Jump to content

Star Trek: Infinite - a Stellaris mod that Paradox is selling for $30, update: reviews from OpenCritic posted

Commissar SFLUFAN

Recommended Posts


Paradox Interactive is a world leading PC games publisher known for games such as Cities: Skylines, Europa Universalis and Crusader Kings.



Star Trek: Infinite is a grand strategy experience that lets you play your own Star Trek story as the leader of one of four major factions in the galaxy. Follow the specially crafted story or blaze your own trail in the first Star Trek grand strategy game.





Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Commissar SFLUFAN changed the title to Star Trek: Infinite (12 October 2023) - a Stellaris mod that Paradox wants you to pay $30 for





There’s an old joke about 4X games that goes something like this: after you spend several hours on YouTube watching tutorials, you get to fumble your way through a playthrough with a vague idea of what you’re doing before you inevitably make some fatal mistake you don’t recognize until much, much later. Then you restart and do a little better. Star Trek: Infinite isn’t interested in re-inventing the galactic wheel - this is a 4X game’s 4X game - but it does do a good job of bringing Trek into the space that publisher Paradox Interactive has boldly charted over the years.


From the jump, Star Trek: Infinite lets you choose from four factions: the Federation, the Klingon Empire, the Romulan Empire, and the Cardassian Union. The Federation is best at exploring, diplomacy, and researching new technology. The Cardassians excel at spycraft and warfare. The Klingons’ penchant for tradition and honorable combat make them the guys you’ll want to go to if you’re looking to conquer the rest of known space, and the Romulans are great at stealth and guile. I mostly played the Federation, because I wanted to try a less combative playstyle.





Paradox flexes its sci-fi credentials



Stellaris players will immediately recognize much of Star Trek: Infinite’s interface and basic gameplay, down to the keyboard shortcuts. You begin by selecting your faction and expanding your immediate circle of influence across a two-dimensional galactic map, surveying and colonizing local star systems, developing new technologies and relationships with your neighbors. Depending on your faction, your goal may be to build partnerships, annihilate obstacles, or something in between.


As the decades pass and your empire grows, your responsibilities become more complex and varied, from keeping your sprawling population employed to defending your borders against hostile invasion. Conflict is inevitable and defeat is an expected part of the process, as power dynamics shift over the course of centuries. The constant juggling of tasks and the ability to shrug off the odd failure make for a compelling combination that I suspect will keep players glued to their seats for hours on end.



As in Stellaris, warfare is easily the most underwhelming element of Star Trek: Infinite. While seasoned strategy gamers may find more interesting ways to maneuver their forces, for the most part, winning a battle in Infinite merely depends on amassing a larger force than your opponent, and military might is merely another resource for the player to manage. That being said, combat has never been the most important element of Star Trek on screen, and given the habit of Star Trek games to disproportionately focus on violence (particularly during Activision’s time with the license in the 2000s), lackluster action is certainly forgivable. In Infinite, just as in most Star Trek, the future is built at the negotiating table, not on the battlefield.


For longtime players of Stellaris who have kept up with its expansions and mods, whether or not Star Trek: Infinite is worth a separate purchase will likely depend on the price point. (Paradox certainly hopes to court this audience, going so far as to invite the creators of the popular Star Trek: New Civilisations mod to playtest Infinite and give notes.) But, for strategy fans who are not already bought in — particularly Trekkies — Star Trek: Infinite is already promising. Even in its pre-release state, Infinite is an abyss into which you can easily lose yourself for days at a time, and given the studio’s track record of expansions and extended game life cycles, it’s likely to get a lot deeper.




Star Trek: Infinite is far more than just Stellaris in a Starfleet uniform; Infinite is one-hundred percent Star Trek through and through.



