I am a sucker for slick aesthetics, and ES2 nails that. I love the little cinematics, the soundtrack, it's great.
Things I don't like but don't have any particular reason to:
- In principle every planet is colonizable (I think?)
- Galaxies are in general quite small, even at the "colossal" or "exceptional" settings
- Spheres of influence shouldn't be so neatly circular!!!!
- I found playing with the United Empire was a very... straightlaced experience. I found myself engaged and having some fun, to an extent, but I wasn't managing crises, only creating them for the AI. So I started another game on the biggest possible map on hard difficulty with the Vodyani, which are... different to say the least. My experience now is much more engaging.
Things I don't like with some good reason:
- There seems to be a kind of odd lag related to ship actions. Not sure if this is a bug or an artifact of the simultaneous turns.
- My friend remarked that one thing he didn't like about Endless Space 1 (and this would extend to any game constrained with 'starlanes') is that once the initial colonization phase is over the game gets bogged down in a kind of middle game grind where everyone's pushed up against each other and the only way out is a large-scale war. I feel that this criticism is not entirely fair because Stellaris actually had the same problem at launch, and 2/3 of the time it's not constrained with starlanes. But I do feel that having every planet colonizable contributes to the problem, even if that colonization is spread out over time.
I have not run into this problem with ES2, but that may be because I haven't played for long enough.
I may not be articulating this issue well. I would appreciate the thoughts of others.
- A similar problem to ES1, I found (in my first attempt) that I didn't have to put much thought into how I chose which system improvements to build. This may be because I wasn't put under pressure of getting the most out of my planets on the timescales required in crises, so I wasn't making use of specialization mechanics as much as I could.
- Although I don't feel that there are gaps in the game, as I did with GalCiv3 on launch, I do think there is the potential for more content and mechanics to be added in future. I think that the game right now is deep because of the asymmetry between the various races, not because of the general game mechanics themselves.
Things I do like:
- The asymmetry between races is super cool and I can see it leading to very interesting games
- There seems to be a galaxy-wide economy simulation, and the presence of trading companies (which I don't understand yet). One of the races, the Lumeris, seem to have their playstyle built around this.
- The "playspace", if that is a word, is gorgeous
- The artwork is gorgeous
- The UI is "hella" obscure, to quote the youthful vernacular, but gorgeous, and the popup animations are cool
- The little cinematics are gorgeous, and skippable if they're not your thing
- The soundtrack is gorgeous
- The 3D battles are gorgeous
- The Vodyani are so cool dammit, so cool
- Horatio is gorgeous, obviously