The award-winning Space Empires IV Deluxe is the latest edition in the Space Empires series. A grand strategy title in the space 4X (explore, expand, exploit, and exterminate) genre, Space Empires has already found a place in the heart of strategy gamers everywhere.
User reviews:
Overall:
Mostly Positive (92 reviews) - 79% of the 92 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Feb 7, 2006

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Includes 2 items: Space Empires IV Deluxe, Space Empires V

 

About This Game

The award-winning Space Empires IV Deluxe is the latest edition in the Space Empires series. A grand strategy title in the space 4X (explore, expand, exploit, and exterminate) genre, Space Empires has already found a place in the heart of strategy gamers everywhere.
Research technology, design new ships, wage war on a tactical level, put down rebellions, meet and greet new species, and much more. All the level and campaign design tools are included, allowing anyone to become a part of the expansive Space Empires Mod community.

System Requirements

    Minimum: Pentium Processor; Windows XP; 128MB RAM; 800x600 screen resolution; 16bit colour; 300 MB hard drive space; DirectX 8.1 or higher, Windows Compatible Sound Card.
Customer reviews
Customer Review system updated! Learn more
Overall:
Mostly Positive (92 reviews)
Recently Posted
elforesto
( 46.3 hrs on record )
Posted: May 4
I've been a giant fan of the Space Empires series starting years ago with SE2 and continuing with SE3. In fact, I've probably racked up thousands of hours between the two over the last 20 years. SE4 makes a number of improvements and changes to the gameplay like you'd expect from a series of interative releases.

Pros:
- Runs very fast and reliably even on modern OSes like Win10.
- Very deep gameplay that can accommodate a number of play styles. This game is not for the timid.
- Highly customizable. There are plenty of fan-made mods for it.

Cons:
- The game is locked at 1024x768. If you run at a higher desktop resolution, you'll have the excess monitor real estate filled with black space.
- The interface is sometimes a little clunky, but you can't expect much for a game developed by one guy. (Yeah, you heard me right.)

If you're a fan of Master of Orion or Galactic Civilizations, this is a game that is definitely worth checking out.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
M3t15
( 43.6 hrs on record )
Posted: March 19
So much fun, there is a fair amount of depth, and the AI could use some work, but I enjoy the style and structure of the way the game, diplomacy, and tech unfold.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Dutchgamer1982
( 1,142.6 hrs on record )
Posted: February 11
General impression : 7/10 -> quality game, it does not apear on the top 100 list of best games of all time, but it still is a nice addition to have
Bug Class : A -> flawwless, no bugs
at any price <20 euro I'd say that you should buy this, and at 1.49 when at discount buying this is a no-brainer.

List of 5 most promitent Pro's and Con's :

Pro's
*high ship customising, without overcomplicating things
*weapon types and variation seem all to be reasonably well balanced in size, power and range.
*good paper-scizzors-stone strategy in weapon types
*good advancement over techtree from beginning to end, every discovery is a small step forward and can be put to good use directly
*lots of terraforming options to shape the universe to your liking to suit your needs

Cons :
*unit limit is often to low for comfort and can only be changed by starting a new game
*all ai's will go permanenly to war with you, once your score exceeds 150% of the best AI player
*the ecomomy is too strong after the first 60-100 turns you never will have resource shortage again
*the ai is to weak, meaning you usually never get to USE all that neat end game terraforming tech against
*multiplayer, though possible, is limited only hotseat & take turns or by using http://pbw.spaceempires.net/


