Distant Worlds – Legends: This Time, Things Get Serious…

1 - Busy Galaxy
I Feel So Small…

In our last adventure, Admiral Rubin had his eyes opened up to just how big the universe really is, and was offered a position in Leader Lapuri’s senior council. In this final look at Distant Worlds – Legends, we see if Senior Naval Advisor to the Grand Leader (SNAGL?) Rubin can handle the new responsibilities put upon him.

I was just settling into my new office — god I’d rather be on a bridge, but the Empire needs me here… — when all of a sudden, I get an alert that Almas 1 has the plague! I send the 1st Fleet to patrol and quarantine the system so that ships are inspected coming and going from the system, to at least minimize the thread of the plague spreading. Private ship captains and shipping companies weren’t happy with this, but it had to be done.

3 - The Plague Planet Almas 1
The Plague Planet Almas 1

While I still had overall control over our navies — I gave “suggestions” to our admirals, who pretty much had to carry them out — I was also given the added responsibilities of overseeing ship building and intelligence gathering, since spies needed ships to get around, and we had to coordinate that on our end. I thankfully had a spate of advisors in every branch who helped me manage everything.

6 - Changing Options for My Promotion ;)
Taking On More Responsibility! ;)

Firs my first days in office, things are fairly quiet. We awoke a sleeping race, who warned us of the “Dark Ones”, and found an amazing new technology called the Devastator Pulse, which would certainly help our navies defend our borders. However, days after this discovery, we received a courier delivering a declaration of war from the Great Xagubah Realm!! I’m not sure if they were reacting to my assumption of my duties — since I had won several victories over pirate gangs, and was seen as something of a trigger-happy commander — or of our discovery of the Devastator Pulse. Regardless, it seemed too well timed to be mere coincidence.

War, huh, yeah. What is it good for? Absolutely nothing!

We were not prepared for war! While we had some fleets and some lone ships on various missions, they were engaged in patrol and pirate protection duties! I immediately took charge and ordered a building effort to grow our fleet in order to face this new threat. I also formed new fleets from the scattered single ships that were on other duties, directing them solely to the war effort.

12 - Beefing Up the War Effort
More Ships! Now!

It didn’t take long before the Xagubahs made the first strike, hitting industrial targets at the fringe of our empire. We were still mobilizing our forces, so we couldn’t react in time, and I had to watch helplessly as one of our mining stations fell helplessly to the might of a mighty Xagubah fleet. I swore I would avenge the loss of our people several times over.

13 - Gah, Enemy Fleet Attacks!
Holy Crap!!

Eventually, we lost our colony on the moon Artoi, and it was around this time that our people starting to swing toward isolationism, tired of dealing with other races, pirates and so on. I could hardly blame them, given the circumstances, but we had to soldier on to protect the empire. Eventually the 1st Fleet was ready for a counterattack — the other fleets were still either refitting or gathering — so I ordered them into enemy territory to begin destroying industrial and shipping targets.

17 - 1st Fleet Makes First Countermove
Time to Punch Back.

The 1st Fleet makes several successful attacks against industrial targets on the fringes of  Xagubah space, slowing the Xagubah offensive as they react to our strikes. This gives our other fleets time to mobilize and prepare for offensive attacks of their own. My advisors constantly monitor the status of our battles, and give me new targets to focus on when the previous one is destroyed. I don’t know how I could’ve managed without them.

19 - Advisors Begin Planning Counterattacks
Yes! Do That Thing!

Sadly during this time, several pirate gangs offered us “protection” for our fleets in exchange for credits. Sadly with the war effort going on, we had little choice but to accept, lest we wanted even more problems on our hands. Meanwhile, the 1st Fleet made headway through Xagubah space and began probing attacks of their home system, which they took to none too kindly.

23 - 1st Fleet Stabs at Enemy Home System
Taking the Fight to The Enemy’s Front Door.

The 1st Fleet was making surprising headway at the enemy’s homeworld defenses. Thankfully it seems as if our extensive research and refitting programs were paying off, because while our enemy at first had a numerical advantage, we had the advantage of more advanced ships. This made dealing with the enemy fleet around the Xagubah homeworld less of a problem than I originally thought, but we still lost some ships in the process. Thankfully the 3rd Fleet was finally on the move, and was also helping weaken the enemy.

31 - 3rd Fleet Makes its First Stab at The Enemy
3rd Fleet Making its War Debut.

