Apocalypse - Review Poki
Apocalypse - Review Poki
In my first impressions of Stellaris 2.0, I was glad that the developers made their Poki game even better. Isn't there a reason to hang on for another hundred hours? Alas, the first impression was somewhat misleading. So much so that I seriously started thinking about rolling back the game to version 1.9.1 until Friv5Online Games Studio fixes what it has done.
Important: this review will be devoted not only to the Apocalypse add-on, but also to the 2.0 patch. The add-on still does not add such an amount of content to the game that it would be possible to write a separate material about it, however, with the patch, there are even too many topics for analysis.
Back in my review of the original Stellaris, I complained that there was too much routine in the game, especially in the mid and late game. Then I gave the game seven points, and, I will say right away, I still consider those seven points to be a very honest assessment. Almost two years have passed since the release, several major additions have appeared on sale, and the game itself has received version 2.0 - in short, it has come quite a long way.
After previous additions and patches that brought a bunch of content to the game and fixes of various jambs, I was ready to wear Apocalypse in my arms in absentia, put (without looking) a higher rating and go to celebrate burning galaxies.
The number was not rolled. "Apocalypse" - more precisely, patch 2.0 - added so much routine to the game and slowed everything down so that the "vanilla" version of the game will now seem incredibly fast to you. And even the previously added events, crises and other wars with suddenly awakened extinct empires will not help here. The authors simply took the dynamics of the game and sent it to hell, turning all the stages for 2300 into some kind of jelly.
Developers will start breaking the usual mechanics right from the start. Forget about the fact that you once had three different ways to navigate the galaxy - now only one is available. Forget about the fact that your empire's system of influence used to be half the size of a galaxy - now it won't be enough to just take that extremely useful system with resources.
At first, all these changes are not particularly stressful - well, okay, hypercorridors. Well, okay, systems are only captured "manually" by setting up outposts. Nothing the same? Yes, there is more micromanagement, you need to monitor the situation in the galaxy much more carefully. And is that bad? Not. The problem is that all this micromanagement only adds to the wacky routine that was already lacking in the original game. Only now there is much more of it.
Despite the fact that almost all my playing time in Stellaris I used exclusively hypercorridors, their implementation in patch 2.0 can be considered a natural mockery. Previously, as it was: you send the fleet to the desired point, the fleet reaches the border of the system, and begins to "jump" along the chain of corridors, without lingering in systems where nothing needs to be done. Now, before going further along the network of corridors, the fleet must cross the entire system in order to reach the opposite border, and already there begin to accelerate. And this is a real disaster!
Previously, moving to the other end of the map could take about six months or a year of in-game time. A lot - yes, but bearable. In the current iteration, you will spend a couple of months just to overcome one single system. Imagine what would happen if you were playing on a map with a thousand systems, huh? Even the jump engine does not help here - after one jump, it needs to be charged for four months.
Formally, of course, all three ways of traveling through space remained in the game, only to stop using hypercorridors, you need to wait for one hundred fifty or two hundred years of playing time, learn several rare and expensive technologies, and also stock up on a huge amount of resources. Then you can transfer your empire to the use of gates - huge interstellar portals between which the fleet moves almost instantly. You can also use wormholes, but they are much less common, and you can only "jump" on them between two nodes.
Of course, such an approach to the issue completely kills all your attempts, for example, to intercept the enemy fleet, which is flying somewhere out there on its own business. Or get to the pirate fleet in time, which was found on the border of your empire. While your spacecrafts are crossing dozens of systems, washing bones of unscrupulous developers, pirates are smashing research and mining stations with might and main, and then they wind up.
No, of course, you can strengthen all systems with the help of updated outposts, on the basis of which defense platforms are built (yes, you can't just build them now, accept). But you simply do not have enough resources to protect all systems. And microcontrolling too.
One thing remains - to protect only vital systems. That is, spaceports, systems with wormholes and gates, some important nodal systems and other useful things. It is possible, of course, to systematically build up each system with protective objects, but I seriously tell you that you will run out of resources faster than pirates will attack you again.
Actually, the tactic of “locking yourself in your territory” is now quite working, but it still won't save you from crises. And yes, the accelerated movement thanks to the gates is worth it - their construction is certainly expensive (and long), but you can "jump" through your empire in any direction without fear of enemies. The fact is that gates, unlike wormholes, do not allow your enemies to pass through them, which greatly simplifies life.
Speaking of crises. Apocalypse, among other things, added space Mongols to the game - this is the first mid-game crisis of all time. They have really interesting mechanics: at first, you can trade with them, buying fleets and pumped captains, or giving them an interesting target for a raid. And then they suddenly have the Great Khan, who decides that it would be nice to set the galaxy on fire. And the show begins.
The local Mongols instantly have an impressive territory, a huge fleet and a desire to count the bones to all neighbors at once. And you will be very lucky if this neighbor is not you, but some other empire. Yes, at low difficulty levels "Mongols" are not a big problem, but for some reason I foolishly poked at the difficulty of Insane. As a result, at the time of the founding of this "Mongol empire" I had one fleet for 60 thousand, they also had six "nomadic" fleets of 60 thousand each. The Mongol invasion ended, however, quite unexpectedly - apparently, the guys pushed their way to the extinct empire, after which they were promptly defeated by the AI federation. But for about 20 years they still spoiled the blood of others.
