is it?

Not so bad as other bad releases I’ve seen, but close. The game is barely playable at the moment. Not so much by lack of content, the campaign’s first episode is somewhat interesting to follow and does a good job explaining you the basics, which is particularly important for gamers who are not familiarized with space 4X games. All leads to believe that the following episodes of the Human campaign and the other 8 episodes for the two other races can be interesting as well, but the problem is not with the campaign’s content itself.

The major problem with the game right now is stability. The game crashes a lot, both in campaign mode and on skirmish/sandbox mode. So, I guess only true hardcore gamers will manage to pass through the first campaign episode. Not because they may find that amusing or fun but in my case because I needed to finish something to write my review. It took time, probably more time spent reloading after crashes than actually playing, but I made it.

On the positive side of things there are plenty of aspects in this game worth praising. For instance the graphics are nice, nothing too spectacular but good overall. The campaign cut-scenes are a bit static and cartoony but are enjoyable on their own style. Music is cool, but after a while it can get too monotonous as there’s not much variety. There are also some nice sounds and voice effects as well.

Legends of Pegasus | Colony Management screen

Colony management is quite satisfying, although it lacks feedback (more on that later). The Empire screen is also good by giving you a good grasp on things, and you can even access your colonies individually from there.

Ship design is great. You can customize preset ships to your likings, with more or less weapons, defenses, other special components that you can unlock with research and even modules you can further attach to ships to include even more components.

Legends of Pegasus | Ship design screen

Speaking of research I didn’t find it very appealing. It needs a lot of polishing work. Tech descriptions are barely present and you don’t get enough feedback on which tech has just been discovered or what you did obtain with it. The tech tree arrangement is also quite poor so you end up hunting for what to research next, in a less than satisfactory way. But, there seems to be quite a lot of techs available and each race has its own techs too, although much of each race’s techs seem to be just skins of each other.

Legends of Pegasus | Research screen

On the other hand I liked the game’s system view. The planet models are decent and you have a good feeling about being in control of a stellar empire, a real one, so the base seems solid.

In theory LoP has a good design behind. The problem is that, although promising, the game falls short in many areas to a point where those shortcomings combined with the horrendous instability issues result in a very poor gaming experience.

The Campaign

If you choose to play in single player campaign mode you will start with an introductory cut-scene where you can see that a bunch of lone survivors end up on some random sector of the galaxy. You’re being chased by the enemy and soon you see yourself battling some enemy ships on a real-time fashion. You can select individual ships, target enemy ships, also individually, select multiple ships, move around quickly, rotate the camera. All the basic RTS moves. There’s nothing special about the combat mechanics and neither did it have to be.

I have to say that overall combat is enjoyable. Graphics are ok, explosions are nice, sounds are good, but sometimes ships don’t obey your orders. Sometimes you order a ship to attack but it will do nothing. You need to move it closer to the enemy ship for it to start the attack.

Legends of Pegasus | Real-time combat

After the initial battle sequence, which unfolds in real-time, you transition to turn-based mode and you’re given instructions to colonize a planet. You do that, and so on with all the other missions, always following your campaign script. Everything runs smoothly but sooner or later (more sooner) you end up with a crash. And it’s not only me saying, many more people are reporting multiple and constant crashes on LoP’s official forums.

One thing that some people will notice immediately is that the missions’ window can’t be seen totally, so you end up guessing what the rest of the sentences written there are, your objectives I mean. This happened to me on my 1280×1024 resolution monitor and I read that other players were reporting the same. I had to switch to my laptop to be able to resume playing in a different resolution.

I eventually ended the first episode, after many crashes in several places. Most of the time the crashes happened at the end of battles, but they also happened when I was interacting with the fleet manager screen, when I was renaming planets, when selecting ships, …. Well, looks like crashes can happen in many and unpredictable places. This is a very poor condition in which to play a game. But I tried hard and eventually finished through the human campaign’s first episode.

Looking back to the campaign’s episode it was quite alright content-wise, considering only the short time spans I was actually playing. It was very easy to accomplish tasks though, but it was just the first part, the introductory/tutorial part, so granted the next episodes are probably more challenging.

What was not easy at all was playing the game through constant crashes and bogus save/load games. After loading my games, to resume my campaign, I found that I was losing my fleet setup, all fleet arrangements just vanished. All I had been left with was the full and flat list of ships. What? And I couldn’t build anything after loading either, only on the next turn. I lost some techs I swear I had already and my “renames” also disappeared (the custom names I had given to my planets). This is terrible. I mean, how can a player keep faith in a game when even the basic save/load function doesn’t work properly? The devs have released three patches since release, and some addressed save game issues to same extent, but even after those I’m still getting this odd save/load behavior.

Skirmish/sandbox mode

So, after (painfully) going through the Human campaign’s first episode I started a sandbox game to see if things were better. But it started bad there too. At first I couldn’t believe it but you can only choose one AI player to fight against. All other slots were closed to the computer and could only be occupied by other human players I guess. Don’t ask me why, I guess there’s some problem with more than one AI playing at the same time. More people are saying the same thing. I tried multiplayer but I found no one there to try a game. I opened one myself but no one joined, so, that was it for multiplayer.

