Endless Space – Disharmony DLC Review
With brand new features and a significant overhaul of old ones, Endless Space – Disharmony is one expansion you don’t want to miss.
It’s been a year now since the release of Endless Space, the 4X space strategy from Amplitude Studios that captured my attention and drained my free time for a good part of 2012.
In the past year, the game has seen several free add-ons, including fixes to bugs and other game issues, in addition to brand new features that enhance the game and give it an all-round shinier edge. New factions, new illustrations, new in-game rewards, new options for gameplay, and so forth. All of this at no charge to the player. Not only that, but the changes incorporated in the add-ons were driven by the player community in conjunction with the developers, proving that the Games2Gether concept that Amplitude Studios has so heavily invested in is a bona fide effort that other developers need take note of.
Last week, just shy of its one year anniversary, the game’s first fully-fledged expansion, Disharmony, was released via Steam for the price of $9.99. An exceptionally reasonable price for an expansion that includes so much that players had asked for, and from a studio that has already invested heavily in its game at no cost to the players.
Disharmony garnered its moniker from one of the most significant new features that this DLC brings: a new faction. This new faction, the Harmony, are unlike any of the other playable factions in Endless Space. The Harmony, some of the universe’s oldest inhabitants, are unique from the other races in one key way: they dislike Dust (the game’s form of currency). OK, maybe it’s a little more than just a dislike. Try, having the sole intention of eradicating every particle of Dust from the universe.
As you might expect, this significantly changes the player’s approach to managing their empire when playing as the Harmony. For starters, the most obvious difference is that Dust collection is no longer relevant, and the associated benefits of Dust no longer applicable. No more can you sneakily complete or upgrade an armada on the next turn. The Harmony definitely add a new feel to the game and offer a completely different challenge in how the average player approaches Endless Space. If you’ve played the game already, and are looking for a new twist on empire management, then Disharmony is worth it for the Harmony alone.
Combat has been updated for Disharmony with the incorporation of brand new elements like fighters & bombers and battle formations, alongside a revamp of various elements of the game’s combat mechanics, such as the weapons system and the process for invasions. These new and revisited components are useful and further increase the game’s playability, yet don’t take away from what has always been one of Endless Space’s best features – the simplicity of the user interface.
Finally, Disharmony includes a massive overhaul to the game’s core AI and, wow, is it different! The Adaptive Multi-Agent System, or AMAS, alters the AI in decidedly complex ways, dramatically altering the game’s difficulty and how the computer responds to various encounters. While the system may still need some tweaking (even on Newbie mode, I was being obliterated within the first few hundred turns), the inclusion of the new AMAS certainly kicks the pace of the game up a notch and is highly recommended for those players looking for a new challenge with Endless Space.
Overall, Endless Space – Disharmony is an excellent example of what good DLC looks like. While it may have its flaws, the fact that Amplitude Studios has backed up its commitment to work with the players on the game goes a long way to ensuring that any kinks will be ironed out in the near future. For $9.99 (or lower if you manage to snag it on sale), it would be remiss not to pick up this expansive addition to an already spectacular game.