4X strategies, in addition to being demanding on time, have two more significant drawbacks. The first is a fairly high entry threshold, and the second is the absence of any related plot. Both of these factors greatly narrow the niche of such games. This is not to say that different development teams did not try to deal with these shortcomings. On the contrary, in almost every game of the genre, developers have tried to pay attention to the plot or somehow simplify the mechanics.
However, gameplay simplifications are usually met with hostility by fans, especially when they occur in the new game of the famous series. Well, the plot is almost always something secondary, attached on top of other mechanics at the last moment.
The developers from Kalla Gameworks took a slightly different path in their Pegasus Expedition project. They decided to make the story the core of the game like in Zodiac Casino games and put in a lot of effort to make the strategy accessible to many players. How well they succeed – only time will tell, because now the game is still in development.
What Is the 4X strategy?
For the first time, in 1993, the term 4X was used by guide compiler Alan Emrich. The very concept is where you can control an entire nation, a space fleet, or a fantasy race for generations. Typically, in 4X strategies, the player takes on the role of the leader of a civilization, state, faction, nation, community, or other similar association, depending on the setting of the game. In most cases, the game starts with few resources and possessions and develops and expands throughout the game. Games in 4X strategy are usually long and can last for several days, weeks and even months in real-time, so the genre is mainly popular among single-player games.
The gameplay mechanics are based on four elements (4X):
- eXplore: the player is exploring new lands/outer space on a map that is not fully open at the start of the game. It is important not to confuse this point with technology research, which in English is denoted by the word research, not explore.
- eXpand: the player expands his realm by building new cities or otherwise expanding his borders.
- eXploit: the player uses the resources of the world to develop himself.
- eXterminate: the ultimate goal of 4X games is to destroy all other players in some way (not necessarily military).
Traditionally, another important element of such games is the technology tree, which opens up new features, buildings and units as you play, thereby significantly affecting the gameplay, giving advantages to the most advanced civilizations.
The plot of The Pegasus Expedition looks on the one hand quite banal, on the other hand, quite interesting. Humanity faced an undefeated enemy and was forced to flee from the Milky Way to the Pegasus galaxy. It was assumed that the galaxy would be uninhabited, but upon arrival, it turned out that the analysts were mistaken. The galaxy is populated, and new residents are not welcome here. And the player will have to build a new home for mankind. How he will do this depends solely on himself and his choices. The game is divided into several story chapters, the transition between which is carried out after completing some basic tasks. How you do them is entirely up to you. Moreover, the game has several characters in the dialogues with which you can change the course of the story.
In terms of game mechanics, The Pegasus Expedition is a typical 4X strategy game. Actions on the global map take place in turn-based mode, and battles take place in real-time. On the global map, everything is familiar:
- you can capture star systems;
- build various outposts on them;
- there is a technology tree that can be researched;
- it is possible to build and move fleets, create agents, etc.;
- there is a rather interesting diplomacy system, and your opponents not only react to insults during dialogues and the use of prohibited weapons during the battle but also to how you feel about the colonies captured from the enemy.
Also, you have some opportunities to influence the course of the battle. Before the start of the battle, you can choose the tactics that the fleet will follow, and during the battle, give instructions on whether to use expendable types of ammunition, prohibited weapons, or perhaps to retreat altogether, leaving the enemy forces behind.
Visually, the game cannot boast of something unique and bewitching. Although it should be noted that the interface looks concise and thoughtful, it is easy to understand. And the output of several pieces of information in the form of cards is a good find.
Pegasus Expedition has every chance of becoming a good 4X strategy for those who are just about to get acquainted with the genre. It has all the makings for this: high-quality mechanics, good ideas, and interesting positioning. The main thing is that the developers can implement everything because there are questions about several elements now. On the other hand, the project is under development and has no final release date. There is hope that the developers understand what they want from the game, and will be able to implement all the mechanics at the right level. In the meantime, if you like such projects, you can download a demo version of the game on Steam.