Few 4X strategy games can boast the sheer complexity and customisation of Stellaris.
When you have a tag line like “Make space great again!” you expect the best, it is clear that Stellaris has been a labour of love for Paradox Development Studio, known for Crusader Kings and Europa Universalis, who have worked hard to deliver a beautiful and ever evolving game of incredible complexity and depth.
So, what is it all about? Well, the idea is to select or build your race and then escalate them from the initial days of FTL travel to having a galaxy spanning empire and numerous friends and enemies. Stellaris really becomes what you make of it. I mentioned building a race, even that has depth, you don’t just pick a portrait, you set everything: from what type of planets they prefer to specific traits and their views and ethics. The customisation doesn’t stop there, designing individual ships and even the outcome of randomly generated events are yours to decide. That isn’t to say luck has nothing to do with things, of course.
As a fledgling empire taking it’s first steps, science and explorations are your friends and always will be, your tech level and combat strength rely heavily on the choices you make with regards to what you research, it can also affect how you are treated by other races (both young and old) *cough* Sentient AI *cough*. Again, there are many potential races out there and each will have different ethics and traits that heavily change how they will approach you, from first contact and beyond. It’s not uncommon for xenophobic races to come to like you and vice versa.
I must add, Stellaris is NOT turn-based, though you can pause to give yourself time to make those critical decisions, this also helps if you’re busy picking the next big gun for your newest battleship and one of your science vessels finds an anomaly. Admittedly, there is so much more I could talk about but I don’t want to spoil all the wonders of the galaxy for you. Oh, did I mention that no single playthrough will be the same? No? Well, get playing and find out!
While there have been bugs, they have been resolved with hotfixes almost as quickly as they have been found. A testament to the passion and dedication of the developers. There are elements which are a little annoying or maybe could have been approached differently but that’s where the modding community comes in; there is full Steam Workshop support and already a number of very high quality mods available.
All in all, Stellaris has achieved what it set out to accomplish: “Make space great again!”. Why not treat yourself? True longevity has never been this good!
Now I need to buy myself a copy, so I don’t have to keep pestering my friend to borrow his account. Sorry.