There’s race customization in LoP, and it looks quite cool actually. As expected in this kind of feature you have a set of points available to distribute through several aspects of the game where you want your race to be specialized at: research, trade, industry, etc. You can also decide to specialize in some kind of  bundle traits also available, like bonus packages. So, things were starting to shape up.

Legends of Pegasus | Race customization screen

I started developing my empire and had my economy going. Built some more living space, a research laboratory, a shopping mall to boost morale. The colony screen is really easy to use and after a while you start to get the hang of things. However, the screen lacks tooltips to help you figure out what all the information is for or how it’s calculated.

Then I decided to send a scout to nearby systems, to start some real exploration, although quite frankly there’s not much to do concerning exploration besides jumping between star systems and catalog planets (e.g. no derelicts, space monster, anomalies or ancient ruins to explore).

The galaxy window though is quite nice. You see, there’s a system view that is completely distinct, or detached, from the galaxy screen. In the system screen you see, as expected, a star and nearby planets orbiting the star, and eventually asteroid fields. Everything is well rendered and you have a good feeling of being in space. The galaxy screen opens a separate view showing you the galaxy and the different star systems connected by star lanes. All star systems are connected by stargates although we have no information of who built those stargates.

Legends of Pegasus | Star system screen

Although both the system and galaxy views are nice as separate views they fail in providing a smooth experience to the player, because they provide different levels of information, not enough in my opinion, and you need to be constantly switching from one to the other to be able to navigate your ships from system to system and then interact with the planets in a particular system and get back again to the galaxy screen. Overall I didn’t like how these screens are intertwined. I would much rather have an integrated view. Something like full zoom-out shows you the big picture – the galaxy view – and full zoom in shows you a system or a planet, as usual in these types of games.

Legends of Pegasus | Galaxy screen

So, the separation between system and galaxy screens is obtrusive to the player’s experience and is a bit clunky too. For instance, when selecting a particular system you get a list with all the ships stationed there (as you can see above). The problem is that this list renders on-top of nearby star systems and then you can’t select those systems to send your fleets there. You have to rotate the screen to be able to do that.

And while I’m on the fleets subject let me tell you that the fleet manager of LoP is probably the worst I’ve played till this day, perhaps in equal footing with SotS2′s fleet manager when it got out. It’s very confusing. I spent many minutes trying to figure out how it worked. Finally I understood that I needed to create a fleet and then a group inside that fleet to be able to allocate ships. And the fleet manager screen is very clunky too, it’s hard to move ships around but eventually you will be able to. The problem is that the game crashes a lot on this screen so I was even afraid to use it further. And since loading games was cleaning my fleet arrangements what was the point anyway? I lost complete interest in using the fleet manager function from that point forward.

Legends of Pegasus | Fleet manager screen

But getting back to sandbox mode. After playing for about 160 turns my economy was already up and running and I had a good bunch of corvette ships available. So, I decided it was time to make my AI neighbors a visit. The diplomacy screen is very uninspired by the way. You can only offer a cease-fire, propose an alliance and declare war. And, after proposing an alliance I didn’t even get a response from my AI friend. Ever! “Quite odd”, I thought.

Legends of Pegasus | Diplomacy screen

When I arrived at my opponent’s world I destroyed its two scouts (strange, they had only two scouts also when I first played them a visit). I destroyed the scouts, their mining station (that I’m still to figure out what its purpose in the game is) and then … nothing happened. No response, no counter offensive, no nothing. In fact there were no more enemy worlds around that system. This was with a medium difficulty AI so I expected a bit more than this. In fact what it seemed like was that the AI wasn’t even working at all. They had not visited my system (and we were right next to each other). In fact people are complaining about the same thing in the game’s forums. So, by the looks of it, the AI, and sandbox mode in general are not yet fully operational.

Bottom line

I’m extremely disappointed with this game. After so much coverage over the past year, all the anticipation build-up that we would be playing a fine space 4X game, all that ended with a game that I would call more a (barely) playable prototype.

Legends of Pegasus shows great potential, it really does. It shows that the devs had a concept and they were making solid strides towards accomplishing that concept but somehow we ended up with an unfinished game full of bugs, crashes and lots of disappointed and angry people. No alpha or public beta testing campaigns were announced, but clearly the game wasn’t tested properly.

It’s true that Kalypso Media has admitted that the release was bad, and they were fast in saying so. They apologized for the release’s state and are now offering a compensation for LoP’s false start. But the players didn’t want those compensations, they wanted a finished game. It’s also true that LoP’s development studio – Novacore Studios - is apparently young and possibly developing their first commercial game, and perhaps a dream game of their own but how many of these “false start” releases can the genre endure before people start to lose faith? I mean, it was not even one year ago since we had another of these major “false starts”.

