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If you want to rule the universe, you have no right expecting it to be simple. And Lost Empire: Immortals certainly doesn’t do anything to make it easier for you. Starting in the aftermath of an intergalactic war, your species has to rebuild itself and take over space using economic or military means (as if there’s any other kind) through turn-based resource hogging, world colonising, warfaring and talking to poor 3D models of aliens.
Playing Lost Empire: Immortals involves dealing with a deluge of micromanagement, and building intricate connections between your planets to make everything work properly. If you want to colonise a world, you have to build a colony ship. But to build a colony ship, you need to design it - by which we mean drop your choice of laser guns and hull sections into a template. Then wait a few turns for it to build.
Once that happens, the wretched colonists will probably get attacked and wiped out - either before they leave, when they’re en route, or have arrived at their new home/graveyard - so you’ll have to reappraise the ship’s load. Out with another needless balance of hull space, fighter bays and weapons, and try again. And this is long before you have to consider building multiple ships to form a fleet.
Overwhelming as the micromanagement is, once you get a head for what weapons do, what ships are the most powerful, have researched some new technologies, and have a full-scale interplanetary trade network set up, you can swan around the galaxy making friends, enemies and corpses of everybody you meet.
While the story is light and terribly translated at times, the quests are rewarding enough (resource-wise) to keep you doing them, although you’ll get tired of random civilisations saying, “We are tired of your presence, give us some minerals.” You may even find yourself lapsing into a fugue state involving automatically blowing up anyone you meet, just to stop them complaining about you.
While this is isn’t a particularly original nor brilliant game, it’s fun once you get past the bomb of research and design that the game drops on you. Just don’t expect a tutorial that will explain how to play this game; trial and error are your friends. Once you’ve allied with them, Lost Empire: Immortals will be one too.
May 5, 2008
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