In The Godfather Part III there is a special moment when Al Pacino as Micheal Corleone mutters the immortal line “Just when I thought I was out, they PULL ME BACK IN”. It’s a moment I can relate to, after spending hours and hours of game time with a huge simulator or strategy affair, happy in the knowledge that I have finally finished it. Only then a few months down the line I’m suddenly thrown back in with a new piece of DLC. It’s not a bad thing; it’s just that I know the moment I switch the console back on and load up the game I will once again be burning time, utterly engrossed once more. Stellaris: Console Edition is one of these games, but now with the Apocalypse and Humanoids DLC, it is back in my life. You see, I have a universe to keep happy, and so here we go again – where no man or woman has ever gone before.
Stellaris: Console Edition has been a part of my life for quite a while now, and if you wish to know how the base game plays out, you can read my thoughts in the main review. Simply put though, I really, really like the main game and also the previous expansion packs that have arrived over the months – the likes of the Utopia expansion and Plantoids Species Pack. It’s a big old game and if you haven’t played it yet then, well, there’s no excuse as it is available as part of Xbox Game Pass.
Within this new Apocalypse and Humaoids DLC addition though there are two new pieces of content; we will start with the Humanoids DLC pack. This is basically a skin pack that gives you loads of new visuals and art, concentrating on various versions of our species. Here you get 10 new portraits to choose from – something which is always great. But then there are also 11 new ship designs to ensure the visual designers are kept happy, whilst three new audio tracks fill out the soundtrack.
Dipping into the customisation mode and you can view the portraits, which cover a whole range of humanoid choices; some look like they are taken straight from some sci-fi programs from the ’60s, whilst others deliver stuff like the orcs from Lord of the Rings. You can change the color of skin tone on each portrait, and amend the clothes to match what kind of mood you’re in. Whether you’re going to get excited about the new ship designs or not is going to depend on how much you’ve invested into this world. I love a ship, but after a while I can’t tell the difference between them all, except for one of the new ships which has a big ball in the middle of it.
There are some new voices to be had as well, like those of the wise diplomat, young soldier, and the creepy sounding technocrat. The new music tracks which accompany these feel very much like remixes of those which you would have heard before, but they are still very heart-pumping and exciting. Overall it’s a good pack, although essentially nothing but a cosmetic one.
The Apocalypse DLC is a much more weighty affair, focused, as you can tell from the title, on war and destruction. You start with the ability to now create huge mega battleships called Titans. Some of these ships hold power – the Colossus – allowing the ability for you to go all ‘Star Wars’ and take on the dark side by literally blowing up planets with their destructive weaponry. Even the mildest mannered of us – those who usually prefer playing a diplomatic playthrough – won’t be able to resist that kind of power!
If you’re of the conquering world type and prefer to spend time with Stellaris in that way, then it is easy to lead your massive armored Titan ships and take over the universe. You can also fortify your base, creating a secure fortress that no enemy will be able to penetrate. You’re going to need this extra protection too, because Marauders are waiting to wreak havoc on your civilisations.
The Marauder groups of mercenaries are a whole new empire; one based on similar ethics and abilities. They can appear at will, devastating your world and taking all the finances along the way. Or you can hire these Marauders to go and hit up the same type of chaos to your universal enemies. You may wish to do this too, as if different tribes start to band together you could be in for all sorts of trouble later on in the game.
The Stellaris: Console Edition Apocalypse and Humanoids DLC on Xbox One certainly gives fans of this great strategy game some extra content to play with, and once more they deliver a host of hours to sink into the experience. In fact, the combination brings a big bit of extra content, and for war fans the Apocalypse DLC will cater for those battle-hungry cravings. So, space friends, it’s time to strap on your suit, gather your millions of minions, and get yourself back into Stellaris.