Stellaris Humanoid Species Pack
I’m one of those gamer geeks who was playing Master of Orion 1 and 2 way back in the day. Therefore, I was pretty excited to hear that NGD Studios was developing a remake of MOO back in 2015. When the newer Master of Orion debuted in February of 2016, there was the collective sound of crickets, as not only had they not marketed the game well, but the gameplay itself pretty much sucked. About the only thing in common that the remake had with the original was that it featured the original ten races, but that was about it.
Fortunately, for us space 4X strategy nerds, we’ve been deluged by numerous 4X titles as of late. But only three major ones have risen above the din of sound and fury and established themselves as the go-to space 4X games to play. First up is Stardock’s Galactic Civilizations III, which came out in 2015; followed by Paradox Interactive’s Stellaris in 2016; and finally came Amplitude Studio’s Endless Space 2 in 2017.
I played all three of the Big Three space 4X games, and all at the same time. At least initially. Not so much because I had a lot of time on my hands, but actually quite to the contrary: I only had enough time to commit to one of these three games since each of them on their own can be a serious time sink.
Eventually, I grew tired of GalCiv III’s amateurish presentation, combined with the feeling that it just lacked that extra “umph” that makes a strategy game special. Soon after that, Endless Space 2 began to show its cracks. Although ES 2 is a beautiful game to look at and does possess a good amount of depth, I always felt restricted by its strict adherence to its own self-perpetuating lore, to the point of being self-conscious. For instance, there is no real way to create or even customize a race. Also, ES 2’s diplomacy system was very lackluster and didn’t make much sense.
In the end, I settled on Stellaris. What really drew me to Stellaris is how customizable everything is. You want to create a race of autocratic, xenophobic space squids? Go for it. How about leading legions of dastardly droids, that are hell bent on turning every living thing in the universe into batteries? You can in Stellaris. In fact, there are so many possibilities to play the type of race you want to that the game’s race creation system will literally suit everybody’s taste.
I also appreciated that not only is Stellaris’ space exploration a real and substantial undertaking that is both fascinating and fun, but you can also adjust your game’s speed. In other words, if nothing interesting is going on at any given moment, you can set your game speed to “Fast;” and conversely if things get a little hectic you can hit “Slow.”
Overall, I appreciate Stellaris’ more ponderous pace—it took me nearly two hours to get my first colony up and running at the “Normal” game speed. It’s a game that lets you sit back and devise your strategies and then let them unfurl. I expected nothing less from the makers of Crusader Kings 2.
Stellaris is also quite modular and has a nice full slate of DLC packages that players can choose from. Although each of them add quite a bit of interesting content to the base game, none of them are necessary in order to get a full, rich, science fiction 4X gaming experience.
However, there was always one thing that slightly annoyed me. That thing was the fact that there was hardly any diversity among the humanoid species choices. Paradox had included a few humanoid portraits that resembled beings from popular space franchises (obviously for modders), but that was about it. At least until now.
With the new Humanoid Species Pack, you can now choose to play as anything from space orcs and demons, to cosmic dwarfs. In addition to that, you also get a completely new ship set to choose from as well as a new city design. Since I’m one of those gamers who doesn’t like playing as weird space snails or sentient mushroom people, having a new batch of humanoid designs is a real blessing.
The Stellaris Humanoid Species Pack is accompanied by the game’s 1.9 patch, titled Boulle. Although the new patch mainly address a few bugs and stability issues, its main function is to pave the way for the big 2.0 patch that Paradox will be releasing soon. Therefore, there is a lot to look forward to with Stellaris, and the Humanoid Species Pack is just part of that steady progression.
Stellaris features outstanding graphics that make its science fiction gameplay truly shine. However, you want to have a pretty beefy gaming PC or gaming laptop in order to play it at a decent framerate. So, you may just want to invest in a decent gaming rig:
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