Legends of Pegasus shows good potential but judging from other game’s “false starts”, and my own experience in software development, I think it has a long road ahead until it may turn into an enjoyable game. It has many problems at the moment, mostly bugs but also major incompleteness. So, unless you want to buy it for seeing it for yourself, or for any other reason you may find valid, I recommend that you look elsewhere to spend your hard earned money. Just look around in the site for a few minutes and you’ll find plenty of good and even great space 4X games to have a good time with. I plan to revisit and re-review this game when/if it gets finished.

Legends of Pegasus

Legends of Pegasus (PC)

Buy digital at GamersGate, Green Man Gaming, GameStop, Steam, Kalypso Media. Box at Amazon.

Space Sector score: 3.5/10
bad
The Good:
- Campaign mode. Three campaigns, one for each faction
- Deep colony development and somewhat deep economy (although obscure still)
- Rich ship design system
The Bad:
- Very unstable. Lots of crashes and bugs
- Sandbox/skirmish mode not yet finished. Lacking AI
- UI needs further polishing. More tooltips and feedback required
- Lacking exploration phase
- Bland and trivial research system
- Diplomacy is just a panel with three options: War, Cease fire and Alliance
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70 Comments


  1. nornagest says:

    I somehow saw this coming and I’m glad I didn’t preorder this (expensive) bad game.

    Not opening the game for any kind of beta event was just a bad sign, just like only showing screenshots in advance. Testing and polishing a game is done far better by a big(ger) number of players looking for bugs, than a single (iirc external) company that does all the testing.

    But on the sunny side: SotS2 is getting better and better. ;-)

    • Kyle "Lordxorn" Rees says:

      Yeah this was one of the first 4x games I didn’t pre-order because I felt that the lack of early access was a bad sign of things to come.

      I can only imagine if they allowed early beta access to let devoted fans of the series help report issues and then actually listen to those reports, the game would have had a chance coming out of the gate more stable.

    • Kyle "Lordxorn" Rees says:

      Forgot to ask, how enjoyable is SOTS2 now? I bought it at a really dirt cheap price, but shelved it because I lost interest fast.

      • nornagest says:

        Well it’s far better and definitely playable. I’m still annoyed by the loading times and haven’t played very much either, but I think most of the features are in now.
        If you’re unsure maybe wait for the official “all clear” from Kerberus.

        • Fimbul says:

          Well, SOTS2 is now playable, but still buggy and lacks alot informations, the AI is so stupid and is forced to cheat alot (swarming you with tons of bad set up fleets, not using the max amount of ships 54 of 66 command points, the hiver AI doesn’t send gates with its survey fleets and attack just with its basic drive).

          over all its a big mess, the most of their so called inovations are in my opinion just bullsh** and they are not man enough to admit it. especially the fleet and order system, it slows down the game so much, no fast exploration, they allways have to come back, occupying later new systems and building new colonies is a pain in the ass because you have to build quickly a starbase that you can relocate a defense fleet while constantly swarmed by the enemy.
          drones are still worth for nothing (dont make real dmg and the behaviour is just static), star bases are a micro horror, you allways have to send your construction fleet(s) around for upgrading.
          fleetmanager is not able to handle tighter formations, it just place ships elsewhere in battle, battlemanager still deletes the formation of your placed fleet when you have lost or replaced ships.
          so compared to the last build of SOTS is SOTS2 like to try to swim in honey instead of water, sweet promising and good looking but not what it should be.

          it’s still hard to belive they made SOTS a good and fast 4X with nice techs, not to much micro and battle oriented playstyle and then this mess.

  2. TimmY says:

    Well, nice review as always. Now I’m kinda happy that I didn’t pre-order the game.

    I don’t understand why companies release unfinished games. If they bothered playing the game, they could have seen the problems. Maybe they had a deadline or something but this is wrong.

    So many good games are ruined because of hasting the release. It is greed in the middle? Sigh..

    • Steve says:

      It’s not surprising that they want the money… Wouldn’t you want the cash from the revenue if the launch would supply it. The sense of ergency to fix the issues isn’t there either. They are more or less a horrible developer.

      Cheers

  3. fred says:

    Thanks for the review.
    If the dev does make good and eventually fix the game, I hope you would consider a re-review (but keep this one). This would allow people who found out about the game later on a better idea about the state of the game at that time, rather than only have the initial reviews available. This is something I experienced with Sword of the Stars 2–we need all the 4x, albeit, quality ones, we can get.

  4. Jeff P says:

    Thanks for your efforts on this project. Reads like it was a painful experience, particularly since Kalypso wasn’t providing review copies of the game and you had to purchase yours!

    Kalypso deserves a ton of scorn for LoP: they claimed in their forum that “The flood of problems has really surprised us” yet they had already prepared a major patch for release the same day as the launch. They clearly were aware that the game was unplayable but released it anyway.

    I saw the handwriting on the wall and shied away from pre-order (thankfully), but am very disappointed none-the-less.

