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Home » Stellaris: Ancient Relics Story Pack Review – The Race for Shiny Space Baubles Begins!

Stellaris: Ancient Relics Story Pack Review – The Race for Shiny Space Baubles Begins!

Stellaris: Ancient Relics Story Pack
Paradox Interactive

Within the science fiction genre and across all form of media (literature, comics, video games, films, etc.) there has been one trope that usually remains constant—humans discovering the remnants of ancient, incredibly powerful alien races. You’ve probably seen this in movies like the Alien series, or as far back as the Quatermass and the Pit films, all the way to recent video games such as the Halo and

The developers of science fiction grand strategy juggernaut, Stellaris, have seized upon this aspect with their latest DLC, fittingly titled: Ancient Relics. It’s a lore-heavy content pack that lets the excellent writers on their team cut loose and explore more of the game’s ever-evolving narrative.

With the Ancient Relics DLC, your science ships now have a chance of discovering ancient alien artifacts scattered throughout the galaxy. Many of these artifacts offer little more than slight bonuses to your star civilization’s research, production, or overall economy. Others, however, can bestow truly game-changing modifiers that can even affect the previously maligned late-game period. People have long complained about what they felt were lackluster mid-to-late games in Stellaris, but Ancient Relics definitely gives folks something to do besides twiddle their thumbs and watch their empire’s resources rise and fall.

The way in which your science ship encounters these ancient anomalies is pretty epic, as you’ll come across everything from abandoned planets to crumbling, foreboding ruins. If you decide to dispatch your science team to investigate further, you’ll activate a sort of mini-quest chain of events. These events come in the form of narrative-revealing puzzles that must be unlocked sequentially.

One of the things that I really enjoy about these sequences (and I’m sure you will too) is that there is no micromanagement involved—you simply task your science team to unearthing whatever relic you’re investigating and they’ll do the rest. However, these archeological missions usually take much longer to complete than the game’s standard anomalies, so a certain degree of patience is required.

Trying to unearth relatively powerful relics can get pretty dramatic. For instance, during one of my games, I was being attacked by a neighboring empire with a more powerful navy than mine. In a nail-biting chain of events I wondered what kind of relic I’d discover; would it be something potent that could aid me in my struggles with my cantankerous neighbor? Or, would it just be another shiny bauble that granted comparably weak bonuses? Fortunately for me, it turned out to be the former—in fact it was a relic that boosted my navy’s weapon strength by 20% and I was able to turn the tides of war as a result.

Although some gamers might graze through the narrative-based relic events, it would be wise to pause and read the well-written sequence beats. Doing so will reveal thought-provoking (and sometimes amusing) story tidbits that flesh out the galaxy and make it feel more alive. Some of the sequences reminded me of watching those old Star Trek episodes from back in the day when the U.S.S Enterprise would send science-based away teams to mysterious alien worlds.

As has been the case with all of Paradox’s DLC, players who don’t purchase them will still receive a free content update, and that’s no different this time around. Most of this, however, comes in the form of performance enhancements, bug fixes, and streamlining the game’s UI.

The Stellaris: Ancient Relics Story Pack is bristling with all kinds of archeological goodness and really helps to alleviate drags in the early, mid, and especially, late game. Your average galaxy will contain a decent amount of relics and therefore games will turn into a sort of arms race, as competing empires send their science vessels out to find them as quickly as possible. It’s an ingenious mechanics that truly breathes new life into an already grand strategy game.

SCORE: 86%

Stellaris: Ancient Relics Story Pack features some pretty nice looking graphics that make its grand strategy 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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