Not for me, though. I sunk more than 24 hours of gameplay into my first week with Stellaris. An entire day! With more than 500 hours clocked on CKII, I'm clearly susceptible to this sort of thing – but the fact is, Paradox have done it again. Stellaris is already a deep, compelling and hugely atmospheric game of strategy on a galactic scale. It'll only get better as time goes on – and I'm thrilled to see where it'll go next.
Finally, there’s the simple fact that this is an economic strategy game. As such, it’s automatically going to have a rather niche appeal – but I really do hope people give it a chance. This isn’t a dry and cerebral experience: there’s action, passion and nail-biting tension. Surprisingly accessible and deep as you like, Offworld Trading Company is a standout addition to what’s already been a fantastic year for strategy games.
The game’s dramatic victories and crushing defeats genuinely feel like your own – and it’s all wrapped up in an excellent portrayal of one of the most enduring and well-developed settings in science fiction. The lore is pompous, the weapons are deadly and the ships look like floating cathedrals from a Hieronymus Bosch nightmare. It’s Battlefleet: Gothic!
You get the impression that if Richardson had someone to bounce ideas off – someone to pick up the slack and point out the bad ideas – he'd be capable of something that's actually interesting. Instead, he's released a work that I really hope doesn't show him at his best.
That said, it won't be for everyone. It demands significant patience while you gradually learn the ropes, and certain mechanics remain frustrating even at the best of times. Others will be put off by the strange UI decisions, including a steadfast refusal to cater to widescreen resolutions. But for those able to overlook its quirks, there's real pleasure to be had here.