    • Adam Solo says:

      I admit that this review was a painful experience mixed with some rare moments of joy. I didn’t purchase the game, I got a review copy from Kalypso right about when the game was released. But they never provided a preview copy, after many many failed attempts and constant delays. I confess that I was starting to think something was wrong. Unfortunately I was right.

      This serves as a lesson to all of us. When you don’t see any hands-on previews on a certain game, whatever the game is, and you don’t see it on any site it is a clear red flag that something MAY be wrong. I advise that nobody pre-order games in the future without at least reading an hands-on preview article. I can’t even start to tell you how sad I am by seeing two major space 4X game fail bad in less than one year interval. It’s really very sad for one of our favorite genres. Well, life goes on.

  5. Ashbery76 says:

    It been a poor year for new space 4X IP’s.LOP was too over ambitious for a small team while ES had pretty graphics and not much else.

    Stardrive looked like the weakest out of the three with the smallest budget but could actually be the best.

    • Jay says:

      You forgot Star Lords, probably the most promising of the those three imo.

      • Kyle "Lordxorn" Rees says:

        I wouldn’t put Star Lords as the “most” promising. The main reason is the lack of custom designed units. While the developers have mentioned that they are looking into it, it seems like it would set them back majorly in time to implement it. Any true 4x successor of MOO2 has to include custom designed units in my opinion.

        • Jay says:

          They already said in the forums they are implementing ship customization…

        • Kyle "Lordxorn" Rees says:

          Really? Could you point me to the topic where they say this? Last I read on it, was that they will do it if enough people want it.

        • RandomBlue says:

          See here: http://neogen2.com/community/index.php?topic=18.msg377#msg377

          “Also after a week of internal discussion, we can now announce we are working on the ship customization module so yes, there will be ship customization in the game”

          That was my major concern as well initially so I’m glad they went with this decision.

        • Kyle "Lordxorn" Rees says:

          I am glad they are going forward with it. Good news indeed. I just hope it is not too far along in the process where it does not get implemented right.

          This is the genius in MOO2, where they do not necessarily change the look of the ship, only the weapon effects. In the current stage Star Lords is in, it seems this is the most efficient way to go as well.

          Keep in mind they also have to change the way the AI will utilize the customized ships as well.

  6. Josh B says:

    When LoP went up for pre-order, a couple friends asked me if I was going to pre-order. I told both of them, “No. I don’t know why, but I don’t have high hopes for this one.” I couldn’t give them any good reasons why — just a feeling or suspicion.

    SotS2 and LoP are now glaring examples of failed launches. Mix that with a pretty disappointing Gemini Wars and an “okay” Endless Space… just a string of disappointments. (I actually enjoy Endless Space — it just got boring really fast).

    • Adam Solo says:

      Unfortunately you’re right, there have not been major successes of lately. Perhaps StarDrive or Star Lords can still give us something to hope for this year. And don’t forget the announced new Distant Worlds expansion, and Pandora from Matrix Games. On a broader sense we have also XCOM: Enemy Unknown and Xenonauts (perhaps). Plenty of stuff to look for still this year.

      • Josh B says:

        There was another expansion announced for Distant Worlds after Legends?

        • Adam Solo says:

          Yes. I wrote about it back in April when it was announced. Little is known about, well NOTHING is known about the expansion besides the fact that pirate developments are expected, but nothing in concrete is known at the moment. Matrix promised news for September. That is being discussed in this thread over the Distant Worlds forums.

        • Towerbooks3192 says:

          They say that it is too early to reveal some things but there is much to tell. They may be revealing a lot in september and the only clue they gave was a link in youtube about a pirate song

  7. Zero says:

    Really disappointing. It’s bad business and it shows a lack of self-respect. I’m not going to knock them for having unforseen problems in their game. Believe me, it’s tough to find and kill bugs when you’re dealing with hundreds or thousands of different PC configurations. But it sounds like their crash problems are really chronic and maybe a result of just plain old poor practices in their coding and QA. Either they knew about the problems and ignored them and released, which is kind of unforgivable, or they had poor QA which is perhaps more understandable but still head-scratch worthy.

    At least for me, my whole future as a game developer is based on my product. Why release something you can’t be absolutely proud of?

    • Adam Solo says:

      Yes, the problem is the “hundreds or thousands of different PC configurations”. That’s why you must have a beta stage with many different PC configurations trying the game. Or even a public beta with hundreds of people playing.

      Look at Star Lords. They are having some problems right now with some system configurations but they opened their game to pre-orders very early, like you did when you had pre-orders on Desura. This way there will not be as many crashes as SotS2 or LoP had at release for sure.

      Some days I wonder what’s the role of publishers these days in any case. Only marketing and PR? Most of the times they don’t even print anything anymore, almost everything is digital now. I advise inexperienced developers to be extra careful when making deals with publishers. Not saying it’s always the publisher’s fault, some cases may be the other way around: devs constantly fail deliveries and publishers must release what they have. It’s a tough business no doubt but we, in the role of players need to be extra careful in the future when pre-ordering games. My advice is to only pre-order when there are hands-on previews of the game in question, i.e. when game journalists had access to a preview copy of the game.

