Author Topic: The Pegasus Expedition  (Read 918 times)

Martok

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on: November 03, 2020, 12:55:07 PM
I came across this one a few months ago.  Part of me is skeptical, part of me is interested.  I like what the developers are saying, but we've also heard this sort of thing before. 

Of course, they've now launched a Kickstarter campaign in order to complete the project.  I'll admit part of me is tempted, despite everything, but I still suffer from a certain degree of "Kickstarter fatigue".  I can take only so many hits to both my wallet, and my heart... 









« Last Edit: June 23, 2022, 11:30:26 PM by Martok »

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Martok

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Reply #1 on: February 23, 2021, 04:03:15 PM
The devs have now launched an Indiegogo campaign, along with a new trailer (although it's rather sparse on gameplay). 






For as appealing as this one is in some ways, I think I'll be passing on it for now.  I like what the devs are saying, and the fact that they at least have a playable (pre?)alpha is good, but I'm just not seeing what makes this particular game stand out from all the other space 4x/grand-strategy titles out there. 



"I like big maps and I cannot lie." - Barthheart

"I drastically overpaid for this existence." - bbmike


Martok

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Reply #2 on: May 12, 2022, 09:54:53 PM
[Casts Greater Thread Resurrection]




And here I was virtually certain this game was dead.  Glad to see it's apparently not the case: 


https://store.steampowered.com/news/app/1521070/view/3173360202189225746





"I like big maps and I cannot lie." - Barthheart

"I drastically overpaid for this existence." - bbmike


Martok

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Reply #3 on: June 08, 2022, 02:22:15 AM
Well I'll be scuppered:  Looks like a demo is available -- and not a time-limited one for once!  :D 


"I like big maps and I cannot lie." - Barthheart

"I drastically overpaid for this existence." - bbmike


bob48

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Reply #4 on: June 08, 2022, 05:23:06 AM
Yeah, I looked at that but I've not downloaded the demo.

What put me off a bit is the depressing dark blue settings that a lot of the screens show, although this may not be the way it is throughout the game. If it is, then I would rapidly get eye strain.
« Last Edit: June 08, 2022, 05:33:54 AM by bob48 »

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Martok

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Reply #5 on: June 23, 2022, 11:28:43 PM
All right.  I finally have both the time and the energy/patience to post my thoughts on the demo.  I'm going by the notes I typed up before, so apologies if this is a bit scattered... 


(EDIT:  Forgot to add:  For anyone who still wants to try it out themselves, it looks like the demo is still up.) 




To begin with something Bawb brought up in the previous post, I'm afraid this game probably isn't going to appeal to him very much: the dark colors remain a theme throughout.  They don't bother me personally (and to be fair, I think it's worse in some of the screenshots than in the demo), but I can see where some might find them repressive. 

What I *do* have a problem with, as far as visuals are concerned, are the "square" 90-degree-angle empire borders; I find they definitely reduce the game's immersion somewhat.  I don't have a problem with tile-based maps (for all that I personally favor hexes), but this is ridiculous.  It's certainly not a deal-breaker, but I do find it off-putting. 

Speaking of atmosphere/immersion, the soundtrack is fairly decent, though nothing special.  It's this interesting amalgamation of modern electronic/rock/industrial? that works far better than I'd have expected.  It's missing that grand/epic feel that I really enjoy grooving to in my space games, but it fits well enough. 


"Story-driven":  This is almost certainly the game's signature feature.  Honesty, I'm not yet sure what to make of it, though at the moment I'm skeptical.  Right now, you encounter various "dialogue trees" (which can't be skipped, by the way :kling: ) at various moments in the game.  However, they currently offer no meaningful choices -- all dialogue options ultimately lead to the same end/decision.  Whether this is "working as intended", or if the system is still being developed (I hope!), I haven't the faintest idea. 

Perhaps my biggest concern is that as currently implemented, it appears the story-driven elements will either railroad your choices, *or* be rendered utterly meaningless.  I fear the developers may have taken the story/narrative bits of Stellaris, but implemented them in one of the absolute worst ways possible. 


On a related note...  The game apparently takes place in an "immense, handcrafted world":  I can testify that the galaxy map is big enough.  It's not as epic-sized as those in Stellaris or Distant Worlds, but it's still feels satisfyingly large enough for a grand story. 

My problem is that if this game takes in the *same* galaxy every time -- if there are no randomized maps -- that is going to definitely limit replayability.  Even if you can also play as the "native" alien civilizations already inhabiting the Pegasus Galaxy (and not just the invading Humans), I'm worried it still be like playing a shallower, simpler version of Crusader Kings (but IN SPAAAAAAAAACE!) on the same map over...and over...and over. 


Let's talk about combat for a minute:  Battles in The Pegasus Expedition are in real-time, but not controllable.  They're a bit like those in the Dominions or Endless Space series, in that you select a stratagem beforehand, and then let your forces go at it.  Half the stratagems are "safer" and more conservative, while the other half are more aggressive (and generally more successful).  However, these more aggressive stratagems have the "By Any Means" tag attached to them, which will negatively affect your Galactic Reputation (more on that later). 

You can click-drag multiple fleets to a battle, but only one fleet actually fights at a time (even though I've seen multiple fleets fight each other in a battle?).  I'm still unclear if I'm just dumb and not understanding the mechanic, or if the mechanic itself is dumb.  (Goodness knows both possibilities are very real... ::) )  Combat itself is visually unimpressive:  It's just a bunch of light-points swirling around each other until one side hits their retreat threshold and runs for the hills. 

Short version, it's pretty clear the devs have tried to make combat tactically interesting, but don't want it to take up a lot of time.  It's also clear they don't want it to be the game's focus. 




Other thoughts & observations... 