personal experience
Early game (turn 1-40)
The perfect game, tech came in at a steady but not to fast pace, meaning new toys to play with every few turns but not making things obsolete to fast. Resources were limited but not too limited, meaning I had to pick 2 our of 3 from epanding the warfleet, building more colonies or improving excisting colonies. Interacting with the AI gave a few that wanted alliances (giving me an income boost) and a few that went to war (giving me some small skirmishes to play with.
Midgame (turn 41-100)
Not being able to destroy or risk having my colonies destroyed because that would permanely lower a planets values, my progress stagnated expantion ran to a halt, Wars turned into "destroy every turn the units they produced this turn" without being able to take down those ship-building planets themselves. Only to have that taking a turn for the worse as suddenly every AI declared war on me, and I was starting to die from overextending. I had to cancel everything (wasting precious techpoints and resources) and go for a total war, and even than it took quite a while before I had fleets and ships of large enough size and power I could hold ground against the AI. (luckely this all people declare war on you feature can be turned out by simply changing a line of text in a .txt gamefile from = yes to =no as I did for later games)
Lategame (turn 101 and more)
While I could win the battles but not the war (I was just stretched out too thin) especially since regardless the war I kept my personal "do not destroy any colony" rule in place, to not lower their values. This stalemate was broken when I discovered i could just trade for those planets and found out the AI would only need an offer for as little as 20000-30000 of a single resource to hand you one of it's planets even when at war. Extremely cheap, as building a fleet would cost sometimes a million resources, and getting it to the frontlines where it was needed three times as much in upkeep.This made it possible to conquer the Ai very quickly, by defeating all ships and satelites in it, place an offer to buy them all, and move on to the next system. In 20 turns after I discovered this all AI's were either reduced to 1 planet or destroyed. By than the game was essentially over even with tons of tech left on the techtree. I still played on, but by than it was more playing simcity, as there was no opponent of any meaning left. (I tried modding the game so that the Ai would only accept valueble technology or ships for planets, but found that that was not possible, for all future games I simply restain from buying planets and advise you to do the same to keep the game enjoyable)
Helpful? Yes No Funny
ProcDrone
( 8.4 hrs on record )
Posted: February 9
May the graphics are not a strong side of this game, but gameplay and replayability is pretty decent.

I really like this game and the complexivity that you will encounter here.

Lost many hours to this game, pre-steam.

Would recommend, oh, and you can further improve the AI with Balance mod.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
bry.kennedy
( 959.8 hrs on record )
Posted: February 6
Over 15 years after it's initial release and SEIV is still one of the best of the space-based 4X genre.
Compared to games of today it's not as cutting edge, no fancy computer generated cutscenes or high resolution images, but at it's heart is a game with it's own charm.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
EHamilton7019
( 329.8 hrs on record )
Posted: February 1
I probably put in hundreds of hours on this game, back when it had to be purchased as a mail-order CD directly from the designer. Back in the early years of its release, it supported a small but vibrant modding community, and many of the mods were extremely elaborate and enjoyable. This was one of the first 4x games to strongly support modders by storing all of its data files in easily-edited text format, with (relatively) meaningful names. As a result, fixing a lot of the (perceived) problems with balance and strategic choice was as easy as changing a few lines of data with a text editor.

But how does it hold up today?

In many ways, quite well. Most more modern games that have eclipsed it in graphics and interface aren't quite in the same genre. For example, Distant Worlds (another game I've played for over 50 hours in the last year) is much better as a simulation, but it's a real-time game without much of the tactical crunch that you'll find in the combat engine of a game like SEIV. Similarly, a Civ-style many-paths-to-victory game (like GalCiv III) will do much better at diplomatic actions than the rudimentary AI of SEIV, but at the cost of having a much shallower approach toward ship and fleet design. Notwithstanding 15 years of new design priorities, this is still probably the best bet for experiencing an old-style wargame approach toward 4x galactic-scale empire building.

Here's a list of pros, neutrals, and cons. Note that many of the "cons" are things that can be partly fixed with a basic appreciation for modding, making this game easy to improve if you're willing to put in some of your own effort in fixing them.

++

Huge tech tree with lots of hard choices. With the "slower tech" options in the pre-game settings the cost of higher levels in a given tech will blow up quadratically, creating constant dilemmas about when to keep specializing vs when to start something new.

Large, realistic star systems, where you feel like you're really dropping support colonies all over dozens of little moons. The systems using the FQM mod are especially complex and attractive.

A balanced approach toward fleet design. You'll want to create dedicated supply ships, repair ships, missile platforms, carriers, satellite layers, remote mining stations, mobile shipyards, command vessels, drone launchers, and all kinds of other fun stuff. It really adds to the roleplaying nature of the game when you have a huge complex war machine reminiscent of the US Pacific fleet back in WW2.

A relatively smart AI for expansion and development, at least once it's been patched with an AI mod like TDM or ReStock. It's quite common to make first contact with an alien empire twice my size, and feel VERY nervous about sharing a border with them.

A huge suite of old mods to try out, including some that are included in the "Extras" folder with this release.

+-

Heavy focus on combat. This game excels at playing in the "all computer players against all human players" mode (a pre-game option), or in setting up multiplayer games. It's not so good at diplomatic-oriented games against the primitive political AI.

Lots of micromanagement. The other reviews don't lie. If you don't love it, you'll surely hate it. The automated ministers make enough bad decisions that if you choose a large galaxy, you're committing to a game that could take 100+ hours.