      • Evil Azrael says:

        I doubt that these many configurations are too problematic now-a-days, most apis, frameworks and libraries make a good job of abstracting this. The inner complexity of games are the real problem, even a small unchecked value even in well-tested GUI code can make your program go boom or the good old dangling pointer after ten thousand callbacks. Bad code, bad design, bad tools or high complexity, who knows.

      • Fimbul says:

        these days are quite sad ones. the most annoying is that they promiss so much and then deliver crap. we as customer know that it’s a hard buisness especially in this genre, but playing with open cards would be great. if Kerberos asked to get the money for my preorder and i would have got access to a open beta, i would have said yes. so that they had the money and time to finish it really and get good reviews at release date to earn more money and not to destroy their good reputation. and in the age of kickstarter should it be possible to get some extra funds. but well, contracts and publisher and son on…

        well SOTS2 still feels like a beta and so i got the impression that they lost their main brain behind SOTS one and are just not able to programm an equally good game anymore.

      • RandomBlue says:

        To me the big problems weren’t necessarily the crash issues as those are usually cleared up fairly quickly after release. It was the glaring gameplay issues like non-functioning AI, no ability to add more than one AI to skirmish mode, horrible camera controls, broken mission scripts, obviously unplayed/untested missions that were basically unbeatable out of the box, etc..

        I’m also really annoyed the the “Start” button after you launch the game. This isn’t a console game and never was intended to be one, so why have the “press start to begin” intro screen that’s almost entirely a console-centric thing?

      • csebal says:

        I wholeheartedly agree on the beta thing. Not having a beta period (preferably a public one) in the 4X genre, where replay value is pretty much granted is inexcusable ignorance at best.

        I believe the reluctance towards beta tends to come from the same reason as the reluctance to create demo versions of games comes. Somehow the industry has got this idea that players should buy things based on marketing brochures, that is: sweet words and pretty pictures.

        Looking at some of the games released lately, I can see why they might fear that. Sad really.

  8. Keith Turner says:

    This year looked so promising… it’s been quite a disappointment thus far if we’re going to be honest. There have been some decently entertaining titles, but there hasn’t been anything even close to being the one 4x to rule them all. Certainly nothing that has set the bar any higher overall for the genre. This could be due to financing, poor management, lack of creativity, or just conservative development decicisons. I’m not really sure.

    There are a few games still in alpha/beta with promise that may save 2012. I’m playing a couple of them now…

  9. JohnR says:

    Yes, like Kerberos, Novacore with this failed release has dug themselves a pretty big hole to get out of. On a related note, after Stardock’s Elemental fiasco, they seem to have rebounded nicely with SINS: Rebellion and the upcoming Fallen Enchantress. I tried the Beta 4 release of Enchantress last night and was very pleasantly surprised. It’s good bordering on great, and even in the beta state is better than a lot of games I’ve played after their official release. It was interesting how Brad Wardell at the beginning of the Enchantress walkthrough video commented that he wanted to show actual gameplay and not just video cut scenes. Payback for the ‘Forget Your Sins’ ad??? ;o)

    I hear those of you who were a bit underwhelmed with Endless Space, to say nothing of the failed Pegasus release, but still jonesing for a good space game. I’ve recently started playing a little known Russian game called Starwolves and actually rather like it. It’s sort of an edgier (story-wise) version of Homewolrd where the RTS building elements have been replaced with RPG stuff. The only thing negative I would say about it is that the campaign missions are heavily scripted and can be difficult at times. Anyway, the Starwolves series (there are three as of this writing) seems to have gotten mediocre reviews when you can find them, but the series does have its fans which definitely says something.

    • Fimbul says:

      after SOTS2 debacle and the boring ES was i quite wary with LoP, i will wait and see what happens with it and play Fallen Enchantress beta or the unbeaten milestone of the genre MOO2.

      i still have hope their will be one time a worthy heir for the throne of MOO2.

      to Starwolves series, i played the first one throug and really enjoyed it, but when i felt now the game really can start was it allready over. the second i never tried because it was just a big mess, bugy as hell and not a real prequel. the third is again nice. if you find the second for a really really cheap price, maybe but i’m not sure if they patched it properly, that time was just a patch out for the russian version.

      i really liked Space Rangers 2 nice and funny mix of many genres, RPG, text adventures, tactical space battles, arcade, RTS planet battles…

      • JohnR says:

        Hate to get too off-topic here, but it’s been a while since I’ve played two such fun games at the same time: Star Wolves and the Fallen Enchantress beta. :o)

        Concerning Star Wolves, the more I play it the more I like it. I’m beginning to think it is a work of art. Not only is it gorgeous to look at like Homeworld, but the quests are very diverse and interesting. I also love the music. At times it sounds like the old Starcraft, and at others Pink Floyd. The guitarist has Dave Gilmour down pat. Adam, I can’t believe you’ve not reviewed this gem of a game.

