Look, I know putting 'space' in front of something atypically space-ey might not be the most subtle way of getting people's attention, but I can't deny that it works. If the idea of playing as space Vikings while listening to a kick-ass space violin in 4X strategy game Endless Space 2 appeals as much to you as it does to me, then good news! The Vaulters expansion came out yesterday, throwing the science and military focused nomads into the cosmic fray. A launch trailer awaits below.
There's lots of good stuff there to pick out, from teleporting spaceships to adorably grumpy looking pirates (look, he's holding a Sophon helmet!), though most of all I enjoyed this robot filing his non-existent nails.
One of the most interesting things about Amplitude's strategy games is how each race plays very differently, forcing you view the game in a new light. Just look at how these friendly but stalwart space Vikings compare to the hyper aggressive Cravers who can't use diplomacy, or the extra-dimensional Riftborn that completely forgo food. While I'm not sure the Vaulters mix things up quite so dramatically as either of those, they do have some neat special abilities.
Those teleporting ships are one of them, and despite the Vaulter's defensive focus I can imagine putting them to good use in sneak attacks. Also of note is their knack for negotiating with pirates: if you've played the game, then you know what a pain those marauders can be. They're actually the main reason I haven't played more of Endless Space 2, having started and stopped a couple of games after having pirates devastate my first couple of colonies. The idea of paying them to not only go away, but to go and bother my other opponents, is immensely appealing. Science focused factions are always my preferred choice in 4X games anyway, so the Vaulters sound like my cup of space tea.
I also love the role that the Vaulters play across the millennia that all of Amplitude's games take place in. Thousands of years before Endless Space 2, some members of whichever race the Vaulters originally belonged to crash landed on the planet of Auriga. Dungeon of the Endless is about saving that ship-wrecked crew, and in Endless Legend you can control the civilisation that they go on to spawn - which has forgotten all about its outer-space origins. By the time Endless Space 2 rolls around Auriga has turned into an ice ball and they've figured out how to build spaceships again, which they use to wander the universe in search of a new home. As lore goes, that's some pretty delicious stuff.
Endless Space 2's Vaulters expansion is available on Steam for £8.99/$10.99/€10.99.