Space Empires V is the latest edition in the Space Empires series. This new chapter completely updates the UI and takes the player into a real-time rendered 3D universe. Watch space battles played out in glorious detail and realistic effects. Expand, Explore, Exploit, and Exterminate in a huge living breathing galaxy.
User reviews:
Recent:
Very Positive (10 reviews) - 100% of the 10 user reviews in the last 30 days are positive.
Overall:
Mostly Positive (213 reviews) - 70% of the 213 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Oct 16, 2006

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

 

About This Game

Space Empires V is the latest edition in the Space Empires series. This new chapter completely updates the UI and takes the player into a real-time rendered 3D universe. Watch space battles played out in glorious detail and realistic effects. Expand, Explore, Exploit, and Exterminate in a huge living breathing galaxy. New features abound with political alliances between multiple empires, a top-down ship design system, a hexagonal movement grid, and many more. Due to player demand, the game is completely 'moddable' and even adds a scriptable AI system to the mix. Space Empires V boldly takes the next step in the genre of space strategy
  • 24 bit 3D real-time rendered graphics.
  • Detailed Tactical Combat (and a combat simulator to test your designs!).
  • New vehicle types and sizes: Ships, Bases, Freighters, Fighters, Mines, Satellites, Troops, Drones, and Weapons Platforms.
  • Ability to completely design and customize all of your vehicles.
  • Large Galaxy: 100 solar systems with 15 planets each.
  • Huge Technology Tree: Thousands of tech levels with hundreds of components and facilities.
  • Completely customizable game graphics: Create your own planets, stars, vehicles, etc.
  • Completely customizable AI players: Create your own AI players with unique traits, styles, and speech.
  • 14 unique races to play or customize (or just create your own!)
  • Randomly generated map for every game (or load an existing map).
  • Complete game customization allowed by players ("mods").

System Requirements

    Minimum System Requirements: Pentium 500MHz or better class machine, Windows XP, 64 megabytes RAM or better, 1024x768 or better screen resolution, 16 bit color display or better, DirectX 7.0 (or better), A video card with 3D acceleration, 500 megs hard drive space, A sound card capable of supporting MP3 and DirectSound playback. Sound card must be DirectX 7.0 (or better) compatible.
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Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
176.6 hrs on record
Posted: November 25
It is not said in jest when this title has been described as Excel spreadsheets in space. The depth and selection of imaginable options permitting the finest granular control are stupefying and at times intimidating.

This is an old 4X space strategy running on hexes, in turns. It needs dearly user-made mods to be sensible and better functioning. Modern systems might not even be able to run it due to its age. But if it runs on your computer and you fanatically love 4X games that let you design everything, and like sinking hours after hours into singleplayer titles, then you have a good contender at your hands to fight with more modern games of the genre.

Things that Space Empires V allows the player to design or min-max: Species, Empires, Units (from stations to ships and ground troops), Planets and Ship formations. Breadth of technologies permit wildly varying designs and counters to them. Lensman arms races ensue between you and the other empires. When trying to outgun your opponents comes to a dead end in ship-to-ship combat, a different set of options open up: If you can't beat the enemy navy, destroy their worlds with planet-crackers, make their stars go nova with star-killers, collapse their systems into black holes, sever their lines of transportation by destroying wormholes, and create new wormholes to blindside their homeworld. When the war is over, rebuild every broken planet and asteroid belt into new worlds, or build ringworlds and Dyson spheres as ultimate mark of your ascendancy.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
10.7 hrs on record
Pre-Release Review
Posted: November 8
Played much more than what the tooltip says, as i got this game in the very early years of Steam. Must have played for several hundred hours at least.