        The Fallen Enchantress beta is, well, a beta, so it’s a little rough around the edges at times. Still in all I’ve played three games of it already and it is rather addicting. I think it may be the spiritual successor to the great Age of Wonders series.

        • Fimbul says:

          Well FE is 4X, just not SiFi and its the apologize of a horrible release, even with an open beta, so it’s not that much off topic. ^^

          i really like FE but not to compare to AoWSM, the battles in AoW are just great. i love the City and tower battles with walls and gates, as well AoW has so many abilitys for its units that customization is unnecessary. i still hope that Triumph Studios is allready working at AoW3. ^^

      • RandomBlue says:

        I tried Star Wolves 3 when it first came out and thought it was extremely buggy so I just shelved it. I’ll have to re-install and give it another chance.

        • Killer says:

          Star Wolves 3 are not buggy and are an excellent game. You have much more freedom than in Star Wolves 1, you can choose 4 factions to work for and you can have I think 3 different endings. Really try this game, you will not be disappointed.

        • JohnR says:

          Killer and Random – I’m about a third of the way through the original Star Wolves and I love it. I picked it up for $12 bucks on Steam and it was a real bargain. Yes Killer, I fully intend to play the other two once I’ve finished the first one. Again, I’m very surprised that Space Sector has not reviewed this series.

  10. dayrinni says:

    Wow! This review really sheds light on the issues that LoP has. It is worse than what I thought – much worse. It seems the game is certainly unplayable. I will not be purchasing it.

    As someone else mentioned in the comments – it seems that a simple play test could have uncovered a majority of these issues. Seems they do know about the problems as indicated by the amount of patches, but, it doesn’t make sense to me that they were surprised by the issues? It doesn’t make much sense to me.

    Disappointing to say the least.

    • Fimbul says:

      it’s just part of the game to be “surprised”. at least nobody knew in which state the game was? of course! looks like a quick shoot to not loose to much money with this project.

      • dayrinni says:

        You are right…I’m one of those people who will only do it if it can be done right. If it isn’t up to par, well, time to go back to the drawing board. It is a shame that the money aspect gets in the way of things(as partly why I don’t really like external funding from larger companies.). As you know, many of the games that are released in poor states could in fact be great games if they had some more time to be developed.

        Oh well. I guess as players and fans of the genre, we just need to be more careful and demand more from the developers. They are in fact, supposed to be making games for us!

  11. t1it says:

    There are so many issues with this game I’m not sure they’ll ever fix it all :{
    First the game needs stability which is quite far off from now even with the latest couple of patches. Then it needs basic functionality like the AI, game & video settings, a functional save/load game feature. *AND* then it needs interface polish like tool tips, tech tree, fleet system and combat polish.

    At least it isn’t as complex as SotS2 but still we’re months from seeing the real potential of this game I’m afraid.

  12. caekdaemon says:

    Wow. I bought the game but don’t seem to have half the problems everyone else is having. I have working save & loading, the text is perfect on my resolution, and while the game lacked tool tips, I simply shrugged and got on via guesstimates. The only thing that saddens me is the lack of AI at all, apparently, they screw themselves over after building two factories on their homeworld.

    The game is *very* modable by the looks of things, too.

    • Adam Solo says:

      Yea, the missing text only happens on some resolutions. I guess you were lucky :)

      • caekdaemon says:

        I’ve actually been taking a look at the AI files, and they seem pretty…interesting to look at.

        It might actually be possible to fix the games AI by yourself if you know XML, but you don’t even NEED to know XML. Guesstimate time :D

        Also, yeah, I was not affected by the resolution problem thanks to my monitor being 1680 by 1050.

  13. Ray says:

    Kudos for the “pull no punches” neutral review. Appreciate it.

  14. David Karnok says:

    10% off, 97 achievements, 40 hour story-mode? It was too good to be true. I’m still waiting for a patch where the bug report thread doesn’t span 5+ pages within a day. (On the bright side: I spent that 40 hours fixing and improving my own game.)

    I think the QA just gave up after that many bugs we saw too. Too bad many developers still depend on publisher pre-financing.

  15. Evil Azrael says:

    The game got really bashed on amazon.de 41 out of 59 reviews are only 1 star, the average is 1.7 out of 5. Amazon.com has 11 reviews and all 11 gave only 1 star.
    Hopefully this will hurt KochKalypso Media reputation too, as they will probably have some share of the blame for the non-existing QA.
    At least the game will be automatically patched thru steam. Probably the best reason for binding bad games to steam ;)

  16. JohnR says:

    Adam – I like your review. My interpretation is that you didn’t think Pegasus was totally worthless, and are mostly criticizing Kalypso/Novacore for releasing an apparently unfinished product.