A very predictable pre-scripted AI, once you understand what things make it "angry". (New players often find it "feels" random, but it never really is.) This is both good and bad. Good since it feels more like the game is under your strategic control, bad because (in any game without another human player) everything is totally predictable. You can give the AI enough resources to make your situation quite hard -- but if you also want variety in your strategies, and not just difficulty, then you need to take the initiative in trying new stuff. ("This game I'll win using only carriers", etc.)

Certain highly exploitable AI behaviors, like a willingness to take certain terrible ship/tech trades (I usually turn trading off entirely), or a tendency to totally ignore you and let you build up a huge well-developed empire that will crush the galaxy. For a fun and challenging game, you'll need to act as a warmonger toward at least a few of your rivals!

--

Outdated, minimalist graphics. At least you can download player-created graphics packs to update them from "small and crude" to "small and clean".

Disconcerting atonal electronic music. This is very easy to replace with your own music files, though, after modding only a few lines in Settings.txt.

A weird interface that makes certain vital functions almost impossible to locate. The way that "waypoints" and "strategies" are spread out over multiple tabs and locations is especially baffling.

A general lack of useful documentation on modding functionalities.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
HOG_SAUSAGE
( 65.6 hrs on record )
Posted: January 20
It takes a while to learn how to play this game. But when you do learn it, it becomes one of the most rewarding 4X strategdy games out there. The scale is incredible and the constant race to one up the other empires is great fun. I highly recommend this game to any stratedgy fans.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
chris.cymru
( 1.9 hrs on record )
Posted: December 31, 2015
I started playing this after I played the board game space empires 4x. It's a fun little space strategy game. need a multiplayer mode though.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
beaubrent
( 24.9 hrs on record )
Posted: December 29, 2015
I still play this game from time to time, even with the terrible graphics. The universe is such a big place.

Only the startup screens are a bit tedious, but all in all a great old game with lots of replayability.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
BOT Rob
( 36.5 hrs on record )
Posted: December 3, 2015
Great game but not optimized, which renders it nearly unplayable.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Teek0r
( 0.2 hrs on record )
Posted: December 2, 2015
When I feel like playing a space game I ask my team to take enigma and go space cow myself. Much better than Space Empires IV.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Wereboar
( 24.6 hrs on record )
Posted: December 2, 2015
Micromanagement running wild

First two facts to keep in mind. First Space Empires IV is fifteen years old! Second, the game comes with a big package of Mods.

The game is a turn based 4X Space conquest game, with a lot of options, a lot of races and special "racial" technologies to discover. Systems can be quite large, since moons and planetoid belt can also be developed.

One watched me playing this game and said: "It even looks uglier, than my first impression was." He is right, it isn't a pretty, 3 D styled and streamlined game. It's virtues lie on totally different topics.

The game offers a lot, in many ways but it also has some drawbacks.

Pros:
  • A huge selection of races, plus the ones in the addon packs.
  • The Systems alone are large, the universe itself, well enough room for developement.
  • Technology, Resources and Planets are dependant.
  • Several Victory conditions are possible.
  • Each planet, Belt, Moon or Sun has a flavor text.

Cons:
  • The Sound is enervating, well the graphics aren't pretty - but the sound can drive you insane.
  • The Micromanagement can get you entwined in red tape, actually not a kind of fun for everyone.

Only Recommended to special audiences!

The game is old, it shows - but it should earn a piece of the heart of every 4x fan out there. It has a playing depth that is rare, the choice of the original races alone is more than enough for everyone to play for weeks, maybe months. But don't overdo it. As a game it's kind of a buerocrats dream (or nightmare...). The game grows repetetive after several playthroughs. It's more fun if you are able to play it either as a multiplayer game, or if you choose to just get one PC oponent, the AI of the computer generated races is very aggressive, and they could put you out of business in no time. Just be glad, that they even fight among themselves a lot.

