Stellaris: The Game you don't know that you love. Yet.
Where do I even start with this. Stellaris is a game that I knew that I would like but didn’t know that I would love.
It is in every way a 4X game (eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, and eXterminate) but the added layers of depth in it can be staggering and completely exciting at the same time. I was always a really big fan of the old Masters Of Orion series and there are a lot of similarities between the two games, from the ability to create custom species, tweak your ships for different loadouts/specialties and the planet management process and HUD but I can confidently say that Stellaris is the new gold standard in this genre now.
From the outset your selected species has just mastered one of the 3 FTL traveling technologies (Warp, Wormhole and Hyperspace) and for the first time in your civilizations short history you are looking out at the black expanse around your home solar system for places to explore and potentially expand to. From here you may run into space fauna like Gas Grazers that move from system to system syphoning sustenance from stars like great whales, while hostile clouds or space amoebas will mercilessly attack your fledgling science and construction ships if you move too close to them. Slowly but surely you begin to make progress and get minor missions that help further you deeper into the galaxy, for example, researching ancient progenitor races that came before you.
By this time you will most likely have run into other species looking for the same information and with their own agendas. This for me is where this game really takes off. So not everyone has an even start in this universe. There is a set number of species that have already been in the space age for a while and have been thriving. On the inverse there are species that will reach the space age while you are playing so you can even be the benefactor (or conqueror) of a new fledgling species if you so desire. I can go on and on about all the depth and weirdness that this game has provided me so far but it seems like it’s going to be way too scattered to actually type up so here are some neato bullet points that I thought were cool and worth mentioning.
Hostile Space Amoeba, Crystalline Ships, Zerg Type Aliens
3 concurrent tech trees (so 3 going at once for different tech types)
Hireable scientists, governors, admirals and generals
Tons of interesting government options
Even more species options
Actually interesting choices for ship design w/o being overly complicated
Other Species actually seem to adhere to their tenants and Govt structures
Quality of life stuff like Sectors let you automate planet duties for places you don’t want to actively control
So many other things that I can’t even think of right now
Overall this game is so damn good and the pacing is right on point once you get out of the initial resource crunch. Definitely a solid pickup for anyone way into space (Danny), aliens (Danny), and management/strategy (everyone else)
Stellaris: Hales of bay rating
Shaun - 10 out of 10
Jonathan - 9 out of 10