Legends of Pegasus



You know how pizza places offer "meat lovers" or "veggie lovers" pizzas, where they just cram every single ingredient of a certain type that they have in the refrigerator onto a pie? Legends of Pegasus is kind of like that: it features a lot of elements that 4X aficionados might enjoy in the right context, but they're all just kind of slapped together in a way that doesn't allow them to complement each other. It's pizza that requires a fork and a knife to eat when you ought to be able to just pick up a slice and easily slide it into your mouth.
Legends of Pegasus tries hard to replicate the famous GUI from Sins of a Solar Empire, but limiting factors prevent it from even coming close.
Legends of Pegasus' storyline relies heavily on tried-and-true sci-fi tropes, particularly a Battlestar Galactica-esque survival/flight theme. At the beginning of the game, you are informed that Earth has been conquered in a surprise attack by an unknown alien force, and a small flotilla of ships has managed to escape through a wormhole. You command that flotilla, and, as luck would have it, you've got a colony ship with you. You need to colonize habitable planets, research new technologies, build bigger and better ships, and fight off constant attacks from aliens seemingly bent on hostility. It's all very hackneyed, including the few plot "twists" that you see coming from light years away.
All that said, the storyline is admittedly secondary to the gameplay, but Legends of Pegasus doesn't score many points for itself there, either. Played on large maps of fictional solar systems, Legends of Pegasus tries to replicate the feel of Sins of a Solar Empire's GUI, but because Legends of Pegasus is primarily turn-based (only battles take place in real time) and because its menus and controls are terribly arcane and unintuitive, it fails to give you much more than a general inkling of Sins' brilliant interface. Zooming, for example, a virtually limitless function in Sins, is strictly limited in Legends of Pegasus. This makes finding items of interest (such as waypoints or resource fields) a laborious, scrolling process. For some things, like your ships or asteroid fields, you can use predesignated icons to jump directly to them, but then you're likely to lose sight of whatever it is you want to be focused on at the same time, also resulting in needless scrolling and clicking.
The game is overloaded with graphical options.
There's the planet management interface too, wherein you designate what you want your colonies to build and what kinds of resource allocation you want them to have, and you can see what exactly they're generating for you in terms of revenue, science, and ships. This interface is lifted almost pixel for pixel from Galactic Civilizations, but unlike that game, Legends of Pegasus fails to provide you with meaningful information about what your colony-based choices mean for the future. Sure, the game has rollover tips with what each building does, but with limited space to build and an extremely limited budget, it's never clear why you'd choose X over Y.
Speaking of limited budgets, Legends of Pegasus operates in a strange ecosystem whereby the survivors of Earth's demise, desperately escaping from an alien threat, completely dependent upon the shreds of the navy they have left to protect them, are nevertheless apparently charging that navy money for everything from ship building to production of shelters for their own use. Citizens pay taxes to the interim government, but if you raise taxes too high, their morale drops, which has some unexplained further negative effect. This is your only way to make money--without which you cannot build more structures and you cannot build any ships.
Inexplicably, there is no limit to the amount of debt you can go into if you don't collect enough taxes, and Legends of Pegasus gives you no warnings about your debt level. Unless you're paying attention to your finances at all times (hard to do when you're scouring for waypoints and fighting battles), it's possible to "rimrock" yourself: that is, put yourself in a situation where you're too in debt to buy the buildings that you need to get yourself out of debt. And then you have to restart the mission from square one.
To battle! Everyone just sort of shoot all the stuff at the red guys!
Most of the main campaign's missions are straightforward: defend yourself from randomly timed alien invasions, seek out some critical resource, build up your forces, counterattack, and so on. Nothing is particularly taxing on your brain (apart from how to make enough money from the ingrates you're protecting without offending them), but eventually you encounter Legends of Pegasus' combat engine, like it or not. And the truth is probably going to be "not." Combat in Legends of Pegasus is a chaotic affair in which your ships, from what was otherwise a stationary, turn-based game, suddenly spring to life and engage enemy ships in real time. Giving orders to your ships is very difficult, because selecting ships and targets often fails to register with the AI, and individual buttons for ships' commands are tiny and hard to use effectively. If your ships outnumber and/or out-tech the enemy, you're going to win. None of the skills from other real-time strategy games, such as crowd control, division of labor (aka rock-paper-scissors), actions per minute, or other such staples, seem to matter in the slightest.
That's Legends of Pegasus: lots of quantity, little quality. While it borrows liberally from just about every major 4X sci-fi game up until now, it does so in a haphazard fashion, losing all, or nearly all, of the things that made those games so great. It doesn't help that Legends of Pegasus is buggy, with an annoying DRM login that frequently blocks you from getting to the game and plenty of graphical glitches.
Don't worry about formations or special abilities; just group your ships next to each other and pound away. It won't matter.
The AI leaves much to be desired as well, since ships never do anything on their own initiative besides run straight at the enemy and fire every weapon. Sometimes you order them to do something and they don't do anything at all. If you want to escape the AI woes to some degree, you can try Legends of Pegasus' multiplayer, but good luck finding anyone to match up with via the game's matchmaking system--its lobbies are emptier than a college student's bank account. Even if you do a direct IP connection to a friend, multiplayer is laggy, tends to boot you, and suffers from many of the same problems as the single-player.
Bottom line: Legends of Pegasus had a grand plan, but developer Novacore didn't come close to pulling off what it set out to do. Like storied Bellerophon, its hubris has proved its ultimate undoing.
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