    On a related note, I’m a member of the Game Squad forum, and one of our members there wrote that he’s actually enjoying Pegasus despite all the bad press. I love an underdog who’s not afraid to go against the majority. ;o)

    • Adam Solo says:

      Hi John, I’m glad you liked the review. If I thought LoP was totally worthless there would be worse scores available to classify the game. As I said in the review “there are plenty of aspects in this game worth praising”, unfortunately many of them fall on the “potential” side of the equation.

      My reviews are not about companies or people John, they are about games. My hope is to be re-reviewing LoP in a future point in time (hopefully soon) and be able to say great things about it. That would mean another great space strategy game to play, which is what we all want in the end.

      • JohnR says:

        I hear you Adam, but you must admit that at the end of the day it was a person (or committee?) that decided to release the game before it was ready. ;o)

        • Adam Solo says:

          That’s one thing I don’t need to worry about when reviewing games. Things like “who built it”, “how long it took to develop”, “when it was released”, “how big the staff was”, “how much money was required”, those are all outside the scope of a review. That info can be in but it doesn’t influence the review. Of course we can discuss those topics in other places. As I said, the review’s subject is always the game product, not processes, people or companies.

  17. Harry says:

    What a shame for the german gaming maker..

    I send them an email in january and told them please build a bug free game!
    Dont hustle.. Do it right..

    And now this.. catastrophic..
    Shame on you novacore!

  18. Harry says:

    Nice quotation from “Kalypsochris” ( I think he is the main developer)

    “The flood of problems has really surprised us. ”

    haha never played the game`?
    Or in his game the AI build a mighty empire and attacked him? But now it is just unlucky that everybody has no problems to kill the two scouts..

    That game was just to make some fast money..

    • Fimbul says:

      “That game was just to make some fast money…”

      ?????????????

      are you serious? i’m sad and disapointed about this realese, but keep objectiv. i guess steam made some money with. the others just lost, and this to early release was to not lose to much.
      i feel sad for the novacore guys, they had a vision, but lacked experience and ressources to reach it. and now is the future of their studio really unsure.

  19. Jake says:

    Great Review Adam.

    It would be great if you could write an article sometime summarizing what 4x space games are worth playing right now.

    I have GalCiv2 Ultimate which is awesome but I don’t know what else is worth my time. Especially since these games are a big investment in time; it can take a long of play before figuring out what games have shite AI, which is a major turnoff for me with 4x games. As soon as I read that LoP was a 4x/RTS hybrid I knew the AI would be crap but I digress…

    Anyway, great review!

    • Adam Solo says:

      Thanks Jake.

      “It would be great if you could write an article sometime summarizing what 4x space games are worth playing right now.”

      I thought that was fairly covered by the “reviews”, “games list” and “choice of the month” sections, but probably it would be a good idea to write specifically about the space 4X “point of status”. Since you felt that need probably many others also feel a bit like you. I’ll think about it.

      About recommendations, the game I highly recommend to all space 4X games fans is Distant Worlds with the Legends expansion. It has its share of flaws but it’s the best there is at the moment. But, since you seem to be more inclined for turn-based games I would say Armada 2526 with the Supernova expansion (or the Armada 2526 Gold Edition) is probably your best choice at the moment. Endless Space could also be a good choice, but I recommend you read our reviews on those two before you buy.

      Again, if you can overcome the fact that Distant Worlds: Legends is real-time (not clickfest and pausable, so no big deal) that is the one I recommend you buy.

    • JohnR says:

      Current fav 4X games:
      Civ 5 Gods and Kings – The best incarnation of the series since Civ2.
      Age of Wonders 2 Shadow Magic – I know this game is a few years old now, but it has one of the best custom sandbox scenario generators I’ve ever seen, giving it a lot of replay value.
      Fallen Enchantress – Although in the Beta 4 stage, I am currently enjoying this game very much. It seems Brad Wardell and Stardock learned some humility in the wake of the Elemental fiasco.

      For space games I give a slight nod to the first Sword of the Stars over SINS, though I do mostly like the SINS series. My favorite space game right now is the original Star Wolves, though it is an RPG and not a 4X. Having said that, Star Wolves is a work of art, and a much edgier version of the great if sometimes ostentatious Homeworld.

      • Jake says:

        Thanks John,

        I played the original SINS before the avalanche of expansions and enjoyed it. I have been holding off on Civ 5 because the AI stupidity of Civ games always frustrates me but perhaps I need to give them a chance again.

        Still waiting for a game AI to impress me as much as Galactic Civilizations 2…

        • Adam Solo says:

          As John says Civ5:G&K is a sure bet, but as for an “AI to impress” it leaves a bit to be desired still, as for most games. I think Sins AI is not bad, and Sins:Rebellion AI also plays pretty decent. I played a large Sins: Rebellion game and the AIs gave a fight. Armada 2526 Supernova for the most part was also a good challenge at places. DW:Legends is an extraordinary game, and the AI is decent but not incredibly challenging, just to let you know.