SEV does have several things going for it;

- Micromanagement galore. You have control over a LOT of things in this game, and they all really matter. Ground combat, space combat, population management, ship design.. and that's just the first layer.
- Combat is fun. YOu can also experiment with your ship designs in a simulator against your own designs or what enemy ships you know.
- Many race creations options, and they are all valid.
- Loads of research options, both wide and deep. Afaik, all of it is usefull, and its goes far as far as options it offers.
- Boarding, stealing techs, blowing up suns, building ringworlds ect ect.
- Ships and troopers trying to flee combat when crippled, allowing scattered survivors to escape (.. or not).
-Supply and ammo management make ship design require a bit more care, plus making having support/supply ships to back up your warships important.

To note, Vanilla balance is a bit all over the place, but using Captain Kwok's Balance mod make this game so, SO much better. Go get it!

Buuut, SEV does have severals problems.

- The UI is clunky, cluttered and heavy. Too many (useless) options presented at once. At the time i was fine with it, today i can barely tolerate it.
- THe engine is weak and really struggle with displaying your stuff on the strategic layer once you get 100+ ships in a system. Nearly unplayable (at the time i played, years ago) when i was busy moving around several fleets of 100+ ships as the lag was that high. No idea how it would fare on my current machine. It did make for epic wars however, when they did get there.
- Multiplayer is utterly primitive by today's standarts.

But despite that, i keep thinking of this game in a positive fashion as its one of the very few that gave me all that freedom in the sheer depth and width of options, choices and designs i could DO. The options. ALL the choices. ALL of them, it made them work. I find myself wishing for more of that SEV's toolbox in 4X games i play right now, like Stellaris.

If that game could get a new update/iteration with today's standarts but keeping its good points? Its weaknesses are really about UI and engine frankly. I'd buy it. I'd buy it HARD.
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Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
102 of 107 people (95%) found this review helpful
Recommended
64.9 hrs on record
Posted: November 27, 2013
Space Empires V, like its predecessor, is a brilliant turn-based strategy game. Research is deep and complex. The AI, with mods, runs well. Ship design has interesting nuances and micromanagement isn't overwhelming even in the late game. Diplomacy is good enough and resource management isn't that easy but isn't overly complex, either. The modding community has created some absolute masterpieces for this game, as well.

Of course, then, there must be a caveat. SE:V is one of the buggiest games to exist in recent memory. It was designed to run with DX7.1 and DX8 on Windows XP machines. As technology marches ever onwards, getting SE:V to actually install and work even remotely properly has been a source of constant headaches. Provided you're willing to go through the slog of troubleshooting cryptic error messages, forum heresay, and troubleshooting myths from people who are taking potshots in the dark, SE:V is a game that I wholeheartedly recommend. Otherwise, stay away.
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82 of 85 people (96%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
410.5 hrs on record
Posted: December 4, 2013
Space Empires V is an unpollished diamond. You just know that if it had a reasonable length of time in development to remove all the bugs and add a proper multiplayer experience, then it would have been unsurpassed in the 4X genre. What saved this game in my view is just how easy it is to mod. All parameters are contained in .txt files so you can alter anything. Adding mods is incredibly simple(no installers, just download mod folder into a folder in the game). Personally I play with the balance mod(makes intelligence probability based, balances the game, makes AI terrifying) and have tweaked things like the battle timer for ground battles.

I guess I will begin with the really bad things in the game:

-Bugs: At this point many of the bugs that made the game unplayable were removed over a period 3 years after release but many remain. Issues with coding cause intense lag during big battles and, in my case, for every single ground battle. The alliance system just doesn't work which is a giant shame as it had huge potential

-AI: The AI in the normal game is simply terrible although this issue is fixed with the mods. The AI will create big fleets to kill you, lay mines in strategic areas and alter its designs to counter yours. It can be terrifying at times.

-Multiplayer: Multiplayer has never worked properly in this series. Everything is done through a play by web system using simultaneous turns and removing tactical combat. Connecting is difficult and just feels underdeveloped and old. It was so much easier to play a multiplayer game of Master of Orion 2 on Hamachi than playing this.

