Badly implemented, badly designed
Every time you complete the colonisation of a planet in Stellaris, the game’s AI assistant cheerfully barks ‘New colony established.’ When I started the game, it was a pleasant reminder to plan the future of a new planet. By the time I was approaching the two victory conditions it warned me of a chore. By then, my empire was the strongest in the galaxy and I’d settled into the long galactic clean-up that precedes formally completing the game.
Stellaris’ victory conditions demand you either own 40% of the galaxy’s habitable worlds or conquer or subjugate all other empires. Both are a bad fit: rather than guiding you through the game’s rich, durable simulation of competing sci-fi civilizations, they shunt you down one narrow path which takes far too long to complete. Whether you’re colonizing planets to fill a victory bar rather than to meaningfully enhance your empire or crushing weak empires who don’t stand a chance, Stellaris’ victory conditions suck some joy from an otherwise great strategy game. They are badly implemented, badly designed, and even were both of those issues solved they’d detract from the game.
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