Galaxy spanning grand strategy game Stellaris has been around for five years and has seen a lot of DLC content drop for it, ranging from cosmetic packs with new alien races to play, up to proper fully-fledged expansions with lots of new content. This is normal for Paradox games and whilst the pace has been slower on console, the game has still seen a lot of support.
For those unfamiliar with Stellaris, this is perhaps not the best place to start, but here’s a very brief recap. Stellaris: Console Edition is a real-time grand strategy game that sees you start with a small set of ships, one planet and big dreams. Over the game, you’ll see hundreds of years pass and will likely see your Empire discover incredible wonders and frightful monsters. You’ll also engage in border clashes, flaring into full-on wars of conquest. You’ll also be “blessed” with a massive end-game crisis which currently comes in three different scary flavours, but all adds up to a massive fleet of baddies showing up!
MegaCorp is a major new DLC expansion featuring a host of new content, including a whole new type of Empire to play as – the eponymous MegaCorp. Essentially a corporate super-state, you’ll now be the CEO of a thriving planet-wide and, eventually, galaxy-wide corporation. For those who like to buy low and sell high, you’ll be able to set up a profit maximising empire and even build branch offices on other races’ planets!
For veteran Stellaris players, a MegaCorp government is the ideal opportunity to build “tall”. That is, an Empire that controls fewer star systems or at least fewer inhabited star-systems, and relies on making those systems you control far more well-run and optimized. This can sometimes require a bit more micro-management but the corporate government style plays nicely into this, giving you a higher cap before you hit Empire sprawl, which is a soft cap that introduces lots of negative modifiers once you go over it. For a MegaCorp, building above your Empire cap will see major downsides so expand slowly and steadily.
Thanks to the civics option when you build your Empire, there are plenty of options to build a MegaCorp to suit your play-style – either pacifistic or aggressive – but the play-style probably does push you towards diplomacy, something that Stellaris handles far better than other games like it. Admittedly, that can still be an acquired taste.
A really fun option is to play as a criminal enterprise, like the space Mafia, and expand out by setting up illegal business outposts on other people’s planets, whether they want you there or not! This is a perfect opportunity to follow in the trail of Jabba the Hut. In multiplayer, you can play a strong trolling game here as you spread discord and crime through another Empire without ever having to fire a shot.
It’s not all just corporations in the MegaCorp expansion though. Added in are several new mega-structures, which are late-game super structures that take an age to build but eventually provide a vast amount of income when they get going. Introduced in this DLC is the Interstellar Assembly which gives you a huge diplomacy buff. Alternatively, you can go for the Strategic Coordination Centre to give your fleets a major edge in organisation.
There’s also a new NPC faction known as the Caravaners who arrive with stuff to trade in your systems. If you’re feeling particularly mean-spirited, you can kill them and loot their stuff, but their fleet is pretty strong in the early-game. They’ll also allow you to buy tokens from them to take part in a strange loot box game, which gives you another little resource to play around with. It’s worth noting that these loot boxes are purely paid for with in-game currency; there are no micro-transactions here.
There’s also the option to turn a whole planet into one big city, Coruscant style (other planet-wide cities are available). This gives you a huge boost to income, at the expense of the other districts like mines or farms.
The whole thing also comes with a few new little odds and ends to add to your game, such as new ascension perks and AI advisor voices, which are always fun.
Whilst all of this sounds good, none of it is “must-have” content and really has a fairly thin appeal to anyone who isn’t either a veteran Stellaris player or someone who has a particular love for the economic and diplomatic side of the game.
Stellaris is very well-implemented on the Xbox but this MegaCorp content doesn’t radically change the game. Whilst once you have it you’ll appreciate the extra content, it’s just not the sort of thing that, if missing, will leave your game feeling hollow.
There’s also something slightly unsatisfying about playing as a corporation, though I admit that is more of a personal preference. The criminal enterprise side of Stellaris a lot of fun, even if sometimes the AI reacts in some odd ways to your actions.
All in all, Stellaris: Console Edition – MegaCorp on Xbox is a fine expansion but far from a must-have. At £16 it is on the pricier side of things, and for most long-time fans of Paradox, you’ll have factored in the cost of continued support for any game, but this content is possibly somewhat overpriced.