Endless Legend Shifters Expansion Review
Endless Legend Shifters is the latest expansion added to Amplitude Studio’s acclaimed Endless Legend series. It adds new features, improves old features, and introduces the Allayi, a new playable faction. That’s not all, though, as new buildings and tweaks are introduced to the game as well. We’ve been following the development of Endless Legend from the start, and we’re excited to see just how far along it’s come with Endless Legend Shifters.
The Allayi are the newest faction in Endless Legend. They have a special relationship with the new Pearls found in the game and have dedicated themselves to protecting the planet. Being a magica tribe that shifts with the seasons in drastic ways, they’re a fairly balanced faction that has proven to be a joy to play. The introduction of the Winter changes and Pearls of Auriga give them a really unique style of play, though all factions benefit from these additions.
One of the biggest selling points of the Allayi is their ability to “change with the seasons.” To start out with, you don’t have much control over these effects. But as time goes on, that may change. Further, this “Shifting” (Get it? Shifters, so the units Shift?) is something that all factions can make use of. Generally in summer, units become more passive, becoming better at defense and not costing as much in terms of upkeep. In winter, they become better at offensive actions. This is a bit odd, as you would assume that in winter units would become more dormant (Aka more defensive-oriented). Odd, but interesting that they flip the typical seasonal playstyle of most factions on its head.
In terms of units, the Allayi have a very ‘flowing’ theme. Your first units will be Seekers, which are a form of cavalry. Early on you will be introduced to the Skyfin, which is essentially the best Pearl hunter in the game. Both of these units make fantastic scouts, and even the “non-scout” units have a rather high mobility compared to units from most other factions. This orientation on mobility accomplishes two things: allowing the Allayi to be superb Pearl hunters and explorers and giving the Allayi a very unique play-style and strategy.
The Allayi have an Eastern feel to their design. I have a feeling that Japanese folklore may have been part of the inspiration for this race. They are a very mystical race with animal-like features and floating ‘wings’ behind them. Their coloring, white with highlights of blue and/or orange, give them a very pure look that compliments the lore behind them. Their cities also have a very pure, white-centric design with smooth curves and calming shapes. You can tell that the art team put a decent amount of effort in the design of the Allayi.
Winter has changed from being just an annoyance you have to put up with, to an interesting new scenario that forces you to make tough choices. It used to feel like you were just **** out of luck whenever winter blew by. For me, winter is usually an important part of strategy games – it allows me to sit back and re-assess my strategies and do some important prep work for the spring and summer to come. But Endless Legends just wasn’t giving me the opportunity to do that. With these new changes to winter, that’s all been turned around and I’ve found myself actually looking forward for winter more than a few times.
As I mentioned, The Allayi have a special relationship with the Pearls of Auriga. These Pearls are harvested during the “Dark Season” (aka Winter) and can be found in ruins as loot. All factions can gather this new resource, but the Allayi excel at it. If you choose to play the Allayi, early on you will be given a quest-line that prepares you for use of the Pearls, by guiding you through the construction of an Altar of Auriga.
The Altar of Auriga can be used, along with the Pearls of Auriga, to grant powerful blessings that can benefit you in varying scales. Pearls can also be used to impact the effects of winter, with certain building options only being available via Pearls. As you might imagine, Pearls are one of the biggest features of this up-date, probably just as massive as the new faction added. Which is great, because when I originally heard about this update I feared that I might be forced to play as the Allayi if I wanted to enjoy this expansion. Luckily, every faction can make use of these features, meaning that you can play as your favorite faction and still participate in most of the Shifters’ content.
Of course, expansions aren’t just new features. They’re also a chance for developers to drop a hefty amount of tweaks and changes on the game. Shifters is no different in this regard, with a decent number of updates (mostly buffs) being given to the previous expansion, Shadows, content. If you take a look at the changelog you’ll notice a whole lot of “Fixed,” which is highly appreciated. Not that I ever ran into many issues with Endless Legend, I just like it when a developer is constantly improving the game with an obsessive attention to detail.
Conclusion: Still Excellent 5/5
I’m going to begrudgingly say that Shifters is the best expansion to hit Endless Legends yet. Why begrudgingly? Well, I just have a soft spot for the hulking Guardians from the Guardians expansion. But the tweaks and features introduced in Shifters are, in my opinion, the most superior update to the game yet. Endless Legend is proving to be one of those fantastic games that you can come back and play over and over without getting bored thanks to all the great updates Amplitude is pushing out. I truly look forward to seeing what’s in store for Endless Legend and other Endless games in the franchise!
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