If you asked me what traditionally PC-centric genre would be least likely to work with a gamepad, a complex grand strategy game of Stellaris’ breed would be near the top of the list. But much to my surprise, the team behind the Console Edition of Paradox’s space opera sandbox have managed to do a really admirable job translating the controls. Coming from the PC version, however, I can’t help but notice that they’ve ported a long out-of-date version of Stellaris that’s still full of major gameplay shortcomings that have been solved for a while now on that side of the fence – and man, is it hard to go back.
If you’ve never even looked at Stellaris before, there are plenty of reasons to get excited about Console Edition. It’s one of the most ambitious and innovative space 4X games to come out in the last decade. You’re given fine control over designing your empire’s government and primary species using a variety of flavorful and impactful trait choices, allowing you to be anything from an iron-fisted dictatorship of bloodthirsty turtles to a peaceful technocracy led by some sort of worm creature whose underlying biology I don’t even want to guess at. The portraits you can pick from include enough weird, memorable, and sometimes hilarious aliens to fill the Mos Eisley Cantina a few times over.