-The UI: It is difficult to know what to do and it put me off when I first started the game. It takes a long time getting used to and even if you know all the hotkeys and how to access what you want to know, it still takes ages. My biggest gripe is trying to know which ships still haven't moved as the game doesn't filter out fast units in a fleet when you push space.

-Ground combat: It is just not any good. You don't have to think about tactics at all unlike space battles. All you do is sit and watch cockroaches kill one another. Fighters are also a must as the ai will automatically start running away to the edge of the map once it is being beaten and this is very frustrating. Your guys are so slow that they probably wont reach them before the timer runs out. At that point combat ends until the next turn where a new militia will pop up from the city. For this reason I doubled the timer for ground combat.

-Late game slowness: This is typical of the genre where micromanaging increases exponentially as the game progresses and you get more plantes & units. Ministers which control your units for you and can be assigned very specific tasks get rid of the need to micromanage so much but an issue remains. Unlike civ v, all the units with assigned commands do not automatically move at the end of the turn. They instead move one by one at the start of the next. Late game it means that I have to sit and watch the game play itself for 5 minutes or so.


Now for the good:

-Scope: The size of this game is just incredible. A single match on a small map will take weeks and have you go from a newborn space race to god like beings which are able to do anything to star systems. You can blow up enemy planets and mine the remains or use them to create new ones. Destroy stars, create new ones, alter the very map by manipulating wormholes and create dyson spheres.

-Tech tree: The tech tree is enormous. There are dozens upon dozens of areas of research, each exponentially increasing the possibilities available. Each new tech can also be upgraded multiple times improving the same designs and many techs can be combined to make fun new strategies. I personally love researching boarding parties, tractor beams and cloacking. Then making a ship to secretly attack support units and take them over. You can make warheads and place them on ships to ram bigger ships or place them on drones and swarm a planet. Getting far into the research tree, making a deathstar, fitting it with a wave motion gun and sending it out to wreak havock is immensely satisfying. There are also specific techs that you get from colonizing ancient planets and race specific ones like organic manipulation or temporal manipulation.

-Diplomacy: I really hate the lack of diplomatic options you get in other games as they are very basic. Here you can set any term that you could possibly imagine. You can set how much each race will passively trade, can make treaties banning research of certain techs, you can prevent an ally from even doing any research, set whether or not there will be migration between the two races, impose tarrifs on the trade, share medical or resupply depots, ANYTHING!!!. I absolutely love it. You can even trade information on enemy ship designs and battle replay to help allies prepare.

-Intelligence: Espionage is another thing lacking in most game as they tend to simply give you random benefits. Here you can specify what kind of espionage activities you want to conduct or whether you want to carry out sabotages. It is quite feasible to use intelligence to cripple a planet before sending a fleet to attack.

-Customization: When you start the game, you can customize everything about your race. What kind of race are they? What type of planet do they inhabit? What atmosphere do they breathe? What type of culture do they have? All these things will have an impact on how you play and the customization extends throughout the game. Every ship you make is designed by you individually by adding components to preset sizes and dictating their strategy. The game even gives you a simulator to try out new designs. This works really well in my opinion. It is a lot of fun to get new ship designs from an ally who was just beaten by a new enemy and then altering your design using the simulator to check how well they will fare against the enemy. The simulator really does add a new level of gameplay that puts enphasis on tactics and good designs to prepare agaomst threats. It also makes good intelligence even more important.

-Space battles: Another great thing in this game. Battles can be massive in size and all play out in real time. Ships in fleets will fly in formation and battle using strategies set out by you before hand(you can also manually control them in tactical view). Damaged ships will fly slower and have damaged weapons, missiles will fly out and point defence turrets will attempt to shoot them down before they get too close. There is a surprising level of depth to the battles which are decided mostly on how well you prepared for them.