Overall this game is a must have for fans of the genre. Beginners should look elsewhere, since the huge amount of information packed into this game can scare you away.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
SWATTER
( 5.7 hrs on record )
Posted: November 8, 2015
Turn based game . if you like real time games this is not the one for you
Helpful? Yes No Funny
SuitcaseWithSpikes
( 29.8 hrs on record )
Posted: October 26, 2015
The game has great potential but the crashing on Win10 makes it unplayable, 4/10, If it didnt crash It would have gotten 7/10
Helpful? Yes No Funny
xnunu5
( 0.3 hrs on record )
Posted: October 17, 2015
I took a shot and missed. Resaon it "missed" for me was the old graphics the game has. Just did not work on my monitor very well.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Willy The Kid
( 5.4 hrs on record )
Posted: September 13, 2015
Recently I can't get the game to work, the buttons are not responsive
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Kojack
( 0.4 hrs on record )
Posted: August 15, 2015
the multiplayer suks too much work OMG make and send files wth i dont want to think about that shitz
Helpful? Yes No Funny
MadMynah
( 0.4 hrs on record )
Posted: August 5, 2015
I used to love this game. I would play with my brothers and have a good old 5 day chess match. Nowadays, I cannot get the game to work as it used to, and using A.I. tends to get the game to freeze.

In all honesty, just get Sins of a Solar Empire so you can play this in real time.

I tried to write a review for the fifth installment, but I could never get that one to ever load. Seriously. Just get SoaSE and the expansion, which is a far superior investment.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
LeBron James
( 22.9 hrs on record )
Posted: July 22, 2015
This game is a little older than most games I own and is long been replaced by Space Empires. But is still a buy than Space Empires V. The upside is there is no sudden flashes on the screen that aren't good for people with epilepsy. The text in that game is hard to read and with the flashes, makes it harder. This game doesn't have that. It's simple compared to the fifth game and can run way quicker on computers. This game gives you SO MANY OPTIONS on how to design your ships, command you empire, and rule the galaxy. Something Civilization could never do. If you want a more in depth turn based strategy game (IN SPACE), then this game is for you. I highly recommend it.
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MidnightSpecial
( 118.9 hrs on record )
Posted: July 16, 2015
EDIT: My original review is still below, but I thought I would update it after spending many, many more hours. I've really tried to enjoy this game, but if I have to recommend it based on its value after the first couple hours, I'm not sure I can. The AI in this game, despite any racial traits I give it, only ever does the same strategy over and over again. If you want to make this game any fun at all, you have to do all the leg work. Can you beat the game using only Light Cruisers and below? How about all Carriers and Fighters? To beat this game, you just turtle up until all the research is done and you have to do the same methodical crawl through every single system. Every game I've played in this game has gone the exact same way:

1. Turtle up until you are at max research level.
2. Build four separate fleets of ships and move into enemy system
3. Fleets 1, 2, and 3 seal up all warp points in system while fleet 4 wipes out all the enemy planets.
4. Move defending fleet forward one sector and repeat for the next several hours.

I just wish the AI would do something to prevent me from using the same strategy every time. It doesn't seem like it adapts or uses different units even if I use the same strategy for the entire match. If I had some friends that were into this type of game as well, maybe it would be more fun, but on its own, the game really didn't hold up.


Original Review:
This game is a solid entry in the 4x genre, though it seems that the AI's lack of real intelligence is often "balanced" by making it omnipotent and over powered. Specifically, this game tends to go against SEIII's strategy of turtling up into a good defense by spamming ships with cloaking technology and intelligence projects that completely outstrip how far along they should reasonably be able to research at that time. Still, once you get used to how the AI "cheats," it becomes a much more fun game because you can play around it and experiment with it.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 90 days
12 of 15 people (80%) found this review helpful
Recommended
1,142.6 hrs on record
Posted: February 11
General impression : 7/10 -> quality game, it does not apear on the top 100 list of best games of all time, but it still is a nice addition to have
Bug Class : A -> flawwless, no bugs
at any price <20 euro I'd say that you should buy this, and at 1.49 when at discount buying this is a no-brainer.

List of 5 most promitent Pro's and Con's :

Pro's
*high ship customising, without overcomplicating things
*weapon types and variation seem all to be reasonably well balanced in size, power and range.
*good paper-scizzors-stone strategy in weapon types
*good advancement over techtree from beginning to end, every discovery is a small step forward and can be put to good use directly
*lots of terraforming options to shape the universe to your liking to suit your needs