If the “Mongols” have their leader killed, then the crisis is considered resolved - after some time their empire is “reassembled” into a new one, which is subject to the standard rules of all empires in Stellaris. You can trade with them, conclude all sorts of agreements - and, of course, you can finish them off if you wish.
War is another element that has changed beyond recognition in Stellaris 2.0. This is largely due to the updated border systems and changes in the movement around the galaxy, but in addition to this, the new system also lacks its own features.
The main thing to remember is that it is now impossible to declare a war “just like that”, you need a casus belli, that is, a formal reason. The reasons are different, but the main one, perhaps, is controversial systems. Yes, from now on, saying “I don’t like this guy, I’ll break his skull” will not work. You will have to actively look for a reason to start a war and do everything possible so that the country you need does the same.
After announcing the beginning of the conflict and choosing the desired goals, you will have to act as quickly as possible. The fact is that from now on, during the conduct of hostilities, you - and your opponent - will accumulate the parameter of "military fatigue", and as soon as it reaches 100%, then your whole war will end immediately. Fatigue (which is logical) accumulates from the loss of ships, planets and troops, so if your armada is stronger than the enemy's, then there will be no special problems.
But if your forces are approximately equal, then the war can turn into a positional one, or generally into a "cold" one. It takes a long time to jump through the systems back and forth, ships are now not just expensive, but very expensive, and you will have to deal with defensive systems on the spot.
Going broke on the upkeep of your fleet (and your entire cloud of defense stations) is now a breeze. The larger the fleet, the more it consumes resources, and at a certain moment even the Dyson sphere meowed pitifully from the requests of my admiralty, which, with its thousand of energy production per month, somehow did not export. There is already a joke among the community that the most reliable way to ditch your economy is to build a fleet. As befits any real joke, this one also has a grain of truth.
But even if you somehow manage to keep your economy afloat (trade with the enclaves, by the way, will not help - it was nerfed very hard), now it will not work to assemble a "doomstack" from the ships. Paradox decided that having a lot of microcontrol is good, so they added a limit on the number of ships to the fleets.
Moreover, the limitation is both global (the upper limit is 1000 command points) and local - you cannot put more ships of a certain class into each individual fleet than the game will allow. In theory, this was supposed to solve the problem of punishing all and all "dumstaks" with the power of the fleet in the hundreds of thousands. In practice, this only adds management, because fleets can still fly together, which nullifies all efforts to resolve this problem.
When the developers just announced the start of work on Apocalypse and said that new ships would appear in the game, I hoped that, in addition to titans, full-fledged hulls for aircraft carriers would be added to the game. This would be logical: in the two most popular mods that add new versions of ships - New Ships Classes and Improved Space Battles (the creators obviously drew inspiration from them), there were aircraft carriers. And in the supplement, alas, they were not.
And to hell with them, but the authors of the game again decided to carry out a total alteration of the weapon modules. The torpedo sections were removed, and the missile sections were added. Half of the weapon systems are no longer suitable for certain slots. Diversity? Pf, forget it.
If earlier it was possible to make several types of ships belonging to the same class, now there is no special sense in this. For example, I was very fond of making battleships that carried a bunch of heavy autocannons and went to the breakthrough. Now you won't be able to do this - autocannons are placed only in small slots. But large slots can be filled with proton torpedoes, turning battleships into a kind of IJN Kitakami during the Second World War. Yes, in general, it can still be called "variety", but before it was somehow more fun.
The Titans added to Apocalypse are by default the most powerful ships you can build. They are very powerful and sturdy, but the number of places in the fleet for them is limited, so in fact they are your flagships (remember that instead of "dumstacks" you now have separate fleets). And they must be protected like the apple of an eye - yes, they erase large ships to dust, but nimble and small ships can easily ruin and even destroy them.
Well, there is "Colossus". This is what allows you to destroy planets. Or enslave their population. Or cover with an impenetrable barrier. True, it requires a lot, including a slot for the ascension perk, so for many players, I suspect, the use of "Colossi" will not be particularly advisable. If only because the slots for these very perks are not lying on the road (if, of course, you play without mods).
To summarize all of the above, the conclusion suggests itself a strange - I both like and dislike what Paradox has done in Stellaris 2.0. On the one hand, the game has become the most, the mid-game has received a powerful "Mongolian" kick, and the expansionists, who lived at the expense of cheating warp engines, are now forced to retrain and play like normal people. On the other hand, the gameplay has slowed down a lot, and if earlier a multiplayer party could easily go on for several days, now it will take weeks, especially on large maps.
Of course, there will be people who will say that all the problems of the patch will soon be corrected and a bright future will come, but I will allow myself to disagree with this. Yes, patch 2.0.2 has already been announced , and with it they promised, among other things, to rework the "military fatigue" that infuriated everyone. However, in the same patch, for example, the prices for the maintenance of outposts will be raised, which will automatically begin to ruin your treasury even more. Unfortunately, one patch is indispensable here.
However, Stellaris did not get any worse with the release of 2.0 and Apocalypse. Yes, the game has noticeably lost its pace. Yes, there is more microcontrol and boring routine things. Nonetheless, this is still one of the best 4X space strategy Poki games to have tons of fun with. Whether you will put up with controversial innovations for the sake of this pleasure is another question.