This is a game really worth buying for people who enjoy the genre although expect some hippucs. If you have a friend of a brother to play hotseat while you work then all the better.
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41 of 42 people (98%) found this review helpful
4 people found this review funny
Recommended
21.4 hrs on record
Posted: May 12, 2015
I bought this game just to leave this review. I may not have much on Steam, at the post of this review. However I have a CD copy and I have spent at least 7000 hours in this over the span of 8 years.

There has never been a game to match this one's scale. It does have a steep learning curve, however it's completely rewarding once you master the games interface.

Here is a guide listed to get the game to run on modern Windows. http://steamcommunity.com//app/1690/discussions/0/846947320625372516/

Also, one should also pick up Balance Mod. For better AI, and well. Balance to the game.

There are other reviews that are much better, with a much better description than this one. However this game is amazing in scope.
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36 of 37 people (97%) found this review helpful
Recommended
333.4 hrs on record
Posted: December 2, 2013
This is likely the best space 4x game out there. It's a shame it hasn't gotten more support, because you occasionally encounter some frustrating bugs and oversights (like if a planet with multiple populations rebels against you, it forms a new race with stats identical to your base race, and erases all other sentient species from the planet).
It gives you what you want. Ship design, the ability to make your own society, lots of interesting research, good espionage, an organized and customizable interface, and cool battles (with lots of tactical options, even if missiles+outrunning the enemy seems a bit overpowered).
The diplomacy can be frustrating, due to there being a turn delay and also you not knowing what conditions the AI wants. So anything more complicated than an open borders treaty might be impossible to implement.

I strongly recommend getting Captain Kwok's balance mod. This will make the AI more intelligent and challenging, as well as give you a chance to engage in more fleet actions.
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30 of 30 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
24.6 hrs on record
Posted: November 28, 2014
This is a good old turn based 4X. You design your empire and then try to conquer a galaxy (or win through diplomacy/culture; if you're of that persuasion...) Lots of tech development, and ship design. Gameplay is quite excellent in terms of grand strategy, with customisable interfaces and various options for automation (ai ‘governor’ control etc), but I was not hugely impressed with the controls and scripts for tactical combat; it leaves some features to be desired. There may be some mods available which could improve this aspect of the game. Overall, quite a fun and interesting game, I find the dynamics of the gameplay and strategies to be thought provoking. It offers opportunities for a slightly deeper level of interaction than many other 4X games. This is not a game for players who like fast paced, easy to understand gameplay: it takes time, practice and conceit to develop one’s own personal strategy (of which there are many possibilities).
I usually play this game with the Crimson Concept mod, which can be found (free) here: www.spaceempires.net/downloads-details-922-Crimson_Concept_Mod_v9.0.html#dldetails
I've tried the game without this mod, it was not as interesting...

Lots of people on Steam have commented on it lagging/being unplayable: i noticed that the game lags if the resolution colour bit setting is high; i switched it from x32 to x16 and it runs better now. I guess the graphics in this game are not designed for modern hardware etc.

If you have the game: check out www.spaceempires.net there is a community of players and developers, and a massive library of mods and other content to explore.
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27 of 28 people (96%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
Recommended
182.0 hrs on record
Posted: November 20, 2015
Pros
- The game has an incredible number of customization options and offers a wealth of variety in viable strategies, particularly if you're using the balance mod practically everybody seems to be using. You can manage fine details of your empire's war machine that most games would abstract, and the game is clearly aimed at people who get giddy at the prospect of developing and testing warships to maintain an edge over current and prospective enemies.
- Despite the dated graphics and sound design, fleet battles manage to be enjoyable, and I've killed hours just messing with designs and testing them in the simulator. The weapons have a good amount of variety in their look and feel, and the encouragement toward mixing specialist designs in a fleet means that the enemy's fleet composition can significantly affect your tactics in the field.
- The AI will happily sign my Treaty of Imminent Backstabbing and praise me as a peacemaker, because the AI cannot comprehend the English language (I guess that's kind of a con, but I've never seen a game with AI that could deduce when it was being threatened or insulted through a text prompt, so I'm just happy for the source of amusement).