Cons :
*unit limit is often to low for comfort and can only be changed by starting a new game
*all ai's will go permanenly to war with you, once your score exceeds 150% of the best AI player
*the ecomomy is too strong after the first 60-100 turns you never will have resource shortage again
*the ai is to weak, meaning you usually never get to USE all that neat end game terraforming tech against
*multiplayer, though possible, is limited only hotseat & take turns or by using http://pbw.spaceempires.net/


personal experience
Early game (turn 1-40)
The perfect game, tech came in at a steady but not to fast pace, meaning new toys to play with every few turns but not making things obsolete to fast. Resources were limited but not too limited, meaning I had to pick 2 our of 3 from epanding the warfleet, building more colonies or improving excisting colonies. Interacting with the AI gave a few that wanted alliances (giving me an income boost) and a few that went to war (giving me some small skirmishes to play with.
Midgame (turn 41-100)
Not being able to destroy or risk having my colonies destroyed because that would permanely lower a planets values, my progress stagnated expantion ran to a halt, Wars turned into "destroy every turn the units they produced this turn" without being able to take down those ship-building planets themselves. Only to have that taking a turn for the worse as suddenly every AI declared war on me, and I was starting to die from overextending. I had to cancel everything (wasting precious techpoints and resources) and go for a total war, and even than it took quite a while before I had fleets and ships of large enough size and power I could hold ground against the AI. (luckely this all people declare war on you feature can be turned out by simply changing a line of text in a .txt gamefile from = yes to =no as I did for later games)
Lategame (turn 101 and more)
While I could win the battles but not the war (I was just stretched out too thin) especially since regardless the war I kept my personal "do not destroy any colony" rule in place, to not lower their values. This stalemate was broken when I discovered i could just trade for those planets and found out the AI would only need an offer for as little as 20000-30000 of a single resource to hand you one of it's planets even when at war. Extremely cheap, as building a fleet would cost sometimes a million resources, and getting it to the frontlines where it was needed three times as much in upkeep.This made it possible to conquer the Ai very quickly, by defeating all ships and satelites in it, place an offer to buy them all, and move on to the next system. In 20 turns after I discovered this all AI's were either reduced to 1 planet or destroyed. By than the game was essentially over even with tons of tech left on the techtree. I still played on, but by than it was more playing simcity, as there was no opponent of any meaning left. (I tried modding the game so that the Ai would only accept valueble technology or ships for planets, but found that that was not possible, for all future games I simply restain from buying planets and advise you to do the same to keep the game enjoyable)
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 180 days
36 of 39 people (92%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
Recommended
24.6 hrs on record
Posted: December 2, 2015
Micromanagement running wild

First two facts to keep in mind. First Space Empires IV is fifteen years old! Second, the game comes with a big package of Mods.

The game is a turn based 4X Space conquest game, with a lot of options, a lot of races and special "racial" technologies to discover. Systems can be quite large, since moons and planetoid belt can also be developed.

One watched me playing this game and said: "It even looks uglier, than my first impression was." He is right, it isn't a pretty, 3 D styled and streamlined game. It's virtues lie on totally different topics.

The game offers a lot, in many ways but it also has some drawbacks.

Pros:
  • A huge selection of races, plus the ones in the addon packs.
  • The Systems alone are large, the universe itself, well enough room for developement.
  • Technology, Resources and Planets are dependant.
  • Several Victory conditions are possible.
  • Each planet, Belt, Moon or Sun has a flavor text.

Cons:
  • The Sound is enervating, well the graphics aren't pretty - but the sound can drive you insane.
  • The Micromanagement can get you entwined in red tape, actually not a kind of fun for everyone.

Only Recommended to special audiences!

The game is old, it shows - but it should earn a piece of the heart of every 4x fan out there. It has a playing depth that is rare, the choice of the original races alone is more than enough for everyone to play for weeks, maybe months. But don't overdo it. As a game it's kind of a buerocrats dream (or nightmare...). The game grows repetetive after several playthroughs. It's more fun if you are able to play it either as a multiplayer game, or if you choose to just get one PC oponent, the AI of the computer generated races is very aggressive, and they could put you out of business in no time. Just be glad, that they even fight among themselves a lot.

Overall this game is a must have for fans of the genre. Beginners should look elsewhere, since the huge amount of information packed into this game can scare you away.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
3 of 5 people (60%) found this review helpful
Recommended
1.9 hrs on record
Posted: December 31, 2015
I started playing this after I played the board game space empires 4x. It's a fun little space strategy game. need a multiplayer mode though.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
94 of 102 people (92%) found this review helpful
Recommended
192.3 hrs on record
Posted: February 8, 2014
Space Empires IV is like a truly complex, four course meal. The flavors are nuanced, will challenge the faint of heart, and if you trust the chef and stick with it to the end, is truly satisfying.

