Distant Worlds 2: Staggering player autonomy lets you run the universe as you choose
By Dominic Bayley
PCWorldMar 10, 2022 1:58 am PST
Image: Code Force
Distant Worlds Universe, the 4X strategy that helped define the space turn-based strategy genre has finally got a sequel, with Slitherine Games and developer Code Force releasing Distant Worlds 2 on the Steam platform.
The sequel looks equally as epic as the original that debuted back in 2014, with a huge and inviting universe to explore. There are more than 2,000 star systems to visit, including tens of thousands of planets, moons and asteroids.
The game’s premise is pretty much identical to the original. You’re tasked with helping your civilisation survive and prosper in the expanses of space, with the choice of how you do that totally up to you. You can explore, find valuable resources, expand your empire, forge alliances, or wage war with any of the Alien civilisations you come in contact with, whatever it takes to represent your faction’s interests.
There are seven playable base factions to choose from, each with their own detailed back story and history. As in any good 4X strategy, resource management and upgrading your tech tree, aka creating the most kick-butt ships and weapons, is vital to your success.
Player autonomy is a big focus this time around, with extensive AI choices at your fingertips that allow you to automate various tasks in your empire and take on others you’d prefer to spend time on. For example, you can decide to only manage your home planet, thereby leaving all the exploration and defence to your faction’s AI, or alternatively explore the nether regions of the galaxy yourself in a single ship, without breaking a sweat over bothersome economics or trade.
You can also play solely as the Ship Designer, decking out your fleets with all manner of armour and destructive weapons to deliver payloads of hurt to your enemies.
The game has a storyline to enjoy, otherwise you can play in an endless sandbox environment where anything could be lurking beyond your known star system. The developer Code Force says the AI generation of galaxies is incredibly complex, such that the game environment is constantly evolving and that no two games will ever be the same.
But if you want to be in the driving seat, there’s also a built-in game editor that allows you to fine tune your own galaxy, adding in, or removing star systems, planets, star bases and more.
Right now you can buy the single game for AU$69.95 on Steam, or you can pick up the Distant Worlds Legacy Bundle that includes both games for AU$101.60, also on Steam.