Cons
- You're not really given a choice in terms of how much detail you want. You're going to engage with all the detail, or you're going to lose. The learning curve can be very steep, and the UI is not friendly to new players. Forget not holding your hand; SE5 is pushing you down in the street over and over and laughing at you while you try to cross. Enjoy giving orders tediously one at a time across your huge empire until you figure out queues, because the game isn't going to nudge you in that direction one bit.
- The balance mod is almost necessary, because the base game doesn't feel like it was balance-tested sufficiently, and the built-in AI is pretty much useless. Even with the balance mod, the AI doesn't have a good chance against a player with at least a decent understanding of the system, which only makes the transition from single-player to multi-player less comfortable, because if you're used to fighting the AI, human players will kill you before you even figure out how they built so fast (it's spaceyard rushing and their management of that emergency build thing the game never hints at the importance of).
- There is only war. That depth I mentioned earlier doesn't extend to politics, economics, or anything else like that. Your empire is a machine to kill other empires, and everything else just kind of feels bolted-on. If you don't enjoy designing ships to patrol spacelanes, or you get bored of it, there's not much to fall back on. You can win through diplomacy, but it's far too easy to be any fun.

Bottom Line
If you're looking for a combat-focused space 4x that's so deep it hurts, SE5 is one of the best I've played. You definitely want the balance mod, though.
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30 of 36 people (83%) found this review helpful
Recommended
222.6 hrs on record
Posted: December 13, 2013
This game is incredibly complex -- in a good way, except for the fact that its just too complex for the AI to get a decent grasp on. It's also made to be modded, and frankly, is really best played with the "Balance Mod", which basically turns it into a game of Space Empires IV, with cooler graphics. The default game is unbalanced to the point of being effectively broken -- find, and install the Balance Mod, if you get the game.

Due to the complexity of the game, single player is kind of easy, unless you give the AI outrageous bonuses to production, etc. The AI just can't manage the game as well as a player can (although the Balance Mod AI is certainly superior the the default AI).

Multiplayer, via PBEM, is the ultimate MP space conquest experience. I'm not kidding. There is NO equal. I have played just about every space conquest game in existance, and NOTHING beats SE4/SE5 when it comes to mutliplayer. I say Play-by-Email (or cloud drive, these days, is an amazing option), because you want people to spend 15-30min on their turn, and run the turns simultaneously, to really get the best experience.

Space Empires is, and always has been, the computer equivalent of a board game called "Starfire: Empires" (or "Starfire: New Empires", for the second edition). This game was/is outstanding, if you're into epic galactic conquest with your friends. Space Empires IV/V do not disappoint, if you are willing to muscle through the poor UI design issues that give the game its steep learning curve. The fleet AI interface is particularly well hidden, and tough to grasp, but the nuances of the game, particularly of the tech tree, are unending -- and worth the time.
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24 of 26 people (92%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Not Recommended
2.1 hrs on record
Posted: December 3, 2015
Finetuning required!

This game is setting one more step above the Space Empires IV game. Also the graphics got updated, the sound isn't so enervating as in Space Empires IV.

The game would be a nice addition to any library, if, yes if there weren't some issues. The game requires a lot of manual finetuning by the player, to get it run smoothly on any system with a modern OS. Fullscreen is, well, not implemented for those resolutions too. All this would be suferable, and bearable...

But there is more, it's even more complex than it's predecessor and for someone who is new to the 4X Space Conquest genre it might be too much.

Pros:
  • Updated Graphics and sound compared to Space Empires IV.
  • A lot of self customization, you can download so much stuff - even fanbased patches, to give it a more fluid run on modern machines.

Cons:
  • Buggy, it might crash on modern OS if not finetuned by the user. Lags would also be possible, and hanging up during calculating the outcome of a round.
  • The game can overwhelm a newbie with all those windows, informations and options, please read and tread carefully.
  • Sadly, not supported anymore officially.