I spent hundreds of hours on the predecessor to SEIV, and the terrible graphics but amazing gameplay of SEIII will live in my memory forever. Space Empires IV is a worthy successor. Unlike some sequels, SEIV builds on what made SEIII great, preserving the best features and adding lovingly rendered graphics, enhanced ship design features, more technologies, bigger galaxies, better AI (although this is probably the greatest weakness of the series), and more.

If you've never played 4X games before, SEIV is a heavy entry title. It does have a steep learning curve, and only those who truly love micromanagement will ever appreciate the deep complexity at the core of this title. It's possible to play without getting bogged down in the details as a variety of assistants can be turned on to help manage minutia like build queues, research, and the like. I'm not that familiar with them as I never play with them on, but I'd imagine they would help if you're just getting in to the game.

The real brilliance of SEIV is the extensive technology tree and the infinite variations in how it can be applied. Over the many hours I've spent with this game, I've tried countless variations on technology applications, and there is no one true path to victory. Many exist, they are all fun, and contribute greatly to the near-infinite replayability of this title.

When you get tired of the base game, the second greatest feature of SEIV kicks in -- it's very open to modding, and a strong community of modders exists for the game, with simple mods like technology tree augmentations to extensive mods like Star Wars or Star Trek "mode" mods. Whatever you want, it either exists or wouldn't be hard to make.

Needless to say, I'm a big fan of this game. If you're new to 4X games, you might want to come back to this one after getting into the genre a bit more. If you're a 4X pro and want to embrace a true challenge -- this is the game for you.
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49 of 55 people (89%) found this review helpful
11 people found this review funny
Recommended
43.3 hrs on record
Posted: April 1, 2015
Do you fancy 4x games? Like Civilization series? Go ahead! buy it, its totally worth 10$ or less (if you can find it on sale).
I've owned a retail disc since 2004 and probably have clocked more than 2000 hours. Its so re-playable. Even after years of gameplay, It surprises me with new things I've failed to discover earlier.


11/10 will forget engines in their first ship designs.


!! Update: For those who can't decide between SE IV or SE V !!
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

If you want the to experience a better game in terms of gameplay and are okay with outdated graphics and 2-D view, pick SE IV one over SE V. Not only its fast, it has a simple and neat UI and is bug free (atleast to me, havn't found a single one in 10 years).

But if you want better graphics and can tolerate occasional bugs and sluggish performance at times, go for the SE V.
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39 of 43 people (91%) found this review helpful
Recommended
90.6 hrs on record
Posted: October 6, 2014
Fantastic 4x game. I can't tell you the number of hours I've sunk into this title. (I owned this game long before it was available on steam.)

Pros:
Truly massive empires - On the larger settings you can fight for control of hundreds of star systems, each with potentially a dozen or more planets.
Tons of empires - not only can your empires be big, but there can be a LOT of them. I've had games with as many as thirty separate empires competing with each other.
Deep Customization - You have the ability to change every aspect of your empire, from how fast they are able to repair ships to how well ground troops fair in combat. You get to choose the type of atmosphere your species breaths, and even which unique tech or traits they possess. (Are you mechanoids immune to plagues? Are you natural merchants? etc)
Complete ship customization - You assemble ships module by module. Similar to Endless Space, but vastly more detailed.
Tons of weapons and technologies - the tech tree is vast, and there a ton of weapon types. You can focus on missiles, torpedos, beams, high-energy discharge, weapon disabling, shield disruption, phased weapon, etc. The list goes on. (Not to mention troops, mines, and fighters.)

Cons:
Graphics: are serviceable, but nothing to write home about.
Interface: Difficult to understand when you are first beginning. Not too bad once you get the hang of it.
Diplomacy: This is the one area where SEIV struggles; diplomatic options are not well described, and nor well fleshed out. However, you can make enemy empires protectorates and stuff, so that's a nice touch.

Overall, I highly recommend this game if you're a fan of Turn Based 4x games.
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102 of 146 people (70%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
70.2 hrs on record
Posted: July 23, 2014
I got this game when it first came out (release date Nov 6, 2000), I have like a gazillion play hours before Steam. I used to love this game. I've tried to get back into it after not playing it fora few years, and I gotta say, I'm completely bored with it.

Sure, you can mod it to death. You can customize your ships. You can have tactical combat. You can do so many things.

