Stellaris, the 4X (abbreviation of Explore, Expand, Exploit, Exterminate) grand space strategy game from Paradox Interactive has released a new downloadable content, Nemesis. This game allows players to control a species, set its civics, and mold its ethics. Starting just after the invention of faster-than-light travel technology, you take your civilization to the stars and engage the promises and dangers that it encompasses.
The customization of your empire affects the way that you can play this game. Some aliens are rapid breeding Fanatic Purifiers, driven to expunge all other species from the galaxy. Other Megacorporations seek to spread the message of their religion and make money. Another type is Rogue Servitors, who are a machine intelligence that runs all the aspects of their civilization and pamper any Organics who live within their borders with a stress-free paradise. These three examples are only the tip of the customization that this game offers.
In gameplay, this game is much like other grand strategy games from Paradox Interactive but with a space theme. The game is played through the galaxy map where the player interacts through menus and submenus. Discovery events allow the galaxy to be filled with stories that give the player vignettes of science fiction stories while playing the game. Exploration and strategy are driven by the procedurally generated galaxy that can contain hundreds of habitable worlds. Additionally, the game supports workshop content that can add variation beyond the DLCs. The level of details that you can control is astonishing, with customization at all levels. This game is by far the most engaging 4X space game since Masters of Orion.
This new DLC expands on the endgame aspects of this game. Without this DLC, if you will have to deal with an event that threatens the galaxy. Whether extragalactic, interdimensional, or synthetic this threat will tax the abilities of any endgame empire. Nemesis offers the players the option to become the crisis. Using escalating menace level to unlock various perks, your empire can become stronger, and once you reach the final level the target of animosity of all your galactic neighbors. This final level allows the building of an Aetherophasic Engine megastructure that once complete will destroy all of the stars and other aliens in the galaxy. In opposition to this option, you can be declared the Galactic Custodian, and granted expanded powers to deal with crises for the galaxy. This new role can be relinquished or kept, thus creating a new Galactic Imperium. Additionally, the DLC adds Espionage Mechanics, which offers the player options to conduct clandestine operations to expand their knowledge of other civilizations or sabotage them. Also, there is a new ship type, which is my new favorite and evokes a real Star Wars feel.
In conjunction with the newest update which affected the growth of your populations, this DLC refreshed the game in my eyes. It took a lot of playtime to work through the new population system. I generally play as an empire that functions on the 4X basis, and my power of expansion was very curbed. I had to change my playstyle to go with Driven Assimilators, a machine empire that works very much like the Star Trek’s Borg. In a couple of playthroughs, I relied on the new Crisis mechanic to increase the strength of my empire. The perks of becoming the crisis add buffs to the performance of your ships. Additionally, it offers 3 amazing different ship types. each of these ships requires only minerals to build, no matter the underlying technology, and are built at a fraction of the time. In my last playthrough, I relied on many fleets of these cheap and fast-built ships to supplement my more powerful battleship fleets.
My current goal in my meta is to beat the game on the hardest difficulty, with the crisis strength set to 25x. I have never been able to beat that difficult task as the threat of one of the crisis fleets at that level is greater than that of my entire empire’s fleet. It is my hope in one of these playthroughs to unleash the Aetherophasic Engine on an invaded galaxy to win a pyrrhic victory on this rarified difficulty.
There are two types of people, those who like Stellaris and those who do not. For the former, the changes to the game add new fresh ways to experience this wonderful game and I highly recommend it.