Stellaris Review

Eschalon: Book II

Publisher:Paradox Interactive
Developer:Paradox Interactive
Release Date:2016-05-09
Genre:
  • Role-Playing,Strategy
Platforms: Theme: Perspective:
  • Third-Person
Buy this Game: Amazon ebay

In other words, while I don't want to pinpoint specific areas of the game that should have been changed or propose solutions, I feel like the game would have been stronger if it had focused more on its writing. Stellaris was always going to be an evolving game, anyway, much like Paradox's other products, so these systems could have always been introduced or improved through patches or DLC. Either way, it's clear now that the developers intend to extend parts of the game such as the sector and faction system, as stated in one of their recent developer diaries. I obviously have no access to the game as it will be in a few months, but my hope is that, by then, readers who will stumble on this review for the first time will be confused by my criticism of these systems because they will be much improved by then.

I do also hope that, in a few months, Paradox will have introduced better scaling options for its UI. While it's clear that they're focusing on improving it (see this link for more information), the tiny fonts strained my eyes so much that I don't feel particularly tempted to get back into the game any time soon, with or without any massive patch.

Finally, I want to spend some time to praise Stellaris' writing again. I already did so profusely in my first impressions article, but I was really impressed by what Paradox has done here. Yes, we're talking about a strategy game rather than a narrative-focused RPG, much less a literary work, but there's a nice mix of humor, wide-eyed wonder and creativity that just hit the right spot for me. The game throws new concepts to the player throughout an entire playthrough, and even the throwaway lines are written with gusto. I just wish it was easier for me to read them.

Conclusions

Ultimately, Stellaris as it is now feels like a game that didn't receive the iteration time it needed to fully capitalize on its potential. At the moment it's fun, yes, but also annoyingly both slower and more constrained than it needs to be. I wouldn't recommend Stellaris at this stage, but it will be interesting to see if the upcoming patches and the inevitable downloadable content will eventually make it the game I feel it could be but isn't yet.

And even if they won't, I suppose I might boot it once in a while just to listen to its unequivocally stellar soundtrack.