Ever played a Civilization game and wished you could manually control your troops during a battle? Well now you can in Amplitude Studios new installment of the Endless series.

Endless Legend came out of beta on Sept.18 and plays very much like a game of Civilization. But when combat rolls around, Legend takes a unique approach for a 4X game (sub-genre of strategy games). It becomes a turn-based-strategy game, allowing you to setup your troops on a hexagonal grid using the environment you’ve been exploring as the basis for the battleground.

In the early game, players can have up to four units in a single army, with each unit being a single squad, and a hero unit, which the players start with one at the beginning of the game. After setup, you issue commands to the individual squads, which are played out with entertaining animations. At the end of combat, the units reconvene into one army and players return to exploration mode. With this inclusion, the combat feels more active and entertaining than the combat in Civilization and other 4X type games, but if you don’t find this addition entertaining then you can simply allow the battle to resolve automatically.

Another key difference is the city zones. Like in Civilization, the player starts with a unit called a settler, which is used to create a city. Cities are used to create more units, build new buildings, which help the city produce more resources. Unlike in Civilization, however, cities are enclosed in zones, which contain the city’s growth and types of resources that the city can produce. The zones also help establish territorial control as each zone is named and act like the states of the player’s realm and cuts down on players constantly bickering and battling over city locations found in other 4X games.

Endless Legend introduces Minor Factions which are small villages that dot the world map. Minor Factions can’t control zones, but can spawn units that patrol the zone their village is in and attacks anyone who gets in their way. Minor Factions can be pacified by either attack all the villages within a certain zone, bribing them with dust (the currency) or by talking with them and accomplishing the tasks they give you. Once pacified they will no longer spawn units and can be assimilated to give the player a bonus that varies between the Minor Factions. The Minor Factions are clearly a better-handled version of the barbarians found in Civilization games and adds to the game’s enjoyable experience.

Overall, Endless Legend holds up pretty well against its big time competitors and is well worth the price for hours of easy-to-grasp gameplay. It is available on Steam for $34.99 for the standard edition and $44.99 for the Founder’s Edition that includes a new Minor Faction, a coupon for Endless Space, Amplitude’s first game in the Endless series, and benefits for their upcoming game Dungeon of the Endless.

Endless Legend gets a five out of five stars.