I ordered the 1st Fleet to withdraw and attack less-defended targets, since it was crippled in strength due to the loss of half of its already-small numbers. The 3rd Fleet continued to lay waste to enemy industry, and the massive 4th Fleet — with over 20 ships — was also making its presence known, leaving a trail of broken stations and ships in its wake. Finally, my newest fleet of some of our most advanced ships, the 5th Fleet, was ready to move in, and was ordered to attack one of the Xagubah colonies.

32 - 5th Fleet Gets a Chance to Bear its Teeth
Lay Waste to Their Colony!

During the war, we tried a few times to sue for peace, the cost being asked by the Xagubah High Command was always too high, so we pressed on. After we laid waste to several more industrial and military targets, the enemy contacted US and sued for peace. Their price? One mining station, and nothing else. Honestly? I considered declining, and causing even more wanton destruction to their empire. I was sick of their posturing and sick of their attitude. In the end, however, I realized the cost would be too high in the end, and accepted their terms.

35 - The Enemy Concedes Defeat for A Mining Station
So You Want Us to Stop, Huh? ;)

In the end, we lost a moon, a few mining stations, and less than half a dozen ships. The  Xagubahs lost one colony, over a dozen industrial targets, and well over a dozen ships (I lost count eventually). During the war, pirate gangs began to approach us and offered us an alliance, understandably awed by our mobilized military might. We, of course, accepted their generous offers.

36 - Another Pirate Alliance
Joiiiiin Usssssssssss…

With the long war over, it was time for me to finally retire. Thanks to a comfortable government benefits package and savings of my own, I was able to begin building a new home on a remote moon, so my family and I could live out our years in hopeful peace and comfort. I was hailed as a hero, both against pirates and empires, but in the end, I just felt I was a soldier doing my job, and I was happy to do it. The last day of my job, before the retirement ceremony, my secretary came in with a smile on her face and a message on her tablet from the Galactic Newsnet. The Great Xagubah Realm had declared war on the Ancient Guardians. I smirked, knowing they had no chance of winning, and left my office for the last time, secure in the knowledge that my beloved empire was safe, well-defended, and emboldened to take on any future threat that might come our way.

38 - Our Former Enemy is War Happy
Really Guys? You Never Learn, Do You?

I have to admit, right here and now, that Distant Worlds – Legends has dethroned Imperium Galactica II as my favorite 4X of all time ever in the history of anything. I was having a grand time moving ships around the galaxy in the early days of my “career”, but when I opened the game up and began taking on more responsibility, I was given one of the best rides I had ever had in gaming, period.

The folks at Code Force truly have something special here. With a vivid, alive universe, and many ways to interact with it, I think they’ve achieved something truly unique in the space  4X strategy…space. This game was a pure thrill to play from beginning to end, whether I was only commanding one ship, or determining the fate of several with advisors to help me out. I can’t gush enough about how wonderful a time I had playing this game, especially this last session, which was particularly thrilling. I was honestly out of breath when it was over, no lie.

So, even as relatively expensive as Distant Worlds – Legends is, I can say that it is completely worth your money and time. It does something different and wonderful with the traditional 4X formula, and really shines as a result. I can’t recommend this game enough for space strategy fans, and I hope I’ve conveyed that through these reviews.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my series of diaries looking at Distant Worlds – Legends, and thank you for your time in reading them. Now please enjoy all of the screenshots I took for this article below in my gallery, and have a great day.













Author: Brian Rubin

16 thoughts on “Distant Worlds – Legends: This Time, Things Get Serious…

  1. I enjoyed the entire series of articles and your narrative approach. It made for an entertaining read. What would you say are some of the biggest positives and negatives of Distant Worlds as a strategy game? Space games aren’t typically my thing, so how would you sell this game so a strategy game fan?

    1. Thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed it. As for positives and negatives, it’s hard to narrow them all down. I didn’t see too many negatives. It’s a complex game and that might turn some folks off, but that didn’t bother me. The graphics are on the less-impressive side, but that’s to be expected, especially given the magnitude of the game.

      Positives…well, the great AI, which can manage your entire empire and others quite well enough. I liked how my enemy in the war went straight for my industrial base. That seemed clever to me. The interface is great given the game’s complexity, and it’s got AMAZING flexibility. I could’ve played that entire game in one ship if I chose to, but the game allowed me to tweak it as I went, which was pretty impressive. You can also tweak the game to the way you like it. Just wanna build ships? Fine. Just wanna handle espionage missions? Go right ahead. You basically make it your game every time. It’s also amazing how ALIVE the universe is. Just sitting there watching ships going to and fro on their business was incredible.