          But, on the subject of AI, is there an AI that really challenges you without needing to cheat horrendously? I thought Civ4: BTS’s AI to be quite good on Emperor difficulty. It already cheats but probably not that much, and it gives a hell of a fight. Take into account that I like to play hard to very hard difficulty settings with great challenge. I like to be surprised :)

        • JohnR says:

          You know, it’s interesting. I mean, I hear more than a few people on the forums complaining about the Civ5 AI, but frankly I find the game over-the-top difficult on anything above Prince level. One of these days I would like to watch one of the self-proclaimed Civ masters beat the game on deity level to see how it’s done. ;o) There is one big thing to be said for Civ5 though: I think the best thing Sid Meier ever did was get rid of the unit stacking and make the units more robust. In the earlier Civs it seems like I would take forever to create a large army stack only to have it get destroyed in a few short turns. I also like religion a lot better in Civ5 Gods and Kings than Civ4. At any rate if I have any complaints about the Civ5 AI, it’s the inconsistent diplomacy and AI factions that will attack you at the drop of a hat.

          Similarly, I also hear a lot of people raving about the GalCiv AI, and it may indeed be great. For my part, however, I found the game’s presentation kind of cold and sterile, like Endless Space. That’s just me I guess.

  20. JohnR says:

    BTW, now that we’re on the subject of 4X games, I found a real gem a while ago called ‘Rulers of Nations’. Not only is the game’s presentation beautiful and engaging, but the political focus makes it like no game I’ve ever seen. The trouble is, to say managing the economy is hard is an understatement. Then again, if the so-called Wall Street geniuses like Geithner, Paulsen, and Bernanke can’t get the US deficit down, then I guess I shouldn’t feel bad for not being able to do it in a couple of evenings. ;o) Still in all it is one of the most amazing and educational gaming experiences I’ve ever had. One of these days I will need to play Israel. ;o)

  21. Plazmid says:

    Here’s a philosophical question….
    Adam (or anyone), do you have a good idea from the business end on if these ventures, such as LOP, are profitable? I’m asking because you look at venues, such as kickstarter, that have a lot of potential games, but a lot of question marks too. It would seem it would cost a LOT of money in both development platforms and software engineers to really get a game like this going and polished. It usually boils down to funding and time. I’ve seen a lot of great games on paper fail to please, and the dev studios soon go belly up. (Like UFO:After*** (Altar Studios)) Games with great potential that never quite make it complete.
    Makes me very sad to see, and you have to wonder. I think most of us would love to rally behind a good indie company, but, like any investor, want to see results too. Kickstarter just doesn’t provide that type of visibility into how your money is being used.

    Some food for thought.
    -Plaz

  22. JohnR says:

    Plazmid, I had to comment that I loved UFO: Afterlight. It was a very different and innovative game, though I found the mid-to-late game extremely difficult. I need to play that one again. Similarly, Rulers of Nations is the creation of a French Indy publisher, and like the Czech team that created Afterlight, I applaud them for trying to be different and pushing the PC gaming world forward. I will support them whenever they do great products like the aforementioned games. Of course as you noted, there is often some risk involved in purchasing an Indy game. It’s like with Star Wolves: I took a chance with it and as it happens I really like it.

    BTW, when I said I wanted to play Israel in RoN, what I meant to say was that I would like to play Israel and do a pre-emptive strike on Iran and see what happens. ;o)

    • Evil Azrael says:

      Can you compare the game to Supreme Ruler 2010? That was a nice near-future game. I can recommend that for fans of political. Personally i prefer Supreme Ruler 2010 over the 2020 Sequel.

      • JohnR says:

        Never tried SR2010. You say it’s better than SR2020? I tried SR2020 for a couple evenings and liked it at first, but as I played on some glaring weaknesses became apparent. For one thing the AI nations don’t always act realistically. For another, there were long stretches where there was nothing to do but watch your economic indicators.

        Rulers of Nations, on the other hand, is a much more colorful and engaging experience, and the AI nations seem to act more in accordance with the real world. Also, it was rather enlightening to find that you have to suck up to a lot of people in order to remain in office. Again though, the economy in Rulers of Nations is extremely complicated, and I sort of have the game on hold while I try to find a good walkthrough on managing the economy. Anyway, in playing RoN I’m reminded of that great Ronald Reagan quote: “The more I become involved in the world’s second oldest profession, the more I think that it has much in common with the first.” lol

        • Smelly Space Lizards says:

          SR2010 still has the same flaws, but I prefer it over the sequels too. I’ve always thought those games worked best as straight up wargames, and the smaller scale in 2010 just worked so much better with the combat system.

          You still liking Rulers of Nations btw? It sounds awesome.

        • Evil Azrael says:

          Last night i tried to find more information on this “Rulers of Nations”. In some countries it’s sold as “politik simulator 2″ (you can guess the translation..) and the reviews on Amazon were rather bad. Well reasoned bad. Most said the game had an interesting idea but the execution was heavily flawed and bug-ridden. Didn’t order.

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