Written By TheChoujinVirus
Note: The following review may contain spoilers to the game itself.
Space: the final frontier; These are the geopolitical and expansionistic voyages of the Not Imperium of Man. Its ongoing mission, to purge dangerous Xenos, to seek out all threats in the name of the God-Emperor, to boldly Exterminatus like no one has done before…
No, it’s not a poorly written Star Wars and 40k Crossover; it’s a popular Paradox game called Stellaris. Released on May 9th, 2016, and released in 2019 for the consoles, lastly on the Xbox Series X/S in 2021. It’s a 4x Strategy game similar to those like the Civilization series. (it was inspired by games like Master of Orion 2 and Star Control 2, according to Director Henrik Fahraeus). So does this game stack up to those kinds of games? Well, that’s what ya boy’s here to do: Let’s jump into light speed and get into Stellaris.
Stellaris isn’t a game with a default story, as YOU get to make the story in the gameplay. You have a choice of several premade empires to play. However, suppose you’re adventurous, a role-player, or someone who loves other sci-fi races. In that case, you can build your own alien races from the various stocks. Regardless of what you do with your empire, the objective of the game is simple: Become the supreme power in the galaxy while surviving the various threats the game will throw at you, such as dreaded leviathans, rival empires, vengeful fallen empires, catastrophes, space pirates, and even marauders led by great kahns. Luckily, your empire (built or created) has unique abilities to help you out. Maybe your species are very hearty at gathering resources, your government’s ethics giving you better upkeeps. Perhaps your origin providing you with an edge like having your own personal gateway in your system, Or maybe you’re just a space version of Skynet wanting to purge meat bags. In Stellaris, there’s more to the game than colonizing worlds, expanding your empire, and crushing your enemies. There is a galactic political aspect to the game too. You’ll have to please your empire’s political parties or galactic neighbors—things like how you treat pre-spacefaring civilizations, planetary refugees, or liberating slaves. So be careful if you’re the kind who runs xeno-slave rings or just an outright douchebag. Cuz it can lead you to be blocked off through border closing or even having a war at your doorstep. You have resource management as well, as your empire needs to be happy. Resources like Ammenties are required to ensure your workers can afford to work. You need jobs to ensure things like consumer goods or law enforcement to ensure crime can’t thrive. By the near end of the game, you’ll deal with a mechanic called a Crisis, which is something that’ll wipe everyone out if no one is careful or prepared. Depending on the whole galaxy is your plaything or battleground, you can make it a utopia or constant warfare.
Galactic Wonders: What makes the Game good
Stellaris has many impressive features that folks will enjoy. One such thing that the gameplay is variable but can be customizable to fit whatever you or other players will like. Maybe you don’t want marauders in this galaxy or make things harder with fewer hyperlanes or other items. Sure, you can’t get achievements if you play it this way, but it’s something impressive. The second thing that the game has a TON of content. Some of the newest content provides new gameplay and even new empires. For example, Synthetic Dawn introduces Mechanical empires into the mix, and Lithoids give you Rock aliens to play. Megacorp introduces the ability to play Megacorporation Empire, which lets you build branch offices (or criminal undergrounds) in some empires. Lastly, Nemesis’s latest expansion not only introduces espionage but allows you to BE the endgame crisis. The final and personal favorite thing in this is that the game has a thriving modding community. Usually, ya boy isn’t fond of needing mods to experience a game, but Stellaris makes having mods enjoyable. Some of them are cosmetic or add a feature into the game. One such mod I could suggest is NSC2. It’s a mod that provides a TON of quality of life features, new ships, buildings, and other cool features that makes playing a bit easier and less tedious. Another mod that makes things enjoyable (and realistic) is Planetary Diversity. It’s a mod that fills your galaxy with various planetary biomes like Tidal-locked worlds, primal worlds, and even the strange luminous worlds. Whatever you want in your Stellaris game, there’s a mod for it.
Black Holes: What the game lacks
Though the game is good, some problems can be a buzzkill while playing. One such is that though the game is fun, it’s very complicated due to all the various things to manage. Things like managing Empire Sprawl, so you don’t go over, ensuring your empire upkeep doesn’t produce deficits. Ordering your envoys for empires and even keeping an eye out on planet populations. Those things can lead to people feel intimidated when playing the game for the first time. Another problem with Stellaris is that the multiplayer setup can be a pain. Sure, you can play against AI empires; it’s the player empires that work. The issue is that the constant content and DLC in the game means that some people will have to get the content and DLC needed. Meaning if someone doesn’t have any content, they won’t be able to join the session. The last thing that can be a pain and a turn-off is this: The game has a TON of content. Sure it’s nice and all, but sometimes it can be overwhelming to experience the entire game itself. So picking and choosing each DLC can be a pain in the wallet if you want ALL The content. Luckily, the developers have made some packs available in bundles.
Some may not have noticed, but Stellaris has several easter eggs found throughout the game. One example is Warhammer 40k, as you have things like the Gene Seed Purification technology and the Devouring Swarm government for hiveminds. You even have references from the likes of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the galaxy and some references from Sid Meir’s Alpha Centauri. There are so many things linked, but the link here will explain the whole thing here.
Galactic ambition: Should you get this game?
In conclusion to my review of Stellaris, I’d say that it’s a game that’s not your mother’s Civilization or Red Alert. Suppose you like to play games that involve heavy micromanagement with a sci-fi twist, or you’re just a 40k Fanboy who wants to be the God-Emperor of your own Imperium. In that case, I’d suggest you get this game and enjoy it. Ya Boy enjoys this game and uses it to help with worldbuilding his empires for his stories.