      I hope this helps!

  2. Dang, that sounds fun! Dethroned Imperium Galactica II you say? That was my favorite real-time 4X game, until the cd got stratched :(

    Guess I’ll have to do special favors and bribe my wife to let me get this game. But I just got the indie bundle with weird worlds (your other post convinced me to get it), and still haven’t fully explored A Valley Without Wind’s contents, nor am I done with Tribes Ascend. And I’m developing Beyond Beyaan in what free time remains. Arg, so many games, so little time!

    1. Yup, I know right? IG2 was my favorite for YEARS, so it would take a LOT to dethrone it, but it’s been done. And honestly? Wait for the holiday if you’re tight for money. I’d love to tell you to get it now, but hopefully there will be a bundle when the new expansion is released.

      1. Yeah, that’s what I’m hoping for, a bundle at a more reasonable price. But then, my brother and I already decided to buy each other Diablo III for christmas as a way of “not buying it for ourselves” lol

        Maybe next year or two years, the price might reduce and I finish up some games from my backlog, then I’ll take a look at this.

        1. If they keep releasing expansions, it’ll likely be going for a while. ;)

  3. I really enjoyed your AAR. I’m curious, did the game force you to retire, or did you just decide you’d had enough? What are some ways the game can end?

    After reading these I think I’ll have to get the game regardless. Is the base game “enough”, or do the expansion really add a lot?

    1. Aaww, thank you so much, and welcome to the site! As for the retirement, that was all me. I did all the character stuff myself, I just finished the end of that character’s arc, I thought. ;) There are many victory conditions, and they can be set up before the game. They can be race specific too, so there are many ways for a game to end, from colonization to military might.

      And honestly, I’ve only really dived into the latest one with the expansion Legends, but from what I’m told, the expansions add so much that it’d be silly to play without them. I know it’s a costly investment, I can say it’s worth it from a content perspective.

  4. Brian, I just finished reading your awesome reports on Distant Worlds and it sounds interesting but I’ve still got a few questions.

    What about the time commitment? 8 – 10 – 12 hours per session? Play it an hour, turn it off and come back later when you have more time? Is it a persistent universe or does everything stop when you stop? How much of the game management can you turn over to the AI and still have an enjoyable game?

    To give you an idea of how little I know about these sort of games, I had to look up what ‘4X’ meant. As a teenager I enjoyed playing RISK and in my early 20’s I ran across “Lords of Conquest” on the Commodore (which this kind of reminds me of). I had heard of some of the games mentioned in the Wikipedia entry about 4X games, but had never played any of the computer versions. From your report the combat seems a little lacking. Sort of a ‘roll the dice’ effect with technology and quantity being controlling factors. I’m more the ‘lone wolf’ rather than the ‘supreme leader’ sort and I’m not sure that a game that requires a lot of micromanagement appeals all that much to me.

    I’ve gone too long without my JumpGate fix and nothing seems to be happening with Border Space or Squad Wars. I need to fly, fight, explore, trade and manufacture. I’m not really sure if this is the game for me and with the price, I want to KNOW it’s something I could love.

    1. Hey man, good questions. Distant Worlds is single player only, so when you shut it down, the universe waits for your return. The sessions can be as short or as long as you want, depending on the size of the universe, number of opponents, win conditions, etc. My session for the review was ultimately about 12 hours long, but there’s still plenty to do in that universe when I return.

      As for the automation, you can have the entire game automated, if you wish, just to watch what it does. It’s fairly competent at most areas of empire management, but eventually you’ll want to tinker, so the automation has several levels, from fully automated to getting help from advisers to manual. This way you can start, like I did, small (with one ship, for example) and open it up as you go, as this was an excellent way to open up the game.

      If you’re looking for a game, however, where it’s more of a sim wherein you fly, take missions, trade cargo and the like, this isn’t for you. This is a full-blown galaxy simulator, a living galaxy with tons to do and see. If you’re trying to enter the area of 4X games, this one has a significant learning curve, but also has a great tutorial and TONS of in-game help. I can’t recommend it enough because it’s SO awesome. You don’t have to be the leader either. If you just wanna play admiral and build ships and command fleets, do that. If you just wanna handle espionage, do that. The game will handle the rest. It really is a marvelous design, but it’s not really a JG replacement, as they’re very much apples and oranges.

