Stellaris (2.2.7) - Stripped
Updated: Mar 27
Stellaris is Paradox’s space faring 4X game of 2016. It’s been just about three years since the game debuted and it has changed quite a bit since it’s release. Numerous DLC releases have changed the game, for the better in my opinion. The sheer amount of story related additions the game has received improves the replay ability of role players significantly. The economic complexity of the game keeps you on your toes, and the artwork is beautifully crafted.
For a role player, Stellaris is fantastic. There are quite a few story packs, purchasable even on a budget with the steam sales, that add hours of replay value to the game. The amount of events that you can encounter throughout the game give every play through a bit of a different story. Reading all of the anomalies and events have kept me busy for hours upon hours.
Keeping your empire from collapsing is definitely the hardest part of the game. With Galaxies that can have one thousand stars, expanding wide can be exceptionally tempting. Problems arise when you start to bleed energy, and food. Your people become unhappy, crime runs rampant, and enemy civilizations take advantage on weak points of your border.
The amount of resources in the game has gotten to a point that I believe to be unnecessary. Paradox has striven to create an immensely complicated game, and at first glance you would definitely believe it. The complexity really isn’t there, and managing those resources just ends up feeling tedious towards the late game.
Pop management on worlds is still one of my favorite aspects of the economic management you have to achieve. Even with an absurd amount of resources, having the correct amount of pops, on the correct amount of worlds, in the right buildings is still a process that I have yet to perfect even with hundreds of hours of playthroughs. Knowing when to build, what to build, when to replace, is something I am constantly trying to improve on. It keeps me entertained still to this day.
Combat in Stellaris is fairly simple. I haven’t found too many better ways than creating a couple fleets with good admirals and just sending them in. The hard part comes in knowing what you are fighting. Should you equip your fleet with heavy shields, or heavy armor. Should you use lasers, or kinetic weapons? How many ships do you need to sweep the enemy without losing too many? How many ships can your economy accommodate? How many ships do you keep during peacetime? Granted, the latter fall more in line with economy management, it’s still in a crossover with combat I feel.
War currently in 2.2 can be very frustrating if you’re in a strong position to forcibly take over the galaxy. War exhaustion ticks up increasingly fast, for nothing. If you have the economy to support several expendable fleets, you get punished for throwing them at an enemies fleets and defense stations. Losing your ships can cost you heavily. After reaching 100%, the enemy civilizations can force you into a cease fire using the status quo. You will lose any captured systems not claimed. You won’t be able to reach all your war goals because the war has a forced end. This is probably the most infuriating part of the game currently as someone who loves offensive wars. The devs have said this system needs tweaking, but I think it’s going to need a whole lot more than what they will most likely do to it.
The game changing DLCs like Synthetic Dawn are definitely worth a buy as the playthroughs of those can feel entirely different than your standard runs. Having a synthetic hivemind designed to purge the galaxy feels great from a roleplaying perspective. With Megacorp you can play as a civilization sized corporation designed to buy and sell your way to the top player in the galaxy.
All the artwork you come across in the game is beautifully crafted. Every piece works with the crafted story and gives the game a great aesthetic. The music ties in well and the game feels like a great cohesive piece of work.
Stellaris is a very fun 4X game that has given me hundreds of hours of entertainment. While most of the game I have nothing but praise for, I do think they tried to push the complexity limit a little bit too hard with the amount of resources in it at the moment. Offensive wars feel like you are punished too hard with war exhaustion and losing ships designed to be expendable feels awful. All in all, it’s still a great 4X game that will keep you busy if you already like the genre. For someone who is used to playing a warmonger in Civ, I would say give this game a wait or pick it up on a really good sale as it does not appeal as heavily to warmongers at the moment.
BNG gives Stellaris a 7/10