By Adam Smith on August 10th, 2012 at 12:00 pm.
Legends of Pegasus is a turn-based space strategy game with realtime but pausable combat, colony management and a plot that falls out of a wormhole and comes across a bit Galactica-like. It’s out later today and I’ve managed to have a quick look, only really testing up to where it stops being a tutorial. With Gamescom and Weissbier taking up so much time next week, closer examination and eventual words about wot we think will be a little delayed so I thought I’d say, ‘hey, that game is out today’ and then add ‘I’m not sure I like the fact that combat, exploring, colonisation and management all take place on what is probably referred to as a ‘seamless’ galactic map.’
Before more words, here’s the trailer for the final race to be revealed.
OK. Good. Now here are my experiences so far and keep in mind they are based on a brief session and also look at Alec’s rather in depth preview as well.
The game starts with a fight between the few surviving ships of my fleet, which have just zipped into an unknown sector of space, and some nasty aliens. Thankfully the nasty aliens have rubbish ships so all I need to do is drag a box around my own vessels and then right click on the enemies. No tactics or strategy, just a lesson in interface and, for the aliens, a lesson in humility.
Once the fight is over, the screen remains on the fleet, drifting around in space, but now an ‘end turn’ button has appeared. I’m told to colonise the only planet in the vicinity, so I select the appropriate ship and right click on the planet. Done. To set the colony into action, I have to double click on the planet and then drag buildings from a menu onto blocks on the planet that represent how much space there is. Some carry bonuses for specific types of building so I drop my factories on the industry tiles and my housing on the social tiles. I am already very good at Legends of Pegasus.
It’s a very basic introduction, teaching movement, construction and combat. However, the next step demonstrated the perils of integrating the turn-based and the realtime on the same map, with no distinction in terms of interface or appearance. The tutorial told me to build a repair dock in orbit around the colonised planet but as I did so, clicking end turn over and over again to complete the job, the ‘end turn’ button suddenly vanished. Enemies were approaching.
When I zoomed out though, I saw that they were so far away that it’d take a couple of minutes for my ships to fly out to them, possibly even longer to wait for them to come into range. So how long is a turn, how far can ships travel between one click and the next? Why couldn’t I just keep ending turns and be alerted when they were closer again? I gathered my ships and sent them into battle. They won because the enemy ships were tinier and less numerous.
I sent my ships back to the planet, waiting for the repair dock to be finished. I couldn’t end the turn. A tiny corvette had now entered the vicinity of the planet and another few minutes was wasted sending a ship to kill it and then return. The interruptions might become less evident when the game becomes more interesting, or they may well become more distracting, but it struck me as being like playing a game of Civ and having to enter real time whenever a barbarian wandered close to a city, not allowed to continue with the actual strategy until it was dead.
I’m interested to see what happens next, with complex research trees and ship construction promised, and all of this probably sounds like nitpicking, but I was genuinely baffled by the way all aspects of the game have been bunched together. I guess I like to do my warring in the war room and my management in the management suite rather than having tiny wars intruding on my all-important strategic summits. Alec’s preview did mention an auto-resolve option and maybe that is revealed later, just like the seemingly awesome terraforming. Maybe it’s already there and I’m too dense to notice it. Wouldn’t be the first time.
Full thoughts when the madness of Gamescom is done, just felt the need to share some quick reservations in case anyone was ready to throw thirty and a few pounds down simply because space is the best.
Legends of Pegasus is available today, priced at £34.99 at the Kalypso digital store and GamersGate or £29.74 on Steam until 6PM when it is released thanks to a 15% preorder discount. It’s probably available other places as well, so apologies if I didn’t mention your favourite shop. EDIT: ChainsawHands down in yon comments spots what looks like the best deal yet – £22.85 at shopto.net.