Star Trek Infinite is, fittingly, huge. Imagine all this, but with things like trading and diplomacy on top. Relationships with other factions must be maintained at all times, or the simplest matter can escalate to all-out war. And this isn’t Civiliasation where you can pump out soldiers from a barracks building at a rate of knots. Constructing everything takes ages in Infinite, even when you speed up the game time. Of course, research projects unlock new buildings, bases, projects, weapons, and technologies, sometimes speeding up processes. Not to mention, you can go out and explore the galaxy for rare resources, finding abandoned terraforming projects, or primitive species to study from afar.


As you play, random events will occur that demand attention. You might uncover a conspiracy that threatens war between two factions and have the option to choose sides or stay neutral. You might encounter an entirely new species and help or hinder their progress to the stars. You’ll deal with pandemics, uprisings, and cosmic anomalies, and you’ll do it all at the same time. Infinite throws things at you at such a high rate that you’ll come to really appreciate the quiet moments when the galaxy just shuts up for a few minutes and lets you think.




Star Trek Infinite's main audience is die-hard Star Trek fans, according to Paradox, which says newcomers may struggle to find the game's flow.



According to Chamarra, Star Trek: The Next Generation is the “main anchor pipeline” of Star Trek Infinite, but it has content from everywhere – from the original series to Lower Decks. Personally, my favorite encounter was an event I won’t spoil, except to say it was called “Shut up Wesley”.


There’s also plenty of new stuff to see in Star Trek Infinite, like new worldbuilding. Mats Holm says one of the most interesting challenges was filling in gaps in the lore, tackling for instance the question of “how would Romulans build a space station?” You can tell your own Star Trek story, and there are alternate history pathways to explore. You might redeem the Cardassians, for instance, or even go down a darker path as the Federation.




Star Trek: Infinite mashes Stellaris and Star Trek together into something more delicious than anything you can get out of a replicator.



The Stellaris DNA is overt from the moment you start playing; most of the game's mechanics and systems are going to be extremely familiar if you're a fan. Science ships to explore and survey systems, construction ships to build starbases and claim territory, and myriad mysterious space rocks to collect and devise new technologies from. Edicts, Traditions, and even the byzantine Claim system for acquiring territory in wars all return, but modified to fit a Star Trek mold. 


The Traditions, for example, each feature a unique selection only available to one faction—like Progress for the Federation, or Misdirection for the Romulans. The rest are spread into choices: defense or conquest, research or development, commerce or welfare. Some of Star Trek's best stories are about difficult choices, and this structure added to the idea that I was crafting my own unique entry.


Every time I turned a corner in Star Trek: Infinite, I ran into something that reinforced how much Nimble Giant loves the source material. For example, there's a narrative event after you build the Enterprise where Wesley Crusher brings something to your attention and you can tell him to shut up. More materially, each faction has important story beats pulled from the canon, like first contact with the Borg or the Cardassians' turn toward peace after the signing of the Treaty of Bajor. These encounters determine the course of your playthrough, and it's the Mission Tree that lets you explore these stories.





Star Trek: Infinite is an interesting prospect to consider, a revamp that blends two beloved properties. Will longstanding Stellaris fans outside the Trekkie fold pursue this as a purchase? They may find that the changes are mostly minor, and for every QOL improvement there’s another that makes things harder. As an example: research now requires a scientist head of research to be hired for each of the three tiers, an unusual change that just adds more steps to a process that worked fine the first time. The government dashboard has also been removed outright, and colonies have a few additional districts and elements to designate and upkeep.


Fundamentally, though, the Stellaris framework persists here, and being able to revisit this Star Trek era in aggregate and with some level of control over the narrative should prove a compelling pull for fans. Star Trek: Infinite’s final release could eventually present an opportunity to add additional meaningful developments to the basic gameplay, with even this preview’s governor ships failing to provide enough of a difference to warrant them as a selling point on their own. The Trekkie tips of the hat are in full display in Star Trek: Infinite, but the game remains the same.




Star Trek: Infinite has many hallmarks of a Stellaris total conversion, but there's a ton of nostalgia for 90s era Trek in this game, and I'm all here for it.