Recommended only to a limited audience.

This game is for empire builders, to all others the game won't open it's charm. It will get boring after playing some rounds and not seeing anything fruitful comming out of it.

I can't and I won't recommendate this game to a broad audience, because it's harder than it seems. But once you get the run of the game, you'll find it quite easy.

Furthermore there is a lot of finetuning to be done to get the game run smoothly - which will possibly frustrate younger or more impatient players, there is a lot to do for this.

The game is not bad, per se - it's among my alltime favorites, since it offers so much possibilities - but, as I said, to a broad audience this game can't be recommended, not now, not even back when it was created.
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Recently Posted
Hanadon
0.5 hrs
Posted: November 23
This game will eat away considerable amounts of your time and cause you to lose way too much sleep.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
nicholae218
110.9 hrs
Posted: November 9
I've been in love with Space Empires since I was a kid...
Helpful? Yes No Funny
DutchBoy
23.6 hrs
Posted: November 6
Great game. Used to play this years ago. Graphics are not too bad, but doesn't run as smoothly as it used it back in the day (DirectX emulation). Still worth it - especially when on sale. Love the custom ship building and large tech tree.
Crashes on the odd occasion (very rately, but make sure you save), but so do most older games.
Win10-64bit, i5-750, 8G RAM.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
paulmenz
119.4 hrs
Posted: November 1
LOVE IT EVEN WITH ALL ITS PROBLUMS
MODS MAKE IT EVEN MORE FUN!
Helpful? Yes No Funny
ThNghtBrngr
80.2 hrs
Posted: September 11
loved the game back in the day. game will not run on win 8/10 for me. I did manage to get it running correctly in win 7 for a while though i dont remember exactly how, was something to do with the way win 7 sofened edges on lettering, It was a giant pain in the rear. Sadly I can not recomend a game that is incompatible with moderen systems.
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BobPOS
0.6 hrs
Posted: September 2
Not bought on steam BUT... This is one of the ALL TIME GREATS!!! You can have the AI run everything or turn it off for practically anything. There's allot of AI selections to ship control, construction, planets and you'll be shocked at what you can do. Even build up enough to build a Dyson Sphere. This is the one space game that I repeatedly play again and again. When I first played the game I bought each version up to Space Empires V. I want a VI Pleeeeease???
I'm on a HP Envy Notebook, 17.3" HD, Intel Core i7-4710MQ, 16 GB Memory and I had a 240GB SSD I installed for speed and it worked on my other older laptop but I have to play with the display option in the game.
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sam.glasby
0.5 hrs
Posted: August 25
The UI is clumsy, and the mouse pointer lags.
The ship design interface is elaborate, but allows construction of a colony ship with no engines.

The design team should steal UI ideas from other, better games -- the original Masters of Orion is ancient, but more playable.
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SociableStream
23.1 hrs
Posted: August 24
This is a great game for fans of the 4X genre. The graphics are slightly dated but hold up well compared to most conventional standards. Replayability is a one of its better selling points, with the expansive tech tree, custom races, and insane ship builds and strategy it is very difficult to lose interest. The game does tend to slow down the further the game progresses. The larger your empire grows the harder it becomes to manage. Many of my games have turned into 40k tier bureaucratic nightmares.

If you enjoy strategy this game has you covered. With a variety of ship loadouts and fleet configurations you will be able to create the ultimate battle strategy; Only to scrap it after the first battle. At higher difficulties you will be fighting not only enemy but against the vicious cycle of fine tuning your ship loadouts to meet newer threats as they emerge.

Overall Space Empires: V delivers consistent quality and satisfying gameplay despite coming out a decade ago. The game has a noticeable difficulty curve that new players may find challenging. Overall for its price: 2.99 (on sale as of 8/24) this game is a steal.

[Addendum: I've purchased this game twice now with 0 regrets, the steam version is very much playable]
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