      I hope this helps, and don’t hesitate to ask more questions. Distant Worlds is AMAZING, so if I can get more folks to enjoy its wonders, then so much the better. :)

      1. Thanks Brian. I think I will give it a try. Hopefully I’ll enjoy it as much as you have. I’ve never tried a 4X game so this could be good. Only other hang up I have is my comp is a 12 year old Pent III running XP Pro. According to the game site, I should have at least a Pent IV so this COULD be a good excuse to move up.

        1. Oohhhh, it’s a VERY CPU intensive game, since it’s a fully living universe. My machine is six year old and it can chug at times. It might not even run on yours. :/ I’d consider upgrading before shelling out $90 for a game you might not be able to play.

  5. @ Wild_bill and all who wish introduce yourself in 4x genre

    Introduce yourself in 4x genre with 100$ game? But no! Matrix games publishing games for experienced armchair generals and demand usually 60-80$ (more then for overhyped console shooter). It’s for those who good knew what they wont, and will pay good price for this.
    To introduce yourself in 4x genre do like this:
    1. Master of Orion 2: Battle at Antares
    True classic, milestone in genre. Must for every real gamer, not only 4x or space fans. Fool flavor of space opera: colorful alien races and heroes, cosmic secret, space monsters, evil racist Antarians incursion from other dimension witch randomly destroy colonies and fleets (and disturb balance between normal empires).

    2. Imperium Galactica II
    Pretty similar like previous but this time in real-time and 3D, with radio chatter, planetary battles between buildings in bases, terrorist treats, interesting (almost rpg) espionage concept etc etc. Download 2 patches (1 is for better resolution then original 640×480) and ride space in most beautiful form (in 4x genre of course). I have head PIII until 2008 and this game glide smoothly because its developed for PII :) Later you can try its predecessor: Imperium Galactica1 and good ancient Reunion if you wish to see how those Hungarians develop this concept. And if you wish also to lose family, friends, wife and finally your eyes :)

    3.Galactic Civilization II
    Turn-based strategy. Today sovereign ruler in 4x genre. Implemented everything good from its predecessor, accumulated trough years in this genre. Implemented many suggestion from numerous fans. All polished trough franchise 5 games (GC1&2 and 3 expansion): interface, gameplay, Galactic lore and alien race characters, AI behavior, diplomacy/trade, strategic resource, ship design, Death Star design; accent on many kinds to achieve win (diplomacy, cultural domination, technological supremacy), graphics…everything. King of kings. Enjoyable and easy to play. Recommended.

    4. Armada 2526 with Supernova expansion
    My little discovery. Relatively new game. Indie. Turn-based with real-time battles (optional left computer to resolve automatic). Good AI, cute graphic, 2 dozens alien factions in huge galaxy, Every faction earn victory points according to his own victory condition(2 or 3). I.e. you have most population but for your faction only their happiness is count. You conquer many worlds using ground assault, but only glorious space battles (yes only glorious, not usual) earn points for you. Of course it’s possible to extinct others. Or it’s not?

    Some sweet cookies: research stealth lander and deploy spec ops on friendly faction strongly defended planet with planetary shield. When hi turns enemy towards you attack with fleet and simultaneously destroy shield with your stealth operatives. To cut long story short. Fast and fluently gameplay for game on those scale, ideal “to introduce yourself in genre”. Beware! Game without Supernova expansion is not worth to play so buy both necessarily! Big downside is price for both compared with GC (Yes Matrixgames again).

  6. @ Brian Rubin

    Thanks for great review. Precisely for this exciting SF novel.
    Earlier i run away from Distant Worlds when i saw “1400 planets in real-time”. To many micromanagement even for those Korean Starcraft players, i said:)
    You show me how i was wrong. In this game i can play role as i wish, or which is required for my state. I take lead where i much needed in that moment, or where is much excited in both war and peace. Researcher, spy, explorer, captain, admiral, fleet commander or combined. Beautiful.
    Only few things I can complain. Starmap is not comprehensive and intuitive. OK, i am old and loosing my vision, but in GC2 and A2526 map concept is better not only less star systems for display. Numerous table and panels must be slightly user friendly with distinctive color contrast and with bigger letters and numbers. Grayish and silvery ships are maybe much closer to reality but less fun to play. Same as planets except they brownish. Finally whole game is scars in colors especially in vivid bright and pastel colors. Starship appearance can be much SF imaginative, i.e. like in Gratuitous Space Battles or Space Rangers.

    Brian i am so happy when i discovered your blog, and i already riding other posts!

    1. Wow, welcome to the site and the comments ZOKI, and I am so glad you liked the review. Thank you for the kind words as well. :)

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