Now, the Enterprise D’s continuing mission might have been to boldly go where no one has gone before, but Star Trek: Infinite is very much heading down a well-trodden path. In particular, this game is clearly based upon Paradox Interactive’s most accessible grand strategy game, Stellaris. From the style of the menus, to the planetary pops management, resource mining and even the font that’s used throughout the game, it all feels very much like a Stellaris total conversion mod. Of course, this is being produced with a full license, and can lean into using the likenesses of the TNG crew and alien designs in the artwork, having all the ship designs, and more.


One thing that I immediately enjoyed was the tone of writing to the anomalies that you can encounter while exploring, and the decisions that you get from these moments. I had a research vessel come across a dormant alien seed that started to make them hallucinate fire trees when it was beamed aboard, while there also seemed to be a barmy multi-directional spy network to defuse between the Betazoid, Bajorans and some mysterious third party. I would like to see some slightly more morally nuanced options for how to react to these, with positives and negatives to different options, but the prose and scenarios are on point.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Commissar SFLUFAN changed the title to Star Trek: Infinite (12 October 2023) - a Stellaris mod that Paradox is selling for $30
  • Commissar SFLUFAN changed the title to Star Trek: Infinite - a Stellaris mod that Paradox is selling for $30, update: reviews from OpenCritic posted

Game Information

Game Title: Star Trek: Infinite



  • PC (Oct 12, 2023)

Developer: Nimble Giant Entertainment

Publisher: Paradox Interactive


Review Aggregator:

OpenCritic - 69 average - 56% recommended


Critic Reviews

Softpedia - Cosmin Vasile - 8.5 / 10

Star Trek: Infinite is a fine science fiction grand strategy experience, designed to appeal to fans of the TV and movie franchise. The development team has tried hard to deliver as many familiar elements as possible and mostly succeeded. The game creates a more focused experience than the New Horizons mod for Stellaris and its mechanics are easier to understand.

Stevivor - Steve Wright - 8.5 / 10

Coupled with the likes of Star Trek Resurgence, a narrative adventure also released this year, it’s safe to say that Star Trek video game fans haven’t had it this good in a long damn time. If you’re a strategy fan, you’ll enjoy this, and if you’re a Star Trek fan you’ll absolutely gobble this up. As well you should.

But Why Tho? - Matt Donahue - 8 / 10

This game is made for Star Trek fans through and through. From the well-crafted story elements to the small random easter egg events, there is something for those with various entry points into the fandom.

The Nerd Stash - Julio La Pine - 8 / 10

One the best Star Trek games we’ve had in years!

TheSixthAxis - Nick Petrasiti - 8 / 10

Star Trek: Infinite gives us a damn solid 4X experience doused in the rich history of the Star Trek universe, and with plenty of space to include more Deep Space Nine, Voyager and other quadrants of the galaxy through expansions. Even if you're not a fan of the source material, it can still stand alone as a good experience which will only improve over time.

PC Gamer - Tom Hatfield - 72 / 100

Compelling, but not quite there yet. Needs two seasons to grow the beard.

COGconnected - Jaina Hill - 68 / 100

Having spent many hours on Infinite, I think I’ve seen all I need to see. Expansions and DLC might bring me back, but now we are talking about gating content behind another paywall. That sounds less enticing to me, especially when there is a more interesting mod available for free. Someone patiently waiting for new Star Trek games will definitely have some fun puzzling through Star Trek: Infinite, but I think I am probably going to go back over that New Horizon.

IGN - Will Borger - 5 / 10

Star Trek: Infinite does a great job of capturing the look and feel of Star Trek, but those enticing bones splinter under the weight of its bugs and glitches.

Eurogamer - Alexis Ong - 2 / 5

A serviceable, sometimes-engaging official Star Trek version of Stellaris that makes sense for generic space war fans, but flounders when it comes to narrative logic and Trekkie authenticity.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - Sin Vega - Unscored

An undemanding but enjoyable large scale 4X, with an emphasis on exploration and remixing possibilities in a familiar but somewhat flexible setting.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...