Stellaris: Console Edition - Leviathans Review
Reviewed on Sony PlayStation 4Also available on Microsoft Xbox One
Like all Paradox Interactive games, Stellaris received quite a few post-launch DLCs and patches, and the first of these was Leviathans - which has now made its way to Stellaris: Console Edition too.
Leviathans brings three main new additions to each game. The first is Enclaves, which are independent factions in the game that aren’t empires, but can be used to better your empire - traders, artists and the like. Second is Guardians, which are rogue entities floating through space that can be investigated or befriended, and thirdly is the ‘War in Heaven’, an ongoing event through the game that sees two ‘Fallen Empires’, or NPC factions that don’t behave quite like rival empires, start a huge war across the galaxy.
The most important addition is the first one, the Enclaves, and they bring balances to the game that make you wonder how you got through the game without them. Traders let you swap your excess resources for those you need while bypassing the whole faction relationship system, which is great for moments of dire need (or when you’ve alienated all your neighbours by incessantly invading them).
Most importantly, the artist faction gives another much-needed revenue stream of Influence, which is by far the most important and scarce resource in the game - it’s not much, only providing it through the odd random event, but with the resource being so hard to come by, the Enclaves addition really helps balance the game.
Guardians are an addition to the world that feel like that - extra world building and narrative padding to the galaxy map, but no more than that. That’s not to say they’re an unworthy add-on - after a few games, you can go through the same narratives again and again and again, and the addition of extra storylines and options made new play-throughs feel just that - new.
The Guardians didn’t seem to change up gameplay a whole amount - finding and researching or battling them can give your empire a boost, but they’re rather rare, and in practice the rewards didn’t match the effort required to research or fight them, so it was easier just to ignore them.
‘Rather rare’ is the perfect segue to the War in Heaven mode - this reviewer didn’t see it occur in the two games he played with Leviathans installed. If it’s this rare, it must feel unique and exciting to be a part of, and we look forward to it triggering in subsequent play-throughs - but we can’t rightfully comment on it or critique it given the fact we haven’t experienced it.
All in all, Leviathans seems like a great patch - Enclaves balances some of the resource gathering aspects, and Guardians adds some narrative patching, but on its own it doesn’t exactly overhaul the game. Both matches we played with the DLC installed barely felt any different from the base game, so while Leviathans does technically improve this base game, it’s not going to revolutionise or revitalise Stellaris.
However, Leviathans is the first of many DLC that Stellaris received on the PC, so if Stellaris: Console Edition follows in its footsteps and keeps adding new content, this DLC could be one brick in a Great Wall.