Stellaris flies its way to the consoles

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Fernando Castillo, Staff Writer

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Imagine if you lived in the year 2200 somewhere in space. Faster-than-light technology has been invented, allowing anyone to travel faster than the speed of light. You are in control of the empire. With everything you need to interact with other species, whether diplomatically or on the battlefield, your job is to deliver the ultimate empire’s goal: galactic conquest, technological dominance, coexisting peace or mass destruction. Are you ready to step up to the challenge? If so, “Stellaris” is the game for you!

“Stellaris” is a 4X grand strategy-type video game developed by Paradox Development Studios and published by Paradox Interactive. The term “4X” is a strategy-type genre in which players control their empire or team to “explore, expand, exploit and exterminate”. Gameplay revolves around the player exploring space, managing their empire, doing diplomatic missions and attacking other civilizations. The game was released in 2016 for Microsoft Windows, macOS (OS X) and Linux on May 9. “Stellaris: Console Edition” is expected to be Feb. 26 on the PlayStation 4 and XBOX ONE.

The player starts the game by picking an empire that has been made by the developers or a random one. The player can choose the characteristics of their species based on their ethics or civics (both have point values), to which they each have their strengths and weakness. When picking an empire, there would be restrictions. For instance, spiritualist empires can’t use robots and Authoritarian empires can’t be a democratic government. This means that you would have to strategize before you even play the game! When it comes down to ethics and civics, there are plenty to choose from. In civics, the player can choose from a world nearly destroyed by nuclear warfare or create a secondary race, which will be created in a similar process. Ethics have the normal and fantasy type. Fanatic types will give greater buffs but that’ll mean more restrictions and will take up two points instead of one for the normal type. One of the added ethics, Gestalt Consciousness, makes the empire completely unified in intelligence or robotic type, taking up all your ethic points and give new civics to the hive mind empire or robotic empire. The player will finish creating their empire with a flag, a homeworld, an engineering style, a ruler and a name.

All players begin with one planet as their territory. Their territory will consist of mining and/or research stations, a construction/science ship, three small warships and a starbase. The player will focus on space colonization and space exploration as well as managing their empire back at their virtual homeworld. As time goes on, players will have to face crisis events that will threaten not only other worlds but theirs, too.

The console editions were announced on Aug. 20, 2018. The standard edition will sell for $39.99 while the deluxe edition goes for $59.99. The deluxe edition will include the Leviathans Story Pack and the Utopia expansion. Leviathans, which was released on Oct. 20, 2016, introduces “Guardians”, which are a powerful species that can be fought or observed, with independent enclaves and new mechanics for the Fallen Empires so that they can get back on their feet and try to either conquer the Galaxy or fight in “War in Heaven”. Utopia, which was released on April 16, 2017, added megastructures, space habitats, “Ascension Perks” (evolution of species), hive mind empires and additional civics. Both editions will include version 1.7 and more DLC soon after.

The game is solid at its best and I would recommend the game for anyone, especially strategists and space enthusiasts. It has neat visuals and will have players fighting for whatever they have to achieve in every corner. Pick up the game if you can, create your own empire and take off from there.