However every game plays the same pertty much. AI always plays the same. They'll be your friend and ally one turn and at war the next and you'll never figure out why. Once you go to war, you stay at war forever. And the AI is very weak opponent. Even setting the AI to the highest difficulty and teaming them all against you, and giving yourself as many negatives as you can, it's still boring and easy. Tactical combat is usually the same too. Example, you attack a planet, it has defenses, so one turn you move in, shoot at the planet and move out of range of their weapons, and so on and on. Same for combat, it's a game of who can kill the other first with ranged weapons. And the AI doesn't build large combat ships, just small to medium. I've modded the crap out of that and still they won't build large ships.

The point I usually get bored is when I own a fourth of the universe, I know I'm going to win, it's just wiping out those last few empires. Sometimes when you wipe out a empires planets, it'll have a few ships around that you have to track down (they get free resource generation). I should mention the AI will never invade your planets or capture your ships, human only. And the AI will not design their ships with bombs of any kind. Yeah, I tried to mod that too.

Only time the AI does any good is if you setup the game with all techs known. Unfortunately this gets boring fast, the fun is supposed to be researching them. And the AI always researches the same techs, in the same order, every game. Thinking back, I'm wondering why I even liked this game in the first place, well back in 2k it was fun. As with all these games, each turn gets longer and longer. You can let the AI build for you, but you'll come to learn that is a mistake as it will build things you don't want or need and it will tie up your resources constanly upgrading everything, you can turn that off, but then micromanaging your empire is a total pain.

I should mention that if you don't setup the game with the setting 10 planets each (has to be equal for all players, not changable) or good planet conditions, then the AI might not get rolling at all, and sit the whole game with just it's homeworld(s). Makes for a really boring game.

This game will on occassion crash due to memory errors or a floating point error. It had that pre-Steam too. So turn on autosave.

You'll enjoy it for a while, and then figure out every game pretty much plays the same and move on to something else.
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17 of 20 people (85%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
Recommended
85.7 hrs on record
Posted: September 23, 2014
Perhaps one of the bright shining gems of the 4X genre. I have been playing this game for over a decade. While I do have long breaks of playing it in between, it is the only game in the past 14 years that I can come back to and still have an urge to play.

So what is it in this game that keeps drawing me back after 12 years of playing? For me it is the crazy amount of micro-management. Being able to fully custom lines and series of ships for my fleets is almost as exciting as executing the winning tactics in battle with the aforementioned ships. The AI does leave something to be desired so I do recommend using modifications which are very simple to use and install and run. (download mod launcher, download mod, run launcher, select mod, run game)

If you have been on the fence about purchasing this game, then I suggest you take the plunge and try it out. I have easily over 1000 hours into this game over the past 12 years. Even by today's standards I'd give this a solid 10/10 and very competitive with modern 4X strategies (aside from the graphics)


There is also a relatively active community behind this game at www.spaceempires.net.
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13 of 14 people (93%) found this review helpful
Recommended
127.4 hrs on record
Posted: April 17, 2015
SEIV is on my list of top 3 strategy games ever and will stay there. It reminds me a lot of Master of Orion II, though more complex and with option for mods.

I've spent over 100 hours on one match, where did all that time come from... Only other game that I've gotten this into was probably Civ III and still sucks me in sometimes. Overall I definitely recommend this game. It is the only game yet that has impressed me enough for a review. Grade A strategy title that I know I got my money's worth from.
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19 of 25 people (76%) found this review helpful
Recommended
122.8 hrs on record
Posted: February 4, 2014
I really like this game. It's a complex 4X where you can customize just about everything, and even build a Dyson Sphere*. With a ton of races, you have a nice variety to choose from, but you can still custom taylor one to fit your play style. My only issue is that it can be hard to get into and in the beginning, it can be tough to keep up with the AI lategame. But hey, practice makes perfect.

*http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dyson_sphere
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15 of 18 people (83%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
4.5 hrs on record
Posted: March 31, 2015
A really fun and addictive game with immense customization options and a pretty extensive tech tree.
The tutorial is very helpful if you complete the whole thing. It explains most of what you need to know to get started, and get past the learning curve, which for someone like me (lack of paitence to learn), a lot of the game is quite intuitive. You can look around and get an idea of how things work, rather than being completely overwhelmed.