- You have "Galactic Reputation", which affects diplomatic relations with the other empires in the galaxy.  Reputation is affected by/based on the aggregate decisions& actions of your leaders.  I will note the devs appear to have done a good job so far of balancing things to that's not always easy to make the "honorable" action/decision, and that "dishonorable" actions/decisions are often genuinely tempting, as they can grant major benefits & bonuses.  My (too-early) verdict:  I like this system, though it could probably use more fleshing out. 

- Expanding into new star systems is interesting, at least in concept:  You first must build an Outpost, which later can be upgraded to a Settlement, and then later on to a full Colony.  Due to stricter biome requirements, only some Outposts can be upgraded to Settlements, and even fewer Settlements can be upgraded to Colonies.  (Note:  Certain technologies can alleviate some of these biome requirements.)  Therefore, Colonies will be rare...and important; guard them well. 

- Managing your Outposts, Settlements, & Colonies appears to be unoriginal, though pretty straightforward:  You have a certain number of building slots (Outposts have only a few, Settlements have some, Colonies have the most), and buildings can be upgraded as new technologies permit/unlock them.  I do like that there is a System Management screen, where you can look at and manage multiple Outposts/Settlements/Colonies -- it looks to be a definite time-saver. 

- In case it's not obvious from the screenshots, star-lanes are back.  As far as I can tell, there's no way to circumvent them.  I find it personally annoying, though not a deal-breaker. 

- Fleets can carry unique equipment in their "inventory", which can grant them specific bonuses or abilities.  I'll admit, I found it to be kind of cool. 

- I didn't get far enough into the demo to see what the diplomacy is like, hence why I've not commented on it. 




Overall impressions at this point... 

Mixed.  There's a lot that I like, and a lot that I don't like -- or at least, a lot that concerns me.  Not to hedge or equivocate, but in the game's current state, I honestly feel 50/50 about it.  I can see this one going either way. 

Obviously, there's only so much you can take away from a demo, especially when you've only played it for several hours.  That being said, I'd say that easily my two biggest concerns for The Pegasus Expedition are: 1) how well the story elements are going to be implemented, and 2) its replayability, especially if the game lacks a random map generator.  I think a lot of the game's success -- or failure -- will end up riding on those two things. 


« Last Edit: June 29, 2022, 05:02:11 AM by Martok »

"I like big maps and I cannot lie." - Barthheart

"I drastically overpaid for this existence." - bbmike


judgedredd

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Reply #6 on: June 24, 2022, 02:27:00 AM
You made it clear - and honestly I knew it anyway - that it wasn't my cup of tea. Fixed, linear, forced dialogue sounds like no fun at all and coupled with the possibility of a "fixed map", there'd be zero replayability in the game. Seems odd anyone would create a 4x game in this day and age without a random map - so maybe there is/will be one

Why bother? There are so many games that seem to do all this better anyway.

Honestly, I buy so few PC games now I can't even be bothered to buy games on my wishlist that are on sale.

Thanks for the write up though.

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Huw the Poo

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Reply #7 on: June 24, 2022, 04:54:12 AM
Thanks for the excellent writeup, Martok. I note from the Steam page:

Quote
Immense handcrafted world – a replayable campaign set in a rich, vast world.

I appreciate thinking outside the box, and innovation, but in 4X games some things are a big no-no for a reason. It's baffling that the devs took this route. This alone is going to turn away a lot of players.

I can only echo what you've all said: seems kinda meh. I'll keep a tenth of an eye on it but I can't imagine picking it up after release.



bbmike

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Reply #8 on: June 24, 2022, 08:41:01 AM
Dang, Martok, that post was Front PageTM material!  :bigthumb:

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bob48

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Reply #9 on: June 24, 2022, 08:47:39 AM
Absolutely! Great stuff, Sam. :bigthumb:

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Martok

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Reply #10 on: June 25, 2022, 06:20:11 AM
Thanks, everyone.  I honestly hadn't intended to put an article (essentially), but it pretty much wrote itself in the end. 


Yeah, The Pegasus Expedition has got some potentially fatal design flaws, the lack of a random map generator chief among them.  If this isn't rectified before launch -- and I suspect it won't be -- then I'm very much afraid the game will face-plant right out the gate.  :( 



"I like big maps and I cannot lie." - Barthheart

"I drastically overpaid for this existence." - bbmike


Martok

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Reply #11 on: July 30, 2022, 12:02:19 AM
Investing in Infrastructure and Research - DevDiary 1: 


https://store.steampowered.com/news/app/1521070/view/3408678987985624408





Also, the devs in the Steam forums had this to say in response to concerns about replayability: 

Quote
We can now confirm that there is going to be a storyless campaign mode as well with some randomised elements, to offer more replayability and a more sandboxy experience.



I've asked for clarification on whether this means the game will be getting a random map generator, and/or whether we'll be able to play as factions other than the Humans (at least in the "story-less" campaign).  Fingers crossed. 



"I like big maps and I cannot lie." - Barthheart

"I drastically overpaid for this existence." - bbmike


Martok

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Reply #12 on: August 10, 2022, 08:43:59 PM
Diplomacy in the Pegasus Galaxy - DevDiary 2: 


https://store.steampowered.com/news/app/1521070/view/3408678987985634063




I'm seeing at least two things that concern me: 


1.)  The lack of a dedicated diplomacy screen. 

2.)  This dev diary reinforces the implication -- one which has yet to be refuted -- that the Humans (the titular Pegasus Expedition) will be the only playable faction.  I really hope that's not the case.  It would be a criminally stupid decision on the devs' part, given how severely it would limit the game's replayability. 



"I like big maps and I cannot lie." - Barthheart

"I drastically overpaid for this existence." - bbmike