I think this game had me when it made it plain as day and stated that Legends of Pegasus “ is a turn-based strategy game.” While it’s a bit overt for my tastes, the game is indeed turn-based 4X strategy title that’s pretty decent.
There’s a campaign mode that actually follows a storyline between the different races within the game. Of the three, there are the obvious Humans choice and then two alien races – the X’or and the Arthrox. The human campaign is quite long and I’m still working my way through (glitches tend to slow things down considerably), but they start out after having jumped into space away from Earth and away from the destruction being brought down upon it. The small group (what is this, Babylon 5?) is forced to do what they can to rebuild and survive in the far reaches of space while being careful and wary of others around them. It’s actually a pretty neat little story and the cutscenes in between missions are fun to watch – very similar to some of the newer graphic novel movies that have been churned out.
During the course of the human campaign, some in-fighting breaks out as different leaders vie for control. Honestly though, that pales in comparison half of the time to the larger picture at hand – surviving attacks from the X’or and trying to rebuild what is essentially the last of Humanity. This stuff weighs heavily on the mind when you’re sitting there looking at whether or not a colony needs a new set of housing or just another 4D Mall where you get some revenue.
Now, many people have either read my previous 4X game reviews or played one (though probably not, they’re definitely a niche) and will know that the basic gameplay consists of the eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, eXterminate – players take control of their race and use everything available to them to grow their race and conquer the stars. Legends of Pegasus is no different from any of the previous game I’ve played in recent times, except for some key differences.
The one that stands out first and foremost as a “key difference” is the battle system. The game does not do a strange Quick Time Event or anything, but instead goes back to some solid Real Time Strategy roots by using a real-time battle system. Players will control whatever ships are included in the battle, making them move or attack whatever the player chooses. They’re not defenseless by any means and will attack any aggressor that comes upon them, but allowed the firepower to scatter around can potentially cost you battle. Certain ship times, depending on their loadouts, will do flybys to maximise their damage while others will stay in place and launch salvo after salvo, but it’s still more fun to have this going rather than watching a video. Once the battle is over, it quickly segues back to the main screen.
Another major difference occurs once players have colonized a planet, they need to take the time and build up the infrastructure on the planet by placing the needed balance of buildings to ensure it’s a productive member of your small society. The game caps you out on how many you can place with its colored grid system. The grid is completely open to whatever you want to place, but it uses a color-coding mechanic in order to “boost” the production of whatever you match accordingly there. Problem is I could never find out what buildings were what color, nor is there any discernable way to find out the differences. While it didn’t stop me from dropping the buildings, it sucked because I was trying to have my colonies be the best damnit! Regardless, the colony building aspect of the game is definitely fun and in order to colonize a new planet, players must create a ship with the required technology to go over to another planet and colonize it.
Speaking of creating those ships, this game utilizes a customizable ship system. If you want to load down a ship with the most firepower possible, it’s doable. Just remember to make sure it still comes in under power-specs or else that heavy beast won’t be more than a hunk of junk floating in space. Research must be done (when isn’t there research in a game like this?) in order to unlock new everything, including ship designs. Each ship design has a number of slots on it for equipment, but remember you need a power core and an engine no matter what. After that it’s a matter of keeping the drain on the power supply from being out of balance, which will sometimes lead to having excess energy. Ah well, if it’s a behemoth capable of glassing entire planets, who cares if it’s got some extra energy?
Like I noted earlier, I really enjoyed the “cutscenes” in between the major events. While nothing moved, it used creative camera changes on the same image and some awesome voice acting to really get the story moving along. Moving away from the cutscenes though, the planets were kind of dull and lifeless. The ships and battles were really the only other thing in the game that I found to be quite a sight. Watching the projectiles and explosions rip through space is a blast, but beyond that the game felt a little lifeless.
However, the game has quite a few glitches, quite a few serioud glitches I should say. One that started to bug me a lot occurred when I kept losing the screen movement controls – I would send my camera flying through space without a care in the universe and without a way to stop it. The only I could figure out to fix it as to quit the game and reload/restart. I also lost control of my mouse a couple of times, forcing a reload/restart. Perhaps though the worst was the crash to desktop that occurred randomly a couple of times. No one likes a CTD, and these always seemed to occur RIGHT in the middle of something important or right after a my next mission objective popped during the dialogue.
If I was to judge the game solely on the gameplay, it would a fun solid title, but crashing to the desktop and losing control of your mouse ruins the entire experience. The 4X genre is screaming for more titles, especially those without game breaking glitches. If you are a fan of the genre, you’re going to probably enjoy it for a while even with its ups and downs. It’s got a lot of what’s become standard for the series, but the real-time battles are a blessing in disguise in this turn based game, and controlling an empire is fun no matter who you are.Note: Legends of Pegasus was reviewed on PC. A digital copy of the game was purchased by SelectButton.