I must admit, I have yet to explore a lot of the features in this game, but for what I've seen already, I really enjoy it and find myself wanting to play more.
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14 of 17 people (82%) found this review helpful
Recommended
101.0 hrs on record
Posted: December 6, 2010
One of the greatest space-strategy games I have played. A gem that offers unequaled opportunities. The graphics may be behind our time and what we are used to, but the game offers great immersion and game depth. Highly customizable, when it comes to your race, spacecrafts, galaxies etc.
Warning: Highly addictive!
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15 of 20 people (75%) found this review helpful
Recommended
76.6 hrs on record
Posted: July 1, 2014
Space Empires is a great turn-based 4x strategy game. Lots to do, whether crafting your own unique empire, or playing as an default empire, you can have fun building massive fleets and subjigating other races.

I prefer Space Empires IV to its successor, as its not as slow to start off as Space Empires V & it doesn't have the ridiculous system exploration mechanic.
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18 of 26 people (69%) found this review helpful
Recommended
17.1 hrs on record
Posted: January 1, 2014
The interface can be annoying sometimes. And the graphics are really startlingly bad in places. But the gameplay is fun and the level of complexity is just awesome.
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10 of 12 people (83%) found this review helpful
Recommended
49.1 hrs on record
Posted: May 23, 2015
Deep strategy, tons of fun.

However, the graphics and depth will deter casual players.

If that doesn't deter you, this game is for you.
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18 of 27 people (67%) found this review helpful
Recommended
46.9 hrs on record
Posted: January 1, 2014
One of the Best 4Xs. Great depth, and still plays well after all this time.
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11 of 14 people (79%) found this review helpful
Recommended
31.2 hrs on record
Posted: July 24, 2013
Decent game. Simple but easily addictive. There aren't as many annoyances as some other space strategy games I've played, and it doesn't feel too bland either.
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12 of 16 people (75%) found this review helpful
Recommended
13.5 hrs on record
Posted: March 26, 2013
Just an absolute class 4x Turn Base Strategy. Still works better than the sequel iteration. And so much less buggy. Replability is very very high. And the amount of customization is astounding with a very light weight modding development environment. (Pretty much a text based comma seperated database). Graphics are old school but so worth the enjoyment you get out of this 4x.

A definite 5/5.
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68 of 122 people (56%) found this review helpful
8 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
107.5 hrs on record
Posted: November 12, 2014
Space Empires IV Deluxe is a 4x turn-based strategy game. Span your empire across the galaxy, travelling from one star system to another through warp holes, encountering alien empires and competing for territory and dominance.

Pros: The game offers a huge amount of technologies to discover, each unlocking more ship sizes, components, weapons, buildings and additional techs. Ships are fully customizable, choosing the size and picking components from a large selection, allowing you to shift your strategy to adjust to competing factions’ ship design, regularly switching shield types, weapons type and range, and other equipment. Combat can be automated, or you can control each encounter in tactical mode. There are neutral empires that will span a single system, adding to the variety without necessarily adding competitors.

Cons: There is no story whatsoever, save a short paragraph about each race. Basic traits will dictate how aggressive an AI is, but it has absolutely no strategy: if at war, it'll send you units after units unless it's busy with something else. As the game progress, you’ll find yourself moving around a few “stacks”, or fleets, relying less on less of equipment and technology and more on numbers to overpower your opponents. Planet colonization is basic, you have a variety of building for resources (although by the end game you just turn every planet into perfect 250%-resource planets) with defensive buildings that will barely slow down attackers. The music is not very inspiring, getting annoying quickly as they are few and will replay over and over again.

Verdict: ★☆☆☆☆ - May it rot in your backlog

I cannot recommend this game. It didn’t age well at all, still rooted in the same interface type and mechanics as the first versions of the 90s. Every time I think I would be up to a game, I barely get to into a couple of encounter with the AI until I reach the point of struggling with whether I should even bother saving the game before quitting. It was fun when it was new and I spent a lot of time on it in the past, but as of now it's soooooo boring by today’s standard.

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This was just my opinion.

If you found this review helpful, please consider giving it a thumbs up, and feel free to check out more of my (purely opinionated) reviews.
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8 of 11 people (73%) found this review helpful
Recommended
19.5 hrs on record
Posted: June 11, 2015
A complex, nice and charming turn-based 4x-Title, made in 2000. Even with the tutorial not very newb-firendly (like most older games), but once you got a grip, it turns into a very challenging experience. Graphics are mostly... non-existent (makes it great for a netbook, tho), the music is extremely basic, too - but the gameplay itself is really, really REALLY nice and can (in my opinion) compete with that of Sins of a Solar Empire. Maybe nowadays not not worth the 10 Euros - but that's what sales are for, right?
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