Stellaris is the latest, gigantic, strategy space game made by Paradox Interactive. Now Paradox are no mugs when it comes to video games; with previous titles such as Cities:Skylines which is still my favourite city building game. With that in mind I went into Stellaris with high expectations.
Although simple, in terms of design, Stellaris is very well animated. When your empire grows large enough you may encounter a few small framerate issues but that is to be expected with the sheer size of the game. As it is set in space, the game screen is usually very dark and you may have to adjust your brightness, until you accidentally scroll past a star and temporarily blind yourself but other than that it’s a very nice game to look at. Paradox also clearly put a lot of effort into designing their different species, each one looking massively diverse and having their own likes and dislikes.
The game play is what lets Stellaris down a little. It is great in the early stages, the best part being the planet management system. Also the fact that you can choose to enslave or uplift species to create a diverse empire is a really nice touch. However, as you progress and your empire expands, your management of planets decreases. You have to delegate control to certain sectors which for me takes the fun out of it.
The next issue that I have with the gameplay is that it gets really, really slow. This is coming from someone who does enjoy slow-paced games. In the beginning it can be relatively quick as you search for new habitable planets but when you reach a certain point you spend most of the time waiting for the incredibly passive AI to make a move against you (which rarely happens). Even after ramping up the difficulty, it doesn’t speed up much. On one hand you could argue that it makes it more realistic but on the other you could argue that it makes it more boring.
You may think that I don’t like Stellaris but it isn’t true. I really enjoy some of the politics mechanics (to create multi-species empires) and I do still hold out some hope for it for one reason, it’s made by Paradox Interactive. Paradox games do often have disappointing launches but they are forever updating their games to improve them with user feedback.