i mean, one thing i like about base innovation, which i think is preserved in echoes and to a lesser extent in figures, is that on a fundamental level you have to choose between tech-based and score-based strategies. and so in the base set, if you are winning the whole game and then suddenly your opponent pulls off some computers--->bioengineering--->win crap, well, you can be a little annoyed, but not really, because were you really "winning the whole time" if you had more achievements but you let the game last long enough that your opponent melded computers? in essence you weren't covering your bases, and you "deserve" to lose once in a while. (in my mind it is similar to when a dominion player with a better strategy fails to seal the deal after splitting the curses 7-3... the game rewards technique and perfection).
now it's true that figures gives a big push to the tech-based strategies, but to me it doesn't seem to break the game. with cities such that, simply by melding them, i draw a card from the next age, it starts to feel a little lopsided.
this is incoherent. still posting.