Review

Legends of Pegasus Review (PC)

Oh dear… I don’t know what it is at the moment, but people seem to be struggling with the space 4X genre right now. Endless Space was good, but a bit uninspiring. Sword of the Stars II was a disaster... and now Legends of Pegasus has failed to live up to expectations. Maybe they didn’t have as many resources or time, or maybe they too were just a bit over-ambitious, but the end result is a game that you should hesitate to jump into without some kind of discount.

On paper Legends of Pegasus actually sounded like a decent Space RTS (although so did SOTS2) – it wasn’t overly ambitious, it had a beautiful engine, it had empire management and a fleet builder, it combined both turn-based and RTS elements, all the boxes were ticked, and yet somewhere along the line something went wrong. It’s not a Kerberos case of the game being half-finished and full of bugs (although there were plenty of bugs to begin), but more to do with the fact that several fundamental design decisions just make it all extremely hollow, which we’ll get in to later.

At least all three races have good racial identities and technologies


Pegasus is a typical space 4x game: it has three unique factions, it’s got more real-time and turn-based elements, a single-player campaign and skirmish, and of course multiplayer (which isn’t anything that special). It’s a shame really, because the single-player campaign is actually really good – the basis of the story is that the last vestiges of humanity, facing annihilation as they fight a valiant last stand above Earth, are randomly sucked into a wormhole into another Galaxy. The human portion of the campaign has you helping the Humans rebuild their society and try to make a new home amongst the stars – there are also campaigns following the story of the other two races in the Pegasus universe as well the X’or (sentient machines) and the Arthrox (space hippies), both of which have their own story to tell in this game.

But spend some time just looking at the facts of the game – you typically start off with one planet in a system, and you have to build it up to form a good economic basis – planets generate credits, and you also need to get special resources by building mining ships to take advantage of any asteroid fields in the system. You can also colonise other planets in a system providing you have enough pop and the right ship modules, and once you’ve colonised everything in a star system you can move on to other systems via pre-installed jump gates. The galaxies are scalable in size, and different planets have a different level of suitability depending on which race you’re playing as. This part of the game is typically turn-based – you queue up build orders and research, move your ships about and just click through the turns until something happens… which unfortunately is one of the main problems with this game – not a lot happens.

Sure, the slightly more conscripted campaign has more going on for you, but even then you can click through 50 turns just to finish the opening tutorial, and definitely in skirmish mode you’re basically just waiting for stuff to happen and for your planets to build up. On top of that the actual management interfaces etc… aren’t that clear, with a lot of options in micro-managing planets that don’t seem to have any affect. Plus, there’s still a lot of bugs, which doesn’t help things, and the fact that you can go potentially an infinite distance in a single turn is just weird.

Any self-respecting space 4x needs a shop designer, and Pegasus’ is one of the good bits of the game

Eventually though, after many a turn-clicking, one or more of your ships will encounter an enemy group of ships. At this point, the game switches from a turn-based to a real-time dynamic, with both groups starting at the positions they were in when combat was initiated. In this ‘mode’ the ships move about and fly about in real time, the lighter ships zipping about whilst the slower ships being a bit more sluggish, and the two sides duke it out until there is a victor. There are several different types of weapons you can outfit your warships with, ion, plasma, particle, and each has a particular strength versus a ship’s Shields, Armour and Hull. Manoeuvrability has some place in engagements like this – you can move ships on the verge of collapse out of the firing line, and keeping the lighter ships moving helps a little, but ultimately it’s just like other games that try and represent space combat in real time (like Sins) – it’s just a slug fest.

Time will tell if Pegasus gets any better from here. Swords of the Stars II is nearly a year old, and it’s only just coming into a half-respectable state, but then Pegasus wasn’t nearly as ambitious – it was just made... oddly. There are some good ideas here, and a surprisingly good narrative to string you through if you can bear all the oddities and what few bugs remain. We actually worry about Kalypso in general at the moment as well, as few of their games to date have been that well received. We had high hopes for Legends of Pegasus. It pains us to see them dashed once again.

Top Game Moment: When you do eventually get into large fleet engagements, they’re not bad. A lot like Sin of a Solar Empire, just not quite as much variety.

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Comments

By Longsword (SI Core Member) on Sep 13, 2012
Longsword
Hate to say it, I had a feeling this would be the case...
By nocutius (SI Elite) on Sep 14, 2012
nocutius
And this year seemed to be exceptional when it comes to 4x space games. Having previously seen some discussions on Steam forums this review is not surprising at all.

Ah well, here's to MOO4. One day :(.
By Sarayakat (SI Newbie) on Sep 14, 2012
Sarayakat
SOTS1 with the ACM mod still rules, after 7 freaking years. How sad.