Space Empires V Review


Space is not for wimps, and neither is Space Empires V. The game has a lot to it, but the game is pretty complex and the learning curve is steep. You can see the newbs walking out of the airlocks right from the game’s tutorial, which features an encyclopedia of text to read through and has a propensity for crashing out to the desktop at random. However, if you’re a veteran of grand space strategy games who likes to really get his or her hands dirty and is also blessed with plenty of patience, you may find yourself really enjoying the game.

Space Empires V gives you control over all aspects of your stellar empire, almost to a fault. You’ll discover this right from the beginning when you see that there are no stock races in the game. Before you even play you’ll need to create your race and that of your adversaries, specifying everything from species and preferred environment to form of government and overall temperament. Once you get through all this and start your game you’ll find yourself not only without any ships, but without any ship designs as well. That’s the way the game goes from there as well. If you’re looking for a quick “jump in and play” game or one that lends itself to short gameplay sessions, then keep looking because this game’s not even close to that. If you like to be in it for the long haul, though, you’ve come to the right place.

Space Empires V features a good ship editor in spite of the fact that all your ships will pretty much look alike. Each ship comes packs with mounting points for systems, weapons, cargo, and more. You’ll have to stay within the weight limits for your ship’s class and meet some basic criteria (e.g. adding life support systems), but where you go from there is up to you. And as the game progresses so do you options as your scientists and engineers provide you with more and more systems to add to your ship designs.

The tech tree in the game is extensive and research allocation is very flexible. You are given a large number of engineering and pure and applied science disciplines and you allocate your research using sliders that determine what percentage of your total research effort will go into each discipline. There’s an endless amount of tweaking to be done here that will have micromanagers squealing with delight.